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NBA Trade Rumors: Latest Buzz Ahead of Thursday's Draft

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NBA Trade Rumors: Latest Buzz Ahead of Thursday's Draft
David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
It's a new era for the Cleveland Cavaliers, who hold the No. 1 overall pick in the NBA draft.

With Thursday evening's NBA draft looming, plenty of trade buzz is circulating—even at the top of the board, where the Cleveland Cavaliers hold the No. 1 overall pick.

It's an unenviable position to be in due to the perception that this is a weaker bunch of prospects than in recent years. However, plenty of other teams are looking to move around within the parameters of their own respective models for the future.

ESPN's Chad Ford and Marc Stein recently reported a bevvy of chatter for fans to sift through, which serves as a foundation for the current discussions.

Without further ado, let's take a look at the whispers circulating in NBA circles ahead of tomorrow's action in Brooklyn's Barclays Center.

 

Cleveland Cavaliers' Draft Dilemma

Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

Ford and Stein report that the Cavaliers reached out to the Portland Trail Blazers to offer the Nos. 1 and 19 overall picks in exchange for All-Star power forward LaMarcus Aldridge.

Unfortunately for Cleveland, the proposition was quickly denied. Thus, the top choice remains unsettled, although Ford, in a separate report, said he believes Kentucky big man Nerlens Noel will be the choice.

Some sources are telling Stein that the Cavs are attempting to land dynamic but aging wingman Shawn Marion, who would plug the big hole Cleveland has at the 3. That would cost the Cavs their 19th overall pick.

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It appears Cleveland will look outside the draft for a small forward.

Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle reports the Cavaliers are interested in Houston Rockets forward Thomas Robinson, who hasn't lived up to his status as a high lottery pick thus far.

A recent report by Baxter Holmes also noted the Cavs' interest in Boston Celtics star Paul Pierce and that they're willing to surrender two second-round picks to get him. However, Fox Sports Ohio's Sam Amico reports such a deal is highly unlikely.

Again, GM Chris Grant has four of the first 33 picks in this weak draft. It seems he'll be attempting to swing some sort of deal involving at least one of them.

 

Minnesota Timberwolves Coveting Victor Oladipo

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The report by Ford and Stein states that GM Flip Saunders is "enamored" with Oladipo and that he wants to move up to acquire the former Indiana Hoosiers star shooting guard.

It's a bold offer from Saunders, too, as former No. 2 overall pick Derrick Williams and the Nos. 9 and 26 picks are all on the line for whomever will take the deal.

Oladipo is considered a top-five prospect. If Amico's tweet is any indication, he could even go No. 1:

Not only do the Timberwolves need more efficient shooters, but they could also use some help on the perimeter defensively. Oladipo provides both of those things as the reigning Big 10 Defensive Player of the Year and a player who shot well over 40 percent from deep and nearly 60 percent from the floor overall.

The backcourt is somewhat crowded in Minnesota right now with Ricky Rubio, Luke Ridnour, J.J. Barea and Alexey Shved, but Oladipo brings size to the 2 position. He could even flex to small forward in small lineups with his wonderful rebounding and defensive prowess.

 

Texas Teams Angling for Dwight Howard

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The aforementioned Cavaliers' interest in Marion could help the Mavericks clear out cap space to pursue Dwight Howard this offseason, but according to Stein, Dallas isn't necessarily interested in moving him.

There is a connection between the Cavs and Robinson, but Ford and Stein report that Carlos Delfino and Aaron Brooks are the two that GM Daryl Morey is really trying to shop.

What would be the best destination for Dwight Howard?

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Delfino and Brooks are designed to alleviate more room in the salary cap for the Rockets to go after Howard, who is no lock to remain a Los Angeles Laker once free agency begins July 1.

Per ESPN, that duo will enter unrestricted free agency following next season. Given the relative lack of surefire solid contributors in this 2013 draft class, it seems like an ideal time to move them before their salaries count against the cap.

It will be interesting to see which Lone Star State squad can make the best pitch for Howard, and what could be the big splash in the entire free-agent period could very well hinge on what happens on draft night.

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