Debunking Craziest NBA Trade and NBA Draft Rumors and Speculation
The moments leading up to the NBA draft might be the most rumor-filled few days in all of sports.
But the rumors bandied about often fall to the wayside before picking up any steam.
That's not to say we shouldn't look at available rumors to determine what the NBA teams involved are planning for their offseason restocking, rebuilding or rehabilitation projects. It just means we should take everything we hear with a grain of salt.
Some rumors we need to take with the whole shaker.
That part was true, as were many reports of teams showing interest. However, just because a team shows interest doesn't mean that it's going to end up making a serious push for a player. Logic has to win out over interesting stories.
So, in order to sort out the facts from the rest of what's been reported recently, let's take a look at the most ridiculous trade and draft rumors we can find.
Whether it be contradicting reports, overly high evaluation a player's impact or just reports that make no sense, we've had plenty of them in the past few days.
7. MarShon for a First-Round Pick?
MarShon Brooks went from being the starting shooting guard in his rookie year with the New Jersey Nets to getting buried in the depth chart and playing just 12.5 minutes per game in his sophomore season.
He definitely didn't get any worse, but the Nets got a lot better. However, it seems that they are out there looking for a high-yield return on their two-year investment on Brooks.
The latest is that they were close to landing the 26th pick from the Minnesota Timberwolves for Brooks, which is truth stretched about as far as it can go. Sure, Minny and Brooklyn talked, but then again, the Nets have talked with just about everybody else.
Darren Wolfson of the Twin Cities affiliate for ESPN reports that the trade was never close and that Brooklyn is "calling everybody" about Brooks.
Not only does it sound like a stretch that Brooks would yield a first-round draft pick in a year where the front end of the draft is ugly but the back end is full of talent, but Minnesota seems to be more in need of a two-way wing who can shoot threes.
Brooks is a pretty average defender on his best days, and the three-point shot is not in his repertoire.
6. LaMarcus Aldridge Is Available
There are a lot of qualifiers that we need to use when talking about LaMarcus Aldridge, especially for those rumors that have surfaced in the past few weeks.
Of course, we all know the ones floating around right now: Cleveland wants to give up a few picks and perhaps one of its two young impact players (except Kyrie Irving) for Aldridge (promptly rejected), while other less-believable deals come along as well.
That's the crux of the problem with any trade scenario involving Aldridge: His value is incredibly high right now.
With Portland unplugging its phone every time another general manager utters "LaMarcus" through the receiver, nothing short of a blockbuster deal would get him coming back in the other direction. While Aldridge certainly could be traded on draft day, the odds seem razor thin at this point.
What doesn't make sense is that the main offseason goal of the Trail Blazers seemed to be finding a center to pair with Aldridge, not finding a big man who could replace him.
5. Luol Deng for No. 3, No. 1?
Luol Deng has been linked to both the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Washington Wizards in the days leading up to the draft. But both deals seem to be ones that Chicago isn't interested in.
Cleveland supposedly had interest in swapping its No. 1 pick to the Bulls for Deng, while the Wizards had the same move in mind with their No. 3 overall pick. However, the Wizards are denying their interest in making any such deal.
Chicago has the choice of sitting on Deng and perhaps swapping him for a solid pick in next year's draft, clearing his contract off their books that way or going after a moderately-established young player this summer.
It's not necessarily that the Bulls are intent on keeping Deng, but the uncertainty at the top of this year's draft isn't as enticing as recent years.
4. Luol Deng's Contract Extension
There are also talks about the Deng and the Bulls working on a contract extension, via Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. There's likely some kernel of truth buried in there, but there's no way Chicago would be both shopping Deng and trying to extend his contract.
Part of what makes Deng a lucrative player is that he remains on the final year of his contract. While it's a big deal (over $14 million), it would come off the books next summer. This gives the team he would be shipped to the ability to get rid of him during next summer's free-agency bonanza or the power to negotiate its own deal with the aging forward.
Deng's agent has, of course, denied that any such talks have started.
One of these two rumors can live, but the other has to die.
3. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist on the Move?
Sheridan Hoops is reporting that the Charlotte Bobcats are shopping Michael Kidd-Gilchrist after concluding that they could replace him with Georgetown's Otto Porter in Thursday's draft.
While it's entirely possible that they are gauging interest around the league, what they're looking for in return seems to be most confusing.
One of their initial trade targets is Harrison Barnes of the Golden State Warriors.
So, not only would that mean they're trading a guy who was drafted with the second overall pick just a season ago for the guy who was taken seventh overall in the same draft, but they're trying to replace him with a player who plays the same position.
Michael Jordan may be a bad judge of player talent sometimes, but something tells me he knows that trading a small forward away in order to draft another, while simultaneously bringing back another small forward, makes no sense.
Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer reports that the Bobcats not only are not shopping Kidd-Gilchrist, but they don't envision Otto Porter falling all the way to Charlotte at No. 4 in the draft.
2. Blake for Dwight
Perhaps one of the most ridiculous trade rumors of the past month came in the early days of the Los Angeles Clippers' attempt to land Doc Rivers and Kevin Garnett.
It's definitely a believable trade if the Los Angeles Lakers see no way that Howard would re-up with them over the summer, but it also totally goes against every signal that the Lakers have been sending out since the end of the season.
The Lakers have taken a hard-line approach with Howard, continually stating that they plan on resisting every sign-and-trade attempt so that he wouldn't be able to get the full maximum contract if he wanted to leave the team.
This report of the Lakers' resolute position has come from many sources, so there's no reason to believe that they are simply blowing smoke for the sake of putting up a tough front.
1. Nothing in Return for Paul Pierce?
The Boston Celtics can save themselves $10 million this summer if they decide to buy out Paul Pierce for a measly $5 million.
This would make total sense if Pierce was dealing with an injury, completely unproductive or unhappy. But there's still value in his 35-year-old body.
Not only that, there is active interest coming from multiple teams: the Cleveland Cavaliers are looking to give up two second-round draft picks for Pierce, and the Milwaukee Bucks are rumored to have thrown their hat into the ring as well.
Even still, NBA.com's David Aldridge is reporting that the Celtics are likely to buy Pierce out before the June 30 deadline.
Why would Boston choose to simply save money when it could easily land two second-round picks, a huge trade exception and save money if the Cavaliers deal is to be believed? That trade exception is especially important to the Celtics, as they could use it to land Josh Smith in a deal this summer, something that's borderline impossible otherwise.
Not only that, wouldn't it be wise to hang onto Pierce even if a trade didn't go down this summer and use him as bait for a desperate team at next February's trade deadline?
There's just too much for Boston to gain by not buying out Pierce and instead trading him to an up-and-comer.