The long wait for the 2013 NBA draft is finally coming to an end, with Thursday looming and a ton of chatter surrounding all 30 teams being amplified in these final hours.
Some big deals could be ahead. A handful of teams are looking to shed salary in order to make a big free-agency move, while others are looking to stockpile draft picks for either a trade or a rebuilding effort. Other teams are simply looking to add pieces and become title contenders.
Let's take a look at the latest buzz and chatter around the league regarding Thursday's draft.
Rockets Shopping Thomas Robinson
One year removed from going fifth overall in the 2012 draft, Thomas Robinson has had quite the year. It could end with him joining his third NBA team.
Houston is looking to move Robinson to a team that can absorb his salary (either because it is under the cap or possesses the requisite trade exception) and get back a first-round pick in return. And two teams appear to have emerged as serious suitors: Cleveland and Chicago. Sources close to the situation say both teams would be willing to give up a first-round pick in this draft to land Robinson, who went No. 5 overall in the 2012 draft.
The Cavs, though, have also been linked to a potential trade with Dallas for Shawn Marion and the 13th pick that could cost them the second of their two first-round picks, No. 19 overall. They've also made an unsuccessful run at Minnesota's Kevin Love and continue to send signals that they want to make a "big" trade this week. But if Cleveland doesn't need No. 19 for one of those transactions, look for them to try to acquire Robinson from the Rockets.
Robinson's rookie season wasn't exactly productive, but it showed promise for what should be a lengthy career in the Association. He played in 70 games last season with the Kings and Rockets, averaging 4.8 points and 4.5 rebounds per contest.
It's too early to tell what his ceiling is, but obviously the Rockets are prepared to take less than would be normal for a No. 5 overall pick due to their keen interest in Howard, as indicated by Stein below.
It wouldn't be surprising to see a team who is searching for up-and-coming frontcourt role players to work with the Rockets for a draft-day deal. They've been stockpiling picks and youngsters since before last offseason in efforts to court D12.
Cavaliers Narrow Down Top Pick Options
The Cleveland Cavaliers have explored all sorts of options with their top overall pick, but Mike Brown's team is far from done figuring out what they want to do.
According to Andy Katz of ESPN, there are still three players in the running for the Cavs' third No. 1 pick in 10 years.
The Cleveland Cavaliers are down to a final list of three players for the No. 1 pick and hope to make a decision by Thursday morning, according to a source.
The list is expected to include Alex Len, Nerlens Noel and either Otto Porter or Ben McLemore. Chad Ford reported on Monday that it could come down to Len and Noel.
But the Cavs are also exploring trading the top pick since they’re not in love with any one player who in a “normal” year wouldn’t be a top pick. According to a source, Cleveland offered the No. 1 pick, Tristan Thompson and Dion Waiters to try and land Minnesota’s Kevin Love. But new Timberwolves president Flip Saunders won’t move Love.
Well, technically that's four players, with two surely being considered and two having the coin flipped. But you get the point.
A failed Love trade isn't the only deal Cleveland has been working on. According to Alex Kennedy of Hoopsworld, it's been courting a deal with the New Orleans Pelicans.
With so many different options and a draft class that is far from concrete, don't expect this to be the last of the developments surrounding the Cavaliers' top pick.
By now, they've made it clear that they are willing to make a move down in the draft. All that's missing now are suitors.
T-Wolves Dangling Derrick Williams to Improve Draft Pick
The Minnesota Timberwolves have long been a team to watch leading up to this draft as they look to build around Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio. However, at the No. 9 pick, they'll have to do a lot of impatient waiting before they can make their pick. That will likely leave most of the elite players off the board.
That's why they've put their valuable 22-year-old Derrick Williams out there in order to possibly move up, and they have their sights set on a few guys, according to the aforementioned report from Ford and Stein of ESPN.
The Wolves continue to try to move up higher in the draft to land either Victor Oladipo or Ben McLemore. The latest rumbles have them reaching out to the Magic, Bobcats and Suns offering Derrick Williams and the No. 9 and No. 26 picks in return for Orlando's No. 2 pick, Charlotte's No. 4 pick or Phoenix's No. 5 pick.
It certainly seems as if Minnesota is for real in making this move happen. Williams and picks Nos. 9 and 26 might not be enough to land a top-five pick, but it would certainly be an offer difficult for Charlotte or Phoenix to refuse.
However, T-Wolves owner Glen Taylor has stated to Sid Hartman of the Star Tribune that while they're exploring every option, it wouldn't be likely for his team to get rid of Williams .
Oladipo and McLemore are two of the marquee prospects in this year's draft, and it would be quite the gamble to assume either would be available with the ninth pick. If Minnesota really wants one of those two guys, it'll take a deal of this magnitude.
Bobcats Could Move Down for Zeller
While the Timberwolves desperately look for a way to move up in the draft and get one of their targeted men, the Charlotte Bobcats seem to have the exact opposite issue.
With the fourth pick, the Bobcats will walk into a relatively comfortable situation where they can pick nearly any player. However, Bobcats GM Rich Cho is a big fan of Indiana's Cody Zeller, according to Ford and Stein.
There is a growing belief that Indiana's Cody Zeller is seriously in the mix for the Bobcats at No. 4 along with Alex Len, McLemore and Otto Porter ... provided that Charlotte keeps its pick.
Bobcats GM Rich Cho is said to be a big Zeller fan, but word is he's having a tough time convincing ownership to take him at No. 4. If the Bobcats were to move a little farther down in the draft, Zeller becomes a strong possibility for Charlotte.
Zeller has hardly been talked about in the top five to 10 picks, provoking the question of whether they should choose another player or move down in the draft. The former Hoosier is ranked 11th on Ford's Big Board.
If Cho is successful in convincing Michael Jordan and company of the move, perhaps the Bobcats and T-Wolves could strike a deal to swap picks. The likelihood of Zeller being available at No. 9 is very good, and they could pick up some more assets in the deal.