NBA Trade Rumors: Breaking Down Latest Draft Chatter
David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
The NBA rumor mill is buzzing with all sorts of trade talk ahead of Thursday evening's draft in Brooklyn, New York's Barclays Center, and much of it involves the top picks.
It's no secret nor is it a commonly polarizing debate that this group of prospects about to enter the Association is among the weakest in recent history. There are no slam-dunk options at No. 1, and there certainly isn't much depth.
Thus, the teams that fared well last season are in a position of leverage to add more assets to their squad and move up higher, while other struggling franchises may grab more picks and hope for the future.
Let's break down the latest chatter going around a little less than 24 hours before front offices have to take the dive officially in shaping their respective organization's direction.
Cleveland Cavaliers (Nos. 1 and 19 Overall)
No clear consensus has emerged from Cleveland as to what general manager Chris Grant and Co. will do at this pivotal juncture for the franchise. Look at what Fox Sports Ohio's Sam Amico has to report:
And on night before draft, three people of importance within Cavs organization have differing views on #1, sources say.— Sam Amico (@SamAmicoFSO) June 27, 2013
Hoopsworld.com's Alex Kennedy provided some interesting updates on Wednesday. Firstly, he described a "mega deal" and then a rather interesting trade proposition with the New Orleans Pelicans:
Cleveland is still shopping around and trying to pull off a trade, according to source. One source said Cavs are trying to "do a mega deal."— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) June 26, 2013
The Cavaliers offered the Pelicans the No. 1 pick for Greivis Vasquez, the No. 6 pick and a 2014 first-round pick: http://t.co/H8vYXMXdrd— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) June 26, 2013
It is unclear whether the top pick is involved or the Cavs' choice at No. 19—or both—but Yahoo! expert Adrian Wojnarowski reports that the Cavs are coveting Russian small forward Sergey Karasev:
Cleveland pushing to acquire Dallas' 13th overall pick, with a focus on drafting Russia's Sergey Karasev, league sources tell Y!— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) June 26, 2013
This is a team that is still developing but has a promising young core of former top overall pick Kyrie Irving, Tristan Thompson, Anderson Varejao and last year's first-rounders Dion Waiters and Tyler Zeller.
The best talent the Cavs can possibly get will help them out no matter what, but it does seem they are straying from filling the obvious roster hole at small forward with Georgetown's Otto Porter Jr.
Victor Oladipo Being Hotly Pursued
The former Indiana Hoosiers star took a huge jump in his junior season, not only justifying his brilliant defense by winning Big 10 Defensive Player of the Year honors but also shooting nearly 60 percent from the floor.
Apparently, that has at least several NBA franchises salivating, per Alex Kennedy:
A number of teams are trying to move up to draft shooting guard Victor Oladipo, according to sources. He has a lot of fans around the NBA.— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) June 27, 2013
It makes sense, because Oladipo brings incredible defensive intensity and has also established himself as an offensive threat at the college level. While he won't be a game-changing dynamic scorer, he can be a complementary contributor on that end of the floor.
Andy Katz of ESPN.com says the Minnesota Timberwolves—who are at No. 9 overall but also have the 26th pick—are attempting to orchestrate a deal to land Oladipo:
Victor Oladipo said he has heard Minnesota trying to get him higher up in top five. Worked out at Orl, Phx, Cleve (NO and Minn watched him).— Andy Katz (@ESPNAndyKatz) June 26, 2013
GM Flip Saunders will have to live up to his first name in a big way to pull that off, because Oladipo is a consensus top-five pick. ESPN.com's Chad Ford has him as high as second overall to the Orlando Magic in his final mock draft (subscription required).
Thus, moving up that far will likely sacrifice the Timberwolves' two first-rounders. That may not be the best move, considering how many outside shooters and potential help down low the team needs if Nikola Pekovic flees in free agency.
Oklahoma City Thunder (Nos. 12 and 28 Overall)
Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated only had a maximum of 140 characters to provide an update on what the great GM Sam Presti was up to, but it was telling:
Oklahoma City continues to be aggressive. Trying to move up, down and/or out of draft. Asking for two future No. 1's to move out of No. 12.— Chris Mannix (@ChrisMannixSI) June 26, 2013
The Thunder have a team built for championship contention already, so it makes sense that Presti is exploring his options. He could either gain ammunition for a better class in the 2014 draft or take one of the top-flight, high-upside prospects this year.
OKC has the luxury of the Nos. 12 and 29 selections to play with, but the team's maneuver may be to do something very specific—and select a specific player.
Andy Katz interviewed Maryland star center Alex Len, who said the Thunder are attempting to chase him in particular in a prospective trade:
Interesting talk/interview with Alex Len. He said he thinks Cleveland trying to trade down to take him, OKC trying to trade up. (Atl too).— Andy Katz (@ESPNAndyKatz) June 26, 2013
Scoring in the frontcourt is something the Thunder could definitely use, so it will be interesting to see if a deal comes to fruition. However, as Sam Amico reports, it is possible that Len goes to Cleveland at No. 1, so how that would affect Oklahoma City's plans behind the scenes would likely be significant.
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