NBA Draft 2013: Most Intriguing Storylines to Follow

Steven Cook@@stevencookinFeatured Columnist IVJune 27, 2013

May 16, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Nerlens Noel is interviewed during the NBA Draft combine at Harrison Street Athletics Facility. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports
Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

The 2013 NBA draft is finally upon us, and the months upon months of hype leading up to Thursday guarantees it'll be a must-see event that will shape the league for years to come.

Not only do we have no consensus No. 1 overall pick in this year's draft class, but a handful of teams have looked to Thursday to make trade moves that will put them in the right positions moving forward for their respective futures.

Meanwhile, an even cast of top-tier athletes will battle for lottery picks and draft positioning in a class that is as hard to predict as any that you'll find.

Let's take a look at the biggest storylines entering Thursday's draft. 


No. 1 Pick For Sale! Anyone?

The Cleveland Cavaliers have made it no secret that they're interested in trading the draft's top pick, but the rest of the league has been far from impressed. 

A slew of different deals have been orchestrated by the Cavs in order to get a fair return for the No. 1 pick, but it's been to no avail. 

They tried to piece together a deal Tuesday for Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kevin Love that included Dion Waiters and Tristan Thompson, but it took no time for Flip Saunders to axe that deal, according to Andy Katz of ESPN. 

The Cavs got right back at it bright and early Wednesday, offering the New Orleans Pelicans the pick for Greivis Vasquez, the sixth overall pick and a 2014 first-rounder, according to Hoopsworld's Alex Kennedy

Also mentioned in Katz's report was the final players who are in consideration for the top pick if the Cavs have to hold onto the pick. Those select few are Nerlens Noel, Alex Len, Ben McLemore and Otto Porter.

It's an incredibly rare development for the team holding the No. 1 overall pick to have trouble finding buyers. Usually, the allure of picking any player of your choosing is worth making ridiculous offers for, and the team with the top pick is almost always in the driver's seat.

That's not nearly the case this year. With no true elite player in the draft and no surefire All-Star among the group, teams aren't exactly tripping over themselves racing to Cleveland with a deal.

Cleveland is obviously looking to move down in the draft and pick up some assets, but until a team shows real interest in one of their plans, they might be stuck making a pick that they aren't crazy about. 


Notable Veterans Could Be Involved in Draft-Day Deals

While the NBA draft is always about the players in the class first and foremost, so much of the attention tends to focus on veterans who might be shopped around, and this year is no different.

One big name on the market earlier in the week was Luol Deng, but the latest report from Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports indicates his talking with the Bulls regarding a contract extension is evidence that leads us to believe he'll be staying put. 

Another interesting development is the saga surrounding Blazers forward LaMarcus Aldridge. The former No. 2 overall pick in 2006 has emerged as a two-time All-Star and has been shopped around as of late, according to Ramona Shelburne of ESPN:

ESPN insider Chad Ford noted in a SportsNation chat that there's a "solid chance" the Blazers will try to move their All-Star big man this summer. 

The third but perhaps most notable veteran who could be moved in a draft-day deal is Boston Celtics star guard Paul Pierce. Baxter Holmes of the Boston Globe reported Monday that the Cavaliers are interested in the 35-year-old. 

Any of these three players changing locations on Thursday would create shockwaves through the league and dominate storylines from Thursday night's draft. 

Will Rockets Clear Up Space for Dwight Howard?

Somehow, some way, Dwight Howard seems to get in the middle of any and every significant offseason event. 

Virtually every move the Houston Rockets have made in the past two offseasons seems to hinge around the prospect of acquiring a superstar player in free agency, namely Howard. 

They seem to be far from done in that regard, as they're looking to shop Thomas Robinson in order to clear cap space so they can sign the Los Angeles Lakers free agent to a maximum contract, according to Chad Ford and Marc Stein of ESPN. 

They aren't asking for a whole lot in return for taking Robinson's salary, as Stein pointed out:

Despite Robinson's massive upside and potential as the fifth overall pick in the 2012 draft and the fact that they acquired him hardly four months ago, the Rockets seem desperate to move him for significantly less than he was taken for last year. 

The big issue with doing this is that the Rockets have no way of knowing if their freeing up of cap space will translate into Howard's arrival in Houston. They could go through all this trouble getting rid of Robinson in a rip-off deal, only to see Howard re-sign in L.A. or go somewhere else. 

If Houston decides to send off Robinson for a pick outside of the lottery, they better hope that they get their man come July 1.