The 2013 NBA draft is finally upon us, with Thursday night's spectacle sure to bring us some exciting storylines that will shape the future of some of the NBA's budding franchises.
With no runaway No. 1 pick and a lot of uncertainty as to the top 10 players in terms of who is the best, there's sure to be some surprises, twists and turns throughout the evening.
The suspense is almost over and we'll finally find out how it all unfolds, but here is the latest buzz from around the league on what late deals might go through and who will be selected early on.
Who Will Go No. 1 Overall?
If there's one thing the Cleveland Cavaliers have made clear, it's that nothing is clear as far as their plans for the top-overall pick.
The Cavs have explored all sorts of options, including a rejected trade for All-Star Timberwolves big man Kevin Love (per Zach Harper of CBS Sports). It was reported by Hoopsworld that they even made an advancement at the Pelicans for the sixth-overall pick, Greivis Vasquez and a 2014 first-rounder.
But a Pelicans official made it clear that it was a false report, according to Sam Amico of Fox Sports Ohio.
Pelicans official denies reported trade suddenly make rounds on Internet involving Cavs. "Good grief. People are just making stuff up now."— Sam Amico (@SamAmicoFSO) June 26, 2013
That's far from the only speculation regarding the big No. 1. Chad Ford of ESPN threw a huge curveball late Wednesday, saying the Cavs were really into Indiana's Victor Oladipo.
More draft intrigue from Cavs! Hearing, somewhat convincingly, that owner Dan Gilbert loves Victor Oladipo. Me too @cavsdan!!!— Chad Ford (@chadfordinsider) June 27, 2013
However, despite all these reports and advances, Andy Katz of ESPN reported Wednesday that if the Cavs choose to use their top pick, it will be between Alex Len, Nerlens Noel, Ben McLemore or Otto Porter.
There are obviously way too many options out there to narrow down, but it does seem possible given Cleveland's advances that they are far from hesitant in shopping the first pick. With such a large top tier of players this year, it wouldn't hurt them much to move down a few picks.
Orlando Feels 'Opportunistic' With Second Pick
Cleveland, Cleveland, Cleveland. That's where all of the buzz has been centered as of late. Nobody is talking about the Orlando Magic at No. 2.
But the Magic should feel safe and comfortable with that second pick, or "opportunistic," as general manager Rob Hennigan told Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel.
"We've had a lot of discussion about moving the pick," he said. "We've had a lot of discussion about keeping the pick. As we've said all along, 'opportunistic' is the word of the day."
As he should. With the Cavs primarily looking at big men Len and Noel, the chances of getting a game-changing guard who would fit right in with Orlando are high.
The two players who best fit the mold are Victor Oladipo and Ben McLemore. Oladipo was rumored to have the upper hand after McLemore posted some bad workouts, according to Chad Ford of ESPN.
What may surprise you is that McLemore was actually a better defender statistically, despite scouting reports and public accounts indicating otherwise, per ESPN Stats and Information.
NBA draft's best? Ben McLemore led D-I frosh in win shares last season and was a better defender than Victor Oladipo: http://t.co/otWhY32Dtc— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) June 26, 2013
It cannot be understated that this year's draft is about as even as they come. Between the top seven to 10 players on the board, there is little difference in quality and potential.
That means the Magic's second pick could possibly garner similar value to the first pick, and a team's chances of landing their man with No. 2 would be almost a sure thing. That should make it a bit easier to find suitors in a trade.
Depending on who Orlando wants to bring to central Florida to be the new face of the franchise, they could move down a few picks and possibly still get their man. But if it's McLemore or Oladipo, it'll be tough for them to feel comfortable moving down too far.
Rockets Looking to Move Thomas Robinson
Just barely four months after acquiring him from the Sacramento Kings, the Houston Rockets are looking to find Thomas Robinson a new home.
The developments have been passed along by Chad Ford and Marc Stein of ESPN.
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. 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.
Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle even went so far Tuesday as to say Houston was in "advanced talks" to deal Robinson.
The Rockets are seemingly making shopping the young player to free up cap space in a potential move for Dwight Howard. Although Robinson isn't a highly paid player, at $3.5 million, every bit counts when you're signing a max contract and you already have one (James Harden) on your roster.
But these are the move that it takes for teams to free up enough room to sign multiple superstars. If it comes to fruition when Howard becomes a free agent, it's safe to say it'll be worth it.
That does a disservice to Robinson, however. The big man was the fifth-overall pick in 2012, and had a solid rookie season while adjusting to The Association. He still has the potential to be a rotation player or even a long-time starter in the league.
In Cleveland, he'll be able to get more of an opportunity to play and perhaps start. In Chicago, he'll be stuck behind Carlos Boozer, Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson. It'll be interesting to see who else pops up on T-Rob's radar from here on out.