Thursday's 2013 NBA draft promises to be one of the most unpredictable in recent memory, and that will be even truer if some of the trades that are being discussed come to fruition. There is always trade chatter ahead of the draft, but the rumors seem a bit more concrete and plentiful this year.
That probably has something to do with the fact that there is no surefire top pick as there has been so many times in the past. Without a bankable superstar waiting to be taken in this class, teams appear to be much more willing to wheel and deal for already-established NBA players.
Here are a few of the biggest trade rumors that are making the rounds as the 2013 NBA draft draws closer.
Cavs and Pelicans Discussing Deal for No. 1 Pick
There has been plenty of speculation about whom the Cleveland Cavaliers might select with the No. 1 overall pick as names like Alex Len, Nerlens Noel, Victor Oladipo and others have been bandied about. If the Cavs have their way, though, they may ultimately decide to trade their top pick elsewhere. In an effort to build depth and increase its presence in next year's draft, Cleveland's top selection is very much available.
According to Alex Kennedy of Hoopsworld, the Cavaliers have offered the New Orleans Pelicans the top pick in exchange for the No. 6 pick in this year's draft, point guard Greivis Vasquez and a 2014 first-round selection.
While it remains to be seen if the Pelicans will bite, it is abundantly clear that the Cavaliers aren't particularly thrilled with the top-flight talent in this draft class. If Cleveland truly believes that it won't find an elite player at No. 1, then trading down is the way to go. Also, acquiring Vasquez would give the Cavaliers another bargaining chip. They don't necessarily need him with Kyrie Irving in the fold, but he could be used in other trades.
If the Pelicans have identified a top player in this draft that they desperately want, then perhaps this is a trade they'll make. Provided New Orleans is lukewarm on the top pick like Cleveland is, though, it should probably stick at No. 6. The odds are in favor of a decent player slipping to No. 6 whether it's Otto Porter, Trey Burke or whomever else, so dealing a great asset in Vasquez as well as a future first-round pick isn't a great idea.
Magic Looking to Move Down from No. 2
With the Cavs reportedly in the market to move the No. 1 pick, the Orlando Magic appear to be in a trading mood as well. The Magic are set to select No. 2 on Thursday night, but it's possible that they could opt to trade down. According to Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel, the Magic are willing to trade the second overall selection, and the Minnesota Timberwolves are a team that could be interested.
While Robbins didn't elaborate on what could be heading in Orlando's direction, the T'Wolves hold the No. 9 and No. 26 selections, so it's possible the Magic could acquire the No. 9 pick and a player or perhaps even both picks. There will be some solid players to be had at No. 9, so if the Magic are truly uncomfortable selecting second, trading down and collecting more picks or players could be best in the long run.
Even if Orlando isn't particularly keen on picking No. 2, it is in a position of power as it can demand a great deal from a team such as Minnesota. Acquiring a 2014 first-round pick may also be a goal from Orlando's point of view as next year's draft figures to be stronger. Whatever the case, the Magic have a lot of options and they should come away with some solid assets regardless of what they do.
Rockets Shopping Thomas Robinson for Pick
After being so highly touted entering last year's draft, Houston Rockets power forward Thomas Robinson has already gone through some rocky times in the NBA. Robinson was selected fifth overall by the Sacramento Kings, but he failed to earn consistent playing time, so the Kings traded him to the Rockets during the middle of the season. Robinson didn't put up great numbers as he averaged nearly five points and 4.5 rebounds per game, but he's still young.
The fact that he hasn't yet reached his potential makes him an interesting trading chip on draft day. Perhaps being the No. 5 pick last year doesn't count for anything right now, but there were definitely plenty of teams interested in him last year. Because of that, the Rockets are shopping him around. According to Marc Stein of ESPN, Houston could acquire either the Cavs' No. 19 pick or the Chicago Bulls' No. 20 pick for Robinson.
That may not seem like a great return due to Robinson's lofty status last year, but the Rockets aren't the ones who invested the No. 5 overall pick in him. If there is a player in that 19-to-20 range that Houston believes can fit its system and contribute more so than Robinson, then it is definitely a deal worth making. If that isn't the case, though, the Rockets should hang onto him as Robinson can still develop into a quality NBA player.
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