The buildup has been entertaining, but much of the 2014 NBA draft drama will come to a head during the event itself, where unexpected picks and last-second trades steal the show.
It happens annually—after weeks of being unable to work things out, teams make one last pitch while on the clock or on the approach and make a notable trade. Likewise, we spend plenty of time pretending we know how things will shake out, until the unexpected strikes in the selection process.
For now, we can only work with what we know. Below are a couple of alleged blockbuster trades in the works, as well as a purported major draft-day rise for a somewhat risky prospect. Let's take a look.
Bulls Have Sights on a New Trade
NBA fans have to be tired of the charade at this point. Yes, the Chicago Bulls want to contend and are willing to do whatever it takes, even if it means shipping away talent like Taj Gibson.
Yes, the front office has had supposed talks with Orlando over Arron Afflalo and talks with Denver about the No. 11 overall pick, not to mention surely wanting in on the Carmelo Anthony sweepstakes.
Let's add to that list, as explained by Sean Deveney of Sporting News:
…but a source told Sporting News that the Bulls have also engaged with the Kings in a potential deal for the No. 8 pick. …
The Bulls own the 16th and 19th picks in this year’s draft, and are not eager to bring in two rookies next season as they try to quickly field a contender. Chicago would be willing to move one or both of the picks if they could yield an asset that will help with the team’s scoring woes. The Bulls averaged just 90 points in their first-round loss to Washington, including 69 points in the series clincher.
Deveney goes on to suggest the Bulls have interest in names such as Doug McDermott, Gary Harris and Nik Stauskas, players who would provide some semblance of scoring ability from all over the court.
Which is exactly what Chicago needs, at least in part. Keeping the current squad mostly intact would be nice, as would the health of key players. But any of the above names, at the very least, provide consistent scoring from range.
Jazz Badly Want No. 1
A rather unexpected franchise has emerged as a contender for Cleveland's No. 1 overall selection, although opinions vary.
Spencer Checketts of 1280 The Zone in Utah, per Jody Genessy of the Deseret News, stated on his radio show recently that the Jazz are willing to move two key players and their No. 5 overall selection, not to mention absorb the Jarrett Jack contract (he's due $6.3 million in each of the next three seasons, per Spotrac), all in an effort to move up four spots:
Jazz are offering up Derrick Favors, Alec Burks and No. 5 pick to Cavs for the No. 1 selection and Jarrett Jack, according to @1280Spence.— Jody Genessy (@DJJazzyJody) June 23, 2014
.@1280Spence clarified that Favors and #5 are on the table. Alec Burks, #23 and/or an unprotected first-rounder are potential sweeteners.— Jody Genessy (@DJJazzyJody) June 23, 2014
Then again, Christopher Dempsey of The Denver Post noted that the Jazz are happy where they are, too:
Nuggets execs are comfortable with the ability of the team they have coming back and believe it can be a playoff contender. A needed tweak here or there can be handled through free agency. They do not need a draftee to come in and play big minutes. They weren’t going to necessarily need that anyway.
Translation—we believe we can contend, but boy we wouldn't mind an instant contributor like Jabari Parker.
The common thought process is to mock a foreigner such as Dario Saric or Jusuf Nurkic to the Jazz as a future investment, but the team clearly would be content to give up assets and land one of the top two prospects in the class, as they should provided this is a league ruled by superstars.
Celtics Add to Wish List
Another historic franchise in the middle of a tough rebuild, the Boston Celtics must tread lightly with their lottery pick.
Needs abound, but the front office in Boston has mostly made its intentions known in regards to the positions they would like to address, as explained by Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe:
NBA source said #celtics are very high on Indiana's Noah Vonleh and he's moved into preferred group with Aaron Gordon and Marcus Smart— gary washburn (@GwashburnGlobe) June 21, 2014
Noah Vonleh is an interesting addition to the list, although it should not come as a surprise coming from a team with a huge need at power forward. While the addition of the somewhat pro-ready Aaron Gordon would be nice, Vonleh more suits the Celtics' current plans.
A bit of a project, Vonleh has shot up draft boards at 18 years of age thanks to his stature at 6'9" and 240 pounds, not to mention his stellar defensive abilities, only overshadowed at this point by perhaps touting the highest ceiling of any prospect in the class.
Knowing next year will not provide a quick turnaround, Vonleh is a smart investment should the Celtics prove to build with an eye on the future. Letting a rookie run wild next season is perhaps the best Boston can do at this point, so the Vonleh shoe undoubtedly fits.