The 2014 NBA draft is approaching fast (scheduled for Thursday, June 26), and the rumors surrounding possible trades has fans of all teams in the league excited about what could be a wild and unpredictable offseason.
With the Los Angeles Lakers, Phoenix Suns and New York Knicks all possibly looking to make trades in the first round, the probability of an exciting night at the draft is through the roof.
Here are the latest rumors circulating as the 2014 NBA draft approaches.
Los Angeles Lakers Exploring Options at No. 7 Overall?
The Los Angeles Lakers struggled mightily last season and earned themselves an early pick in the first round of the draft. With most of the top picks already off the board by the time the team makes its selection, trading away the pick is a viable option.
ESPN’s Marc Stein breaks down the difficult decision the Lakers face at No. 7 overall:
Word is Lakers more likely than not to keep No. 7 but they ARE exploring what can be had for their pick (either solo or packaged w/SNash)— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) June 21, 2014
Los Angeles still has veteran Kobe Bryant looking for a championship, but the roster is in a clear rebuilding phase. The Lakers should be looking for younger players who can not only complement Bryant this season, but also be a long-term asset for the franchise when the veteran retires.
Add in the fact that Los Angeles could get out from underneath the Steve Nash contract, and the return of a player who can make an instant impact may be a smarter risk than putting the weight of the world on a first-year player.
The Lakers should be looking for players like Kevin Love via trade or Carmelo Anthony as a free agent.
Phoenix Suns Willing to Trade First-Round Pick?
The Phoenix Suns are still in the process of rebuilding the franchise and once again hold three first-round picks. Phoenix will have a pick at No. 14, No. 18 and No. 27 overall, but there is chatter that the team would be willing to deal away one of its picks.
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports is reporting that the franchise could be interested in moving the No. 27 overall pick:
Suns showing strong willingness to move 27th pick in draft for a future first-rounder, league sources tell Yahoo. Suns have 14 and 18, too.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) June 21, 2014
While there is no doubt that trading away the late first-round pick this year could yield a better selection in the first round of the 2015 draft, the team should also be exploring the option of packaging the picks together and moving up.
If the Cleveland Cavaliers at No. 1 or the Milwaukee Bucks at No. 2 would be interested in three first-round picks and a player, the Suns would have the assets needed to trade all the way up and get one of the two guaranteed playmakers in Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker.
New York Knicks Dealing Iman Shumpert For First-Round Pick?
Phil Jackson signed on with the New York Knicks to help rebuild the franchise from the bottom up. With Carmelo Anthony testing the free-agency waters and a roster in limbo, the organization is considering a monster trade to get a late pick in the first round.
Stein and Chad Ford of ESPN talk about the rumored deal for Shumpert and the likely target New York has in mind late in the first round:
Hearing: Knicks have explored possibility of swapping Iman Shumpert for late first-round pick heading into Thursday's draft— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) June 23, 2014
P.J. Hairston the likely target MT @ESPNSteinLine: Hearing: Knicks have explored possibility of swapping Iman Shumpert for late 1st rounder— Chad Ford (@chadfordinsider) June 23, 2014
Shumpert is a talented shooting guard with serious potential, but he doesn’t fit the system Jackson will be installing. With just 6.7 points, 1.7 assists and 4.2 rebounds per game, the young player still needs plenty of work.
Jackson and his staff know exactly what they are looking for in a prospect, and if the current roster doesn’t fit their needs, moves will be made. New York has made a clear commitment to winning by hiring Jackson, and it’s time to watch the basketball genius do his work.
*Stats via NBA.com.