The 2014 NBA draft is one of the deepest in years, but it is the uncertainty looming over the event that makes it exciting.
With so many high-upside prospects who could turn out to be stars, there will be a number of teams moving around the draft board trying to bring in the perfect player in this class. Meanwhile, the intriguing free-agent class will force organizations to maneuver to free up space on the roster.
As a result, there will be plenty of trades leading up to and during the NBA draft as general managers all try to outsmart each other.
Here is a look at some of the possible moves that could occur around the league.
Cavaliers Dealing No. 1 Pick?
The Cleveland Cavaliers were fortunate to secure the No. 1 overall pick in the lottery once again, but it now seems as though they might not even use it.
One of the first teams attempting to make a move up to the top spot was the Philadelphia 76ers, who have been targeting Andrew Wiggins all year long.
According to Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer, "The Sixers are trying to do whatever they can to draft him." This includes dealing the No. 3 or No. 10 pick to move up.
However, Philadelphia is not alone.
The Utah Jazz—who currently have the No. 5 selection—are also interested in making a trade. Spencer Checketts of 1280 The Zone in Salt Lake City first reported a potential deal:
Can confirm Jazz offered #5 and Favors to Cleveland for #1 pick. But source says target is Andrew Wiggins, not Jabari Parker.— Spencer Checketts (@1280Spence) June 20, 2014
Jody Genessy of the Deseret News then provided the latest negotiation history:
Per @1280Spence, Jazz initially offered Favors/5 for No. 1. Cavs wanted unprotected first-rounder. Utah reportedly countered with No. 23.— Jody Genessy (@DJJazzyJody) June 23, 2014
If the Cavaliers can move back a few spots in the draft and still add multiple pieces that can help in the future, a trade would make a lot of sense. From another perspective, a player like Wiggins or Jabari Parker could be someone worth building around.
Still, ESPN's Jeff Goodman believes Cleveland will end up keeping the pick:
Either way, you can imagine there will be plenty more discussion before the pick is actually made.
Kings Looking for Established Talent
The Sacramento Kings have been quite aggressive in the trade market in recent years, although that has not led to much success on the basketball court.
Despite this fact, they are reportedly still looking to make some more major moves.
According to ESPN's Marc Stein, they are interested in working out a deal with the Detroit Pistons to bring in Josh Smith:
One source insists nothing imminent, but I'm told Pistons and Kings have discussed a trade that would send Josh Smith to Sacramento— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) June 24, 2014
One potential scenario, I'm told, would send Smith to Kings for Jason Thompson and Derrick Williams. Jason Terry might be another option— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) June 24, 2014
This would be an interesting move considering the forward is coming off a poor season in his first year with the Pistons. He averaged 16.4 points per game, but was incredibly inefficient with a 41.9 shooting percentage—the lowest of his career.
Adding him to a lineup with Rudy Gay would be more interesting to watch than anything else, as pointed out by Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated:
If there is a Basketball God, he will give us a Rudy Gay-Josh Smith-DeMarcus Cousins front court. And ESPN/TNT would pick up every game— Chris Mannix (@ChrisMannixSI) June 24, 2014
Whether the Kings do end up bringing in Smith, Stein suggests they appear intent on dealing their draft pick no matter what:
Immediate focus for Kings, though, is dealing No. 8 pick, which looks increasingly inevitable between now and Thursday's draft proceedings— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) June 24, 2014
With plenty of big-time players likely available in that range—like Julius Randle, Aaron Gordon, Marcus Smart and others—you can imagine there will be plenty of suitors looking to make a deal.
Everyone Trying to Get LeBron James
ESPN's Chris Broussard provided some huge news dealing with the future of the best player in the league on Tuesday:
LeBron James' agent Rich Paul has told Heat LeBron will exercise early termination option— Chris Broussard (@Chris_Broussard) June 24, 2014
According to Broussard, Miami Heat president Pat Riley responded by saying that James opting out was not a surprise:
I was informed this morning of his intentions. We fully expected LeBron to opt out and exercise his free-agent rights, so this does not come as a surprise. As I said at the press conference last week, players have a right to free agency and, when they have these opportunities, the right to explore their options.
Obviously, he will do his best to ensure that James remains in Miami, which has reached the NBA Finals in each of the last four years and won twice.
However, other organizations are doing their best to clear up space to potentially sign James as well as Carmelo Anthony—and many of these scenarios include trading picks.
Brian Windhorst and Marc Stein of ESPN.com note that the Houston Rockets and Los Angeles Clippers are top candidates to sign the superstar. The Los Angeles Lakers and Cavaliers will also try to make deals in the coming days to make things interesting:
If the Lakers were to successfully shed the No. 7 pick and Nash's contract without taking any salary back, they could have more than $33 million in cap space to chase James and Anthony.
The Cavs, meanwhile, have numerous nonguaranteed contracts on their books and extra draft picks they could attach to players in trades to free up money. There are scenarios where the team believes it could clear in excess of $30 million in cap space without having to trade young star Kyrie Irving or the No. 1 overall pick in Thursday's draft, sources said this week.
These moves come with plenty of risk considering James will only be able to choose one team and the others will be left with nothing. However, the impact that the four-time MVP can bring to any organization makes the risk worthwhile.
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