Updates from Thursday, June 26
Wojnarowski has the latest on Boston's pursuit to make a trade:
Sacramento and Boston discussing a trade sending Ben McLemore to Celtics for the 6th pick, league source tells Yahoo Sports.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) June 26, 2014
Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports is reporting that Cleveland has narrowed down its decision with the top selection:
Barring an 11th hour offer, Cleveland plans to keep No. 1 pick and choose between Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker, source tells Yahoo.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) June 26, 2014
Philadelphia is no longer pursuing a deal with Cleveland for the No. 1 pick, league source tells Yahoo Sports.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) June 26, 2014
Wojnarowski also shares details about when Aaron Gordon can expect to hear his name called:
Aaron Gordon is almost assuredly to be drafted before forwards Noah Vonleh and Julius Randle, front office sources tell Yahoo.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) June 26, 2014
Wojnarowski reports on Noah Vonleh's status:
Noah Vonleh is on the slide in this draft, front office sources tell Yahoo Sports. Best first chance to be picked: Lakers.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) June 26, 2014
Marc Stein of ESPN reports the Nets are looking to make a move tonight:
Word is that deep-pockets, luxury-tax-impervious Brooklyn is pushing hard to buy a pick tonight in the 20s— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) June 26, 2014
While it's unclear whether or not the trade rumors swirling around the Pelicans are draft-related, Wojnarowski indicates some of the players New Orleans is shopping:
New Orleans is shopping forward Ryan Anderson and guard Austin Rivers, league sources tell Yahoo Sports.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) June 26, 2014
TNT's David Aldridge provides more details:
Clippers not in mix to reunite Austin Rivers with his dad, Doc, via trade. LAC keeping cap room dry in case of bigger things this summer.— David Aldridge (@daldridgetnt) June 26, 2014
ESPN's Marc Stein reports Toronto is looking to make a trade with Memphis:
Hearing: Toronto in hunt to acquire Memphis' No. 22 pick tonight's draft but would have to take back Tayshaun Prince via trade to do so— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) June 26, 2014
Update to potential Raps/Grizz trade: Deal would more likely send No. 37 with John Salmons to Memphis for Tayshaun Prince and No. 22 pick— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) June 26, 2014
Potential swap would send John Salmons and No. 59 to Memphis for Tayshaun Prince and No. 22 and put Raptors in range to pick Tyler Ennis— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) June 26, 2014
Wojnarowski previously reported the Magic traded Arron Afflalo to the Nuggets:
Orlando has agreed to send Arron Afflalo to Denver for Evan Fournier and 56th pick in 2014 Draft, league sources tell Yahoo Sports.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) June 26, 2014
ESPN's Chad Ford previously reported the Cavaliers hoped to work out Dante Exum today:
Dante Exum has declined to fly to Cleveland for a workout today according to a source— Chad Ford (@chadfordinsider) June 26, 2014
However, Wojnarowski is reporting that the Sixers are still trying to decide what to do with the third-overall selection:
Philadelphia is still working on a final decision at No. 3, but Joel Embiid has a tremendous chance to be selected there,— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) June 26, 2014
Bill Simmons of ESPN passed along a note on how the Celtics view Joel Embiid:
Celts not nearly as sold on Embiid as people think. The medicals worry them. Could still take him, more likely they trade down. (PS-Go USA!)— Bill Simmons (@BillSimmons) June 26, 2014
As for other teams looking to move up in the draft, Jody Genessy of the Deseret News reported on the Jazz's efforts:
Hearing Jazz continue to "frantically" try to move up from the No. 5 spot. Everything Utah has remains available for trade consideration.— Jody Genessy (@DJJazzyJody) June 26, 2014
Wojnarowski had more insight into the Jazz's thinking heading into the draft:
Marcus Smart is emerging as serious consideration for Utah with fifth pick, league sources tell Yahoo. Smart didn't workout for Jazz.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) June 26, 2014
Ken Berger of CBS Sports reported more on the availability of picks later in the first round:
There are several picks in the late 20s "to be had," one exec says. With nine teams lacking first-round pick, strong market for them, too.— Ken Berger (@KBergCBS) June 26, 2014
Stein also had more information on what to expect in that range of the draft:
Something to watch tonight: Hearing we could be in for high number of international picks in the 20-to-30 range of this once-vaunted draft— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) June 26, 2014
Updates from Wednesday, June 25
Yahoo Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski reports the Timberwolves expressed interest in a trade involving the No. 1 overall pick:
Cleveland pushed on deal centered on No. 1 pick for Kevin Love, but his refusal to re-sign w/ Cavs has killed talks, sources tell Yahoo.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) June 25, 2014
Chad Ford of ESPN reports Miami may be looking to move up in the first round:
Sources: Heat aggressively trying to move up in draft. Target is Shabazz Napier. LeBron thinks he’s best PG in the draft & Heat need a PG— Chad Ford (@chadfordinsider) June 25, 2014
With the 2014 NBA draft one day away from kicking off, there is speculation about every pick in the first round.
After a Joel Embiid foot injury sent him plummeting down some draft boards, the No. 1 overall pick is likely down to two players. But even Jabari Parker and Andrew Wiggins aren't safe, because the Cleveland Cavaliers hold the pick—and we know what they did last summer.
As for some franchises, any number of trades could occur in the first round of the draft. One of those teams furiously looking to make a move is the Chicago Bulls, who might even move into the top 10 on Thursday night.
Then there are players rising up draft boards who might shock NBA fans when their names are called. Before the selection process gets underway on Thursday night at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN, here's a look at the latest rumors from around the league.
Cavaliers "Leaning Toward" Jabari Parker at No. 1 Overall
Since Embiid's surgery last Friday, it has been a two-man race for the first selection.
With just one day remaining until the Cavs take the podium to announce their pick, no one is sure what they might have up their sleeve. If anyone has taken the lead in the race, it's Parker, as Jeff Goodman and Chad Ford of ESPN.com report:
For the past few days, the Cavaliers, according to sources, have been leaning toward selecting Parker. The 6-8 forward averaged 19.1 points and 8.7 rebounds as a freshman at Duke last season. He would address some of Cleveland's most pressing needs: shooting, basketball smarts and toughness. If the Cavs lose Luol Deng to free agency as widely expected, they will need help at small forward.
Furthermore, owner Dan Gilbert has given a mandate to ownership to turn this roster into a playoff squad this season. Parker is, by virtually all accounts, the most NBA-ready prospect in the draft.
Goodman and Ford also note that the Cavs were unimpressed with Parker's workout and that one scout noted he appeared to be "tanking" it.
The former Duke forward shined in his one season with the Blue Devils but is in a deep class that includes Wiggins and a wild card in Australian Dante Exum. Already a polished product, Parker does appear to fit what the Cavs want next season.
With a new head coach in David Blatt and Kyrie Irving looking to make the postseason for the first time in his career, Parker has all the tools to make an immediate impact. Whether the Cavs will pick him is still a difficult call.
Bulls Looking to Trade Up to No. 8 Pick
Despite losing Derrick Rose yet again during the 2013-14 season, the Bulls were able to make the playoffs. But in a city where they raised six banners during the 1990s, simply making the postseason isn't the plan.
With Rose expected to return this season and Joakim Noah coming off one of his best statistical campaigns, the time is now for the Bulls to make a move. That's exactly what they plan to do, according to Sean Deveney of Sporting News:
Chicago has had multiple talks with Orlando, both about the No. 12 pick and shooting guard Arron Afflalo, and with Denver about No. 11, but a source told Sporting News that the Bulls have also engaged with the Kings in a potential deal for the No. 8 pick.
Chicago's focus in such a scenario would be Creighton star Doug McDermott, who averaged 21.7 points and shot 55.0 percent from the field (45.8 percent from the 3-point line) in four years with the Bluejays. The Bulls also have interest in Michigan State's Gary Harris and Michigan's Nik Stauskas, who has made Chicago his home base during the draft process.
Needless to say, Chicago has options. But which one of these trades they pull off might ultimately come down to the wire.
Whether they decide on McDermott, Harris or Stauskas, all three are elite shooters who fit the bill for the Bulls. And then there's the fact that they are potentially courting Carmelo Anthony this offseason, per Ramona Shelburne and Marc Stein of ESPN.com, which is also a huge factor for the team.
The busy offseason for Chicago is just beginning, but who it lands in the draft will be crucial to the future of the franchise.
Elfrid Payton a Top-10 Lock
Before the college basketball season, very few college basketball fans outside of Louisiana knew the name Elfrid Payton.
On Thursday night, he could be the third point guard chosen in the NBA draft.
According to Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe, the Louisiana-Lafayette product is expected to maintain a trend over the last two years by Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum of small-school point guards going in the top 10:
Who deserves to be the No. 1 pick?
In a league where point guards like Lillard, Irving and John Wall have slowly started to take over, the position is an essential one for every franchise. Thanks to his athleticism and an improved jump shot, Payton might just stake his claim as the next superstar floor general.
The 6'3" point guard spoke about his meteoric rise up draft boards over the last few weeks, per Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders:
It's exciting and it just shows that anything is possible. Now, people tweet me that they want their favorite team to draft me. It's crazy, man. Just a couple of weeks ago, nobody really knew who I was. It's different now. A few more people know me now. I think these GMs have a different impression of me. I think those are the biggest differences.
Payton produced 19.2 points, 6.0 rebounds and 5.9 assists per game in his junior season. He is an athletic guard with a chance to shine in the NBA. Whoever he ends up with, Payton hopes to see that massive upswing late in the process lead to a long career.
Am being told Elfrid Payton could be this year's Damian Lillard, impressing greatly in workouts, won't get out of Top 10 #nbadraft— gary washburn (@GwashburnGlobe) June 24, 2014
Follow @RCorySmith on Twitter.