The 2014 NBA draft is scheduled for Thursday, June 26, at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, and excitement surrounding where the top stars will land has created a plethora of rumors that are circulating as the event approaches.
With Sacramento reportedly kicking the tires on Josh Smith, Philadelphia trying to make a deal that would move them up to the No. 1 overall pick and New York shopping one of its best remaining players, the hours leading up to the draft could be action-packed.
Here are the latest rumors from around the league before the 2014 NBA draft.
Sacramento Trying to Trade for Josh Smith?
The Sacramento Kings have one of the brightest young rosters in the league, but the franchise may be looking to add a veteran presence via trade who can help get the most out of the raw prospects across its depth chart.
One of the biggest rumored targets for Sacramento is Detroit Pistons forward Josh Smith.
According to ESPN’s Marc Stein, the Pistons and Kings have started preliminary trade discussions with Smith as the primary target for Sacramento:
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
Smith is one of the best offensive forwards in the NBA, and he would help with the development of a talented player like DeMarcus Cousins. While Smith isn’t the picture of maturity, his leadership could help get the most out of Cousins.
The addition of a player like Smith wouldn’t just be for his leadership and experience, though. The veteran added 16.4 points, 6.8 rebounds and 3.3 assists in his first season in Detroit, but he would be even more dangerous with a better supporting cast.
Stein is reporting that the two names talked about in a possible deal would be Jason Thompson and Derrick Williams, and that’s the ideal situation for Sacramento. While those two players are skilled, neither is the game-changer that Smith has become.
Philadelphia Looking to Pick No. 1 Overall?
The Philadelphia 76ers are in a complete rebuild mode, and the team is reportedly very interested in top prospect Andrew Wiggins. Philadelphia has two first-round picks (No. 3 and No. 10 overall), and there are rumors that the franchise is willing to trade up.
The 76ers could pick No. 1 overall if they can hammer out a deal with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
In a report from Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia is committed to moving up in the first round of Thursday’s draft in order to acquire Wiggins:
Sources have confirmed a report that the Sixers have inquired about trading for the Cavs' first pick. The Sixers reportedly aren't willing to give up their third and 10th picks in exchange for the No. 1 selection. They will, however, possibly give up a combination of the No. 3 pick and power forward Thaddeus Young, according to ESPN.com…According to sources, the Sixers are trying to do whatever they can to draft him. And there's a sense that he wants to become a Sixer.
There was some debate about who should go No. 1 overall, but the foot injury to Kansas center Joel Embiid and the lackluster conditioning of Duke small forward Jabari Parker has made it clear that Wiggins is the top prospect in this class.
In his first season of college basketball, Wiggins racked up an impressive 17.1 points, 5.9 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game. The best part about him is his extremely high ceiling and huge upside, as Wiggins is expected to continue to grow both physically and mentally.
The 76ers would have to give up a lot for Wiggins, but he has the potential to be a franchise player for a long time. For a Philadelphia team that is clearly rebuilding, this is a chance they can’t pass up.
New York Shopping Iman Shumpert?
Carmelo Anthony opting out of his contract and becoming a free agent does not necessarily mean that he will walk away from the New York Knicks. The NBA veteran has the right to test the open market, and he is exercising that right.
While Anthony toils on the free-agent market, New York president Phil Jackson will continue making the moves to improve the future of his team. One of the first deals he makes may be trading away shooting guard Iman Shumpert.
Stein is reporting that New York has already started shopping Shumpert for a first-round pick:
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
According to ESPN’s Chad Ford, the Knicks already have a player in mind whom they would take with that selection:
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 has the size and the physicality to be a good shooting guard in the NBA, but he doesn’t fit the offensive and defensive schemes Jackson will be looking to implement. Shumpert’s 6.7 points, 4.2 rebounds and 1.7 assists per game last season were solid numbers, but the team expected more out of him.
There are teams desperate for an upgrade at shooting guard, and Shumpert has the right mixture of experience and youth to make a team like the Phoenix Suns consider trading away its late-first round pick in a possible deal for him.