With each passing hour before the 2014 NBA draft, the rumor mill only gains momentum. A report of a trade or a team's interest in a prospect can come out at any time.
As a fan, it's hard to keep up. The stuff that seems too good to be true probably is, while some things that only get met with a scoff might just come to fruition.
News about trades, injuries and the potential of shocking selections is all the rage at this point in time, particularly when reports are about players at or near the top of the draft. All this information will make for one heck of a hindsight viewing when we look back at what rumors were true or not.
Without further ado, here are the latest batch of reports making the rounds. A pound of salt is implied and should be taken.
Which Teams Know about Embiid?
By now, fans understand that Kansas' Joel Embiid would probably have been the No. 1 overall pick in the class had he not undergone a foot procedure that will cause him to miss 4-6 months.
The medical rap sheet surrounding Embiid is extensive, and it's only available to a select few, as ESPN's Jeff Goodman reports:
Joel Embiid's agent, Arn Tellem, is controlling which teams get medical info on his client in order to steer Embiid to certain teams.— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) June 23, 2014
That's a bit shady, but at the same time, who can blame him? Some franchises are simply wastelands, and the more folks who have the extensive list of issues, the better chance there is a "leak."
So which teams are in the know? According to ESPN's Chad Ford, the Cleveland Cavaliers and Milwaukee Bucks have the medical info. Dei Lynam of CSNPhilly.com confirmed with a source that the Philadelphia 76ers have the info, too:
Later Tuesday afternoon, an NBA source confirmed to CSNPhilly.com that the Sixers are also among the teams that have Embiid's medical records. The Sixers are reportedly interested in taking Embiid with the No. 3 pick despite his injury problems. They have a second lottery pick at No. 10.
Is it possible to narrow it down this way? After all, Bucks co-owner Marc Lasry has ruled out taking the hobbled center, news that was captured by C.F. Gardner of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
Lasry is ruling out Bucks taking Embiid. "Our decision got a lot easier, mainly because Embiid got hurt."— cfgardner (@cf_gardner) June 23, 2014
"It's hard to take Embiid," Lasry said. "We want somebody who is going to help us on Day 1."— cfgardner (@cf_gardner) June 23, 2014
One of the most enduring storylines of the offseason will come to a screeching halt Thursday night, although that just opens a new chapter about whether or not Embiid can recover and succeed.
Celtics Eying No. 1
As one of the most prestigious franchises in league history, the Boston Celtics are making sure to do their due diligence on just about anything and everything before the draft.
That includes talking about the No. 1 overall pick.
According to A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE.com, Boston has contacted Cleveland about a possible agreement:
A league source has told CSNNE.com that the Celtics have engaged the Cleveland Cavaliers about acquiring the No. 1 overall pick in Thursday's NBA draft. While no deal is imminent, Boston's pursuit of the top overall pick speaks to their desire to indeed create "fireworks" in a draft that took a step back in terms of luster at the top following the navicular bone fracture to Joel Embiid's right foot.
While the intention behind the thought process is noble, it is hard to imagine the Celtics have enough ammo to pull off the deal; that is, unless the front office is willing to part ways with Rajon Rondo.
Don't count on it. This is especially the case considering the Cavaliers like an offer from Orlando that includes swingman Arron Afflalo and the Nos. 4 and 12 picks, whereas the Celtics have no value outside of Rondo to match Afflalo, and No. 6 and No. 17 are obviously of lesser value.
A third team is a possibility in any deal, but what was hinted in the intro is likely true—the Celtics are covering all of their bases, just in case.
Phil Jackson Covets a Few Names
Another franchise in the midst of a serious rebuild is Phil Jackson's New York Knicks, a team that will be without Carmelo Anthony and has little cap space to work with.
Jackson doesn't have a pick either, but that seems set to change with the Knicks wanting to acquire a selection. He has a small list of favorites in the class, including Florida big man Patric Young, per Marc Berman of the New York Post:
According to a source, Young, who averaged 11 points and 6 rebounds as a senior, worked out for Jackson this month and impressed. The 6-foot-10, 245-pounder is considered an early second-round pick but his stock appears to be rising. An ESPN.com mock draft had him at No. 30.
Jackson is also very hot on North Carolina shooting guard P.J. Hairston, projected as a late first-rounder. Jackson has interest, too, in Syracuse point guard Tyler Ennis late in the first round. Ennis wouldn’t work out for the Knicks; some see him as a late lottery pick.
Jackson seems adamant on adding a first-round pick, and grabbing the physical Young would make some sense. P.J. Hairston is very undervalued at this point and can provide an offensive spark the Knicks seem to miss at the moment, but it all comes down to cost.
Really, the Knicks don't have a whole lot to work with unless they decide to deal a guy like Tyson Chandler. But keep an eye out, as Jackson seems to have a bit of impatience in regards to building his roster to his liking.