NBA Trade Rumors: 5 Teams Who'll Clear Room for LeBron James, Chris Bosh
The NBA Draft is tonight and while teams are jockeying for position to grab their next (hopefully) big star. In addition to draft picks, teams are sizing up trades using their existing rosters and their draft picks. Yet, these five teams aren't simply exploring trades for other current NBA players. They are sizing up trades for one big prize: LeBron James.
One week after the draft, the free agency period will open and the bidding war for the league's biggest free agent in history will begin. These five teams will use the draft to jockey and improve their position in their pursuits of LeBron James.
The Heat already made one move to bolster their salary cap space by trading away Daequan Cook. The next move to follow could be the jettison of former second overall pick Michael Beasley. Beasley earned roughly $4.6 million last season and a deal to send him away and move down the draft board will provide the Heat greater flexibility.
Rumblings have indicated the Heat are interested in signing another max contract player to go alongside Dwyane Wade. The Cook trade was a first step. Trading Beasley would be a sure indicator of the Heat's intentions.
New Jersey Nets
The Nets appear ready to select Derrick Favors with their third overall pick. However, the Nets were never truly enamored with their draft position and a last second deal to trade out of their position and move down the board cannot be overlooked.
The Nets have $27 million in cap space to go after LeBron who will command $16 million of that space. Therefore, the Nets are looking to free up more space which will give them the means to pursue two max contracts and increase their attractiveness to LeBron and possibly Bosh as well.
New York Knicks
The Knicks do not have a first round pick, but do not sleep on the Knicks making something out of their 38th and 39th overall picks. The Knicks are an unpredictable element heading into the draft, but a move to swap those picks and move into the back of the first round is a distinct possibility.
The Knicks have to do everything possible to be as attractive as possible for LeBron and Bosh, and that includes work on draft night.
Los Angeles Clippers
The Clippers hold the eighth overall pick in the draft, but chances are that is going to change before their name comes up on the board. Rumors have already tied the Clippers to a trade involving the Bulls, Luol Deng and the 17th overall pick.
The Clippers apparently have their eyes on more cap space for their free agent pursuits. The Clippers are not the front runners for LeBron, but they are at least putting themselves in position to make a better run at him.
The Bulls have the luxury of watching what the Nets and Clippers do ahead of them (should they not deal with Los Angeles). The Bulls have the space already to pursue LeBron, but any draft mood is not necessarily about opening up more cap space.
The Bulls don't need an impact starter in this draft. Instead, the Bulls need a solid contributor in the short term that could serve as a sixth or seventh man or a reserve.
A deal to move down the board opens up more cap space, but it's a move to grant the Bulls greater flexibility. It may take another max contract player like Bosh to attract LeBron to Chicago.
Combine that with the future deal Derrick Rose will require and the Bulls could use all the financial flexibility they can get heading into this year's free agency period.