NBA Draft Rumors: Latest Trade Rumblings on Potential 2022 Picks and Prospects

Zach Buckley@@ZachBuckleyNBAFeatured Columnist IVJune 21, 2022

NBA Draft Rumors: Latest Trade Rumblings on Potential 2022 Picks and Prospects

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    CHICAGO,IL - MAY 17: NBA Prospect, Paolo Banchero poses for a portrait during the 2022 NBA Draft Lottery at McCormick Place on May 17, 2022 in Chicago, Illinois. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2022 NBAE (Photo by David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images)
    David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images

    The wait for the 2022 NBA draft is almost over.

    Do you know which direction your favorite team is headed yet?

    While no one can be certain of what will happen Thursday night, the rumor mill is bursting at the seams with talks of trades, team targets and more. We'll break down all the latest draft buzz here.

Houston Leaning Toward Paolo Banchero

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    College Basketball: NCAA Final Four:  Duke Paolo Banchero (5) in action, posts up vs North Carolina at Caesars Superdome. 
New Orleans, LA 4/2/2022
CREDIT: Greg Nelson (Photo by Greg Nelson/Sports Illustrated via Getty Images)
(Set Number: X164001 TK2)
    Set Number: X164001 TK2

    The Houston Rockets sound ready to take their pick to the podiumโ€”even though the draft is two nights away and two teams are selecting in front of them.

    Still, if the board breaks as expected with Jabari Smith and Chet Holmgren being the top two selections, then "signals are pointing stronger and stronger" at Houston using the No. 3 pick on Duke scoring forward Paolo Banchero, per Kelly Iko of The Athletic.

    It's worth noting the Rockets already shipped out one high-scoring big man with last week's trade of Christian Wood to the Dallas Mavericks, so the path has been cleared for Banchero's arrival.

    He is the best scorer in this draft, making him an intriguing partner for last year's No. 2 pick, Jalen Green. Houston's defense could be disastrous early on, but Banchero has the tools to eventually help on that front.

Memphis Mulling Major Move Up Draft Board

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    SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA - MAY 07: Ja Morant #12 of the Memphis Grizzlies drives to the basket to shoot against the Golden State Warriors in the second half of Game Three of the Western Conference Semifinals of the NBA Playoffs at Chase Center on May 07, 2022 in San Francisco, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
    Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

    Between Ja Morant's superstar ascension and the collective rise of the roster around him, the Memphis Grizzlies are way ahead of schedule.

    That has them uniquely positioned as a contending team with the draft and prospect collection of a rebuilder. It also gives them a chance to buy big this offseason, and it sounds as if they are interested in exploring that possibility.

    Marc Stein reported that the Grizzlies are among the teams considering a trade with the Sacramento Kings for the No. 4 pick.

    Memphis reportedly has eyes on Purdue guard Jaden Ivey, and Stein opined this type of trade could cost the Grizzlies someone like Dillon Brooks or Brandon Clarke. Ivey is an interesting target, since he has drawn some comparisons to Morant, but a backcourt featuring both would be hyper-electric and potentially as productive as they come.

Blazers Shopping No. 7 Pick

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    CHICAGO,IL - MAY 17: Damian Lillard #0 of the Portland Trail Blazers looks on during the 2022 NBA Draft Lottery at McCormick Place on May 17, 2022 in Chicago, Illinois. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2022 NBAE (Photo by Kamil Krzaczynski/NBAE via Getty Images)
    Kamil Krzaczynski/NBAE via Getty Images

    The Portland Trail Blazers need a rapid recovery this summer from their (self-induced) second-half swoon.

    The No. 7 pick might be their best hope for getting Damian Lillard more help, and that doesn't necessarily mean bringing a rookie to Rip City.

    "The Trail Blazers continue to explore the market for this pick," SI.com's Jeremy Woo reported, "... with the Thunder and Hawks primarily linked to this spot as potential trade partners."

    While the Atlanta Hawks have a wealth of win-now talent to trade Portland, the Oklahoma City Thunder aren't exactly overflowing with it. It's tempting to assume, then, that Portland could seek a player like Lu Dort and the No. 12 pick from Oklahoma City in exchange for the No. 7 selection.

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