Leading up to the NBA draft on Thursday, trade rumors erupted across the league. As teams look to their scouts to find the next star players, general managers and team presidents work the phones on potential deals.
Do you remember when we all brushed off talks about the New York Knicks parting ways with Kristaps Porzingis? Now, it doesn't seem so unlikely.
According to The Athletic's Jason Lloyd, the Cleveland Cavaliers have offered Chauncey Billups a five-year deal to lead the front office. If he takes the position, how will his influence affect the team's trade talks and free-agency plans? The same questions remain if the ESPN analyst doesn't accept the proposal.
The Boston Celtics moved down two spots and picked up a future first-round pick in an exchange with the Philadelphia 76ers. At No. 3, most would think forwards Josh Jackson and Jayson Tatum come into focus. Who's the likely choice?
We'll break down the hottest NBA rumors on draft day, and what could possibly happen before or after commissioner Adam Silver calls the first name.
New York Knicks Willing to Trade Kristaps Porzingis for a Top-Five Pick
Just when you thought team president Phil Jackson wouldn't trade the franchise's future—think again. He described the 7'3" forward as a unicorn that may bring multiple quality players and a high draft pick on MSG Network's "Knicks Night Live" with Al Trautwig, via NBA.com.
Although Jackson hasn't received an offer that encouraged a trade move for Porzingis, the possibility remains through and beyond draft day. According to ESPN.com's Ian Begley, the team has been in contact with every club selecting within the top five. In the report, ESPN's Ramona Shelburne highlighted Josh Jackson as the targeted prospect with a high draft pick.
Unless the Knicks acquire two starters and an early selection, Jackson could wreck the franchise for the immediate future with a Porzingis trade. The Zen Master has already made his intentions on trading Carmelo Anthony known, which kills his value on the market, per SBNation's Kristian Winfield:
Can you imagine a Knicks team without Porzingis or Anthony for the 2017-18 season? It's a possibility that both players could move on to greener pastures, specifically the Celtics who have an interest in acquiring the Latvian forward, per New York Daily News reporter Stefan Bondy.
As Knicks fans pull out what's left of their hair going into draft night, Jackson could make a huge splash. Any trade involving Porzingis will involve building blocks for the future.
Cleveland Cavaliers Willing to Move Kevin Love for Jimmy Butler
How can the Cleveland Cavaliers one-up the Golden State Warriors in the upcoming season? How about acquiring either one of the two best players in the Eastern Conference behind LeBron James?
According to ESPN.com's Marc Stein, the Cavaliers have been in the hunt for Paul George and Jimmy Butler. As expected, forward Kevin Love would be the main asset for a trade involving the Chicago Bulls swingman, per Fox Sports NBA Insider Sam Amico:
However, in Stein's report, Butler seems intent on leading a winner in Chicago and hopes to stay with the Bulls for the long haul.
"Sources said Tuesday that the Cavaliers have been notified that Butler hopes to stay with the Bulls and would be reluctant to commit his long-term future to Cleveland," Stein said. "Butler, sources said, remains intent on trying to lead the Bulls back to Eastern Conference prominence."
While Butler doesn't seem interested in taking the Kevin Durant or James route to his first NBA title, the Bulls may find value in acquiring Love and other potential assets while heading in another direction.
Butler still has three years on his current deal, but he has a player option in 2019, per Spotrac. Cleveland could compete with the Warriors in the NBA Finals for at least two years with the three-time All-Star joining Kyrie Irving and James. However, the Bulls will likely keep their star player onboard, barring an offer the front office can't refuse.
Boston Celtics Considering Jayson Tatum over Josh Jackson
The Celtics need help in the frontcourt, and team president Danny Ainge will have a shot at drafting Jackson or Tatum at No. 3.
Both forwards stand at 6'8" and have the ability to play as stretch 4s in the league. According to ESPN's Chad Ford, the team leans toward the Duke product:
In reality, either prospect would help the Celtics in the long term. Nonetheless, Tatum projects as a better scorer than Jackson. On the other hand, the Kansas product will likely develop into a two-way player who can guard multiple positions.
If Ainge can't package the No. 3 pick with a couple of players for Porzingis, he'll add to the frontcourt with a promising rookie capable of starting in the upcoming season. Tatum or Jackson coupled with a free-agent splash in July could challenge the Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference.