NBA Trade Rumors: Rounding Up Latest Reports Before 2019 NBA Draft

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistJune 19, 2019

Memphis Grizzlies guard Mike Conley (11) handles the ball against Minnesota Timberwolves guard Josh Okogie (20) in the first half of an NBA basketball game Saturday, March 23, 2019, in Memphis, Tenn. (AP Photo/Brandon Dill)
Brandon Dill/Associated Press

As it typically does in the days before the NBA draft, the trade rumor mill is heating up with all sorts of spicy information. 

The first two picks in Thursday's draft are practically set in stone, with Zion Williamson and Ja Morant expected to go to New Orleans and Memphis, respectively. 

The New York Knicks appeared to be in that category as well with R.J. Barrett, but that might change between now and draft night. 

Most of the trade intrigue surrounds the No. 4 overall pick, which is in possession of the Pelicans after the terms of the Anthony Davis trade with the Los Angeles Lakers were agreed upon. 

A handful of NBA franchises covet the players expected to be available at No. 4, and that could cause a free-for-all on the trade market in the hours building up to the selection process. 


Plenty of Buzz Surrounding No. 4 Pick 

If there is a pick in the top five that will be traded Thursday, it is likely going to be the No. 4 selection based off the numerous reports circulating. 

According to ESPN.com's Jonathan Givony, the Atlanta Hawks are aggressively exploring trades with the No. 8 and No. 10 picks packaged together. He reported the Knicks refused that offer but the Pelicans are considering the possibility. 

Cleveland sits directly behind New Orleans in the draft order at No. 5, but it does not have what the Pelicans want in terms of players to package a deal together, per The Athletic's Joe Vardon

One of the surprise teams mentioned in possible trade talks for No. 4 is Indiana, which was reported by The Ringer's Kevin O'Connor

He noted the Pacers have been in discussions with the Pelicans about the pick, and New Orleans is open to pick-based or player-based trade packages. 

The jockeying for the No. 4 pick is likely being done with Vanderbilt point guard Darius Garland in mind, but there is an outside chance Barrett is still available.

Mark Humphrey/Associated Press

According to Givony, Garland will participate in a last-minute workout with the Knicks Wednesday and he is in serious consideration for the No. 4 pick.

In the same report, Givony stated Minnesota, Boston and Chicago were looking at potentially trading up. 

If the Knicks were to pull off the first shocking move of the draft by taking Garland, the teams interested in the No. 4 pick would have more incentive to trade up with Barrett waiting to be chosen. 

However, that would also change New Orleans' thought process, as it would have an opportunity to pair college teammates Williamson and Barrett in its young core. 

One has to think New Orleans' trade demands for the fourth pick if Barrett is available would be higher than if Garland was still on the draft board because the one-and-done player out of Duke is viewed as one of the top three prospects in the draft class. 

No matter what the circumstances end up being Thursday, expect New Orleans executive vice president of basketball operations David Griffin to get the best deal possible after he brought in a tremendous haul in exchange for Davis. 


Memphis Discussing Conley Trade With Utah

The end of the Mike Conley era in Memphis was solidified the second the Grizzlies landed the No. 2 pick in the draft lottery. 

Memphis is able to move on from the veteran point guard with little concerns because it has the ability to take Morant, who is the best floor general in the draft, as his replacement. 

Brandon Dill/Associated Press

Conley was the topic of trade rumors before the trade deadline, but Memphis was unable to move him.

Utah was interested in the 31-year-old then, and it appears to be still interested, as Marc Stein of the New York Times reported one trade scenario going around the league features the Jazz sending the No. 23 pick and a future first-round selection to Memphis. 

This rumored deal would help both sides, as the Jazz would acquire a premier guard, while Memphis receives a second chance to build its roster through the draft at the back end of the first round. 

The No. 23 pick will not produce a game-changing talent like Morant, but it could provide the Grizzlies with a solid rotation player who could grow into a significant role on a young team. 

If Memphis receives a better offer for Conley before the draft, it has to take that into consideration; but if that is not the case, Utah appears to be a willing trade partner, as it tries to bolster its playoff credentials in the rapidly changing landscape of the Western Conference. 


Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90.