NBA Draft Rumors: Last-Minute 2019 Draft Whispers Around All 30 TeamsJune 19, 2019
The 2019 NBA draft officially begins with the New Orleans Pelicans selecting with the No. 1 overall pick, but the real intrigue and drama Thursday night is expected to start with the pick New Orleans recently acquired from the Los Angeles Lakers.
Since the details of the Anthony Davis trade were finalized, reports have been swirling about teams interested in trading up to No. 4 in a deal with the Pelicans.
Barring an unexpected move from the New York Knicks at No. 3, the first major turning point will be the fourth pick, as New Orleans can either add another young player to its core, or trade out of the pick for assets, whether it be for more picks or players to build around presumed No. 1 overall pick Zion Williamson, Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram.
Almost immediately after ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski broke the news of the Davis trade, he reported that teams were expressing significant interest in acquiring the No. 4 pick.
Since Saturday, a slew of teams have been linked with the Pelicans in talks for their second selection of the first round.
ESPN's Jonathan Givony reported the Atlanta Hawks have been aggressively exploring deals involving their two lottery picks at Nos. 8 and 10, and while the Knicks rebuffed that offer, the Pelicans are considering the possibility of a trade.
When reporting on Darius Garland's last-minute workout with the Knicks, Givony stated that Minnesota, Boston and Chicago are looking at trading up to No. 4 with the Vanderbilt point guard in mind.
The Ringer's Kevin O'Connor reported the Indiana Pacers have had talks with the Pelicans regarding the coveted selection as well.
One team that could be out on a trade for No. 4 is Cleveland, who is slated to pick fifth, as The Athletic's Joe Vardon reported the Cavaliers likely do not have the assets New Orleans would want in a trade.
In his latest mock draft, The Athletic's Sam Vecenie reported that the feeling around the NBA is the Pelicans are more likely to move the pick than keep it.
Regardless of what the Pelicans end up doing with the No. 4, they are in an advantageous situation to improve their roster further after bringing in Ball, Ingram and Josh Hart from the Lakers and adding Williamson with the No. 1 pick.
Executive vice president of basketball operations David Griffin has already proven with the Davis deal that he can maximize the return the Pelicans receive in any deal.
One of the main reasons why the No. 4 pick is so attractive is the availability of Garland, who could help a handful of teams improve their point guard depth.
New Orleans does not need another point guard with Ball and Jrue Holiday on the roster, so it makes perfect sense for it to trade down for more assets.
Atlanta and Boston would be the most intriguing trade partners to get an immediate return, as they both possess three first-round picks, but that will not be the only factor the Pelicans have to consider when evaluating deals.
If the Pelicans keep the No. 4 pick and select one of Jarrett Culver, De'Andre Hunter or Cam Reddish, there will be a market for Garland at No. 5.
According to Cleveland.com's Chris Fedor, a large Cleveland contingent was invited by Klutch Sports to watch Garland work out in Los Angeles.
Cleveland also is interested in Hunter, who has a big fan in new head coach John Beilein, according to Vecenie.
Phoenix is next in line behind New Orleans and Cleveland, and it is extremely high on Culver, according to Sports Illustrated's Jeremy Woo.
Whether or not Culver is available at No. 6 remains to be seen, but that appears to be his floor in the draft.
Even though most of the draft intrigue will occur within the top 10, there are a few spots to watch further down the first-round order.
According to Woo, many around the league believe Rui Hachimura received a commitment in the late lottery range, specifically with Minnesota at No. 11.
One rising name to watch in the lottery is USC's Kevin Porter Jr. According to The Athletic's Shams Charania, some NBA executives told him Porter is a sneaky name on draft boards.
According to Givony, Porter and Nic Claxton received last-minute invites to be in the NBA green room, which puts the number of prospects in attendance at 22.
While not all of the 30 NBA teams have been mentioned in recent draft rumors, there is always the possibility for a surprise or two to pop up before the first round begins as more information is shared.
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