NBA Draft Rumors: Latest Buzz on 2019 Lottery Trades and Potential Picks

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistJune 20, 2019

Duke forward RJ Barrett (5) dribbles the ball during the first half of a second-round game in the NCAA men's college basketball tournament Sunday, March 24, 2019, in Columbia, S.C. Duke defeated Central Florida 77-76. (AP Photo/Sean Rayford)
Sean Rayford/Associated Press

The first round of the 2019 NBA draft is expected to be packed with trades. 

Four first-round selections have already changed hands in the buildup to the draft, with the prominent deal involving the Los Angeles Lakers and New Orleans Pelicans. 

While there has been plenty of movement further down the draft order, the No. 4 pick is the only lottery selection that has been dealt so far. 

New Orleans is in possession of the fourth selection, but there are plenty of teams looking to move up into that spot to take either Darius Garland, Jarrett Culver or De'Andre Hunter. 


Latest NBA Draft Buzz

Minnesota Trying To Move Up From No. 11

The latest team to be linked with a move up the first round is the Minnesota Timberwolves. 

According to Marc Stein of the New York Times, Minnesota has been aggressive in its attempts to move up from No. 11 and is one of the teams interested in the No. 4 selection. 

The No. 4 pick started to receive attention Saturday once the Pelicans acquired it as part of the Anthony Davis trade. 

ESPN.com's Adrian Wojnarowski almost instantly reported after the deal that teams are expressing significant interest in the pick. 

While Minnesota is trying to move up, it might not have the draft assets that other teams, like Atlanta, can offer. 

According to ESPN.com's Jonathan Givony, the Hawks have been pursuing a trade involving the No. 8 and No. 10 picks, and New Orleans is considering the possibility. 

A trade with the Hawks seems more favorable to the Pelicans since they can turn the No. 4 pick into a pair of assets, with Cam Reddish, Jaxson Hayes and others expected to be available at that part of the lottery. 

That does not mean Minnesota is out of the running for the No. 4 pick, but like a few other teams, it might have to get creative with its trade package to entice New Orleans into dealing it.


Barrett Still The Guy For New York 

Even though the New York Knicks brought in Darius Garland for a last-minute workout, they are not preparing to divert from the path that brings them RJ Barrett. 

According to Wojnarowski, New York remains locked in on selecting Barrett, who at this time last year was considered the top prospect in the draft class. 

Of course, that changed with the emergence of Barrett's college teammate Zion Williamson, who is now the consensus No. 1 pick and is set to officially become a member of the Pelicans Thursday night. 

Barrett is viewed as one of the top three prospects in the draft, and that trio of prospects has established itself above the rest of the group.

Since Williamson is off to New Orleans and Ja Morant is likely headed to Memphis, it makes the most sense for the Knicks to select Barrett at No. 3 to start building their core for the future. 

Building the roster will not be easy due to missing out on the Davis trade and the long-term injury to Kevin Durant, but the Knicks are guaranteed of taking one massive step forward with the selection of Barrett. 

Taking Barrett also adds fuel to the business surrounding the No. 4 pick, as Garland appears to be the target of the franchises looking to trade with the Pelicans. 

By staying the course and taking Barrett, the Knicks will set the tone for a wild few minutes in Brooklyn, with teams scurrying to put the best offer together for the Pelicans to accept. 


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