NBA Draft Rumors: Latest Buzz on 2020 Lottery Trades and Potential Picks

Kristopher Knox@@kris_knoxFeatured ColumnistNovember 18, 2020

NBA Draft Rumors: Latest Buzz on 2020 Lottery Trades and Potential Picks

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    Michael Conroy/Associated Press

    Draft day is finally here, basketball fans! After months of waiting, the 2020 NBA draft is slated to kick off at 7 p.m. ET today. While the annual selection process is just hours away, there's very little clarity on what will actually transpire in the early first round.

    According to ESPN's Jonathan Givony, some NBA teams believe that the Minnesota Timberwolves will kick things off by using the No. 1 pick on Georgia's Anthony Edwards, but that's far from a certainty. There is no clear-cut top prospect in this draft, and many selections will be based purely on individual team needs and wants.

    While several best-player-available picks will be made, we could see a fair amount of jockeying in the first round as teams angle for their desired draft prospects. With plenty of drama set to unfold, this could be an entertaining draft night.

    Let's dig into some of the latest draft-day rumors.

Minnesota Doesn't Want to Draft at No. 1

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    James Wiseman
    James WisemanKaren Pulfer Focht/Associated Press

    While Edwards has been linked to the Timberwolves at pick No. 1, recent buzz suggests that Minnesota would prefer not to use the pick themselves. According to Bleacher Report's Jonathan Wasserman, the T-Wolves would prefer to trade the selection or find a draft-and-trade scenario.

    "Hearing Timberwolves continue to operate like they do not want to pick at #1," Wasserman tweeted. "Sources say Minnesota even signaling it could draft for another team—like Wiseman for Charlotte—and hope to figure out a deal later. Sounds like more demand for Wiseman than LaMelo and Edwards."

    Edwards, Memphis' James Wiseman and National Basketball League product LaMelo Ball are widely considered the top three prospects in this draft class. However, if Minnesota doesn't view any one of them as a can't-miss player, it makes sense to leverage the selection for more draft and/or player capital.

    What's interesting here is that, as Wasserman notes, there appears to be more interest in the Memphis big man than in either Ball or Edwards. While there isn't a ton of tape on any of this year's prospects, Wiseman played just three games this past season. Of course, the idea of adding a 7'1" scorer should be appealing to most franchises.

    Right now, there's no telling what the Timberwolves will do with the first pick.

Multiple Teams Interested in Ball

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    Rick Rycroft/Associated Press

    While there isn't a clear top prospect and several teams appear interested in Wiseman, Ball could also be a trade target near the top of the draft. A talented ball-handler and distributor, he would be a solid fit for teams that don't require a scoring point guard.

    Would a team be willing to move all the way to No. 1 to get Ball? Perhaps. According to ESPN's Jonathan Givony, at least three teams are interested in doing just that.

    "Some popular picks among executives to make such a move for Ball at No. 1 include the Chicago Bulls (currently holding the No. 4 pick), Detroit Pistons (No. 7) and Oklahoma City Thunder," Givony wrote.

    The good news for those teams is that the Timberwolves appear eager to move the No. 1 pick. The bad news is that if Minnesota doesn't and drafts Wiseman, the Golden State Warriors could pounce on Ball at No. 2.

    "[Wiseman] no longer appears to be a lock for Golden State after Ball conducted an impressive workout in front of key members of the Warriors' ownership group, front office and coaching staff," Givony wrote.

    Of course, Golden State's newfound interest in Ball could be a ploy to increase the trade value of their own selection with him on the board.

Celtics Looking to Improve Trade Capital

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    Gordon Hayward
    Gordon HaywardMark J. Terrill/Associated Press

    The Boston Celtics could be big movers during the draft. They currently own three first-round selections and could also look to deal veteran Gordon Hayward. Hayward has a player option for the 2020-21 season, but he and the team have agreed to move back the deadline for his decision until Thursday, according to Tim Bontemps and Zach Lowe of ESPN.

    According to The Athletic's Jared Weiss, Hayward and Boston's three first-round selections have been "heavily shopped" this week, though the Celtics aren't necessarily looking to move up for a particular prospect.

    "But it’s been interesting to hear from league sources that most of these discussions about the Celtics moving up in the draft have been under the guise of improving trade capital rather than targeting a future core piece," Weiss wrote.

    According to Cleveland.com's Terry Pluto, the Celtics have already offered the Cleveland Cavaliers multiple first-round picks to move up to the fifth pick.

    It would make sense for Boston to add a veteran to its playoff-ready roster. Acquiring a top-10 pick and then flipping it could be part of the process. Whatever the Celtics decide to do, they'll be a team to watch on the trade market throughout Wednesday.

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