Colangelo Says Draft Speculation Has Legs
Suspicious about all those draft-related rumors from unnamed sources that inevitably crop up each year in the days immediately before the big event? Well, according to Raptors President and General Manager Bryan Colangelo, this year some of those speculations could be grounded in fact.
“So many different things are speculated on above us,” Colangelo said. “Is someone going to jump into five and acquire the fifth pick to acquire a particular player? Does six and eleven stay put because Portland has two picks and they are contemplating something? Charlotte may move out of two. All of it is again speculation, but I truly think there are legs to some of the conversations because we might even be involved in some of those or at least feeling our way though a few of the scenarios. That’s not to be specific about any of them, it’s just that we know eighth is certainly in play because there are a number of teams that have inquired about it and we have inquired about a few picks ahead of us.”
It may seem like every pick between two and 24 is surfacing in discussions and, apparently, that’s because they are.
Minnesota has already moved its first round pick to Houston, which appears to be accumulating assets for a potential future deal and several of the teams in the top 10 have solid reasons for not wanting to get any younger heading into next season.
All of this potential movement is creating a great amount of uncertainty heading into Thursday night’s draft.
“I think there is always uncertainty,” Colangelo said. “But what’s interesting is after number one there is a whole different range of orders – players in different orders – that we could put down and say, this is realistic, this isn’t realistic. Again with a couple of those top picks in play, that might throw the order off based on what a team is moving up to get. We think we have a good idea about which seven go before us, but seven today is different from seven yesterday and it seems to change. Five minutes ago I had a conversation with someone and I think it changed again.”
It is more than just the normal level of secrecy surrounding the draft and free agency that is making it difficult for Colangelo to outline the Raptors’ game plan for this off season. The flexibility Colangelo created for his team ahead of the draft has created numerous conflicting possibilities.
“It is not a matter of answering the question vaguely,” Colangelo said. “There are literally so many balls up in the air, so many different scenarios that could play out that at this stage it’s premature to give any kind of indication, plus I probably wouldn’t do that anyway because that’s not part of the game.
“We have been very active, whether it’s been evaluating draft picks, looking at the scenarios that relate to those draft picks and how they fit into our roster. You must understand that everything is being laid over a pending free agent plan as well, so there are multiple scenarios that can be affected by the draft selection and then obviously there has been some value in eight, some interest in eight that would possibly have the pick in play and we have to weigh what pieces are coming, the impact salary-wise and how much that affects pending free agency. We have certain perimeters that we need to stay within if we are to accomplish some of the things we hope to accomplish.”
While the Raptors have suggested in the past that they don’t expect to find someone with the eighth pick who can help them immediately, Colangelo is holding out the possibility of moving up in the draft to snag a more NBA-ready prospect.
“I think there are a couple of players who could step in and play meaningful minutes,” said Colangelo. “I don’t want to put any pressure on anyone who we select or goes ahead of us, but I think there are some NBA-ready players who could step in and play the game.”
With over $11 million in salary cap space and a $7.6 million traded-player exception available, Colangelo has more options than most teams when it comes to making a deal at the draft. However, don’t be surprised if something happens that hasn’t hit the rumor mill.
“Reading into anything at this stage is really, really difficult to ascertain the truth,” warned Colangelo. “Not that I am standing here telling you anything other than the details, I am just not telling you everything that I know and there is a difference there.”
What is pretty clear is that we can expect a lot of action surrounding the events at this year’s NBA draft.