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NBA AM: Are The Hornets Moving Their Pick?
Posted By Steve Kyler On June 11, 2012 @ 10:05 am In All,Main Page,NBA | No Comments
What We Know About The Hornets? Over the course of the next few weeks we’ll delve into the state of each of the teams drafting in the first round of the 2012 NBA Draft and what we know about their draft plans and the players and situations they are targeting.
Let’s start at the top with a look at the New Orleans Hornets.
The Hornets hold the #1 overall pick as well as the #10 pick (thanks to the Chris Paul trade with the LA Clippers.)
The Hornets will be selecting Anthony Davis #1 overall, so there is not a lot of intrigue around that pick, however the #10 does create some interesting wrinkles.
The Hornets have been working out players projected to be available in and around the 10th pick including guys like Tyler Zeller, Austin Rivers, John Henson, Meyers Leonard, Arnett Moultrie, Terrence Jones, Jeremy Lamb and Terrence Ross. Almost all of them are expected to be on the board when the 10th pick rolls around.
Here is where the wrinkle comes into play.
Sources close to the process say the Hornets have been dangling the 10th pick in trade, mainly to see what their second selection in the first round can fetch.
The buzz in Chicago during the Draft Combine was that the Hornets wanted a lot in return for the 10th pick, and that could include the absorbing of some unfavorable contracts – Emeka Okafor and Trevor Ariza get mentioned a lot – but more importantly any deal needs to return draft assets down the road.
Most teams that are holding on to more than one first round pick are trying to deal the lesser pick this year in exchange for a second round pick this year and a future first rounder down the road. The Hornets seem to be looking at something similar.
Sources close to the situation say the team is not trying to shed dollars as much as they are trying to reshape the roster. Don’t expect them to “dump” guys like Okafor or Ariza just for cap space or to dump their contracts.
It is clear the Hornets are open for business and that moving off the 10th pick is possible, although every team in the NBA is dangling their pick these days, if only to see what the pick can return in trade. First round draft picks have always been the grease to get trades completed, and New Orleans has one more pick than they truly want to use. Don’t be surprised to see the 10th pick landing somewhere else. The Hornets are willing to move it.
The Promise: During the NBA Draft process there is rampant speculation about teams and what they are willing to guarantee a draft prospect.
Syracuse guard Dion Waiters apparently got his “promise” of a first round selection and canceled all meetings and workouts with teams just after arriving in Chicago for the Draft Combine last week. Waiters was weighed and measured and on the first flight home to Philadelphia according to sources close to the process.
Some question the virtue of the promise concept, and while some players could work themselves into a higher draft selection through a grueling team visit and workout schedule, most agents are focused on the fit, rather than the pick.
Landing with a team that’s truly wants you is almost always better than landing somewhere because you were best talent on the board.
There is also the concept that going too high could be problematic.
Look at Sacramento’s Tyreke Evans, who has struggled to find a groove in Sacramento. There is a belief the Kings will trade him if the right offer is made. Had he gone several picks lower, he might have landed with a team more committed to who he is as a player or a team that’s better at developing and maximizing players. Evans’ career might take a hit because he went too high and to a team that clearly didn’t understand him as a player.
The promise concept is not without its risks. Teams can tell a prospect that they want to draft him and ask him to “shut it down,” but if a better prospect or a trade surfaces the player could find himself on the outside looking in. A verbal promise is exactly that. It comes down to the team and the person making the promise.
Teams can draft whomever they like and there is always the risk that if a team drafting with say the 10th pick makes a promise that a team with, say, the 9th pick doesn’t draft the player first. This is typically why teams ask the player to shut down meetings and workouts, believing teams won’t draft players they have not met or worked out.
There is risk on both side. Teams can and often do change course frequently in the draft process. However, the more workouts a player does the greater risk of injury or poor performance, so if the team that makes the promise is the team you want to play for why continue working out?
That’s likely why Dion Waiters is in Philadelphia with his family, while the rest of the draft class is logging frequent flyer miles hoping to find a home.
The Promise also removes the stress of the unknown, and that’s something draft prospects are growing frustrated with so taking the bird in the hand approach may not yield the highest overall pick, but it does bring closure and some level of certainty to an uncertain situation.
What Happened To Second Chances? Think back to when you were in your early twenties. Did you ever have a moment in which you lost your cool with someone you shouldn’t have? Did you ever carry yourself in a way you regret? Did you every set yourself on a course of action, without thinking about the consequence?
That’s exactly what happened to Alabama standout Tony Mitchell.
Tony is in the 2012 NBA Draft class and was invited to the 2012 NBA Draft Combine in Chicago last week. Mitchell was a standout wing player at Alabama, but just as suddenly as Tony burst onto the NBA radar he was gone, cut from the team after an altercation with his coach at Alabama.
Mitchell’s story is all too common; a little brash and a little arrogant. Thinking he knew more than the coaches that were trying to mold and guide him. Tempers flared. Things were said and done and relationships were torn apart.
Mitchell has been training relentlessly in Santa Barbara hoping to convince NBA teams that he is not a bad seed, and that he can actually be an asset to a team that will give him a second chance.
The Golden State Warriors and New York Knicks have expressed some interest in Tony and met with him recently. But Tony has a bit of an uphill climb.
Tony’s agent Todd Ramasar of BDA Sports has been working closely with Tony, trying to help him get his career and his life back on track.
“Tony has been good with me. He’s made vast improvement physically and mentally since he’s been training with us in Santa Barbara,” explained Ramasar. “We’ve been focusing on his ball-handling and jump shot mechanics since he arrived in April.”
“I knew there were some questions about his attitude and demeanor on the basketball court. I have him working with renowned sports psychologist, Dr. Joe Carr. Dr. Carr has Tony doing exercises that will help him on the court to maximize his playing ability and positive contributions as a teammate.”
There is little doubt that like most promising athletes that Tony let his own hype get in his way at Alabama, but after having the chance to play taken away from him, Mitchell isn’t nearly the arrogant athlete you’d expected after being cut from a Division I program.
“I’ve seen Tony mature during the time I’ve spent with him,” explained Ramasar. “He understands the opportunity he has to play basketball professionally and that the opportunity can be taken away from him at any time for a number of reasons. I think the suspension has made him appreciate basketball much more.”
“Tony understood the fallout following his suspension from Alabama, but he’s constantly reminded working out with NBA teams. Teams are interested to know Tony’s perspective on the suspension and if he’s willing to accept responsibility for his actions and the outcome.”
HOOPSWORLD sat down with Tony at the NBA Draft Combine; here is the video of that sit down:
Mitchell has drawn comparisons to Latrell Sprewell and Gerald Wallace as a player, and there is interest in Mitchell in the NBA, all Tony needs is a second chance and the team that gives one might get a pretty decent NBA player.
Doc And The Celtics: Things can and do change in the NBA quite frequently, but if what’s being said now is true, Boston Celtic’s head coach Doc Rivers won’t be going anywhere, despite the speculation in Orlando that he could be a candidate for their open General Manager position.
Rivers inked a five-year contract extension last May, and is earning a reported $7 million per season to skipper the Celtics.
While the magic GM job might be appealing because of its proximity to Rivers’ family, which resides in Orlando, the salary a GM or team president commands isn’t nearly that of a head coach.
Rivers’ season ended last week and he has already started actively recruiting soon-to-be Celtic free agents Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett to return for another run next season.
It’s not out of the question to think Rivers would look at other options if the Celtics completely re-tool with younger players, but if Garnett and Allen opt to return for another go, Rivers will almost assuredly be part of the deal.
Things can and do change in the NBA, but the word from Boston is Doc Rivers will be back next season, which means the Magic won’t be getting Rivers as their next GM.
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