NBA AM: Do The Bobcats Have A Deal For The #2?
The Bobcats May Have A Deal To Make: Since landing the 2nd overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft Lottery the Charlotte Bobcats have made no secret of their desire to move down from the #2 spot and try to secure multiple assets in this draft in efforts to rebuild the team around a youth movement.
The Bobcats met with Kansas big man Thomas Robinson over the weekend and are debating their options with the #2.
Sources say the team understands that Robinson is likely a can’t-miss prospect, but they do not appear to be sold that he is the franchise changer the team desperately needs. The same is being said of Kentucky forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. Like Robinson, he is said to be a solid NBA prospect and really has a limited downside, but like T-Rob he’s not going to get the Cats into contention all by himself.
Enter the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The Cavs hold the #4 and #24 picks in the 2012 NBA Draft and do not appear to want either pick. The Cavs have eyes for Florida’s Brad Beal and they know that if they stay at #4 they know the Wizards are taking Beal with the #3.
League sources say there is a standing offer of the #4 and #24 to Charlotte for the rights to the #2 pick and it seems if something better does not surface they may trigger a deal.
The Bobcats are being incredibly thorough in their process, giving each draft prospect real and serious consideration, but cashing in the #2 pick for multiple picks seems to be real. The question is, will Cleveland toss in one of their second round picks to seal the deal? That might be what it takes to make it happen.
The Bobcats currently hold the #2 and the #31 in the 2012 NBA Draft, while Cleveland holds the #4, the #24, the #33 and the #34 picks.
Sources in Cleveland have said from the start of this process that they would not be bringing four rookies into training camp, so making a deal with Charlotte that moves off a second round pick might make more sense in achieving that goal.
Equally, it is believed that Michael-Kidd Gilchrist is #2 on Washington’s big board, meaning if the Cavs move up to grab Beal, Robinson could still be there at #4 for Charlotte and they could pocket the #24 and maybe an additional second round pick for their troubles.
A deal seems to be there for the Bobcats if they want it, so it’s all about the decision making process for the Cats.
Breaking Up The Bulls: For several weeks there has been speculation that the Chicago Bulls would be open to trading a major piece in order to get into the Top 10 of the 2012 NBA Draft.
Before we get too far into this – every team is looking for a way to trade into the top of the NBA Draft that does not mean to expect a deal.
The Bulls are like every other competing team in the NBA; they understand that the last thing teams like Sacramento, Toronto and Golden State need or want is another rookie and that those teams might be willing to take on some salary if the right veterans were made available.
Enter Luol Deng.
Luol is owed $13.365 million next season and $14.275 million in the final 2013-2014 year of his deal. He is no longer the boat anchor of a contract that he once was and he’s coming off his first NBA All-Star nod. He is a solid player and an even better locker room guy, so there would obviously be some level of interest.
The problem for the Bulls is that Luol wants to play for Great Britain in the Olympics and is putting off much-needed wrist surgery until after the London games. That surgery could shelve him until December of next season, and that threat makes his trade value somewhat shaky.
League sources close to the process say a number of teams such as Golden State and Toronto have expressed more than a passing interest in Luol in trade, so it’s not as if Chicago doesn’t have options if they wanted them. It just does not seem like Chicago is nearly as ready to break up the team that had the best record in the NBA two seasons ago and the best record in the East this year, however there is a cold hard truth. Derrick Rose will miss almost all of the 2012-2013 season and Deng will miss at least 20 games if he undergoes surgery.
How many games do the Bulls win without Rose and Deng, especially when it seems they may part ways with Ronnie Brewer, Kyle Korver and maybe even CJ Watson?
The Bulls have $63.39 million in firm salary commitments to the seven guys they have under contract – assuming they drop Korver, Brewer and Watson, all of which have non-guaranteed years on their deals.
Dropping Deng’s $13.36 million in a year the team will be without Rose for more games than not, means the Bulls get out of Luxury Tax range and gives them the chance to pick up a high level pick for their troubles.
If The Bulls can trigger a trade with a team far enough below the Luxury Tax line, they only have to take back 50% of Deng’s $13.365 million salary in trade ($6.682 million), assuming the acquiring team has room under the Tax line to absorb the difference.
The Warriors on July 10th will look to have $55.95 million in commitments before their $4 million offer sheet to Brandon Rush. Toronto has just $41.02 in salary commitments for next season.
With the Bulls looking to re-sign Omer Asik; needing to find a replacement point guard for Derrick Rose and avoid paying Luxury Tax in a year they may or may not compete for a title due to injury – trading off Luol Deng or even Joakim Noah makes a lot of sense, especially if it can deliver a top ten pick along the way – which both the Raptors and Warriors possess.
The Bulls emphatically deny that they are close to anything involving Deng, but if something comes together on Draft night, you could understand why.
Two On The Rise: Over the next four days there will be lots of last minute jockeying in the NBA Draft order. Sources close to the process says as many as 10 picks could change hands on draft night with virtually everyone holding a pick in the 15 to 30 range wanting to move up, around or out of the first round altogether.
With such a mad dash to move, several players’ whose stocks might have been viewed as low are starting to rise as teams start to zero in on who they like.
Duke’s Austin Rivers seems to be one of the players on a meteoric rise, possibly as high as #6 to Portland.
Apparently new Blazers’ GM Neil Olshey believes Rivers could be a real star level guy in the NBA and the Blazers have been debating the merits of taking him with the #6 and drafting the best available center at #11. The problem is the Blazers would be passing on UCONN big man Andre Drummond who most believe will be there at #6 and might be too much of an upside talent to pass on.
Common sense says go with Drummond, but Olshey has always been willing to take risks. If Paul Allen and the Blazers buy- in don’t be shocked to see Rivers go #6 because there is almost no chance he’ll be there at #11 as New Orleans is said to covet him with the #10.
Memphis guard Will Barton has been doing his thing for teams at the bottom of the first round. There is enough positive buzz about Barton to peg his range at anywhere from 21 to Boston all the way to 29 to Chicago. Barton has a few more workouts scheduled and there is growing belief the he could go even higher with teams like Milwaukee (#12), Dallas (#17) and Minnesota (#18) all strongly considering Barton.
The landscape of the 2012 NBA Draft is going to change between now and the 28th of June. That change is going to affect where some guys are ultimately drafted regardless of where we may rank their stock.
Mass Exodus: Whenever a new general manager is hired some change is to be expected, however new Magic GM Rob Hennigan appears to be starting over . The Magic relieved almost all of their front office and scouting staff yesterday including long-time assistant General Manager Dave Twardzik .
Josh Robbins and Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel are reporting that in addition to Twardzik, regional scout Tom Conrad, international scout Rudy D’Amico, international scouting coordinator Sam Foggin, pro scout Bob Staak, regional scout Greg Stratton and NBA advance scout Al Walker were let go this weekend.
Only scouting coordinator Brian Wright was retained from the old staff. Twardzik was given the opportunity to stay on through the NBA Draft, but apparently declined the option.
League sources commented yesterday that the early word regarding the Magic’s draft plans include trying to trade the #19 overall pick for a future draft asset. The Magic appear to be trying to get as much salary off the books as possible.
As things stand today the Magic have some options they can explore this summer with Magic guard Jameer Nelson and forward Earl Clark both poised to opt out of their contracts before July 1st. Forward Ryan Anderson can become a restricted free agent and JJ Redick has a non-guaranteed year on his deal.
If the Magic pass on all of them, they could get their cap commitments down to $50.43million giving them $7 or so million in salary cap room to pursue free agents. The #19 pick represents a salary of $1,181,800 this year and $1,235,000 next year, and it seems that cap space is more valuable than the player the team could acquire.
Nothing is done on this front; however it seems that’s the direction the franchise is headed with the 2012 NBA Draft set for Thursday June 28th.
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