NBA AM: Is Jameer Nelson Opting Out?
Some Tid Bits Normally I try and put a lead story in this space, but today there are lots of little things to get so, so here we go:
Tick-Tock: Orlando Magic guard Jameer Nelson has to notify the Magic on his opt-out decision by June 15th. Sources close to the process say while Jameer would very much like to stay in Orlando, he is not naive enough to believe that staying in his final contract year would guarantee that. In fact it’s believed that if he stays in his deal he will almost certainly be traded.
Nelson is owed $7.8 million next year and it seems his camp understands that he’ll likely see less money next year in favor of more guaranteed years and a chance to lock in some security.
The Magic would retain Nelson’s Bird Right even if he opts out, that does not necessarily mean Nelson is leaving Orlando, they could re-sign him. If Nelson does leave it could be through a sign and trade to a team he chooses, so nelson opting out does not mean all is lost.
Nothing On The Magic: Magic fans are waiting with baited breath on who the next GM will be, but sources said yesterday that there was nothing new to report. The Magic have said they would like to have a GM in place ahead of the draft, so they have 14 days to make a decision.
Those that are dialed into the process say something should break in the coming days, but if there is a clear cut front runner, good luck picking him.
The smart money says it will be Spurs Assistant GM Dennis Lindsey, he’s the best of the bunch, but sources warn the DeVos family will pick who they pick.
For those concerned about the draft and trade talks… those things are ongoing under the guidance of director of player development Adonal Foyle and Assistant GM Dave Twardzik.
The Magic will likely fast track the hiring of a coach, although sources warn that that process may flow past the draft if necessary.
Perry Jones III: Baylor stand out Perry Jones III is a freak athlete, but the growing buzz on PJIII is he will tumble on draft night. More and more teams doubt what Jones will be at the next level and with more and more teams comparing him to Wolves; forward Anthony Randolph, his stock looks poised to tumble.
There is a phrase that continues to get mentioned with most teams in the lottery portion of the draft and that’s “risk adverse”, meaning those teams may pass on real upside players because they cannot risk being wrong in such a deep draft.
PJII’s best bet for an early draft pick is the teams with two lottery selections like Portland, New Orleans and Houston who could gamble on PJIII’s potential, however it just doesn’t seem like that’s going to happen.
Last year Nuggets forward Jordan Hamilton was viewed as a can’t miss talent. He slid to the 26th pick before his upside outweighed his risk. The same fate seems to be in store for PJII.
Jared Sullinger Rising: Last year coming into the draft process Ohio State’s Jared Sullinger was projected to be a top 3 pick. He opted to return to Ohio State and this year he’s been viewed as a 6 to 12-pick player. Don’t fall in love with that projection because more than a view teams drafting in top 10 have eyes for Sully and he’s done a lot to improve his odds of a top 10 selection.
Sullinger measured a little bigger than expected at the Draft Combine logging a a height measurement of 6’9 in shoes. A standing reach of 8’9.5 and a wingspan of 7’ 1.25. His max vertical was not terrible at 31.0 and he logged a 10.1 percent body fat. That’s a huge change from a year ago.
Teams are still debating on what kind of player he’ll be in the NBA, but to write Sullinger out of the top would be foolish and it looks like more than a few teams are considering him at the top of the draft.
What We Know About The Bobcats? 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.
On Monday we hit on the New Orleans Hornets, so today let’s hit on the Charlotte Bobcats.
While conspiracy theorists cried foul over the Hornets landing the top pick, the Bobcats walked into the NBA Draft Lottery with a 75% chance of not landing the top selection. They knew it was possible and cautioned staffers to avoid offering predictions. The fact that Charlotte has the second overall pick is not surprising. The fact that the team is shopping the 2nd picks for potential value isn’t surprising either.
At the end of the day getting anything of real value for the 2nd pick is always hard, and the Bobcats, like all teams without the top overall pick, are looking at getting what they can fetch for the 2nd pick in the draft. Whether the Bobcats find a deal or not is something else entirely.
Sources close to the process say the Bobcats are preparing for all manner of contingency plans. They are ready to use the pick if they need to. They have scenarios for moving down in the draft and they have scenarios for not being involved in the draft at all.
The dream scenario is to flip the 2nd pick and unwanted roster players like DeSagana Diop, Matt Carroll and Tyrus Thomas for a proven talent. The question is will anyone take Diop’s ending $7.3 million or Carroll’s $3.5 million owed for the chance at Thomas Robinson, Michael-Kidd Gilchrist or Bradley Beal, and let’s not get into Thomas’ mega-deal that has three more years on it.
The Bobcats have $43 million in salary commitments for next season so they have lots of room to absorb contract dollars before hitting the salary cap. Adding a serious veteran player seems to be more appealing than adding a young guy in the draft.
If the Cats can move off some roster luggage in a deal, they’d do it… the question is will Memphis part with Rudy Gay? Will Houston part with Kevin Martin? Will Philadelphia part with Andre Iguodala for the 2nd pick, some roster toss-ins and the ability to off load some cap cash? The Cats do hold the 31st pick to toss in as grease, but even that pick might not be enough to swing a serious deal.
The Bobcats don’t have a deal in place, but expect over the next 14 days that they will try extremely hard to craft one.
The odds that Charlotte picks a player they will keep with the 2nd pick are extremely slim. The more likely scenario is they are picking someone else’s player at #2 and making a deal in July once the new salary cap numbers are set and they can absorb some contract dollars in a trade for a proven veteran.
The Enigma Of Tony Wroten: Washington guard Tony Wroten is an electric player. He has a knack for scoring the ball, despite being a less than a stellar shooter. Wroten is extremely turnover prone, averaging more turnovers than assists last year so there are real questions about his draft value. Some scouts dismiss him as a possible first round player, others point to his upside.
Tony talked about that and more at the NBA Draft Combine, take a look at what he had to say:
The latest HOOPSWORLD Mock Draft has Wroten going in the second round with the 38th pick to Denver.
The 2012 NBA Draft is set for June 28th in Newark.
The Hornets’ Sale Is Complete: The NBA Board of Governors officially approved the sale of the New Orleans Hornets to Tom Benson yesterday. The final purchase price is believed to be in the $338 million range. The NBA bought out former owner George Shinn in December of 2010 for what was a reported to be $315 million and assumption of some debt.
Benson will not officially take over control of the team, although his staffers have been part of the Hornets draft workouts and meetings for some time.
The Hornets hold the top overall pick, which will almost assuredly be used on Kentucky big man Anthony Davis. The Hornets also hold the 10th pick, an asset the team has been dangling in trade.
The Hornets have $36.6 million in salary commitments for next year that includes the $13.49 million owed to Emeka Okafor. Okafor has next year and one additional year left on his contract worth $14.48 million.
The generally belief around the NBA is that a team willing to take on Okafor could nab the 10th pick for not much in return.
Sources close to the process say a few teams have inquired, but that a deal does not seem close on any front.
The Hornets have worked out draft prospects projected to be on the board in the 10th pick range including Tyler Zeller, Austin Rivers, John Henson, Meyers Leonard, Arnett Moultrie, Terrence Jones, Jeremy Lamb and Terrence Ross.
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