NBA AM: Trade Chatter Of Draft Day
Rapid Fire Rumors: With the NBA Draft just a few hours away, there is a lot of talk circulating and that does not always mean there is a deal to be made, but that’s not going to stop teams from trying.
Here is some of the latest:
Dwight Howard If the Orlando Magic are going to trade Dwight Howard… his side of the equation knows nothing about it. The Orlando Magic have maintained from day one of the new leadership in Orlando that retaining Dwight Howard was the top priority and while several teams have lined up assets to make an offer, the Magic do not seem poised to do a deal involving Dwight today or even this week.
The Houston Rockets do have eyes for Howard and are trying amass such a pile of picks and players that the Magic would be insane not to consider it, but sources also point out that while Howard is #1 on their list of guys they are also active on a number of other fronts, including talks with Philadelphia, the Lakers and the Grizzlies trying to pry away two quality players.
Want Some Zach? It seems that the player the Memphis Grizzlies want to move is not Rudy Gay, rather it’s Zach Randolph. The problem is, Zach is owed $16.50 million this upcoming season and has two years after that worth $17.80 million and $16.50 million as a Player Option. The Grizz may want to move Zach, but that’s a massive contract for a guy that’s not exactly the slimmest guy in the NBA.
There has been talk that the Grizz could offer Zach Randolph to the Lakers in exchange for Pau Gasol. If a Randolph deal goes down, that’s the kind of transaction that gets it done.
Gasol is owed $19 million this upcoming season and $19 million the following, meaning the Grizz would be taking on salary in the deal.
Thunder Moving Up? Talk of the Oklahoma City Thunder moving up into the top of the 2012 NBA Draft is highly overstated. Would the Thunder have liked to have moved up? Sure. They had those talks in and around the Draft Combine, but nothing came from them.
The Thunder do plan to keep and use their 28th pick, but the odds that they are even remotely close to a deal to move up is greatly overstated.
Raptors Frontrunners for Nash? The Houston Rockets have been trying to pry away the #8 overall pick from the Toronto Raptors however their offer of Kyle Lowry and one of the picks in the teens that the Rockets hold apparently wasn’t enough to get a deal done.
Sources near that process say that Toronto has been given serious signals from Steve Nash that they could land him in free agency, so much so that acquiring Lowry is not something the Raptors feel they need.
Nash has professed all week that he has made no Free Agency decisions and plans to listen to everyone on Sunday; however, if the Raptors are turning away Kyle Lowry and a draft pick, either they really don’t like Lowry or they have something more lined up with Nash.
Pacers Backing Up The Brinks Truck: Word from the draft process is that Hornets guard Eric Gordon is wavering on his interest in a long-term deal in New Orleans and that his preferred destination is the Indiana Pacers.
Apparently the affections for Gordon are mutual as sources close to the new Pacers front office say that they will make a “sizable” offer to Eric Gordon in hopes of either forcing a sign-and-trade with the Hornets or landing him outright.
Sources near the process in New Orleans say that while building around Eric Gordon has always been the plan, they are not about to tie up major money in a guy that clearly does not want to be there.
The Pacers looks to have as much as $21 million to play with in free agency, the question is how much will Gordon cost in cash, and in order to get New Orleans out of the way will it also cost the Pacers Paul George?
The Hornets are not open to taking back large long-term contracts so a sign-and-trade would have to be built around guys on rookie deals.
A Little Honesty From John Henson: John Henson has been locked into the Detroit Pistons at #9 for most of the draft process. Yesterday while talking with the media he said what everyone in the room has been thinking — he has struggled to put on weight and is too skinny, but he still believes he can play in the NBA and be effective.
The Mock In USA Today For the last five years I have handled the Mock Draft responsibilities for USA Today, and while filing the Mock some 30 hours before the draft always makes for missed trades, changes in direction and all together missed picks. I never try to run from my picks, so with that in mind here is how my Mock Draft in today’s USA Today looked:
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