NBA PM: 2013 Draft News and Notes
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The 2013 NBA Draft is quickly approaching and teams are zeroing in on players that they want to target. Teams are also starting to decide if they’ll buy a pick or sell a pick.
Here are some news and notes pertaining to the draft:
• The Phoenix Suns have been holding workout after workout in the weeks leading up to the draft. They have already worked out Ben McLemore, Victor Oladipo, Trey Burke, Shabazz Muhammad, Cody Zeller, Michael Carter-Williams, Mason Plumlee, Tony Mitchell, Ricky Ledo and Archie Goodwin among others. New Suns general manager Ryan McDonough is considered one of the best talent evaluators in the NBA, and he wants to see just about everyone in his facility before draft night.
• Mouhammadou Jaiteh is one of the most intriguing players in the draft. There aren’t many 18 years old who are 6’11 and 250 lbs. While he’s very raw, he’s an impressive athlete and has an NBA frame. However, Jaiteh may not be in this draft class for much longer. While Jaiteh has worked out for several teams, he may pull out of the draft. Jaiteh wants a first-round commitment from a team. If he doesn’t receive one, he’ll remain in France next season and enter the 2014 draft instead. Jaiteh has to make a decision before June 15, so keep an eye out for updates in the next two days.
• If the Oklahoma City Thunder keep the 29th pick, they’ll likely stash their selection in the NBA Development League for most of the season. This isn’t a huge surprise, considering their 2012-13 rookies Jeremy Lamb and Perry Jones III spent a significant amount of time in the D-League as well. The Thunder aren’t keeping this a secret, informing players and agents of this plan to gauge how they would feel about that type of situation. Oklahoma City also has the 12th pick in the draft.
• Kentavious Caldwell-Pope has been climbing draft boards lately. He’s a pure scorer who shouldn’t have any problem transitioning to the next level. Teams are realizing that he had to do everything at Georgia, and he still put impressive numbers without much help. If you put some NBA-level talent around him, he should be significantly better. Caldwell-Pope craves coaching and has worked out well with teams, which is why his stock continues to rise. He has a lot of fans around the NBA, so don’t be surprised if he goes higher than previously expected on draft night.
• The rumors about the Dallas Mavericks wanting to trade the 13th pick are accurate. Dallas doesn’t want to pay guaranteed money to a lottery pick and they’d love to package Shawn Marion with the pick because they are hoping to be active in free agency this summer. The Mavericks are very high on Michael Carter-Williams so if they keep the pick, he’ll likely be their top target. However, they’d love to move it in the coming weeks.
• The Los Angeles Lakers are doing their due diligence, despite the fact that they only have one pick in this year’s draft. They hold the No. 48 pick in the draft, but they have met with plenty of players. At the draft combine in Chicago, they interviewed a lot of players and had them fill out a questionnaire. In recent weeks, they have also worked out a number of players including B.J. Young, Kenny Kadji, Dewayne Dedmon, Peyton Siva, C.J. Harris, Brandon Triche, Colton Iverson, Jack Cooley, Arsalan Kazemi and Tyler Brown among others.
• The Philadelphia 76ers are one of several teams that are interested in acquiring a late first-round pick, according to sources close to the situation. If Philadelphia doesn’t select a center with the 11th pick, they may try to acquire one of the final picks in the first round to select a big. In recent weeks, they have expressed interest in a number of centers projected in that range such as Brazilian center Lucas Nogueira and French center Mouhammadou Jaiteh among others.
• Seth Curry has started working out at the renowned IMG Academy in Bradenton, FL. Curry played much of last season injured, and underwent surgery on his right shin in mid-April. The 22-year-old point guard was rehabbing at Duke and now he’s starting to train and resume basketball activities. Curry attended the draft combine in Chicago several weeks ago, but he was only able to interview with teams. Curry has been sensational shooting the ball at IMG, but his size is still a concern for a lot of teams. If he does get drafted, he’ll be a late second-round pick, especially because he has been limited throughout this process. However, he’s a guy to keep an eye on during summer league if he’s able to participate.
Jermaine O’Neal Plans to Play Next Season
A number of teams came through to see him including the Los Angeles Lakers, Miami HEAT and Phoenix Suns, and Phoenix eventually signed him to a one-year deal worth the veteran’s minimum.
Now, O’Neal will once again be an unrestricted free agent. Rather than retiring and putting his time and energy into several of his successful businesses (which is something he had considered doing in the past), he has decided to sign another deal.
However, this time around, he’ll likely have multiple teams looking to sign him and he’ll be able to pick where he goes, rather than settling with the one team that makes him an offer.
“I will look at all the opportunities and decide on which one best fits me and feels the best starting July 1st,” O’Neal tweeted this afternoon.
The reason O’Neal will attract more teams this summer is because he was extremely productive with the Suns last season at 34 years old. O’Neal averaged 8.3 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.4 blocks in 18.7 minutes for the season. When his playing time increased to 21.7 minutes per game in February, O’Neal averaged 11.4 points, 8.5 rebounds and 1.9 blocks off of the bench. Also, O’Neal put up those numbers in a somewhat dysfunctional situation in Phoenix. What would he do on a team of veterans that didn’t make a coaching change midway through the season?
O’Neal will weigh all of his options, including a return to Phoenix, and then make his decision in several weeks. He may want to join a contender this summer, since he has yet to win a ring in his career.
Regardless of where he lands, don’t be surprised if he has another productive season in him. He felt much better after receiving Orthokine therapy on his knees, as evidenced by his play last year, and he’ll have the same procedure this offseason.
O’Neal’s impressive 2012-13 season should ensure that he won’t have to hold any more workouts to showcase himself since he has already shown that he still has something left in the tank.