NBA@2: NBA Draft Combine Trade Rumors
The entire NBA world has gathered in Chicago this week for the annual draft combine, meaning most of the league’s executives are here talking about who they want to draft and which picks they want to trade. With that in mind, here’s a rundown of some of the rumors making their way around the combine.
The Number Two Pick
The second-best player in this draft class – or perhaps the best – is Kansas power forward Thomas Robinson. It seems strange, then, that the Charlotte Bobcats, who own the second pick in the draft, haven’t even reached out to Robinson’s camp. No phone call, no interview scheduled, no workout request. It starts to make sense, though, when you learn that the Bobcats are actively shopping the pick, and have no intention of drafting number two. According to several league sources, the Bobcats are looking for a star-caliber player and will only move the pick to a team willing to take on bad contracts like that of Tyrus Thomas or Gana Diop.
The Golden State Warriors
The Warriors have four picks in this year’s draft, and are looking to get rid of at least one, if not several, of those picks. They own the seventh overall pick and will get a game-changer with that, but they have little or no interest in adding even more young players to the mix. If they can’t find a deal that unloads multiple picks, expect them to take a European player who won’t be coming to America any time soon as a way of deferring the selection. If Terrence Jones is on the board, a small forward who just measured in with a 6’10″ wingspan, he makes a lot of sense for Golden State.
The Houston Rockets
The Rockets own the 14th and 16th picks in the draft, and have no intention of using either one. They would like to package the picks and assets to move into the lottery or to acquire a franchise player like Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol or perhaps Chris Bosh, should he become available. One way or the other, if the Rockets actually use the 14th and/or 16th picks it will mean they were unsuccessful in their exhaustive efforts to make a deal.
The Number Ten Pick
The New Orleans Hornets are actively shopping the tenth pick, looking to either move up or move out, though the cost is said to be steep. The team acquiring the tenth pick would have to take back either Emeka Okafor or Trevor Ariza, as well as sending something significant to the Hornets.
University of North Carolina small forward Harrison Barnes is best friends with Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving. He also fills the Cavaliers’ need at small forward. We’re being told the Cavaliers are a lock to take Barnes with the fourth overall pick.
The Sacramento Kings
The Kings are absolutely in love with Harrison Barnes, but barring a trade to move up, he won’t be on the board when they get their shot with the fifth pick. If Barnes is gone, sources close to the Kings tell us they will go for size and shot-blocking. They like John Henson, but the fifth pick is a little too high for the UNC forward. There’s been talk of moving DeMarcus Cousins to the four, so the Kings could very well opt to select Andre Drummond at five. Drummond has all the tools to be the next great NBA center, but the question is whether or not anyone can get him to take the game seriously and play hard enough to realize his enormous potential. The Kings could also very easily go Michael Kidd-Gilchrist at five if they do as many expect and move Tyreke Evans. If that happens, expect the Portland Trail Blazers to snap up Drummond at six.
One player who certainly hasn’t helped himself in this process is Baylor small forward Quincy Miller, who came off of ACL surgery during his senior year of high school but had a strong start to his freshman season at Baylor. After that he struggled, and he has struggled in drills here in Chicago, as well. The buzz from several NBA front office sources is that Miller may have played himself out of the first round.
On the flip side, we have Memphis guard Will Barton, who has been even more impressive in his team interviews than he has been on the basketball court. Sources close to the situation tell HOOPSWORLD that Barton has even had a couple of interviews with lottery teams, and while the lottery might be a little high for Barton, he has been that impressive in Chicago. What seems more likely, though, is that a lottery team who talks to Barton is looking at him with a secondary pick.
Some Players On The Move
There is also a lot of buzz here about NBA veterans who are likely to be moved or at least discussed at length on draft night. The Dwight Howard story is still predominant, and multiple executives have expressed surprise that the Magic are taking so long to choose their leadership with so much on the line heading into the draft. Rudy Gay wants out of Memphis, and dealing him seems to be the way for Memphis to solve some cap issues as they look to keep OJ Mayo this summer. Andre Iguodala is very much in play, and the Sixers are also said to be strongly considering using the amnesty provision on Elton Brand, thus making themselves major players in free agency this summer.
Stay tuned to HOOPSWORLD for ongoing exhaustive coverage of the 2012 NBA Draft Combine from Chicago.
NBA Draft: Darius Johnson-Odom
At first glance, Darius Johnson-Odom isn’t much. He has a Mr. T personality and doesn’t do much to change that first impression the more you talk to him. That said, in talking to league executives who have seem him work out, most would love to have him on their side . . .at least in a bar fight. He’s as tough a defender as you’ll find at his position and seems to reside inside the jersey of whoever he is assigned to defend. There are still questions, however, about whether or not he has the size to play the two or the skills to play point. Here’s a look at “DJO” from his media availability in Chicago:
Marcus Denmon is a solid shooting guard, but an even better person. Listed at 6’3″ he’s likely to have to make the move from shooting guard to point guard, which may prove to be his biggest challenge in making the jump from college to the pros. Here’s a look at Missouri guard Marcus Denmon from his media availability in Chicago: