Tag:NBA Draft
Posted on: June 24, 2009 6:12 pm
Edited on: June 24, 2009 6:22 pm

Trade Buzz 2.0

Here’s your second cup of pre-draft trade buzz of the day. In case you missed it, the first cup is here. One more cup, and you will have consumed as many cups of trade buzz as I’ve consumed coffee today:

• The Trail Blazers, known to be seeking an upgrade at point guard, have expressed interest in the Bulls’ Kirk Hinrich. But a possible Portland-Chicago trade involving Hinrich has yet to enter the realm of serious discussion, according to a person familiar with the situation. While there has been speculation for months that the Bulls would be open to moving Tyrus Thomas, who has been linked to Hinrich in a possible Portland trade, Thomas has been told there’s “nothing at all” on the table involving him at this point, the person said.

• The Suns are hoping to pry Oklahoma City’s 25th overall pick, using a 2010 unprotected first-rounder as bait.

• The Knicks, convinced they cannot land Davidson guard Stephen Curry with the eighth pick, continue to actively explore ways to move up. New York also has engaged in talks with Minnesota about acquiring the 28th pick and Memphis about No. 27.

• We’ve already told you about the Atlanta-Golden State trade that would send Jamal Crawford to Atlanta – a trade I don’t really understand. Crawford is owed more than $19 million over the next two seasons and isn’t a natural point guard (and thus can’t be viewed as a reasonable replacement for unrestricted free agent Mike Bibby). Do the Hawks hate the $7.4 million owed to Speedy Claxton and Acie Law so much that they’re willing to try to force-fit Crawford into an offense already dominated by Joe Johnson and Josh Smith? There must be something more to this.

• Loyal BergerSphere readers also are aware that the Blazers and Mavericks have swapped the 24th and 22nd picks, respectively, with Portland giving up one of its four second-round picks -- 56th overall -- for the right to move up two spots.

Back with more -- and back to the coffee pot -- as needed.
Posted on: June 24, 2009 5:28 pm
Edited on: June 25, 2009 9:01 am

Mavs, Blazers swap picks (UPDATE)

The Trail Blazers and Mavericks have agreed to swap first-round picks, with Portland sending its 24th and 56th selections to Dallas for the 22nd pick, a person with knowledge of the deal told CBSSports.com Wednesday.

The 56th pick was the last of Portland's four second-round picks. They still have Nos. 33, 38, and 55.

UPDATE: The Mavs also get a second-rounder in 2010.
Category: NBA
Posted on: June 24, 2009 9:41 am
Edited on: June 24, 2009 6:23 pm

Another Rondo rumor; Knicks' Plan B

Here's your morning cup of rumors and draft buzz. One or two sugars?

* Despite Danny Ainge's semi-denials about trading Rajon Rondo, another rumor sprouted overnight -- this one in Marc Spears' blog at BostonGlobe.com. Citing an Eastern Conference GM, the Globe reported that the proposed deal was Rondo and forward Brian Scalabrine to Memphis for guard Mike Conley and swingman Rudy Gay. But the report also pointed out that another GM who asked Ainge about Rondo was told Ainge didn't want to trade him. My sense is that Ainge is simply doing his job -- extracting offers and finding out what his players are worth. But if you notice in Ainge's comments from Tuesday, he never directly denied that the organization discussed trading Rondo and Ray Allen to Detroit for Richard Hamilton, Tayshaun Prince, and Rodney Stuckey. He merely ridiculed the report and said he wasn't going to trade Rondo because he was late for a playoff game. OK, then ... maybe for another reason. But seriously, my assessment is that Rondo stays put. As someone with close ties to the point guard told me, "Rondo's not going anywhere."

* Having been trumped by the Timberwolves' successful bid for Washington's No. 5 pick, the Knicks reportedly have taken aim at Oklahoma City's No. 3 selection. As noted Tuesday, Donnie Walsh's target is Davidson's Stephen Curry, whom Mike D'Antoni envisions as the kind of play-maker and scorer who would ignite his spread-the-floor, pick-and-roll offense. The scenario was floated by the Racine Journal-Times, which also notes that the Bucks are planning to use the No. 10 pick on Syracuse point guard Jonny Flynn. That means veteran point guard Luke Ridnour is on his way out.

* If the Thunder keep the third pick and wind up with Spanish point guard Ricky Rubio, the team's current point guard -- Russell Westbrook -- will be none too pleased. Asked by ESPN The Magazine about moving to shooting guard to allow Rubio to play the point, Westbrook's response was as follows: "You trippin'."

* Oklahoma City also is reportedly offering its 25th overall pick to Phoenix for the 14th and the unprotected 2010 pick the Suns lost in the Kurt Thomas trade two years ago. Thunder GM Sam Presti is said to be targeting Ohio State center B.J. Mullens.

* The Bucks' decision to dump salary by trading Richard Jefferson to the Spurs could affect the Cavaliers' plans to get LeBron James some help. Cavs GM Danny Ferry is said to be targeting Bucks forward Charlie Villanueva, whom Milwaukee is in a better position to re-sign without Jefferson's $29.2 million over the next two seasons. To re-sign both Villanueva and Ramon Sessions, Bucks GM John Hammond may need to move Ridnour, too.

* All you Joe Dumars bashers are about to find out that you don't criticize NBA trades until all the pieces are finalized. After buying out Fabricio Oberto (acquired from Milwaukee for Amir Johnson on Tuesday), Dumars will have $18-$20 million to spend on free agents this summer. Carlos Boozer or Hedo Turkoglu might find what Dumars has to offer rather enticing, considering the Pistons currently have only three players under contract for 2010-11. That means plenty of space to add another marquee free agent in the mother of all free-agent summers.

* As we discussed previously, Ty Lawson worked out Tuesday for the Trail Blazers, who continue to covet a point guard and are said to be angling for a higher pick -- perhaps Minnesota's fifth or sixth. Philadelphia, with the 17th pick, also is high on Lawson.

* Behind-the-scenes news here, but interesting nonetheless: Denver's Carmelo Anthony is close to joining LeBron James in the stable of super-agent Leon Rose, according to the Denver Post. Melo is leaving Bill Duffy Associates.

Category: NBA
Posted on: June 23, 2009 11:13 pm
Edited on: June 24, 2009 6:24 pm

T-Wolves are on the clock (UPDATE)

The keys to the draft are now tucked neatly in the hands of the Minnesota Timberwolves.

A flurry of pre-draft trade activity on Tuesday left Minnesota’s new GM, David Kahn, with four first-round picks – including the fifth and sixth – with clear designs on using at least two of them to move as high as needed to snag Spanish point guard Ricky Rubio or UConn center Hasheem Thabeet.

Or both.

The next 10 picks after the Clippers take Blake Griffin are no longer a bore. And if this works out the way Kahn envisions, neither are the Timberwolves.

To recap: Pending league approval, Minnesota has agreed to acquire Washington’s No. 5 overall pick along with Etan Thomas, Oleksiy Pecherov and Darius Songaila for Randy Foye and Mike Miller. With the fifth, sixth, 18th, and 28th picks, Minnesota is far from finished. A person familiar with the team’s plans said Minnesota is loaded for a run at Rubio, the gifted but raw 18-year-old point guard, and Thabeet, the 7-3 shot-blocker who would finally replace Kevin Garnett’s inside presence. “In a perfect world, both,” said the person with knowledge of Minnesota’s master plan.

Either way, this sends shivers through the Sacramento front office, which seemed to be hoping Rubio would be available with the No. 4 pick. Even more so, Kahn appears to have trumped his former boss with the Indiana Pacers, Knicks president Donnie Walsh, who has done a commendable job persuading some rival executives to believe that coach Mike D’Antoni wanted Rubio. But as much as Rubio’s play-making skills could energize D’Antoni’s free-wheeling, pick-and-roll offense, the player the Knicks covet is Davidson’s Stephen Curry, according to a high-level management source with knowledge of the team’s plans. But the Knicks believe they may not be able to land Curry with the eighth pick, as evidenced by their serious talks with Washington about the No. 5 selection – talks that stalled, according to a person familiar with them, when the Wizards balked at taking back Jared Jeffries and his $6.9 million player option for 2010-11.

Minnesota had to give up two proven commodities in Foye and Miller, and the deal came together like a perfect storm because of Washington’s desire to add veterans to its core of Gilbert Arenas, Caron Butler, and Antawn Jamison. The Wizards entertained numerous offers for the fifth pick, even exploring a deal with Phoenix that would’ve yielded Amare Stoudemire. They backed away from that one when the Suns asked for Butler.

In a draft in which team executives see no can’t-miss stars after Griffin, the Wizards didn’t want or need to pay a lottery pick to join a team that management believes is ready to contend now with a veteran roster and experienced coach, Flip Saunders. The trade also accomplished the Wizards’ goals of creating a roster spot and not taking back any salary beyond next season. The impact on Washington’s 2010-11 payroll is a wash.

The day began with a report that the Celtics had engaged in low-level discussions with the Pistons about a blockbuster scenario that would’ve sent Rajon Rondo and Ray Allen to Detroit for a package including Richard Hamilton, Tayshaun Prince, and Rodney Stuckey. The talks never went anywhere, but sparked league-wide curiosity about Boston management’s level of discontent with Rondo.

The Spurs struck first in what is shaping up to be a frenzied trading period, acquiring Richard Jefferson from Milwaukee for Bruce Bowen, Kurt Thomas, and Fabricio Oberto. It was a clear sign that the Spurs are determined to make at least one more championship run with their core of Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, and Manu Ginobili. For Milwaukee, acquiring $11.3 million in contracts that expire after next season clears cap space to re-sign promising guard Ramon Sessions.

Oberto was, in turn, sent to Detroit for Amir Johnson as the Pistons continue obliterating their roster in preparation for the 2010 free-agent frenzy. Joe Dumars now has only three players under contract for 2010-11 – Prince, Stuckey, and Arron Affalo. UPDATE: The Pistons plan to buy out Oberto, thus trimming more payroll for next season.

So, welcome to the 2009 NBA draft, a.k.a. the new trade deadline.
Posted on: June 22, 2009 6:33 pm
Edited on: June 22, 2009 10:08 pm

Draft buzz and Amare trade talks (UPDATE)

This is the one time of year when the job of an NBA executive doesn't differ much from that of an NBA writer. Half the job is trying to separate the real buzz from the B.S.

In my efforts to do so, here is what I think I know with about 72 hours left before Thursday night's draft, coming from NBA executives who think they know:

* The Wizards are as strong a bet as any team in the top eight to trade down from their current perch at No. 5. Facing luxury-tax consequences and needing to open up a roster spot, the Wiz are considering numerous scenarios. Two people familiar with the talks confirmed that Washington discussed swapping the No. 5 and No. 14 picks with Phoenix in a trade that would've sent Amare Stoudemire to the Wizards. Phoenix also would've gotten one of the Wizards' young guards -- either Nick Young or Javaris Crittenton. But Washington walked away when the Suns asked for Caron Butler.

* Word is that Portland is extremely active in its attempts to trade up from No. 24 to an area from 8-14, where the Blazers are confident they could land a point guard. Portland hosted North Carolina's Ty Lawson for a workout Monday. A person familiar with the situation said the Blazers explored a trade involving the Suns' No. 14 pick. That deal also would've involved Stoudemire, a scenario that would've presented billionaire Paul Allen with three max players to pay over the next few years -- Stoudemire, Brandon Roy, and LaMarcus Aldridge. Those are big-ticket items, even for Allen.

* The Timberwolves, who have three first-round picks, appear to be positioning themselves to move up from the sixth spot and assure themselves a shot at Ricky Rubio. A deal with Memphis, which has the No. 2 pick, isn't out of the question. Another scenario has Minnesota involved with the Wizards in a deal that would send Washington's No. 5 pick to Minnesota. The T-Wolves would then have the ultimate flexibility -- knowing they could get Tyreke Evans or Hasheem Thabeet with the fifth or sixth pick if Rubio is gone and knowing they could parlay the fifth and sixth picks in a deal with Memphis to move up.

* Other than Minnesota, the team in the top 10 that appears the most motivated to move up is the Knicks, although trade talks with Washington involving Larry Hughes are accurate only from the standpoint that Jared Jeffries isn't involved; the Wizards aren't interested in adding money beyond next season. The Knicks, who pick eighth, clearly covet Rubio and Stephen Curry and have the assets to assure themselves a shot at one of them by trading up.

* Rubio is generating the most curiosity among team executives who are monitoring his situation, particularly with regard to Sacramento. It's widely known that Dan Fegan, who represents Rubio and Jrue Holiday, hired an agent who used to work for Jason Levien, the Kings' assistant GM who left the agent business last year to join Geoff Petrie in Sacramento. Levien's clients went to three different agencies, including Fegan's. If Rubio winds up going to Sacramento with the fourth pick, it will provide plenty of ammunition for conspiracy theorists who believe Levien's relationship with Fegan was the deciding factor. But one Eastern Conference executive described the situation more as "familiarity" between Fegan and Levien and between Levien and the international basketball community. Levien worked for agent Lon Babby when the Kings drafted Hedo Turkoglu, who at the time was the only Turkish player in the NBA.

* One executive said the most fluid players appear to be Holiday (who worked out poorly in his first visit with the Knicks), Earl Clark, and Demar DeRozan. "If they don't go early," the exec said, "they might be starting to slip and slide."

* Take the Magic's insistence that they will pay luxury tax to keep Turkoglu with a grain of salt, one exec urged. "All that means is there's no way they're going to be able to keep him," he said. Babby, Turkoglu's agent, said during the NBA Finals that Turkoglu already has decided to opt out of his contract and test the unrestricted free agent market, where he will generate enormous interest.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com