Word on the Street: Draft Day Rumblings (3:20 PM EST)

Word on the Street: Draft Day Rumblings (3:20 PM EST)
Jun 26, 2008, 02:53 pm
-Stop by tonight, as we'll be showing each pick live as it happens on our draft board...the link is right here

Milwaukee and New Jersey Complete Trade?

Two NBA teams are telling us they hear that a trade is complete between Milwaukee and New Jersey. The Nets would send the Bucks Richard Jefferson in exchange for Yi Jianlian and Bobby Simmons. Milwaukee would fill the biggest need on their roster at the SF position, and may be free now to take the best player on their board--possibly Russell Westbrook.

Country Before Draft

Being the patriotic website we are, we will start with an exclusive look at the USA Select Team, courtesy of a “piece of paper we found on the floor,” which just happens to have the entire roster, plus the alternates. This is the group of players which could possibly graduate onto the next crop of invites to the USA Men’s Senior National Team, after the Olympics. The players will scrimmage against the senior team this summer to help them prepare for the Olympics in Beijing.

Point Guard: Rodney Stuckey, Derrick Rose
Shooting Guard: Kevin Martin
Small Forward: Andre Iguodala, Jeff Green
Power Forward: Al Horford, Kevin Durant
Center: LaMarcus Aldridge, Al Jefferson

Alternates: O.J. Mayo, Rajon Rondo, Kendrick Perkins, Monta Ellis, Devin Harris

Also invited were Brandon Roy, who will be resting this summer and finishing up his degree at the University of Washington, and David West, who wants to rest after an extremely long season. They will still be in the mix for the future.

Draft-Day Scuttlebutt

-Memphis is in the words of one NBA executive “doing everything in their power to trade their pick.” The team doesn’t have any real preference regarding where they are heading in, as they are “calling everybody in the league,” looking to move up or down, trying to get veterans primarily, while also possibly trying to move down. One trade that they reportedly offered was Mike Conley to Portland in exchange for the #13 pick, Sergio Rodriguez and Travis Outlaw. Another offer was to Detroit: the #5 and filler for Rodney Stuckey, which was rejected. If Memphis keeps the pick, we’re hearing they like Eric Gordon, as well as Kevin Love.

-Houston may trade out of the first round, according to reports we received from a team drafting in the 20’s. If Courtney Lee is not available at their pick (25), they may trade down with Minnesota and acquire the #31 and #34 picks. They are also talking with other teams.

-Rumors that Houston will trade up to the 18th pick in exchange for Luther Head and the #25 have been called “completely false” by sources with knowledge of the situation. The Wizards like Roger Mason much more than Luther Head and don’t consider him any kind of upgrade to what they have already.

There is "lots of interest in the #18 pick" though.

-Several teams indicated to us that their intel indicates that the LA Clippers have Eric Gordon ranked ahead of Jerryd Bayless on their board. Gordon’s agent Rob Pelinka is reportedly telling teams that his client doesn’t get past Memphis at 5 at worst. If Bayless slips past 7, he will likely be available with the 10th or 11th pick. This could indeed be all the Portland Trailblazers need to pull the trigger on the rumored trade sending the #13 pick to New Jersey plus a player for the #10 pick. The Trailblazers have been high on Bayless all season long.

-Making things even more interesting are the rumors that the New Jersey Nets have Anthony Randolph ranked first amongst all realistic available prospects on their board. If Bayless and Augustin get to 10, then New Jersey could easily swap picks with Portland, pick up a player like Jarrett Jack, and still land Randolph at 13. Bayless would go 11 to Indiana in that scenario, while Sacramento would celebrate as D.J. Augustin miraculously fell to them at 12.

If Portland keeps the pick, we hear they like Donte Greene as the perfect replacement to James Jones, who just opted out of his contract.

-At 9, there appears to be a split in Charlotte’s front office regarding whether to take Russell Westbrook (if he’s there) or D.J. Augustin. Head coach Larry Brown apparently favors Augustin, while part-owner Michael Jordan reportedly likes Westbrook. Look for Jordan to win this one. Westbrook has a chance to go 4, 5, or 6, and doesn’t get past 9 according to his camp.

-Most teams we talk to are indicating that they don’t anticipate any trades happening at the top of the draft, and that all the talk about Michael Beasley slipping past Miami are nothing more than “smoke and mirrors” in the words of one executive. We’re still waiting to hear if Minnesota will be O.J. Mayo’s final destination as anticipated. Multiple teams told us that Kevin Love has a minor issue that came up in a physical with his knee, which is not expected to affect his draft stock or ability to play in the short or long-term. A text message sent to his agent about this issue was not returned.

-There appear to be a great deal of rumors being discussed about Darrell Arthur’s health, both in the lead up to this draft and today. He was reported to have a problem with his back and then his hamstring—which sidelined him for about a week during workouts. Those were minor issues. There were also media reports that Arthur has a kidney problem, which his camp has denied, and was also refuted by an NBA team we spoke with that tested him. The latest talk is that he may have a minor stress fracture in his knee that does not require surgery, but that he has not had an issue playing with. This is not a huge issue according to multiple teams we talked to. An email sent to a member of his camp about this issue was not immediately returned.

-Nicolas Batum will almost certainly get drafted by San Antonio if he’s there, as we reported last night. The Cleveland Cavaliers and Spurs are still the only teams that have his physical, and the two are reportedly in cahoots with each other to help keep it away from the rest of the league. The top of Cleveland’s front office is made up of two former Spurs execs—Danny Ferry and Lance Blanks, so the connection here is pretty obvious.

We may be back with more rumors later, so keep stopping by.

-Don't forget to check us out on NBATV tonight at midnight EST.

-We chatted with the Washington Post this morning.

-15 Questions with Jonathan Givony on RaptorsHQ

Recent articles

Twitter @DraftExpress

DraftExpress Shop