Word on the Street: the Home Stretch

Word on the Street: the Home Stretch
Jun 20, 2005, 09:33 pm
Trade rumors, promises, players pulling out and more dominate our latest edition of “Word on the Street”. Diogu staying in, Jack pulling out and more of the latest on else is on the fence, all the latest trade rumors, Gerald Green in Portland, an update on Fran Vazquez and Andrew Bynum and much more in what is shaping up as possibly the craziest draft ever.

In or Out?

The latest word we’ve received from Underclassmen, Non-1983 International prospects and their agents/advisors:

Ike Diogu- Diogu is staying in the draft “100%” according to a reliable source close to him. He has workouts scheduled with Charlotte on the 22nd, the Lakers on the 24th and the Warriors on the 25th. Despite staying in the draft, Diogu cancelled a workout with the Timberwolves today (the 20th) and a workout with the Raptors tomorrow, claiming that he wasn’t feeling well. Speculation of a promise from the Suns is already swirling.

Jarrett Jack- One NBA team we spoke to has been informed that Jarrett Jack pulled his name out of the draft. Despite the progress that has been made recently, Jack is still worried about the possibility of a lockout next year, and therefore has decided to play it safe and return to college for his senior year. Jack cancelled a workout today with the Grizzlies.

Roko Leni-Ukic- According to Ukic himself, he is staying in “100%”. He had two back to back workouts this past weekend for the Raptors and Celtics, and has since worked out with Miami before traveling to Phoenix today to work out for them tomorrow. He also has another workout scheduled with Memphis. Contrary to reports, Ukic has received no guarantees that he’ll be drafted by anyone at this point. Other teams that are interested in checking him out are the Warriors, Lakers and Clippers.

Erazem Lorbek- His agent David Bauman informed us that Lorbek will not pull out of the draft. “He will stay in the Draft and we will try to direct him to the best team for him and try to find a club that will help his development. He likely would prefer to stay in Europe for 1 more year to keep playing at a high level and to work on his game. There are teams in late first who have asked about him and might want to draft him and keep him in Europe to save cap space and the like. Regardless, first or second round, he's in.”

Nemanja Aleksandrov- According to his agent David Bauman, Nemanja is fishing for a promise in Top 20 to stay in. As of right now, they have not received one. Even if he does, he will stay in Europe next year to develop and rehab his knee. According to our sources, if Nemanja does stay in, look for him to be drafted by Boston, Memphis, Phoenix or Denver.

Tiras Wade- Wade has hired an agent and will not be returning to Louisiana Lafayette next year. Wade is expected to be picked anywhere between 25-40 in the draft.

Carl Krauser- According to his advisor, who’s name we have no reason to reveal, Krauser will pull out of the draft and return to Pitt next season. He was fishing for guaranteed money to keep his name in the draft, but did not find it and will therefore return for his senior season.

Kosta Perovic- Perovic is pulling his name out of the draft according to BDA Management.

Rudy Fernandez- Fernandez worked out for the Phoenix Suns this weekend, but according to sources cancelled workouts scheduled with the Supersonics today (a sprained ankle was the official explanation) and Nuggets yesterday. His decision to pull out of the draft or not will most likely hinge on a promise he is hoping to get from a team drafting in the top 20. If he does not get it, look for him to pull his name out. Discussions with teams are still in progress.

Viktor Keirou- According to his agent Doug Neustadt, Keirou will be pulling his name out of the draft. “Viktor wants to be guaranteed a spot in the 1st round. We feel like that with the way things stand, his best chance for that will definitely be next year.”

Jose Juan Barea- According to his advisor, Barea will pull his name out of the draft and return to Northeastern next year. Barea and his family put a large emphasis on education, and he wants to get his degree. He would not have been a first rounder anyway.

Deji Akindele- According to a source close to him, Deji is leaning towards keeping his name in the draft. Akindele, who will be 23 next year, feels that he won’t get much better next year playing at Chicago State. He is looking for a team in the 2nd round to draft him and develop him, but right now is leaning towards staying in.

Dwayne Jones- According to sources in Philadelphia, Jones is leaning towards keeping his name in the draft and hiring an agent, his advisor up until now, Joel Bell. Attempts to reach Mr. Bell were unsuccessful.

Randolph Morris- According to sources at SFX, Morris is leaning towards keeping his name in the draft. According to sources close to him, Randolph has yet to make up his mind yet and will be holding a press conference tomorrow to announce his decision. He was working out for an NBA team while this piece was being written, something that will undoubtedly play into his final decision.

Steven Smith- Contrary to what we reported earlier, Smith is still going back and forth with his decision. This will probably go down to the deadline and we'll have the scoop for you here.

Anthony Roberson- Roberson has hired an agent (allegedly SFX) and is staying in the draft.

Gerald Green WILL work out for Portland

Gerald Green completed a workout with the New Orleans Hornets today and is now on his way to Utah to work out for the Jazz tomorrow. Green impressed Byron Scott and co. by measuring a 43” inch vertical leap off a one step approach. Green will be headed to Portland Wednesday before finishing up in New York and Toronto. All of his workouts will be conducted individually. Portland GM John Nash eventually decided to cave in and let Green work out by himself as he could not afford to pass on taking a look at what the 19 year stud has to offer. Green is expected to be drafted between 3-7, with the Lakers and possibly even the Knicks making strong pushes to trade up and get him.

No private workouts for Vazquez

DraftExpress spoke to Fran Vazquez’s American agent, Marc Cornstein, for an update on the progress of his client in the draft. Cornstein informed us that (contrary to reports) Fran will be arriving in the States on Friday and will hold a general workout for interested NBA teams on Sunday in New York City. He will not be conducting any private workouts before or afterwards. According to Cornstein, “Fran decided that he didn’t want to conduct any private workouts because of the long and tiring season he’s been through. He feels that he’s proved himself already.” Cornstein says he is happy that he is coming over when he is. A compromise was reached with his Spanish agent and he'll be coming over Friday for the Sunday workout. Regarding where Fran is expected to be drafted, Cornstein says that “we know about as much as he does. He should be the top European player drafted, but it’s totally wide open right now. It really depends on trades, team needs…” etc. He did note that Vazquez will be in the Green Room.

Andriuskevicius staying in the draft

DraftExpress spoke to Martynas Andriuskevicius’ agent Herb Rudoy Monday afternoon to find the latest about his clients in the draft.

The big news is that Martynas Andriuskevicius has surprisingly decided to stay in the draft, despite the fact that he has no promise by any team to draft him. According to Rudoy, he “has no idea where he will end up being drafted.”

Andriuskevicius has apparently learned from the mistakes of former prospects who were in similar situations like him. If he would go back to Zalgiris next year and have another underwhelming season like he just did, he would be in no way guaranteed to even be a 1st rounder next season. He looks safe to be drafted somewhere in the first this year, possibly by a team drafting in the mid-late 1st who have multiple picks or are willing to use a pick on a player that they can stash overseas for another year. A few teams who could fit that bill are Boston, Memphis, Denver, Phoenix and Sacramento. Without a firm promise in the first round and no telling footage or private workouts to form a solid opinion off of, there is no guarantee that Andriuskevicius will even be drafted in the first round considering the way he looked at his group workout at Moody Bible.

Tiago Splitter, another client of Rudoy’s, will definitely pull out of the draft as his team Tau Vitoria was not willing to part with him and they hold all the cards considering that he has no buyout clause in his contract whatsoever.

Linas Kleiza’s status is still up in the air and no decision has been made regarding whether to keep him in or pull him out.

Lucas Tischer, the 6-10 Brazilian big man we’ve been telling you about all year has worked out for a number of teams over the past week and has received some excellent feedback. DraftExpress has spoken to a couple of players he’s worked out against that came away extremely impressed with his strength, toughness and especially his incredible athletic ability. Tischer has worked out with the Nets, Knicks and Suns so far, and has workouts scheduled with Indiana, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Memphis, Milwaukee and Boston. His range appears to be from 30 to 45 right now and he will almost certainly be drafted.

Trade Rumors

As if this wasn’t already turning out to be the hardest draft in recent memory to project, we’ve been told to expect a flurry of trades to go down on draft night and possibly even the day after the NBA finals are completed that will completely shake up this draft. There are major talks going on between a number of teams and DraftExpress has already heard from quite a few sources about a number of them.

The most popular rumor is regarding a deal that could go down between the Utah Jazz and New Orleans Hornets. The trade would send the #4 pick to Utah in return for the #6 pick and either Kirk Snyder and/or the #27 pick. In that scenario, Utah would draft Deron Williams at #4 and New Orleans would take local favorite Danny Granger at #6. The Hornets apparently have their eye on a PG in the late 1st. Nate Robinson is rumored to be that player, which is consistent with the information that DraftExpress has been receiving lately regarding a number of strong workouts he’s had with NBA teams.

One team that has come up again and again in conversations over the past few days is the Los Angeles Lakers. Besides the talks about a deal that could go down between them and Portland involving the #10 and #3 picks are rumors about a deal that is already in place involving the Indiana Pacers as well which would send Jonathan Bender and the #17 pick to Los Angeles in return for Slava Medvedenko, Devean George and the #37 pick. The Pacers' site has already shot that down. Another rumor that has picked up some steam lately says that the Lakers are trying to package their two 2nd round picks (#37 and #39) to a team drafting in the late first round. With the amount of players that are indicating that they will be staying in this draft, the difference between drafting in the late 20’s and late 30’s might not be as big as in regular years, giving a team an opportunity to swing for the fences twice instead of once. The Pistons and Jazz are supposedly two teams that could be in the mix for those picks.

The Boston Celtics are another team that have been linked to quite a few trades and promises all over the draft. They are also rumored to be considering packaging their two late 2nd round picks (50 and 53) for a pick somewhere in the early-mid 2nd, preferably in the 30’s. Rumors of a package deal involving the #18 pick also came up a number of times in conversations. Many of these deals hinge on how many potential first round prospects pull out of the draft.

Other teams that are supposedly in the market for a 2nd round pick are San Antonio, Cleveland, Memphis and Chicago. Cleveland and Memphis wanting a 2nd rounder are interrelated. If Cleveland is able to acquire a 2nd rounder that could trigger the much anticipated deal sending Memphis’ first round pick (#19) to a team in return for cash and the 2nd rounder.

Andrew Bynum Update:

By Rodger Bohn

DraftExpress had the chance to catch up with Andrew Bynum on the latest news in regards to his draft plans. “I will be staying in the draft”, Bynum told DraftExpress. “I’m very happy right now. From the beginning, I wanted to be a lottery pick and I’m very confident that I will be picked in the lottery now.”

“I have worked out for four or so teams, but I can’t say who they are or who I have worked out against” Bynum told us via telephone. DraftExpress has learned from independent sources that Andrew went up against French big Johan Petro in one workout with the Lakers and Robert Rothbart in another of his workouts in Portland, but Andrew would not confirm the players who he went up against in the workouts.

Bynum was quite possibly the biggest snub for the physicals at the Chicago Pre-Draft Camp, but has really put up some impressive numbers for a player of his size in his private workouts. “I measured out at 7’0 ¼ barefoot, I have a 7’6 wingspan, I have a 37 inch vertical off of one step and a 33 inch vertical from a standstill.” Andrew went on to say “I was never put on the bench for the bench press, so I’m not sure what my exact numbers are. I do know that my standing reach was 9’3 or 9’4.”

Andrew went on to tell DraftExpress that he will not be conducting any more private workouts and reiterated that he is extremely pleased with his current draft position stating “I’m very confident that I will be a lottery pick.” Bynum stated that he would find out if he was invited to the green room tomorrow and if he was not invited, he would probably just rent a hotel room and watch the draft with his family and friends.

Wish us luck trying to project the mystery of where Andrew Bynum will end up going in this draft. We were told today that he still has a workout scheduled with the Nets on the 22nd. It’s unclear right now whether or not that will be cancelled.

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