The Celtics own just one pick, #16, in the June 27 draft. Danny Ainge has been doing his due diligence. He interviewed Nerlens Noel, expected to be one of the top picks, at the draft combine. He has had players who are expected to go in the lottery, as well as players expected to go in the second round, in for workouts. In the past, Danny hasn't been afraid to buy picks, as he did when he landed Rajon Rondo, or to trade up or down. He's made it clear he isn't ruling out anything in this draft.
"I think we're going to get somebody that we like at 16," said Ainge, who added that the C's may look to make a move up or down depending how the draft plays out.
But will there be picks available for Danny to move up or down to, or even additional picks for him to go after? The word around the league is yes, there will be plenty of picks available, beginning right at the top with the #1 pick.
According to ESPN, the Cavs are willing to listen to offers for the first pick in the draft.
It's been 20 years since the No. 1 overall pick in the NBA draft was traded, when the Orlando Magic moved Chris Webber, but it's possible that streak could end this year.
"You want to look at all your options and make the best decision for your team," Cavs general manager Chris Grant said. "This is a valuable asset that we can add to the group, whether it's in trade or keep it and add a player."
The Cavs are in a favorable position to make a deal. The team has more than $20 million in salary cap space, the No. 1 pick plus the No. 19, No. 31 and No. 33 picks, and a roster with young prospects that could be used in a deal.
In addition to being willing to trade the #1 pick, one of the Cavs' writers has also made it known that Paul Pierce would be a perfect fit for the Cavaliers. The Cavs also have the 19th pick along with two second round picks. Danny may be able to pick up a couple of picks in a trade if he plays his cards right.
But the Cavs aren't the only ones looking to move their picks for the right price. The Bobcats, who will be picking 4th in the draft are open to trading their pick also.
Here’s what I noticed: The Charlotte Bobcats, a team assured of drafting no lower than fifth in the first round and having no second-round pick, seem oddly curious about players projected to be drafted in the middle of the first round.
They interviewed Duke center Mason Plumlee, Syracuse point guard Michael Carter-Williams and Gonzaga center Kelly Olynyck. It’s a stretch to draft any of those guys in the top-five.
This might be just zealous due diligence. General manager Rich Cho is meticulous to a fault, so chatting up too many draft prospects could be in his wheelhouse. But there was something that raised my radar about how curious the Bobcats seem to be about players who could be drafted 10th through 20th.
So I asked several writers covering teams with similarly high picks if they thought their general managers were receptive to trading down. “Absolutely,” I kept hearing.
And then, there's the Dallas Mavericks. According to ESPN, Mark Cuban is dreaming of big things, as in Dwight Howard big and is looking to free up cap space any way he can.
The Dallas Mavericks might not actually use the first lottery pick they've owned in a dozen years.
Multiple sources told ESPN.com's Chad Ford that the Mavs are likely to trade the pick to help create the cap space necessary to make a run at Dwight Howard in free agency. The 13th overall pick has a cap hold of $1,655,300.
In Washington, the Wizards made the biggest move up in the draft lottery, entering with the No. 8 odds but getting the No. 3 pick. The Wizards, however, are thinking playoffs next season, and the Washington Post's Mike Wise writes that for the Wizards to reach that goal, they will need to trade the pick for an established player. They want to win now and a player like Paul Pierce would definitely fit the bill.
Mike Tokito in the Orgonian reports that the Pelicans are also willing to trade their lottery pick.
In New Orleans, the Pelicans (hey, look at that, I didn't type "Hornets") finished with the No. 6 pick, pushed down from the No. 5 odds spot. Still, the Pelicans were touting the opportunity, with GM Dell Demps pointing to the Blazers' Damian Lillard, who was last year's No. 6 pick. Demps also acknowledged that he will consider trading the pick for veteran help.
He also states that the Trailblazers are open to trading the #10 pick but are looking for a starting center in return. The Celtics aren't exactly flush with starting centers, as all Celtics fans well know. But Portland also owns the 39th, 40th and 45th picks. They may be willing to sell one should Danny have his heart set on one of those second round picks that he has been working out.
Another factor that will figure into picks being available is that six teams have two first-round picks in this draft: Cleveland has #1 and #19, Phoenix has #5 and #30, Minnesota has #9 and #26, Oklahoma City has #12 and #29, Utah has #14 and #21, and Atlanta has #17 and #18. So, the opportunities to move up or down or even buy an extra pick will be plentiful come draft day. Danny has his work cut out for him.
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