NBA News and Notes: Draft Day has arrivedDate: June 26, 2014
By John Fanta, Assistant Sports Director
With just hours remaining before NBA Commissioner Adam Silver takes to the podium to officially begin the NBA Draft, the league is buzzing with deals, talks, and much more.
As far as the Cavs' #1 pick is concerned, uncertainty still remains among the executives in the front office. ESPN reported on Wednesday that owner Dan Gilbert wanted Andrew Wiggins while the rest of the front office desires Jabari Parker. Gilbert took to Twitter, saying that the Cavs were "united" on who their choice will be. Both are sure-fire all stars, according to scouts, and the Cavs are believed to not be at any fault if they pick one over the other. While the debate still goes on with that, it keeps the door open for other options. The one concern lying with the top pick is that the Cavs could try and woo their fellow teams in the league by attempting something out of the box. But Cleveland tried that with Anthony Bennett in 2013. While he has slimmed down and is getting better, according to sources, Bennett's first year was a mess. By moving back and taking someone like Joel Embiid, the fear is that the Cavs could pick for size and fall into another trap. Not enough drama? Sam Amico of Fox Sports reported just before 1 a.m. ET that Cavs coach David Blatt is hopeful of meeting with Lebron James in the future. This begs the question of whether Cleveland will make their pick based on James in any way, which could do much harm considering there are no guarantees. Amico also states that Orlando sources have informed him that Cleveland has expressed interest in the Magic's Victor Oladipo. Orlando has given the Cavs plenty of interest for the top pick. They have reportedly put an offer on the table where the fourth and 12th picks would go to Cleveland along with a player, such as Arron Afflalo. But the interest in Oladipo could indicate that the Cavs are seeking more than Afflalo, who really is not a flashy piece by any means. The common theme of this draft, especially with the Cavs, will be whether teams pick their guy or use free agency and make changes based on that.
My take: With the top pick, even Lebron James should not give off an influence. The Cavs may never pick #1 again. They cannot go wrong with Wiggins or Parker. The last thing to do is to take advice from a guy that may not even return to Cleveland.
The Knicks traded Raymond Felton and Tyson Chandler to the Mavericks on Tuesday eveningfor Jose Calderon,Samuel Dalembert, Shane Larkin, Wayne Ellington, and two second-rounder. With Chandler having one season left on his $60 million deal, Dallas got the guy they have wanted back since the team's title pursuit in 2011. The Mavs' mindset is that having Chandler, Dirk Nowitzki, and a solid core can help bring in a big name such as James or Carmelo Anthony.
My take: Credit to the Knicks for getting two second-rounders in a loaded draft class. As an NBA scout told a source of mine, this class has 60 first-rounders. NYK really doesn't lose a whole bunch of talent. And Felton has had enough issues. It's better to do away with the problem players now than later.
Omer Asik has to wait for it to become official, but the big man is on his way to the New Orleans Pelicans for a potential late-round pick in the 2015 NBA Draft. The Pelicans received another $1.5 million in this deal, which enables Houston to free up cap space. The trade cannot become official until July 10 due to cap considerations.
My take: Houston's quick measures show what it means to be an NBA Playoff Team, which doesn't mean much to begin with. The Rockets know that to be a champion, they need a superstar, That is why they are freeing up room to make another splash just as Dwight Howard did. The question becomes whether Howard could play with another big name after the disaster that occurred in LA.
Reid Forgrave of Fox Sports told me that Shabazz Napier is the most underrated player in the draft. While he is just being projected inside of the back-end of the first round, Forgrave likes him at #17 for a Celtics team that could be looking to dealing Rajon Rondo in the final year of his deal.
The idea that Cavs owner Dan Gilbert and Lebron James have not talked to each other is absurd. While Gilbert wrote a heat-of-the-moment letter, it's been four years. While Gilbert can be argued as a con in trying to get James, he still is the top guy. He can give it all to James, or take it right away. I don't think that the grudge between the two is still happening.
Forgrave also mentioned that the Lakers are considering Joel Embiid, the banged-up Kansas forward. If he is not there, Marcus Smart, the guard from Oklahoma State, is also rumored. LA can also trade and work toward free agency. Julius Randle is another candidate because he is arguably the second-most ready talent in the draft next to Parker.
For full NBA Draft coverage, go to WSOU.net for all of this week's storylines. You can reach Fanta at firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet @WSOUSports and @John_Fanta