The NBA Draft is right around the corner, so now is as good of a time as any to let everyone know that I will be live-blogging during the draft. With that said, a lot of new rumors came out in the last two days. Let's take a look at them.
-This has been a pretty hot rumor for weeks now, but it looks like the Heat are dead set on picking up a guard to play alongside Dwayne Wade, while making a run at either Elton Brand (this year) or Carlos Boozer (next year). The new developments, as reported by Chad Ford, are that the Heat held separate, "secret" (I don't really know what that means) workouts for Jerryd Bayless and OJ Mayo, and are high on both, making it seem very likely that they will trade down and pick one of these two. The two hottest trade rumors: the Heat would get the 5th pick, Mike Miller and either Kyle Lowry or Mike Conley Jr. from the Grizzlies for a package including the 2nd pick (aka Michael Beasley); or that the Heat would send the 2nd and Shawn Marion to the Clippers for the 7th and Brand. Both are much more likely than the Heat actually using the pick on Mayo or Bayless.
These are all rumors, and at this time of year it is common for NBA GM's to give out disinformation, so who really knows what the Heat's intentions are. But given everything surrounding Mayo's recruitment to USC and getting paid while there to his dealings with Ronald Guillory, it is interesting that Pat Riley is so concerned about Beasley's character while not worried about Mayo's.
-It is being reported by Chad Ford that the Hornets have traded the 27th pick to the Blazers for cash. This is an interesting decision by the Blazers. They already have 12 players returning, have Greg Oden and Rudy Fernandez joining the team, and rumors have it that last year's first round pick, Finnish PG Petteri Koponen, is ready to come over as well. And now they just added their fifth pick this year, with four of them coming in the top 36 of a deep draft. Why would the Blazers make this trade? Because they are using Paul Allen's seemingly endless money supply to horde assets for what should be a very busy off-season. The Blazers situation regarding the salary cap and their core of young players is explained in great detail at the BlazersEdge.
-As always, Jonathon Givony at Draft Express gives some great insight and insider information on the draft. Here are the highlights:
- Great news for Nicolas Batum. He has been cleared by doctors to continue working out after a long day of testing. He already has worked out or has last minute workouts scheduled with San Antonio and Cleveland.
- The whole "Russell Westbrook has a promise" story-line seems to be just a rumor, as he continued working out this week. Apparently, it was just a tweaked ankle that forced him to cancel some workouts, and the fact that he is getting frustrated that he cannot land any workouts with other top guard prospects Mayo, Eric Gordon, Bayless, or Derrick Rose. Although he doesn't have a guarantee from the Bobcats, Larry Brown is reportedly enamored with Westbrook, which means that he probably won't fall beyond the 9th pick.
- Darrell Arthur has apparently begun working out again, and has apparently looked pretty good, although he still seems like he will drop to the late lottery or even out of the lottery.
- Bill Walker, who still does not have a promise from any teams in the draft, has decided to undergo surgery on his injured knee. It was thought previously that Walker had a slight tear in his meniscus, but it now appears that he has a minor ligament strain. He will be out of commission for 3-6 weeks.
-Many NBA Draft analysts, and GM's as well, love to make comparisons between prospects and players currently in or recently out of the league. Tim Buckley has a nice article looking at why teams do this.