As we close in on the draft, lots of stuff is being floated, some of it real, some of it fake. Here are a few things I've heard that make sense.
I've been told that the Los Angeles Clippers could trade their No. 8 pick to Chicago for Luol Deng and the Bulls' 17th pick. I haven't gotten confirmation on this from a team official, but this trade is feasible because I know the Clippers aren't enamored with any of the guys they can get with the eighth pick. Also, their biggest position of need is small forward. Adding Deng would give them a starting five of Baron Davis, Eric Gordon, Deng, Blake Griffin and Chris Kaman. That's pretty formidable. While this eats up most of the Clippers' cap space, they realize they weren't going to get one of the top-flight free agents anyway, certainly not if Donald Sterling refuses to sell the club.
For the Bulls, this would be an even greater move because they'd clear even more cap space by removing Deng's $10.3 million salary. When adding the $2.1 million they'd have to pay the eighth pick and subtracting the $1.3 million for their 17th pick, the Bulls would still be nearly $30 million under the cap. That's nearly enough to offer both LeBron James and Chris Bosh maximum contracts. To form a nucleus that would include James, Bosh, Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah, you'd think James and Bosh might be willing to give up $1 or $2 million.
Honestly, this deal sounds too good to be true for the Bulls (and yet it makes sense for the Clippers too). We'll see. I'm told the Clippers may also have interest in Detroit's Tayshaun Prince, or that if they keep the pick, they're looking at Al-Farouq Aminu.
Cleveland is trying hard to buy a draft pick and if the above scenario doesn't happen, they may buy the 17th pick from Chicago. One of the players the Cavs are targeting is Kentucky guard Eric Bledsoe, whom some believe could turn into a Rajon Rondo-type player.