Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Latest draft buzz: Kings' No. 7 for Felton?
By Chad Ford
The phones have been ringing off the hook Tuesday with just 48 hours to go before the NBA draft. Here are some more quick hitters on what I'm hearing.
• Would the Kings be willing to send the No. 7 pick to the Nuggets for Raymond Felton and the No. 22 pick? The Kings have had interest in Felton, but it's probably going to take them giving up the No. 7 pick to get him. I wouldn't be shocked to see the Nuggets grab Jonas Valanciunas or Bismack Biyombo if they could get up to No. 7.
• The Raptors' hiring of Dwane Casey might affect their draft plans. Casey is a defensive specialist, and when he looks at the Raptors' roster, there isn't much to like on that front. GM Bryan Colangelo has built an offensive juggernaut, but defensively, the Raptors are pretty terrible. That might explain why the team is zeroing in on three excellent defenders -- Brandon Knight, Biyombo and Kawhi Leonard -- at No. 5. I've had Jan Vesely going here for weeks, and others have been pushing for Kemba Walker here, but it sounds like neither player is atop the Raptors' board right now.
• I'm hearing that if either Leonard or Walker is on the board at No. 8, the Pistons are likely to take one of them. If both are gone, it's down to Biyombo, Tristan Thompson and Markieff Morris. The Pistons really like Valanciunas as well, but sources say they aren't willing to wait a year to get him.
• Lots of Knicks fans were shocked when I put Iman Shumpert at No. 17 in the latest mock draft. The Knicks actually tried to shut Shumpert down from more workouts after they saw him, but Shumpert kept working out. While so much of our focus on the Knicks has been on their offensive options -- Klay Thompson, Jimmer Fredette and Marshon Brooks -- it sounds like the voices arguing for size and/or defense might be winning the day. A source inside the Knicks told me Tuesday afternoon that it's likely the Knicks will select either Shumpert, Nikola Vucevic or Morris at No. 17. The team also is intrigued by Brooks, but he seems to be losing some traction.
• Larry Bird shot down a rumor that the Pacers and Timberwolves were discussing a Roy Hibbert for the No. 2 pick trade.
"We're not doing that," Bird said at a news conference Tuesday. "I'm not interested in trading Roy. Roy is one of our core group guys."
The Wolves are trying to find a trade partner for the No. 2 pick, but the Pacers' refusal to give up Hibbert for it (and the Wizards' refusal to part ways with JaVale McGee) show just how difficult that task might be. Both Hibbert and McGee were mid-first-round picks.
• Sounds like the Bucks also are very open to moving down a few spots in the draft. Both the Rockets (Nos. 14 and 23) and the Pacers (No. 15 and Brandon Rush) appear to be possibilities.
• To see dozens of NBA rumors, check out NBA Rumor Central