Draft Express: As it always is this time of the year, trade rumors are rampant and it’s quite hard to separate fact from fiction. Teams drafting slightly outside of a player’s projected range generally like to spread misinformation about moving up in the draft themselves to try and secure extra workouts with coveted prospects, while generating rumors of other teams moving down in order to create a sense that “anything can happen” on draft night.
Here are the picks that are mentioned the most in conversations we’ve had.
#1—This has been out there since our very first article on the draft order just a few hours after the lottery. Portland is always rumored to be in the mix here.
#4—Portland is looking to trade up, not down, but someone could still end up with the #4 pick, particularly a team that covets Rudy Gay, Adam Morrison or Brandon Roy. Orlando and Philadelphia could be in the mix here.
#5—Atlanta is expected by many to trade down a few spots and draft Shelden Williams. We’ve heard from sources at two different workouts this past week that Williams “did not really compete,” leading us to wonder whether he is sending some sort of a message to teams.
#7—Danny Ainge is the master of smokescreens and is known to throw his weight around both in the media as well as by sending out trial balloons about what other teams think or might do. The #7 pick is reportedly in play, and after the terrific workout he had in Boston, many wonder whether Sergio Rodríguez is his target. Ainge is also reportedly on some sort of anti-Marcus Williams crusade, which makes you wonder exactly what is going on there.
#8—If Brandon Roy isn’t around at #8, which he most likely won’t be, Houston is certainly not guaranteed to keep their pick. The Rockets could look to trade down to either add athleticism on the wing (think Tracy McGrady’s homeboy Rodney Carney, Randy Foye or Ronnie Brewer), or for sharpshooting floor spacing extraordinaire J.J. Redick.
#11—Orlando is already telling potential top 6 prospects that they plan on moving up, in the hopes of securing a workout with players that will almost certainly not be around at #11.