Ford: Draft Buzz (6/23)

Ford: Draft Buzz (6/23)

Postby JSM on Tue Jun 23, 2009 8:21 am

Chad Ford of ESPN wrote:Much has been made that the Grizzlies, Thunder and Kings hold the keys to the draft. But most of the hand wringing by at least a dozen GMs at the moment surrounds what the Washington Wizards will do at No. 5.

We first reported on lottery night that the Wizards would shop their pick. Over the course of the past week, Wizards GM Ernie Grunfeld has been pretty open about it, telling the media on Monday that the team was still looking at all options.

"We have a good feel for what we have and we feel we can find a good player [in the draft]," Grunfeld said. "At the same time, we have had some interesting conversations. I think, whether we keep the pick, we're going to get a very solid player. In the meantime, we're going to continue to listen to what other teams have to say."

The Wizards have rebuffed any advances for players like Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison. Instead they've put together a pretty basic wish list: Take a couple of our bad contracts, save us some money and give us a veteran or two who can help right now.

Etan Thomas, Mike James and Darius Songaila seem to be the three players the Wizards wouldn't mind getting off the books.

The Wizards have gotten at least 10 offers for the pick, but every team I spoke with that's in the draft was still in the dark about where they stood.

The Knicks have offered Larry Hughes for Thomas and James. The Wolves have reportedly offered Mike Miller. The Celtics would give them Ray Allen. The Rockets would give them Tracy McGrady and Carl Landry. The Bucks would send them Richard Jefferson. The Nets would entertain unloading Vince Carter. The Suns could do something with Shaq. The Blazers could part ways with Steve Blake, Jerryd Bayless or Travis Outlaw.

The question is: Are any of those offers good enough for the No. 5 pick? In most year's, no. But this year, with the Wizards thinking they're poised to make a deep playoff run? It might be enough.

• The Thunder weren't the only team to meet with Thabeet in LA this weekend. The Grizzlies, after being snubbed by Thabeet in their workout, flew to LA and met with him for three hours.

Sources close to both Thabeet and the Grizzlies expect Memphis to take him at No. 2. If they don't, chances are they have a trade in the works.

• Ideally the Wolves find a way to get up to the No. 2 pick to select either Hasheem Thabeet or Ricky Rubio. If the Wolves stay at No. 6 I think they'll take either Stephen Curry or Tyreke Evans.

• Did Louisville's Terrence Williams get a promise from the Charlotte Bobcats? Williams went back for a second workout with the Bobcats on Monday against Gerald Henderson. Sources said after the workout Williams met with the Bobcats and may have walked away with a promise that the Bobcats would take him at No. 12.

Sure enough the word out of New Jersey Tuesday morning is that Williams pulled out of his workout against Henderson with the Nets today, citing an ankle injury.

I think the Nets may still consider Williams at No. 11, depending on who is there. But it sounds like he won't slip past the 12th pick. As for Henderson, he could be in for a bit of a draft-day slide. The Knicks like him at No. 8, the Raptors like him at No. 9 and the Nets like him at No. 11, but other players are higher on their boards.

I think he could slide to the Suns at No. 14 or the Bulls at No. 16. I doubt he slips past the Sixers at No. 17.

• Chicago has talked to the Nets, Bobcats and Pacers about swapping No. 16 and No. 26 to get into the lottery. It sounds like the Bulls are down to one potential trade partner in the lottery.

The Nets are leaning strongly toward keeping their pick at No. 11. And if the Bobcats made a promise to Williams at No. 12, they're out, too. That leaves the Pacers at No. 13.

The Pacers have been one of the hardest teams to peg in the draft. DeJuan Blair, Tyler Hansbrough, Eric Maynor, Ty Lawson and Jeff Teague are all on their board right now. If the Bulls want any of those guys -- or the guys the Suns (No. 14) and Pistons (No. 15) are looking at -- they'll have to make the deal.

If I'm the Wizards, I'd pull the trigger on RJ, VC, or Shaq for that 5th pick + bad contract.
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JSM
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