Sportsline's Ken Berger: draft buzz and trade talks

Sportsline's Ken Berger: draft buzz and trade talks

Postby JSM on Mon Jun 22, 2009 7:52 pm

Ken Berger of CBS Sportsline Blog wrote:* The Wizards are as strong a bet as any team in the top eight to trade down from their current perch at No. 5. Facing luxury-tax consequences and needing to open up a roster spot, the Wiz are considering numerous scenarios. Two people familiar with the talks confirmed that Washington discussed swapping the No. 5 and No. 14 picks with Phoenix in a trade that would've sent Amare Stoudemire to the Wizards. Phoenix also would've gotten one of the Wizards' young guards -- either Nick Young or Javaris Crittenton. But Washington walked away when the Suns asked for Caron Butler.

* Word is that Portland is extremely active in its attempts to trade up from No. 24 to an area from 8-14, where the Blazers are confident they could land a point guard. Portland hosted North Carolina's Ty Lawson for a workout Monday. A person familiar with the situation said the Blazers explored a trade involving the Suns' No. 14 pick. That deal also would've involved Stoudemire, a scenario that would've presented billionaire Paul Allen with three max players to pay over the next few years -- Stoudemire, Brandon Roy, and LaMarcus Aldridge. Those are big-ticket items, even for Allen.

* The Timberwolves, who have three first-round picks, appear to be positioning themselves to move up from the sixth spot and assure themselves a shot at Ricky Rubio. A deal with Memphis, which has the No. 2 pick, isn't out of the question. Another scenario has Minnesota involved with the Wizards in a deal that would send Washington's No. 5 pick to Minnesota. The T-Wolves would then have the ultimate flexibility -- knowing they could get Tyreke Evans or Hasheem Thabeet with the fifth or sixth pick if Rubio is gone and knowing they could parlay the fifth and sixth picks in a deal with Memphis to move up.

* Other than Minnesota, the team in the top 10 that appears the most motivated to move up is the Knicks, although trade talks with Washington involving Larry Hughes are accurate only from the standpoint that Jared Jeffries isn't involved; the Wizards aren't interested in adding money beyond next season. The Knicks, who pick eighth, clearly covet Rubio and Stephen Curry and have the assets to assure themselves a shot at one of them by trading up.

* Rubio is generating the most curiosity among team executives who are monitoring his situation, particularly with regard to Sacramento. It's widely known that Dan Fegan, who represents Rubio and Jrue Holiday, hired an agent who used to work for Jason Levien, the Kings' assistant GM who left the agent business last year to join Geoff Petrie in Sacramento. Levien's clients went to three different agencies, including Fegan's. If Rubio winds up going to Sacramento with the fourth pick, it will provide plenty of ammunition for conspiracy theorists who believe Levien's relationship with Fegan was the deciding factor. But one Eastern Conference executive described the situation more as "familiarity" between Fegan and Levien and between Levien and the international basketball community. Levien worked for agent Lon Babby when the Kings drafted Hedo Turkoglu, who at the time was the only Turkish player in the NBA.

* One executive said the most fluid players appear to be Holiday (who worked out poorly in his first visit with the Knicks), Earl Clark, and Demar DeRozan. "If they don't go early," the exec said, "they might be starting to slip and slide."
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