POSTED: June 15 -- 2:08 p.m. ET
Chad Ford: The big trade rumor flying around (if you're already tired of the Shaq-to-Cleveland talk) centers on the Hawks' Josh Smith. Several league sources told ESPN.com that the Hawks have been working hard the past few weeks to see whether they can find a taker for Smith.
The Hawks have some financial issues coming into the summer. Two key players, Mike Bibby and Marvin Williams, are free agents. So are a few others on the roster -- Josh Childress, Zaza Pachulia and Ronald Murray. Although the Hawks would like to keep those players, they can't afford to pay all of them. That has opened the door to the possibility of trading Smith, who, although talented, has a reputation as a difficult player to coach.
The Hawks have had no problem finding teams interested in Smith. The issue is the whopping $6 million trade kicker attached to his contract. The trade kicker essentially would require the team that trades for Smith to pay him the $6 million immediately. In this economic climate, many owners will balk at the payment.
"You are going to see very few owners willing to do things like that anymore," one GM said. "I'm not saying he's impossible to trade. There are a few owners like Paul Allen, James Dolan, Mark Cuban and maybe Daniel Gilbert who would pay the money. But there aren't many."
• Brandon Jennings, Jonny Flynn and Jrue Holiday went head-to-head in front of the entire Kings brass in Sacramento this past weekend.
The Kings are looking closely at those three prospects, along with Spain's Ricky Rubio. And the chances that Rubio will slip to No. 4 seem to grow by the day.
Rubio has been pretty adamant that he doesn't want to play in Memphis. Although he doesn't have the same objection to Oklahoma City, it sounds as though the Thunder are leaning toward drafting either James Harden or Stephen Curry. So, if neither team makes a trade, Rubio would be there at No. 4.
But sources in Sacramento say that the Kings have reservations about Rubio and that it's far from a done deal that they will take him if he is on the board.
That's what made this past weekend's workout so important.
Flynn appeared to have won the off-the-court battle. Although both Holiday and Jennings came off as mature, Kings officials were impressed with Flynn's charisma and his potential leadership qualities. That transferred over into the workout, too, where sources say Flynn really ramped up the energy in the gym.
The team also loved Flynn's penetration ability, his defense and the swagger he brought to the court -- something the Kings desperately need.
Sources say Jennings' combination of speed and quickness was impressive, but his shot selection and jump shots were not. Neither was his slight frame. From the sound of things, Jennings was probably more impressive in his Golden State workout than in the one in Sacramento.
Holiday was solid and shot the ball well, but he melted into the background a bit in a three-on-three drill when paired with Flynn. Apparently, Holiday deferred a bit too much to Flynn and ended up being a 2-guard in the workouts.
Holiday already has been in twice for the Kings, and you can expect them to try to bring back Flynn once more. Ideally, they would get to see him go head-to-head with Rubio, but right now I don't think Rubio would agree to even a one-on-none workout, let alone a competitive one like that.
• Speaking of Rubio, his situation looks a little more precarious Monday than it has seemed. I've assumed that Sacramento at No. 4 was his floor, and it still may be. But if he slips past Sacramento, things could get pretty interesting.
First, Rubio has been avoiding the Wizards. Apparently, his people don't think he's a good fit in the backcourt with Gilbert Arenas. If the Wizards pass on him because of that, I'm not sure where he'll land. Minnesota needs a point guard, but the Wolves seem to be leaning toward Curry and Tyreke Evans. The Warriors need Rubio badly, but they have a pretty rocky relationship with his agent, Dan Fegan.
Of course, both the Knicks and Rubio would love for a marriage to happen, but Rubio would be in a financial bind if he falls that far. He no longer would make the cash to afford a buyout in Spain unless the buyout is really reduced.
I still believe the most likely scenario is that a team will move up into the top two or three to grab him. But if that doesn't happen, things could get pretty crazy.
• The word out of the workouts in New Jersey was that Ohio State's B.J. Mullens skipped the workout because he had been promised to be picked in the top 16.
The top 16 probably means No. 16, which is the Chicago Bulls. Mullens would be a really good fit for Chicago, as he has huge upside and plays a position of need. He's a long ways away, but the Bulls probably could afford to gamble at this point in the draft.
A few other teams, including the Knicks, Bobcats and Suns, also are considering Mullens, but it is most likely that he'll be on the board at No. 16 when the Bulls pick.
If Mullens does go to Chicago, that could be really bad news for Pittsburgh's DeJuan Blair, who is slipping a bit after the medical report from Chicago red-flagged his knees. Although teams have varying degrees of concern, a number of the teams in his sweet spot in the draft -- 10 to 15 -- sound worried that a couple of previous ACL tears could cause problems for him later in his career.
If they are concerned and pass on him -- and Chicago takes Mullens at No. 16 -- Blair could be in for a draft night slide. The Sixers (No. 17), Wolves (No. 18) and Hawks (No. 19) don't really need a 4 like Blair. And although the Jazz (No. 20) could use another big if they lose Carlos Boozer, Blair probably is too similar to Paul Millsap.
I wouldn't be shocked to see Portland GM Kevin Pritchard, always the opportunist, try to find a way to move up into the middle of the first round to grab him. The Blazers want more toughness up front, and Blair certainly would provide that.
• There were a few weeks when it looked as though Jordan Hill might be slipping on draft boards. But the feedback I've been getting during the past few days says he's still very much in the mix in Washington and that the Warriors and Knicks also are taking a serious look at him.
As for the Warriors, Hill isn't a real need for them -- they have Brandan Wright, Ronny Turiaf and Anthony Randolph, who can all play the 4. However, if Golden State doesn't find a point guard it loves by the time it picks, Hill could be the guy.
The Knicks also could choose to go that way. If David Lee leaves via free agency, they would have virtually no front line and could use Hill's energy, rebounding and emerging offensive game.
• Sometimes NBA teams put too much emphasis on the workout process and lose sight of the bigger picture.
New Wolves president of basketball operations David Kahn made a point after taking over the team that he was adamant that players must come in and work out for the Wolves if they want Minnesota to draft them.
Then came word that Curry, who has done workouts with just two teams -- the Knicks and Bobcats (and possibly a third, the Wizards, on Monday) -- was shutting down his workouts before coming to Minnesota.
So Curry is out of the mix in Minnesota, right?
Um … no.
"I am [adamant]," Kahn told the St. Paul Pioneer Press. "But I don't want it to be so adamant that it's some sort of ironclad, pound-the-fist [rule]. I think that would be inaccurate. I think it's important that everybody we look at does come in, so I don't want to back off of that. But I don't think it's something that is such an ironclad rule that it can't be violated.
"I think that in his case, he has such a long body of work because he's been in college for a few years, and we saw him [at the draft combine] in Chicago," Kahn said. "We interviewed him in Chicago, so it's not as if we're missing an interview on him. So I would feel in his case that we at least have a lot of information already. It would be more problematic if it were somebody that we didn't know as well."
With that said, I think Curry is the Wolves' best-case scenario at No. 6. Are they really going to scratch off a guy they want at No. 6 just because he didn't come in for a workout?
Chad Ford covers the NBA for ESPN.com.
Decision day for underclassmen
Monday, June 15, 2009 | Print Entry
Posted by ESPN Insider
With the deadline to withdraw from the NBA draft approaching at 5 p.m. Monday, Chad Ford and Andy Katz weigh in on the various prospects with decisions to make. Perhaps no one faces a tougher choice than Wake Forest guard Jeff Teague. While he has solidly positioned himself in the first round, Teague was drawing high lottery buzz at one point during the season. As of now, he's a scoring point guard who will have to develop other aspects of his game; the question is whether that will happen coming off an NBA bench next season or for 30-plus minutes per game on a team that would immediately become a contender if he returns to Winston-Salem.
Wake Forest coach Dino Gaudio isn't giving anything away before the deadline. He told the Winston-Salem Journal that Teague's decision won't come until Monday evening. Teague, however, seems pretty confident in his plans, so Wake fans shouldn't be holding out much hope at this point. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, Teague said, "For right now, I'm 100 percent in the draft. I want to make this my life, and I've been working hard, and I don't see why I shouldn't go for it."
Elsewhere from around the draft world…
•Gani Lawal didn't need to wait until 5 p.m. to make up his mind. He wasn't sure he'd be a first-round pick, so he decided to remain at Georgia Tech, reports ESPN.com's Katz. Lawal made a smart decision, ESPN's own Jay Bilas told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "Gani will be a better player when he gets into the league because of this," Bilas said. "He'll rise up in the draft and probably end up making more money in the process." Another added benefit: Lawal will get to play next to Derrick Favors, the nation's top recruit, next season.
•The Sixers, who hold the 17th pick, seem to be targeting point guards, and they may end up with a choice between VCU's Eric Maynor and North Carolina's Ty Lawson, writes Tom Moore. According to the Philadelphia Daily News, agent Andy Miller thinks Andre Miller would be a good mentor for Maynor. It helps that Andy Miller represents both players.
•The New York Knicks finally will get a look at point guard Brandon Jennings on Monday. Alan Hahn of Newsday reports the Knicks will also work out Austin Daye (another stay-or-go guy), Tyreke Evans and Earl Clark. Watching Jennings is important since Stephen Curry, who wants to play for the Knicks, may not be available at No. 8. A source told Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer that there is enough interest in Curry that he could go in the top seven picks, and perhaps as high as third.
•Jordan Hill has overcome many obstacles on his way to the NBA, writes Sekou Smith.
•Despite being 24 years old and coming from tiny Tennessee-Martin, Lester Hudson believes he can help a team right away. "I think there are only 10 to 12 players who can play right away," Hudson tells Matt Vines of the Jackson Sun. "I have the NBA body and am more mature. The economy is so low, and teams need somebody to come in right away and produce."
•The Deseret News reports Tyler Hansbrough is working out for the Utah Jazz on Monday. Since impressing teams at the draft combine, though, the question now is whether he'll still be on the board for the Jazz's 20th pick. Chad Ford currently has Hansbrough going 11th to New Jersey, and there's other buzz around the league that he could land somewhere in the teens.
•Miami guard Jack McClinton is out to prove he has the ability to make an impact in the NBA, writes Shandel Richardson of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel . He is still being criticized for having skipped the Portsmouth Invitational, though, especially when he needs to prove that he can handle the point, since he's only 6-foot-2.
•The Houston Rockets don't own a pick in the 2009 NBA draft. But Gersson Rosas, the Rockets' director of player personnel, tells Jason Friedman of Rockets.com that the team is busier than ever. GM Daryl Morey has said the Rockets will look into buying a pick from a team that is looking to save some cap/tax room
WOW...RUBIO MAY FALL!!!
THANKS piratejp - Way to be a team player.
Hey piratejp- Can you please post the article by Chad Ford titled "C's dealing" Thanks
Updated: June 12, 2009, 3:27 PM ET
Draft buzz: Celts eyeing Tyreke Evans?Comment Email Print Share By Chad Ford
Memphis guard Tyreke Evans appears to be riding a wave in the estimation of another green team.
With two weeks to go before the 2009 NBA draft, the draft rumors are starting to flow.
Here's the latest we are hearing around the league:
• Of all the teams that have been active in trade discussions the past few weeks, the appearance of the Celtics has been the most surprising and the most interesting.
While the Celtics have shot down a rumor that they were talking to the Suns about an Amare Stoudemire for Rajon Rondo swap … we keep hearing their name more and more in conjunction with a top-to-mid first-round draft pick -- a sign that Danny Ainge must see someone he likes up high.
While various sources have different players pegged, there seems to be some consensus that one player in particular -- Memphis' Tyreke Evans -- is an Ainge favorite.
If the Celtics are going to get Evans, they'll have to get somewhere in the top 10, most likely the top five.
The Grizzlies, Thunder and Wizards all have picks in the top five and have been open to swapping their picks. While it's doubtful that Rondo is their bait, Ray Allen and his expiring contract could be.
The Celtics could trade Allen to Memphis for a combination of Darko Milicic, Greg Buckner and Marko Jaric. That could save the Grizzlies a little money now and a lot of money next year … but that seems like a stretch. The Grizzlies don't need Allen and I'm sure he wouldn't be thrilled to play there.
The Thunder aren't great partners either. They don't really have any bad contracts and while Allen would give them a nice veteran perimeter presence, they're not giving up the No. 3 pick in the draft to get him.
The Kings have also reached out to the Celtics and would be willing to deal the No. 4 pick if they could get Rondo in return. The Celtics would likely want more than just the No. 4 pick for Rondo -- and the Kings might be willing to throw in either Jason Thompson or Spencer Hawes to make it happen.
That leaves the Wizards, who are really intriguing. Allen is a fit in Washington. The Wizards are a veteran team that is looking for another piece to make it a contender. Allen also is in the last year of his contract, which means the Wizards could get some long-term cap relief if they put together the right deal. Would trading Allen for Etan Thomas, Mike James, Darius Songaila and the No. 5 pick make sense for the Wizards and Celtics?
If Boston can't find a workable deal in the top five, several other teams including the Nets (11), Pistons (15), Bulls (16, 26), Wolves (18), Kings (23) and Grizzlies (27) are open to moving their picks. While those wouldn't be high enough to land Evans, it would get the Celtics a solid pick in the first.
The Mavs, Rockets, Knicks and Pacers also have interest in the Wizards' No. 5 pick. And a report surfaced over the week that the Wizards would be open to doing something with the Spurs if they could get their hands on Manu Ginobili. Good luck with that. Gregg Popovich isn't letting him go for the fifth pick in a weak draft.
• The workout of the week will be in Sacramento this Friday. Jonny Flynn, Jrue Holiday and Brandon Jennings go head-to-head in what should be the tiebreaker for the No. 4 pick in the draft if Ricky Rubio isn't on the board.
The other two candidates for the Kings' pick -- James Harden and Evans -- have already been in. Harden had a respiratory infection that hurt his workout a bit. The fact that he plays the same position as the Kings' best player -- Kevin Martin -- doesn't help his cause either.
Evans struggled with his shot and may have shot himself in the foot in an interview when he complained about not being able to work out against other players, but then subsequently balked when the Kings offered to put Terrence Williams in a workout against him. So much for my latest mock draft that has Evans at No. 4. And sources say the Kings are also leaning against Hasheem Thabeet if he's on the board at No. 4.
That leaves the point guards.
What's interesting is that this is Holiday's second workout in Sacramento. The Kings loved him the first time and seem to be leaning in his direction. Holiday's size, defense and upside won them over a bit. If he holds his own versus Flynn and Jennings, he could be the guy.
• Stephen Curry finally got his workout for the Knicks on Wednesday. There was your typical media frenzy and Curry gushing about playing in New York.
Curry, as expected, shot the lights out and wowed the Knicks brass. But whether Curry actually lands in New York on draft night is still up for debate. A number of teams including the Wizards, Wolves and Warriors could take him before then. And if an elite player slips, like Thabeet or Harden, the Knicks may be persuaded to go in a different direction.
But all things being equal, the chances that Curry winds up in New York, something we pegged back in January, remain high.
But here's what I think is really interesting. A number of agents have approached the Knicks with a proposition of sorts: You promise to draft my guy and I won't work him out for teams drafting above the Knicks. Why? Not only are the marketing opportunities off the charts for players in New York, but many players really want to play for Mike D'Antoni.
• The Nets are hosting a huge, 22-team workout starting Friday. The Hawks, Celtics, Mavs, Nuggets, Warriors, Rockets, Pacers, Lakers, Grizzlies, Heat, Nets, Hornets, Knicks, Magic, Sixers, Suns, Blazers, Kings, Spurs, Raptors, Jazz and Wizards are all sending representatives.
This is the last chance for many teams to see most of the mid-to-late prospects in force. Take out the potential lottery prospects and the list of players reads as a who's who of the draft. For a number of these players, this is their last chance to get feedback before the June 15 date.
Here's a look at who's participating in the six sessions:
Friday, June 12: 9:30 a.m. session
Player Pos. Last
Lester Hudson SG Tenn-Martin
Austin Daye SF Gonzaga
Omri Casspi SF Israel
Darren Collison PG UCLA
Derrick Brown PF Xavier
Gani Lawal PF Ga. Tech
This group has two big underclassmen, Gani Lawal and Austin Daye, who have yet to decide whether they'll stay in the draft. This might be a tough workout for Daye.
Lawal and Omri Casspi are pretty physical and that's usually a problem for Daye. Derrick Brown is also working hard to differentiate himself from the pack.
I'm sure Darren Collison wishes he were in the next workout with Maynor and Teague.
UPDATE: The word inside the gym on Friday morning was that Casspi and Brown looked the best in the morning session.
Friday, June 12: 11:15 a.m. session
Player Pos. Last
Eric Maynor PG VCU
Jimmy Baron G URI
Chase Budinger SG Arizona
Joe Ingles SF Australia
Jeff Teague PG Wake Forest
Paul Harris SG Syracuse
The Jeff Teague versus Eric Maynor matchup is a really good one.
Teague is also on the fence about staying in the draft, though right now it seems likely that he stays in. He was injured in the Minnesota workout, straining an MCL, but now he's been cleared to work out again.
UPDATE: The word inside the gym on Friday afternoon was that Maynor looked fantastic and that Budinger shot the lights out.
Saturday, June 13: 9:30 a.m. session
Player Pos. School
Lee Cummard SG/SF BYU
DaJuan Summers SF Georgetown
Damion James SF Texas
Nick Calathes SG/PG Florida
Wes Matthews SG Marquette
Danny Green SF UNC
Really solid group of 3s here. DaJuan Summers has the most buzz right now. Damion James is a possible first-rounder if he decides to stay in the draft.
But the big surprise is the re-emergence of Nick Calathes. He skipped the NBA draft combine and is supposed to be playing pro ball in Greece this season. Sources say he recently asked to be back on the list. I'm trying to get to the bottom of this …
Saturday, June 13: 11:15 a.m. session
Player Pos. Last
Greivis Vasquez SG Maryland
Wayne Ellington SG UNC
Taj Gibson PF USC
Patrick Beverley PG Ukraine
Jermaine Taylor SG UCF
Ahmad Nivins PF St. Joseph's
You can tell Patrick Beverley isn't getting a lot of love as a point guard, being thrown into the mix with mostly 2-guards.
Greivis Vasquez has a tough decision to make as well. His chances of landing in the first round seem slim. Gibson is on the rise, according to some scouts.
Sunday, June 14: 9:30 a.m. session
Player Pos. School
Ryan Toolson SG Utah Valley
Luke Harangody PF Notre Dame
Jack McClinton SG Miami
Josh Heytvelt PF Gonzaga
Luke Nevill C Utah
Ohio State center B.J. Mullens was slated to appear but pulled out of the workout on Friday. His agent gave word to the Nets that he had a promise in the Top 16 and was shutting down workouts. We'll see if the agent is telling the truth on draft night.
Luke Harangody has gotten a lot of buzz in workouts. It will be interesting to see what he decides to do on Monday.
I don't think he's a first-rounder, but he may be OK with a place in the second round. Jack McClinton is another guy to keep an eye on. He's generated some love of late too and has a shot of landing in the late first to early second.
Sunday, June 14: 11:15 a.m. session
Player Pos. School
DeMarre Carroll PF Missouri
Josh Shipp SG UCLA
Jeremy Pargo PG Gonzaga
Taylor Griffin PF Oklahoma
Dionte Christmas SG Temple
Paul Delaney PG/SG UAB
This is probably the weakest group of the day. Carroll has some buzz, despite an inaccurate Internet report that said he may need a liver transplant soon.
The appearance of Daye, Mullens, Chase Budinger, Teague and Maynor in the New Jersey workout is a good sign that despite various reports, they don't know where they're going on draft night.
They aren't the only ones. A few other players who originally refused to work out outside the top 10 are now starting to cave in and work out outside the original spectrum set by their agents.
They include Earl Clark, who did a workout with the Pistons this week. Wake Forest's James Johnson is in the same boat. And UCLA's Holiday has a workout scheduled with the Pacers at No. 13. In each case, the players are trying to find their "floor," the place they know they won't slip past in the draft. No one wants to re-create Rashard Lewis' green room situation on draft night. It's a player's, and agent's, worst nightmare.
Meanwhile a couple of other players seem to be pretty confident about their range. Flynn isn't doing workouts outside the top 10. Neither is Brandon Jennings, DeMar DeRozan or Jordan Hill.
• Speaking of guys all over the map, Louisville's Williams continues to be the toughest guy in the draft to peg. The Warriors are giving him a serious look at No. 7. The Nets also have interest at No. 11 and the list goes on from there. I doubt he slips past Dallas at No. 22 … but that's a huge range from 7 to 22, the biggest I've seen this close to the draft in a while.
• Sweden's Jonas Jerebko antagonized a few GMs when he showed up at the Reebok Eurocamp last Sunday and refused to play, telling me he was "too tired" to play after his team was jettisoned from the playoffs last Wednesday. However, he did play on Monday and looked really impressive according to the handful of NBA guys still there.
However, the word now, from his agents, is that Jerebko is refusing to work out for teams looking at him in the second round. Multiple teams told me that his agents are telling them that he won't slip out of the first round. With several teams sporting multiple first-round picks and a few others needing to draft a European and stash him overseas for a few years to save money, I think we're going to need to move Jerebko into the first round of our next mock draft.
• Meanwhile, one prominent international underclassman, Vladimir Dasic, is withdrawing from the draft. Dasic's agents informed teams this week that he's not coming over to the states for workouts and will be pulling out of the draft.
Dasic has an NBA body and game, but has been a very sporadic producer on the court. The chances he could crack the first round seemed slim. If he can get to a better team in Europe and produce, he'll have a better first-round shot next year.
• This time of year a lot of misinformation is flying around the league. Everyone is on pins and needles. I, and every other reporter, get an angry call from a team, agent or player's parent from time to time complaining that a story is inaccurate or unfair.
Usually the misinformation is harmless. But in the case of an inaccurate Internet report this week on the health of two draft prospects, it can have scarier implications.
An Internet draft site this week claimed that Missouri's DeMarre Carroll may need a "liver transplant in the near or long-term future," and that UConn's A.J. Price still had a brain aneurism that could jeopardize his career.
Yes, Carroll does have an issue with his liver. It's been known for several years and, according to Carroll's agent Mark Bartelstein, it is something that has been treated with medication.
But a liver transplant in the near future?
Bartelstein told ESPN.com that Dr. Jeffrey Crippin, the Marilyn Bornefeld Endowed Chair in GI Research and Treatment at Washington University in St. Louis, has been treating Carroll for the past two years and has assured Bartelstein that the issue will have no effect on Carroll's NBA career.
Bartelstein said Crippin was preparing a report that would be sent to every team giving further explanation about the condition.
Bartelstein's take was consistent with the take of two NBA doctors who, sources said, had cleared Carroll to be drafted.
"The docs said it's worth taking a look at, but it shouldn't have an effect on his NBA career and hasn't caused any issues in college," one source said.
Bartelstein wasn't the only one bristling.
Agent Jeff Schwartz also took umbrage at the same Internet report. His client, A.J. Price, was also targeted. The site said that Price "still has an aneurysm in an artery of his brain that could become a serious issue later in his career."
According to Schwartz, along with two NBA sources who have seen the report, the NBA actually gave him a clean bill of health.
"A.J. does not have still have an aneurysm," Schwartz told ESPN.com. "It's completely untrue."
Schwartz said the NBA lead doctor will send a message to all 30 teams Friday confirming that there was no aneurysm in Price's MRI.
Said one NBA executive who has seen the original medical report. "I don't know who would've read the report and thought it said that. There was nothing."
Chad Ford covers the NBA for ESPN.com.
Oh man I thought this was going to be a new article...my bad. Thanks though.
i think that whoever passes up on Rubio after 2 or 3 is pretty dumb
thanks for posting for us outsiders. I always change my mock around after reading the insider comments.
this was a really good post. nice job guy
Happy to do it.
Hey Pirate, can u post the Chad Ford`s new mock draft when it comes out thanks.