Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Pre-draft links

So many interesting stories and rumors on the eve of the NBA draft that I feel compelled to put together a list. Tomorrow is going to be crazy, I can feel it.

• First the biggie. Chad Ford is reporting the Blazers are acquiring the 27th pick from the Hornets in exchange for cash. The Columbian's Brian Hendrickson says it's confirmed. The timing and the way in which this news was reported makes me wonder.

• Chad Ford has also updated his mock draft, with the Blazers taking Nicolas Batum with No. 27. I could see that, but only if Batum would be willing to go back to Europe. Pritchard told me Batum doesn't want to go back to Europe, but maybe he can be persuaded. I heard a few people on the radio this morning saying J.J. Hickson was the target (those people are reading too much into his second workout if you ask me), but I doubt he makes it that late in the first round.

• Jason Quick dropped some rumors on 1080 yesterday. Issac Ropp has the scoop second hand in his blog.
Blazers in serious talks with 4 teams about trading out of the #13 pick
The four teams: Phoenix, NY Knicks, Toronto, New Jersey.
Players targeted: Barbosa, Malik Rose or David Lee?, TJ Ford, Devin Harris.
Offer on the table from one of the above or another East team.
The deal involves the #13 and a Blazers reserve for an unnamed veteran.
Potential exists for the Blazers to trade down targeting Brandon Rush @ #21.
The players garnering the most interest: Frye, Webster & Outlaw.
The players garnering very little interest: Rodriguez, Jack.
Significant news: Nate has decided to play Travis Outlaw exclusively at SF.
McMillan also committed to more Brandon Roy at PG.
No word from James Jones on his player option.

• There are a couple of rumors out there involving Portland and New Jersey. Peter Vescey (who swears he doesn't deal in "rumors") spins this little yarn ...
Look for the Nets New Jersey Nets to go out of their way to acquire Marcus Camby; they have one team to beat. As part of that deal or independent of it, I expect them to trade back to No. 13 (the Blazers are primed to deal the slot, that's for sure) perhaps to snare West Virginia's Joe Alexander - the league's looming lone American capable of trash talking Yao Ming in Mandarin.
Two things about that little salvo. First, I don't think anybody aside from Vescey thinks Alexander will be available at No. 13. And secondly, if Alexander did somehow slip to No. 13, I'm fairly certain the Blazers would take and keep him.

• Not to be outdone by their friends to the north, the Bergen Record's Al Iannazzone counters with a more plausible rumor.
Thorn wodn’t rule out a trade either. He said he received four calls Tuesday in a 2½-hour span from teams interesting in either the No. 10 or the No. 21 pick. Thorn said the No. 21 is especially in demand.

League sources said the Blazers called the Nets about a possible deal. The Nets would send a package that includes the No. 10 to Portland for No. 13, 33 and either Steve Blake or Jarrett Jack.

The Nets probably wouldn’t do that unless none of the players on their list was there, which is nearly impossible, and then they would use 13 on Brook’s twin brother Robin Lopez or Ohio State center Kosta Koufos.
That seems like a steep price to move up three spots, though if there's a player available at No. 10 that KP likes, a deal like this wouldn't surprise me in the least.

• Jason Quick has a solid recap of what the Trail Blazers front office all-stars are saying about tomorrow's draft. I talked to Mike Born for a few minutes yesterday at the practice facility, and I can say with a certain degree of certainty that he's totally amped for tomorrow.

• Casey Jarman at the Willamette Week doesn't exactly get Kevin Pritchard to tip his hand, but he does get KP's opinions on some of the better late round draft picks of the last five years.

That's all I have for now, though you should throw any other interesting links in the comments. And don't forget that Gavin Dawson of 95.5 The Game, Dave Deckard from Blazer's Edge and I, Casey Holdahl, will be posting a podcast today about tomorrow's draft. Expect that to be available around 1 p.m. today.

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