Less than 36 hours before the draft, and there is a lot of stuff flying around about the NBA Draft, the New Orleans Pelicans, and possible trades that could go down. Let’s stop for a second and take a closer look at each of these things individually:
Analysis: So far two sources have reported that the Pelicans have discussed the parameters of a trade with the Dallas Mavericks that would have us take Marion’s salary off the Mavs books in exchange for the 13th pick. Fletcher Mackel said the target would be Giannis Adetokunbo, while Steve Kyler did not give any indication of who the Pelicans would be interested in.
Personally, I would not be a big fan of this trade. The Pelicans would be essentially forfeiting their cap space for the 13th pick in a weak draft and a stop gap small forward. Yes, we would have that cap space next year, but I don’t think next years FA crop is that strong and we have to start moving forward with a core – not delaying everything to next year, and then the year after that, and the year after that….
Analysis: If you were to jump on Twitter or message boards, you would think he is already on the team. Calm down. According to a New York reporter, we are interested. According to Copeland’s agent, the Pelicans have interest, but so do others. What do I think of Copeland’s game? Very versatile offensive player that has a long way to go on defense. If Monty can mkae him even an average NBA defender and Dell can get him for 3.5-4 million per year, it will be a very good signing.
Analysis: McLemore’s poor workout with the Suns seems to have opened the door for some other guys to be picked at #5, right before the Pelicans go on the clock. The Michael Carter-Williams love seems weird, considering the fact that the Suns have Dragic and the fact that they drafted Kendall Marshall last year, but this is a new regime. Their new GM didn’t draft Marshall or give Dragic that contract, so he might see their roster as a blank slate, and if he thinks MCW has star potential, I can easily see him making that pick. Zeller also fits as a high character guy who can get out in transition; two things the Suns covet. If either of these guys go #5, you would have to think either McLemore or Oladipo will be on the board at #6. Maybe both.
Analysis: I am sure everyone has. That is Dell Demps’s job. You have to call and explore possibilities, then go back to your war room and evaluate all the options. Rumors are that Cleveland wants a lotto pick, a 2014 1st rounder, and a young player. Is anybody in this draft worth all of that? I doubt it. So, don’t expect a trade up to #1 unless the Cavs dramatically lower their asking price.
Analysis: (SheridanHoops.com is a very questionable source, so take it with a grain of salt. It is only here because I knew that if I left it out, people would bring it up in the comments. So, if it were true…..)
Apparently, the Bobcats think Porter will be there at number 4 and they will take him if he is. It would be hard to play he and MKG together, so they appear to be fielding calls to see what they can get for him. If I am Dell Demps, I offer him Robin Lopez and the 6th pick. The Bobcats could walk out of this draft with Porter, McLemore, and Robin Lopez in that scenario, and the Pelicans can get their small forward of the future and even more cap room.
Analysis: Chad Ford did say in Tuesday’s mock draft that he is a darkhorse to go number #2. And today comes word that the Bobcats GM loves him at #4. Apparently, Zeller is the hottest guy in this draft right now. Another possibility? What if the Magic are contimplating trading down? They could get Zeller, at let’s say, oh I don’t know, number 6! Maybe the Pelicans take back a bad contract, or how about this one: Supposedly the Clips and Magic are talking a Eric Bledsoe and Caron Butler for Aaron Afflalo trade. What if the Pelicans agreed to take Butler’s contract to move up from 6 to 2? Magic get Zeller and Bledsoe while cutting some payroll. Pelicans get a stop gap at SF and, possibly, their top player in this draft.
Analysis (Mason Ginsberg): According to Alex Kennedy of HoopsWorld, the Cleveland Cavaliers have offered the New Orleans Pelicans the first overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft in exchange for the 6th pick in the 2013 Draft, Greivis Vasquez, and the Pelicans’ 2014 first round pick. This is a trade that the Pelicans have to consider if they can add protection to the 2014 pick. Making this deal while leaving the 2014 pick totally unprotected could be a Kyrie Irving-sized mistake, but if the pick has, say, top-10 protection, it could be a very appealing move if New Orleans has a clear favorite player in this draft.
Analysis (Michael Pellissier): Gordon has been rumored to be on the trade market for a long time now, and this really isn’t a surprise. Of course, the proximity of the rumor to the draft is notable, and it’s also notable that no Pelicans source has come out and denied this rumor. Is he going to be traded on draft night? Maybe, maybe not, but I think Gordon will be traded at some point this season.
Analysis (Mason Ginsberg): According to Vincent Goodwill of the Detroit News, “Word has it Burke is close to a promise from New Orleans at the sixth spot.” While using the word “promise” may be a stretch, it would not surprise me one bit if Burke feels extremely confident that he won’t fall past the Pelicans at pick #6.
My Own Personal Conspiracy Theory
No links for this own, no sources. But something to me just doesnt add up, and when that happens, an alarm goes off in my mind. A little background first. As you could probably tell by what all the writers think Dell’s Big Board looks like, we got a little intel that he is not in love with Oladipo. Admittedly, the intel could be wrong or Dell might have changed his mind. The next piece of intel suggested to us that Dell would like someone who could create their own offense if we were to draft a perimeter player.
Now I take that information and I look at this draft. There is one guy who does that at an elite level. That same guy also kills it in interviews according to every source and what I have seen with my own eyes in his combine interview and with Grantland. His game is reminiscent of a player Monty said in the past was #2 on our board last year, Damian Lillard. (Can’t find the interview or article right now. If you can, please post) And yet, we didn’t even bring this guy in for a workout?
Does any of this seem fishy to you? Fills a huge need, is the exact kind of player we want in our locker room, and he is perhaps the most NBA ready guy in this draft, so Monty won’t have to rip out any remaining hair he has left to coach him up. He is projected to go in our range, and yet, no interview? Weird.
So what is my conspiracy theory? I believe it is possible that Dell liked him on tape and fell in love with him at the draft combine. He was determined at that point to take him at 6 if Saric didn’t come over and he scheduled guys to do his due diligence. Maybe somebody else would wow him and he would have to reconsider. Also, by not bringing CJ in, teams picking 7,8, or 9 wouldn’t deem the Pelicans a threat and position themselves to trade ahead of us. I mean, Dell said we couldn’t get guys to work out for us because they didn’t think they would be drafted in our range. The higher guys thought they would be gone and the lower ones didnt think they would go as high as #6. But CJ worked out for both Phoenix (#5) and Sacramento (#7). So, clearly he would have worked out for us if we asked. So, the questions is: Why didn’t we?
People will probably claim this is wishful thinking on my part, because I have CJ so high on my board, but it’s just not true. I wasn’t hoping we would take Rivers at ten, and I wasn’t hoping we would trade CP3 to the Clippers, but things just added up that way when I looked at the situation objectively, so I confidently predicted it. The same is happening here.
Again, this is all coming from me. It just doesn’t add up in my mind, and it is hard for me to shake the feeling that the Chessmaster is several moves ahead of us all. I guess we will know in less than 36 hours.
As always, we ask you to chime in. Your thoughts? Your hopes? Your ideas of how tomorrow goes down?