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Suicide lines: Draft rumors roundup

Ball Don't Lie

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The latest and greatest from the wide world of draft day rumors...

Rusty Simmons, San Francisco Chronicle: "The Warriors need someone to go with guards Stephen Curry(notes) and Monta Ellis(notes), and they need Brandan Wright(notes) or Anthony Randolph(notes) to emerge at power forward. They still can move into the draft's top four and take a small forward, Ohio State's Evan Turner or Syracuse's Wesley Johnson - or Kentucky center DeMarcus Cousins could eat his way out of the top five. 'Cousins is the most dominant big man in the draft,' Nelson said. 'He's the youngest, the most talented and the biggest of all of them. He plays the position that everyone is looking for. If you're going to have attitude problems, you'd better be a center who is a rebounder. You can deal with attitude problems if the guy can do some things in those areas.' More likely, the Warriors are going to have to decide among three power forwards: Georgetown's Greg Monroe, Baylor's Ekpe Udoh and Wake Forest's Al-Farouq Aminu are all promising, and Monroe eventually might develop into a center. Selecting one of the power forwards, however, would be a public admission that what the Warriors have said about either or both Wright and Randolph has been wrong. 'It's mostly about stockpiling talent,' general manager Larry Riley said. 'I know those guys bump into each other and there isn't enough playing time, but the only thing we're not going to do is draft a point guard.' There is still a chance the Warriors can pull off a trade for proven low-post presence Al Jefferson(notes) or small forwards Andre Iguodala(notes), Tayshaun Prince(notes) or Hedo Turkoglu(notes)."

Mike McGraw, Daily Herald: "Bulls general manager Gar Forman talked Wednesday about having plenty of options on the table right now. One rumor that does have some legs is Luol Deng(notes) to Orlando for forward Mickael Pietrus(notes) and center Marcin Gortat(notes). It has been discussed, according to a source, but talks have not gotten serious and there is no proof the Bulls are inclined to make such a move. This deal would save the Bulls about $22 million in future salaries, but it wouldn't give them any more cap space to add a second free agent this summer. In fact, it would erase about $300,000 in cap space, which probably makes this move unlikely."

Jeff Caplan, ESPN: "If the Dallas Mavericks are serious about trading into the first round, could it be they're having visions of a French Connection? With Roddy Beaubois already nestled deep in the hearts of Mavs fans, imagine the lightning-quick guard tossing lobs to his 6-foot-10 countryman Kevin Seraphin. The 260-pound power forward/center is tantalizingly athletic. He runs the floor, rebounds, block shots and loves to operate in the paint. A league source said the Mavs are big "fans" of Seraphin, who is projected to be selected in the first round, likely in the low 20s. Currently, the Mavs hold the 50th overall pick and appear set to head into tonight's draft holding onto that pick. Vice president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson said the club will look for ways to move up if a situation presents itself."

Gery Woelfel, Milwaukee Journal Times: "The Bucks are exploring the possibility of acquiring another first-round pick, most likely at the end of the round. The Bucks have three second-round picks - Nos. 37, 44 and 47 - and are believed to be considering packaging a couple of those picks to get a first-rounder. It's no secret several teams drafting late in the first round are receptive to moving their pick, among them Memphis and Oklahoma City."

K.C. Johnson, Chicago Tribune: "The Heat and Thunder followed the Bucks and Clippers in making a pre-draft trade, which the Bulls still are working to accomplish. 'There are a lot of things we're considering, some of which the (No. 17) pick is involved with,' general manager Gar Forman said Wednesday. 'We're not just going to move the pick (alone) for financial consideration. Like trade deadlines, a lot of times things don't happen until the 24th hour.' Like the Heat's trade of Daequan Cook(notes) and their first-round pick, the Bulls are trying to shave payroll for free agency. They've tried to package the pick with Luol Deng or Kirk Hinrich(notes) with little serious interest yet, although talks with the Clippers continue."

Frank Isola, New York Daily News: "[Donnie Walsh] has spoken to the Wolves about trading for the 23rd overall pick but Minnesota currently has a better deal on the table from New Jersey. The Knicks would consider buying a first round pick if they believe they can get the player they want. Last season, they gave the Lakers $3 million for the rights to Toney Douglas(notes), a move that worked out well for both clubs. According to sources, the Knicks have their sights set on three players; Iowa State forward Craig Brackins, New Mexico small forward Darinngton Hobson and Maryland guard Greivis Vasquez. Brackins is the most likely to go in the first round and is high on the Knicks draft board. Once projected as a lottery pick, Brackins is more comfortable on the perimeter shooting three's, which makes him a good fit for the Knicks system. Knicks head coach Mike D'Antoni is said to favor Vasquez, who can play both guard positions and is also strong perimeter player."

Doug Smith, Toronto Star: "Here's one of the things about rumours and leaks and stuff that gets out in the day or two leading up to the draft. Most of it's true - but only at some level. There was one making the rounds last night about the No. 13 pick to Portland for No. 22 and Rudy Fernandez(notes). Got wind of the report too late to check with the people I check with to find out its truthfulness. But here's the thing. In about five minutes this morning, I was able to deduce from sources that No. 22 and Rudy are being shopped all over the league - Portland wants to move up - and, yes, Toronto is one of a handful of teams the Blazers have checked with. It's not Raptors-specific, it's not just Houston and them, which is also out there on the internets. It's a handful of teams being asked about the possibility and it doesn't mean anything's close to being done. Now if last night's story had said: The Blazers are pushing their pick and Rudy Fernandez to anyone with a higher pick who'll listen, it wouldn't have caused nearly as much a stir but it would have been far more accurate."

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Julian Benbow, Boston Globe: "On the eve of the draft, Celtics president Danny Ainge acknowledged the team was considering trading its first-round draft pick, No. 19 overall, during an appearance on WEEI. Ainge did not return phone calls yesterday, but told the 'Big Show' yesterday, 'We're having discussions. We're talking about moving up, we're talking about moving down, we're talking about moving out for current players on [a] roster. All of those things are being discussed right now. We're trying to figure out the best alternative and a lot of it depends on who's available for us at 19.'"

Ted Kulfan, Detroit News: "The Minnesota Timberwolves want to get rid of center Al Jefferson. Would the Pistons want him? Would any team in the NBA? Jefferson, only 25, is a low-post presence, a 6-foot-10 big body who averaged 17 points and 9 rebounds for the Timberwolves last season, but has been plagued with serious knee injuries throughout his career. He also has three years and $42 million left on his contract. ESPN reported the Timberwolves contacted the Pistons this week and offered Jefferson, and Minnesota's 16th and 23rd overall picks, for Tayshaun Prince, Chris Wilcox(notes) and the Pistons' 7th pick."

Benjamin Hochman, Denver Post: "The Nuggets are working tirelessly at analyzing the prospects and having, as coach George Karl calls it, 'philosophical discussions to knock a home run and be a better team than we were last year.' Karl said it's possible the Nuggets could make a move in this draft. And remember last year? The Nuggets patiently waited as North Carolina guard Ty Lawson(notes) slipped in the draft. Denver then pulled the trigger on a 'draft-and-trade' deal with Minnesota, catching the lightning-quick Lawson in a bottle, if you will."

Mitch Lawrence, New York Daily News: "Considering team president Rod Thorn's penchant for dealing away marquee players (Vince Carter(notes) and Richard Jefferson(notes)) with high-market value, it would be no surprise if he trades Devin Harris(notes) at some point Thursday. 'I never say anybody's going to be here because you don't know,' Thorn said. 'If you get an offer you feel you cannot refuse, no matter who it is, you always look at it.' Recent rumors have the Nets offering Harris and the No. 3 pick to the Hornets for Chris Paul(notes). But with New Orleans denying any interest in such a deal, Harris may stay with the Nets, especially with new coach Avery Johnson. Harris and Johnson were together in Dallas, and both seem eager to work together again. 'The expectation is that he will be here,' Thorn said of Harris. That makes Yi Jianlian(notes) the more likely candidate to be dealt, especially since his biggest supporter - former GM and interim coach Kiki Vandeweghe - is no longer around. Since coming to New Jersey in the Jefferson deal, Yi has been a major bust, averaging 10.3 points and 6.3 rebounds in two injury-plagued seasons. If the Nets do hold onto the No.3 pick, they could use it to draft either Georgia Tech's Derrick Favors or Kentucky's DeMarcus Cousins."

Chris Sheridan, ESPN: "The Miami Heat were still desperately seeking salary cap room Thursday as the hours ticked down to the NBA draft. One day after essentially sacrificing Daequan Cook and a first-round draft pick (18th overall) in a trade with Oklahoma City that cleared $3.4 million in salary cap space, a league source told ESPN.com that the Heat were working Thursday on a buyout of James Jones'(notes) contract to further increase their financial flexibility for free agency this summer. Jones has $15.5 remaining on his contract through 2012-13, but those final three seasons are only partially guaranteed if James is waived by June 30. Waiving Jones would knock another $2.8 million off the Heat's salary cap for the 2010-11 season, giving them roughly $27 million to spend in free agency after July 1."

Adrian Wojnarowksi and Marc Spears, Yahoo! Sports: "The Sacramento Kings are planning to select Kentucky center DeMarcus Cousins with the fifth pick in the draft, sources with knowledge of the franchise's plan told Yahoo! Sports. The Kings have ultimately decided Cousins is just too talented to pass and believe they can provide the support system he'll need in the NBA. Cousins is 6-foot-11, 285 pounds, and has a refined offensive game. Kings general manager Geoff Petrie and coach Paul Westphal are banking the organization can help Cousins improve his conditioning and maturity."

Andy Katz, ESPN: "Barring a last-minute change in thinking, the New Jersey Nets will select Georgia Tech freshman Derrick Favors over Syracuse's Wesley Johnson with the No. 3 pick, ESPN.com was told Thursday morning. According to a source with knowledge of the selection, the Nets made the decision because they are not guaranteed to get a power forward such as Utah's Carlos Boozer(notes), Toronto's Chris Bosh(notes) or Phoenix's Amare Stoudemire in free agency. The source said that Favors is also the most tradeable asset available to the Nets for a possible deal -- more so than Johnson. The source said the Nets might make a deal Thursday night after selecting Favors, or wait to see if one comes in July during the free-agency period. The source said if the Nets make a deal they would have to include the pick of Favors."

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