Draft buzz: Orton continues to drop

Kentucky center Daniel Orton has rapidly turned into a freefalling draft prospect – perhaps all the way out of the first round.

Orton’s combination of knee issues, poor conditioning and personal turmoil surrounding his predraft process has raised multiple warning signs for NBA teams. A 6-foot-10 freshman, Orton had been considered a prospect for the middle of the first round, but several league executives suggested on Wednesday morning that he could drop into the second.

“It could be like one of those anvils falling in a cartoon,” one Western Conference executive said.

“It’s a perfect storm of stuff happening with him – the knee, the conditioning, the stuff going on around him,” one Eastern Conference personnel director said. “I think he drops right out of the first [round].”

“Unless there’s one team that’s fallen in love with him because of the size, the shot-blocking, he could fall a long way,” a Western Conference general manager said.

Orton canceled several workouts in the past two weeks, leading some to speculate that a team had privately guaranteed to draft him. There’s no evidence that’s true. He finally worked out for Indiana on Tuesday.

Orton played one season at Kentucky, where he averaged just 13 minutes and 3.4 points behind DeMarcus Cousins. He left on relatively poor terms with coach John Calipari, and even told front offices in the predraft process that he wished he had chosen Kansas over Kentucky. Despite the belief he would be represented by agent Raymond Brothers, Orton hasn’t used him. He’s gone without an agent, using his family and former NBA coach Bob Hill to guide him through the process. That’s been a disastrous choice for him.

– Adrian Wojnarowski, 11:27 a.m. ET, June 23

Nuggets not trading Lawson

Teams calling the Denver Nuggets with hopes of acquiring point guard Ty Lawson say they’ve received one resounding response: He isn’t available.

– Adrian Wojnarowski, 12:20 p.m. ET, June 23

Nets ponder taking Gallon\

The Nets worked out Oklahoma’s Tiny Gallon for a second time on Wednesday and are considering him with the 27th or 31st pick. He’s an intriguing prospect, a talented player who weighs 300 pounds and needs to learn the proper nutrition to keep his weight down. Nevertheless, one Eastern Conference executive calls him, “a more talented, offensive Big Baby,” who multiple teams believe is a worth project based on his talent. He’s an engaging personality too, and that’s helped him in the predraft process.

The Washington Wizards also have interest in Gallon – as well as Quincy Pondexter – with the 30th pick.

– Adrian Wojnarowski, 12:20 p.m. ET, June 23

Nets to trade Douglas-Roberts

The New Jersey Nets have agreed in principle to trade forward Chris Douglas-Roberts to the Milwaukee Bucks for a 2012 second-round pick, sources told Yahoo! Sports. The deal is expected to be completed this week.

– Adrian Wojnarowski, 9:17 a.m. ET, June 23

Blazers look to add another pick

Portland Trail Blazers have targeted University of Memphis guard Elliot Williams and are actively working to get an additional first-round pick in the 20s to draft him, league sources told Yahoo! Sports.

Without another pick in the late first round, Portland will have to decide whether it wants to use the 22nd selection on Williams. The Blazers would prefer to use No. 22 on a different player, but don’t believe Williams will be available when they select again at No. 34.

Sources say the Blazers have been willing to give Memphis the 34th overall pick and as much as $3 million to get one of the Grizzlies’ two picks – either Nos. 25 or 28. Memphis has discussed trading those two picks to Minnesota to move up to the 16th spot.

Blazers owner Paul Allen paid $2 million to exchange the 44th pick for No. 34 with Golden State on Monday.

Williams has been slowed with a knee injury suffered in a predraft session last month in San Antonio, but Portland has worked him out and feels confident in his recovery.

– Adrian Wojnarowski, 7:06 p.m. ET, June 22

Teams eye Mavs' trade exception

The Dallas Mavericks don’t have a pick in the first round, but they do hold a valuable $3 million trade exception. Mavericks owner Mark Cuban told Y! Sports that Dallas is “taking bids” on it “in exchange for a pick and cash to help teams free up cap room and get under the tax.”

– Adrian Wojnarowski, 8:45 p.m. ET, June 22

Nets could spoil T'wolves plans

Perhaps it won't be long until panic starts to set into the Minnesota Timberwolves, where two things need to become increasingly clear: They're far overvaluing Al Jefferson's(notes) trade value; and Syracuse's Wesley Johnson is no longer assured to be available to them with the fourth pick in Thursday's NBA draft.

All along, the Wolves had planned to select Johnson at No. 4, and yet the New Jersey Nets are holding serious discussions about drafting the small forward and taking their chances with trying to sign a power forward in free agency. The Nets had long favored Derrick Favors, but are debating now about how long it will take for him to become a regular contributor. New Jersey is still contemplating DeMarcus Cousins, too.

Under general manager David Kahn, the Wolves are becoming the organization that no one wants to send players. Kahn's condescending, abrasive style is frustrating to rival GMs and agents because few people believe he has the background, knowledge or credentials to even hold the job. To his credit, Kahn did hire a personable assistant GM, Tony Ronzone, who can work the phones for him.

Nevertheless, Cousins wouldn't work out for the Wolves. Nor did Georgetown center Greg Monroe, who traveled to the two teams in the next two spots, Sacramento and Golden State. Favors reluctantly worked out for the Wolves only to have Kahn insult him by calling him "out of shape." This infuriated Favors' agent Wallace Prather, and has strained the relationship there. It makes no sense for the Wolves to draft another power forward, anyway.

Kahn has tried to assure agents he's going to move Jefferson before the season, but it won't be long until he realizes how little value his power forward has with such an expensive contract and a reconstructed knee. The Wolves have two power forwards, Jefferson and Kevin Love(notes), who don't complement each other, and no center.

Minnesota wants Memphis' Rudy Gay(notes) in free agency, but sources say the only way Gay will even consider the Wolves is if they massively overpay him. That's why the Wolves were so determined to draft Johnson and why they have to be terrified that he could be gone at No. 4.

The Wolves are also willing to move point guard Jonny Flynn(notes), and have discussed a deal with the Indiana Pacers, sources said. The Wolves are willing to part with the 16th and 23rd picks as part of a bigger package to move up to No. 10. This way, the Wolves could possibly gain the leverage to make a deal with Philadelphia to secure the No. 2 pick and grab Ohio State's Evan Turner.

Sources say Flynn was frustrated throughout the season with the triangle offense and clashed with Wolves coach Kurt Rambis over the system. Rambis brought the offense with him from the Los Angeles Lakers, but traditionally it's worked best with bigger guards. Minnesota could turn its team over to Ramon Sessions(notes) next season or gain another point guard elsewhere. The Wolves own the rights to Spanish point guard Ricky Rubio(notes), but he won't consider leaving for the NBA until next season. Even then, Rubio's camp still needs to be sold on the organization.

– Adrian Wojnarowski, 3:10 a.m. ET, June 22

Suns to make offer to Stoudemire

Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver and coach Alvin Gentry are planning to meet with Amar'e Stoudemire(notes) next week and offer him a contract extension, but a source called it "pretty bleak" that the Suns will be able to convince the All-Star forward to agree to a deal.

The Suns are expected to visit Stoudemire in Chicago at his summer basketball camp, if not wait for him to return to his home in Phoenix, Yahoo! Sports has learned. After rejecting what's expected to be another counteroffer below the maximum, Stoudemire will opt out of the final year of his contract and become a free agent July 1.

The Miami Heat and New York Knicks will be the top suitors for Stoudemire, with the Chicago Bulls and New Jersey Nets also expected to show interest.

Stoudemire has been disappointed with the resignations of general manager Steve Kerr and his assistant, David Griffin. The Suns' top two executives plan to work through the draft Thursday, but free agency and trades will be left to Sarver and Gentry. Much of the reason for Kerr's departure was based on Sarver asking him to take a pay cut and continuing to nickel-and-dime the teams' front-office employees.

When Griffin was told that there would a search for Kerr's successor and that he wouldn't necessarily be promoted to the top basketball job, sources said, he decided to not stay past the expiring of his contract June 30.

– Adrian Wojnarowski, 3:10 a.m. ET, June 22

Orton stock dropping

There's a great deal of uncertainty and caution surrounding Kentucky center Daniel Orton, who has cancelled several workouts in the final days before the draft, but has tentatively planned a visit with Indiana on Tuesday.

League executives say Orton has been out of shape and struggling with knee issues during the predraft process. Orton, a 6-foot-10 freshman, had planned to hire agent Raymond Brothers, but sources said an internal family struggle over control has kept him without formal representation. With so much uncertainty surrounding Orton, he could face a steep drop Thursday night.

Orton has been working out with former NBA coach Bob Hill. As one Eastern Conference executive said Monday, "There are too many red flags right now."

– Adrian Wojnarowski, 3:10 a.m. ET, June 22


Here's the great advantage Portland Trail Blazers owner Paul Allen and his embattled GM Kevin Pritchard have over the rest of the NBA: a willingness to spend at draft time. To move up 10 spots in the second round – from 44 to 34 – a league source says the Blazers paid Golden State $2 million to go with the 44th pick. … The Miami Heat's draft pick at No. 18 is available, league sources say. "They want to sell it to clear cap space," one Western Conference executive said. … The Washington Wizards have the Nos. 1 and 30 picks of the first round, but league executives says GM Ernie Grunfeld is trying to stockpile more picks. New owner Ted Leonsis had a similar philosophy with the Washington Capitals, and has insisted that building through picks and the draft will be his priority in the NBA, too. … The Nets and Philadelphia 76ers are expected to have interest in Boston Celtics free agent Brian Scalabrine(notes). The reserve forward prefers to re-sign with the Celtics, but it's unclear if they'll make him an offer. … Portland is showing strong interest in Cleveland Cavaliers guard Mo Williams(notes). The Blazers have been making calls to check on him. … British center Ryan Richards isn't expected to get past the Kings with the 33rd pick. … The Denver Nuggets made Linas Kleiza(notes) a $2.3 million qualifying offer, but sources close to the forward say there's "more than a 50 percent chance" he'll stay in Greece. Kleiza is due to make $6 million next season if he stays with Olympiakos. The qualifying offer allows the Nuggets to match any offer an NBA team makes to Kleiza.

– Marc J. Spears and Adrian Wojnarowski, 3:10 a.m. ET, June 22