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PostPosted: Mon Jun 22, 2009 9:24 am
courtesy of Chad Ford, ESPN

POSTED: June 22 -- 10:11 a.m. ET

Chad Ford: What would the draft be without a few Blazers trade rumors?

Portland GM Kevin Pritchard has been among the NBA's most active executives on draft night. In 2006, he pulled off three draft-day trades to get his hands on LaMarcus Aldridge, Brandon Roy and Sergio Rodriguez. In 2007, Pritchard landed Rudy Fernandez and Petteri Koponen with draft-day deals. And in 2008, Pritchard traded up two spots in the draft to get Jerryd Bayless and then landed Nicolas Batum in a trade.

Will Pritchard strike again this year?

The Blazers have been making inquiries all over the first round. Their main target has been Pittsburgh's DeJuan Blair, a burly power forward who plays with a toughness the Blazers lack and coach Nate McMillan would appreciate.

However, Sunday night, there was talk Pritchard has even grander plans. With point guard Ricky Rubio possibly slipping out of the top four, the Blazers are talking to the Wizards about acquiring the No. 5 pick. Pritchard has been on the hunt for a point guard, and Rubio would be a nice fit to round out the Blazers' collection of young, unselfish talents.

But trading for the No. 5 pick is far from a done deal, as the price would be high for the Blazers. The Wizards want any team interested in the No. 5 pick to take Etan Thomas off their hands -- a move that could eat into the Blazers' cap space this summer. The deal almost certainly would cost the Blazers some young talent, like Bayless, Travis Outlaw or Batum.

Even more pressing, McMillan has been pushing for the Blazers to sit out this draft and instead add a veteran to their young core.

Pritchard joked to The Oregonian that McMillan "will probably kill me" if he adds another rookie to the team. McMillan laughed and told The Oregonian, "you will have to put me behind bars" if Pritchard gets another rookie.

There's no question Pritchard also is trying to figure out a way to get maximum cap room this summer to use for a free agent or in a trade. The Magic's Hedo Turkoglu gets the most mention, but sources say Portland's real target is Bulls point guard Kirk Hinrich.

If the Bulls re-sign Ben Gordon to a big contract this summer, they are going to have to part ways with Hinrich to be able to afford it. The Bulls are dangerously close to the luxury tax as it is, and gving Gordon a big deal would put them over the top. Enter the Blazers, who will have the cap space to absorb Hinrich's deal and put the Bulls back under the tax threshold.

Hinrich would give the Blazers a seasoned point guard, but one without the sizzle or upside of Rubio.

Can Pritchard sit back and let Rubio slip through his fingers?



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


POSTED: June 22 -- 2:54 a.m. ET

Chad Ford: The NBA has experienced workout mania the past few days, with some of the best workouts of the draft happening as teams bring back their top-rated prospects to battle each other.

• Maybe the biggest news is about the workout that didn't happen -- UConn big man Hasheem Thabeet dropped out of a workout scheduled for Sunday with the Memphis Grizzlies.

The official explanation was a sore shoulder. The unofficial explanation? Thabeet doesn't want to play in Memphis and wanted to stay in Los Angeles to talk Oklahoma City Thunder general manager Sam Presti into drafting him at No. 3.

Why doesn't Thabeet want to play in Memphis? For the same reason that Ricky Rubio, Stephen Curry and others have refused workouts. Said one source in explaining the Grizzlies' reputation: "They don't spend any money anymore. They don't have a commitment to put a winning team on the floor right now. It's not where an agent wants to send his star pick."

Rubio and Thabeet have said no to Memphis, and James Harden bombed a workout there, so who are the Grizzlies taking?

I think it's likely they still will take Thabeet.

But I have no idea how Grizzlies owner Michael Heisley is going to react to this latest twist.

• Presti didn't conduct any workouts, but he sure was busy this weekend. He met with Rubio and family on Saturday, and then Thabeet and Harden on Sunday, all in L.A.

The Thunder GM got a chance to look at the results of Rubio's physical, see his contract and meet the young guard, and he came away "intrigued" by the possibility of taking Rubio at No. 3.

While Rubio isn't the best fit in OKC, he looks like he might be the best player on the board. So what will Presti do? While Harden might be the logical choice in terms of fit, my gut feeling is Rubio will go No. 3.

• The Kings had a great workout in Sacramento on Sunday, with Tyreke Evans, Stephen Curry, Jonny Flynn and Nick Calathes taking part. And from what I can gather, Sunday might end up being the day Ricky Rubio lost his chance to get drafted by the Kings if he's still available at No. 4.

Several people in the Kings' front office already doubted Rubio was the right fit, so it didn't help that he wasn't there to duke it out with the other top prospects. It's hard to make the case for Rubio when he's not at a workout.

Meanwhile, it was the second Sacto workout for Flynn and Evans.

Flynn was at the top of the Kings' board coming into the workout, but Evans emerged at the top. His physicality was just too much for Flynn, Curry and Calathes to handle.

As one Kings scout said, "It was a man beating up boys."

That could be bad news for Rubio. With Sacramento general manager Geoff Petrie looking for a player who can contribute right away, Flynn and Evans are getting more attention.

If Rubio slides past Sacramento at No. 4, he could be heading to either Washington at 5, Minnesota at 6 or New York at 8. The Wizards haven't seen him yet, and neither have the Wolves. But if the Knicks want to see him, I think Rubio will find a way to accommodate them.

• The Timberwolves brought a number of guards in over the weekend, including Flynn, Evans, Jennings, Jrue Holiday, Ty Lawson and Jeff Teague.

From what I gather, Evans won some hearts in Minnesota, and Flynn stole a few as well. As for Jennings, it sounds like the Wolves will pass.

• The Suns also had a big workout this weekend -- Earl Clark, James Johnson and Jennings were joined by Calathes, Jack McClinton and Jonas Jerebko.

It sounds as though a number of players played well, and it appears Clark and Johnson are in a dead heat in Phoenix at the moment -- that is, unless someone else in the top 12 falls to Phoenix at No. 14.

As for Jennings, one Suns source said he was good but was skeptical: "I hope he doesn't fall to us at 14. I don't want to have to make a decision on him."

• More big workouts are coming early this week.

The Knicks are bringing back Holiday. There's a good chance it will be Holiday versus Jennings for the No. 8 pick if Curry, Evans and Jordan Hill are off the board.

Milwaukee has a big point guard workout with Flynn, Teague, Jennings and Lawson. The Bucks' workouts should help them decide who they take at No. 10.

The New Jersey Nets have an "everything" workout with Flynn, Jennings, Gerald Henderson, Terrence Williams, Tyler Hansbrough and Jeff Pendergraph on Tuesday. That one should help them determine who they take at No. 11

The Bobcats are trying to arrange a matchup between Henderson and Williams. Henderson has been the favorites there for weeks, but it appears Williams has edged into the mix.

And the Bulls are trying to schedule one last showdown between DeJuan Blair, Johnson and B.J. Mullens for Tuesday. As of Sunday night, only Blair had committed to the workout. The Bulls wanted Hansbrough at that one as well, but he had already committed to the Nets. Clark might replace him.

• By the way, Blair seems to be back in favor with more GMs. Over the weekend his agent, Happy Walters, had a couple of teams talk to Blair's physician, James Bradley, who did Blair's ACL surgeries in high school.

I'm not privy to the conversations, but I do think this latest development has put him back in the mix with the Pacers at No. 13 and the Bulls at 16.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 22, 2009 10:13 am
Good read. The blazers are already scary if they add Hienrich, or Rubio with the talent they have already, the rest of the league better watch out.

If Rubio slides past Sacramento at No. 4, he could be heading to either Washington at 5, Minnesota at 6 or New York at 8. The Wizards haven't seen him yet, and neither have the Wolves. But if the Knicks want to see him, I think Rubio will find a way to accommodate them.

That's an interesting take on Rubio sliding, what about a destination to Warrior land. It mentions all teams he could go to if he drops but some how the warriors are secluded from that list.
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 22, 2009 10:19 am
yes, it is interesting that he is never mentioned with the Warriors. I have only heard speculation that Rubio does not want to play here because of things he has heard from Marco B. I heard one columnists make a small mention that the Warriors dont like his game and are not interested but did not go into a lot of detail.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 22, 2009 10:25 am
If Rubio does fall to the Warriors at # 7 which again is unlikely, do you think they will pass on him?

I saw on Realmg "The Nets are "said to be willing to part with point guard Devin Harris" to land the second overall pick in next Thursday's NBA Draft."

If this kid is that good don't see him sliding that low, or the warriors passing on him.
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 22, 2009 10:44 am
yeah, I would think it would be tough for them to pass. Again, I have not seen him play much but I can see why teams are a bit leary.

There is not exactly a blueprint of sucess in the modern NBA for below the rim, unathletic, cant shoot, cant play a lick of defense PG's.

From everything I have read he is a great floor general and great passer but he better be VERY special in that regard to make up for his deficencies elsewhere.
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 22, 2009 11:33 am
bada wrote:There is not exactly a blueprint of sucess in the modern NBA for below the rim, unathletic, cant shoot, cant play a lick of defense PG's.


Actually, that last part can't be more inaccurate. He doesn't have the body (yet) to play man-to-man defense against the more physical PGs, but he's a hell of a defender in any other aspect. He's been leading the league in steals, is pretty decent defending passing lines and usually finds a way to stay with his man. He'll have problems with the stronger players, but I wouldn't say he doesn't play a lick of D.

The rest of the points are pretty valid, tho.


btw, if he isn't drafted in the top 5, there's a big chance he won't join his NBA team for two years (as he will have to pay a sh*tload of money to get rid of his current contract). Maybe that's why the Warriors and other franchises aren't talking much about drafting him if he slips.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 22, 2009 11:40 am
Same here only saw him tid-bits during the olympics and to be honest don't remember much from that. The clips from youtube are just that so its hard to make a full judgment.

Can he develop, lets hope so. The press the kid has gotten since he was 14, is how the nba world works now. They have pinned this kid to be the next great pg, other than Griffin, Rubio is suppose to be the only sure pick, but off course here comes the doubts, now that he is up close and personal.

It has been pointed out that his defense and sense on the court is what will make him special, but we shall see.

I think the team that drafts him will do it on potential, his psychical attributes are solid for a point guard, and his room for improvement.

But how can scouts and people knowing that the kid does not have an efficient shot, not as athletic, be the next great thing. Am interested to see were he goes and how he develops.
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 22, 2009 11:55 am
TMC, I certainly would defer to you on that as you have seen him play. Seems like all the draft writers here say the same thing that he is just brutal as a defender. Without having seen him play, I took them at their word. Teaches me huh
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 22, 2009 12:08 pm
bada wrote:TMC, I certainly would defer to you on that as you have seen him play. Seems like all the draft writers here say the same thing that he is just brutal as a defender. Without having seen him play, I took them at their word. Teaches me huh


Well, you know, there are reasons to be concerned about his D. As you pointed before, he's just sooooo... unathletic that he's gonna have a big disadvantage against the more strong players. Also, pace is totally different in the NBA, so he'll have to adapt to that as well.

But he's just won the DPOY of our league, and you don't do that being a bad defender. Of course, our DPOY may end up being just an average NBA defender, but that's far from being as terrible as some analysts are saying.


One think to consider, tho, is that he has a lot of room to develop and more talent that any recent prospect I remember (other than Lebron and freaks like him), but he's no sure thing. The only sure thing in this draft (to me, at least) is Griffin, but that's it.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 22, 2009 3:53 pm
Rubio cant play a lick of Defense... Bada, that is certainly one of your worst statements (as you are almost always wise and great)... BTW, not picking on you, but are they really saying he sucks at D in the papers? The sacbee and ESPN are my only two sources of knowledge and their are praising his d- ability.

he is arguable the best defending guard in all of europe basketball. No Joke. TMC said it, he leads the league in steals or amongst the top for multiple years. he works even harder at the defensive level than in his offense.... Thats saying something.
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 22, 2009 4:35 pm
Mr. Crackerz wrote:Rubio cant play a lick of Defense... Bada, that is certainly one of your worst statements (as you are almost always wise and great)... BTW, not picking on you, but are they really saying he sucks at D in the papers? The sacbee and ESPN are my only two sources of knowledge and their are praising his d- ability.

he is arguable the best defending guard in all of europe basketball. No Joke. TMC said it, he leads the league in steals or amongst the top for multiple years. he works even harder at the defensive level than in his offense.... Thats saying something.


Which is why I prefaced the comment with "I have never seen him play". Yes, I have seen several scouting reports that say he will not be able to defend in the NBA other than he is good at anticpating.

Glad to get scoop from people that have watched him play.
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 22, 2009 7:11 pm
more draft buzz:

Chad Ford: UCLA's Jrue Holiday was feeling the pressure. He was in New York today for a callback with the Knicks -- a team he would love to go to at No. 8. His first audition wasn't all that it should've been. He was overshadowed by more experienced players like Stephen Curry and Gerald Henderson. He struggled to shut down Curry defensively. He got frustrated. A little down. And then those old feelings of self-doubt, the ones that were on display all season at UCLA, started creeping up.

The Knicks were down on his first workout, but recognized that he could do better and invited him back to New York on Monday -- this time against Miami's Jack McClinton.

The result? "He was much, much better today," one Knicks source told ESPN.com. "He shot the ball better, played with confidence -- he's a special player."

The question is … is he special enough to overtake Brandon Jennings on the Knicks' draft board?

As of Sunday night, the Knicks had Jennings ranked slightly ahead. Jennings' workout in New York was full of sizzle and bravado and surprised the Knicks' brass, who thought he'd be less polished. Basketball guru Sonny Vaccaro, who orchestrated Jennings' year in Italy this past season, began telling people that Jennings was going to prove everyone wrong on draft night -- alluding to New York as a possible destination, according to sources who talked to Vaccaro.

Is Sonny speaking too soon? The word I got out of New York on Monday was mixed. On the one hand, the Knicks had originally had Holiday ranked higher and were persuaded that his size and versatility made him a better pick. On the other, Jennings seems to have the makeup to be a star in the NBA.

Sources said Knicks president Donnie Walsh will gather his staff on Tuesday to go over the draft one more time so that they can settle on a player.

Two things could still put a stop to Jennings' or Holiday's dreams of playing in New York.

First, the Knicks do have other players higher on their board. If Curry, Ricky Rubio, Tyreke Evans or Jordan Hill were on the board, I think they'd take them over Jennings or Holiday.

Second, the Knicks have had talks with the Wizards about acquiring the No. 5 pick. If the Knicks draft a point guard there, they'd likely go in another direction with their second first-round pick. Their offer was Larry Hughes for Etan Thomas and Mike James and the fifth pick. The Wizards were once high on Hughes and are in the market for a veteran player who can propel the team to a championship right now. They'd save some money in the deal, get a player who could help them … but is that enough for the No. 5 pick?

The Wizards are entertaining lots of other offers right now and the Knicks' offer of Hughes may not be enough.

• The word around the league is that Hasheem Thabeet canceled his workout in Memphis on Sunday in part because he's confident that the Thunder will take him with the No. 3 pick in the draft. How confident is a subject of debate. A few sources say Thabeet got a promise from the Thunder over the weekend. However a source close to Thabeet says he doesn't have a promise and feels there's still a good chance that Memphis takes him at No. 2 -- despite Thabeet's objections.

• There's been a lot of speculation the past few weeks that the Pistons may trade their pick at 15. Not true, according to Detroit sources. "We're in a position to add two to three players through free agency and to add a couple of players through the draft," the source said. "No need for us to move our pick for an extra $1.4 million of cap space."

As for all the talk that the Pistons promised everyone from B.J. Mullens to Earl Clark at No. 15. "It's totally B.S.," the source said. "Why would we promise someone in this draft? So many scenarios are still playing themselves out. Anything could happen. We're just going to be content to let whoever falls to us fall."

• The Rockets are actively hunting for a team willing to trade its lottery pick. Their offer? Carl Landry. I love Landry, but not sure he's worth a lottery pick. Then again, in this draft … maybe.




POSTED: June 22 -- 4:39 p.m. ET

Chad Ford: Ricky Rubio is back in Sacramento. After a disappointing first visit last week -- when he got sick and left without working out -- Rubio flew into Sacramento on Monday to work out for the Kings.

This comes on the heels of Rubio spending the weekend with Thunder GM Sam Presti in LA, where Rubio and his camp shared physicals, contract information and personal time with Presti, who walked away "intrigued." However, Rubio didn't walk away with a promise from Presti that they'd draft him at No. 3.

That prompted Rubio to return to Sacramento on Monday to try to seal the deal with the Kings. The Kings are high on Rubio, but their interest has waned in the last few weeks after strong workouts by Tyreke Evans, Jonny Flynn and Jrue Holiday. The front office is split between Rubio's upside and the more immediate impact Evans or Flynn could make in Sacramento.

If Rubio can do enough to impress the team this time, it might be hard for the Kings to pass. While Evans and Flynn are both good players, neither has the upside of Rubio.
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 23, 2009 1:35 am
bada wrote:Why doesn't Thabeet want to play in Memphis? For the same reason that Ricky Rubio, Stephen Curry and others have refused workouts. Said one source in explaining the Grizzlies' reputation: "They don't spend any money anymore. They don't have a commitment to put a winning team on the floor right now. It's not where an agent wants to send his star pick."

Rubio and Thabeet have said no to Memphis, and James Harden bombed a workout there, so who are the Grizzlies taking?



Memphis really has a bad rep right now and the best thing for them is to trade their pick for a proven talent, like devin harris, hearing that he is available. Getting a player of that caliber would be the best thing for them. Imagine adding Harris to Mayo and Gay, would give them a great young trio to build around. All they need then is to get one more good big and they would have enough inside to be decent up front and could actually have some success right away
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 23, 2009 3:54 am
lol are we even in this league? Pick 7-Not a mention

That said, interesting reading. I can't remember a draft where so many pg's were so closely rated
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 23, 2009 7:06 am
migya wrote:like devin harris, hearing that he is available


Then stop hearing. Harris ain't going anywhere. The Nets are trying to get rid of Carter, tho... :wink:
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