This draft is the deepest one since 2003, leaving teams with a multitude of options. Teams are having trouble deciding who is better, Mo Bamba or Trae Young. Executives and scouts think there are at least four perennial all-stars in the top 10 and two Hall of Famers. Jonathan Wasserman, even said “Get the sense teams in the top half of the lottery are having trouble deciding who’s better than who. If you can get the same value at 7 as you can at 3, why not move down and try to acquire a 2nd asset. That’s why a lot of trade-down discussions seems to be taking place.”
Here are some potential deals that could be made on June 21st:
Sacramento Kings 2nd pick for Atlanta Hawks’ 3rd pick and 35th pick
Reportedly, Sacramento has fallen in love with Marvin Bagley. It does seem kind of forced because; Jaren Jackson, Mo Bamba, and Luka Doncic are all trying desperately to avoid Sacramento. None of them gave their medicals to Sacramento, according to Jonathan Givony. We have seen it before in multiple scenarios; John Elway threatening to play baseball if he was drafted by the Colts, Bo Jackson doing the same to the Buccaneers and Kobe refusing to play in Charlotte. Vlade Divac does not want a player that would not pour his heart out for the franchise. Since most mock drafts have Bagley falling to 4 (I have him going to Memphis at 4), it would do no harm for the Kings to cautiously drop back a pick and gain a second round pick.
Other news I have heard regarding Sacramento:
“Kings are not interested in trading No. 2 pick to Clippers for their No. 12, 13 picks per source,” Brad Turner reported.
“Michael Porter Jr. to Sacramento at No. 2? There are rival teams who believe that the Kings are still strongly weighing it,” Marc Stein confirmed.
Kawhi Leonard for Phoenix Suns’ 1st pick, Dragan Bender, and Marquese Chriss
Why the Spurs would do it
Kawhi Leonard and Gregg Popovich met Tuesday in San Diego, as per Shams Charania. The relationship may be beyond repairing though, as sources close to him say he wants out of San Antonio. This comes as no surprise, as he did not attend any of the Spurs’ 5 first round games. Although he did attend Erin Popovich’s funeral, which was not required but is a nice gesture to the coach that traded for him on draft day in 2011. He conversed with team officials at the event.
Why the Suns would do it
The Suns are not going to trade for Kawhi because of the possibility that he jettisons out of Phoenix for a bigger market after one year, local 98.7 Arizona radio host John Gambadoro reported. This is not a completely viable source, but he has a point, the fact is that Kawhi is fundamentally a rental. The situation is similar to Paul George’s last year, who was also on a one year deal and was ultimately traded for what was widely known as an unfair trade. At the time Kawhi’s team declared he wanted out of San Antonio, his trade value plummeted so they may garner even less than the proposal I offered.
Chicago Bulls 7th pick, 22nd pick, and Denzel Valentine for Atlanta Hawks’ 3rd pick
Why Atlanta Hawks would do it
Add the Atlanta Hawks to the list of teams who’ve had conversations about the possibility of trading down, Jonathan Wasserman reported. The Hawks could be fascinated by a Warriors-lite team by drafting the worse version of Steph Curry at 7 (Trae Young), and then the Klay Thompson at 19 (Kevin Huerter). Quavo also wants the team to draft the potential star.
Why the Chicago Bulls would do it
With the possibility that the Suns and Kings pass on the European wonderboy, the Bulls can’t just wait for him to fall on their laps at 7. Dallas, Memphis, or the Magic will snag him with one of their early picks, thus Chicago has to make some moves. The 19-year-old won the EuroLeague MVP this past season and just hit a crazy game-winning 3-pointer. I detail his game further here, but simply put he is a once-in-a-lifetime talent. The Bulls should pounce on this opportunity and pair him with fellow European, Lauri Markkanen.
Boston Celtics’ Jaylen Brown, 27th pick, 2019 1st round pick (via Sacramento Kings Protected 2+) and 2019 1st round pick (via Memphis 9+ 2019, 7+ 2020, unprotected 2021), Boston 2020 1st round pick, for Memphis Grizzlies’ 4th pick
Why the Celtics would do it
Woah, that’s a lot of assets. The Celtics are built on a foundation of players on rookie deals; Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and Terry Rozier. They reportedly want to add another one in Mo Bamba. Al Horford is 32 years old and could show Bamba the ropes. Their only other big man on the roster is Aron Baynes and have been the subject in trade talks for Anthony Davis, Karl Anthony-Towns, and Demarcus Cousins on numerous occasions.
Getting rid of Jaylen Brown, who was so significant to their Eastern Conference Finals run could be heartbreaking to Boston fans. Danny Ainge is not afraid to pull the trigger on heartbreaking deals though; he traded Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce for a million draft picks, Isaiah Thomas for Kyrie Irving. In terms of moving up for a special talent there is precedence as well, Ainge offered 6 draft picks to move up to grab Justise Winslow at 9. Fortunately for the Celtics, Michael Jordan and the Hornets declined the offer and eventually drafted Frank Kaminsky.
Mo Bamba is a special talent but it remains to be seen if he will be a disappointment like Justise Winslow or a boon like Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. I documented what type of player Bamba is here. Boston will have an increasingly tough decision to make on June 21st.
Why the Memphis Grizzlies would do it
They like Luka Doncic, but he will most likely be off the board at 3 and Bagley is not exactly a franchise-altering talent. They could expedite their rebuild process while still trying to make the playoffs with aging stars, Gasol and Conley. This could be a colossal gain for the Grizzlies like the Rams got for the Robert Griffin III exchange with Washington (different sport but you get the idea).
Raptors’ Demar DeRozan for Cleveland Cavaliers’ 8th pick
Why the Raptors would do it
Marc Stein reported that the Raptors are trying to get any deal done so they can acquire Kentucky’s Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. Stein added that no one was off limits. Consequently, DeRozan and Lowry are available as long as they can get in the range that Gilgeous Alexander will feasibly fall. I projected him to go 10 in my mock draft and since the Raptors are extremely fond of his playing style, they move up to ensure he is a Raptor.
Why the Cavaliers would do it
Consider this a last ditch effort to grab a second star next to Lebron. Kevin Love has been highly ineffective in that role, averaging just 17.1 points and 10.0 rebounds since being shipped to Cleveland. The only championship Cleveland won was with Kevin Love in a tertiary role and a legitimate second star, Kyrie Irving, taking over in the waning moments of an intense game 7. Of course, that was before the Warriors stole Kevin Durant and broke the NBA, but still proves my point that championship teams are comprised of three stars. The 8th pick is the threshold for stars in this draft. Presumably, the 8th pick is the threshold for star power, with possible choices being; Collin Sexton, Trae Young, and Kevin Knox. Those three players have major question marks and are not the proven star that DeRozan is.
Dennis Schroeder for Indiana Pacers’ 23rd pick
Why the Hawks would do it
The Atlanta Hawks will search for any way to unload their disgruntled young star. Schroeder does not fit in their long-term plans, as he requested he is traded to a contender like Milwaukee or Indiana. Ultimately, he does not have a no-trade clause and the Hawks are intent on finding the best possible deal for the future of their team. Snagging the 13th pick will allow them a chance at players like; Wendell Carter III, Kevin Knox, Lonnie Walker, and other potential all-stars.
Why the Pacers would do it
Dennis Schroeder has expressed his interest in playing for a contender like Indiana. I think he fits well next to Oladipo. In addition, Schroeder and Myles Turner could be an intriguing pick and roll duo. This elevates them to a 50 win team immediately and a team that could potentially knock off Cleveland for eastern conference supremacy.
In the end, sources say there are going to be a significant amount of deals done on draft day. Do not be surprised if these are some of the deals that break NBA Twitter.