The 2013 draft class took a bit of a hit today, when the University of Kentucky announced today that freshman Nerlens Noel has torn his ACL, and will undergo surgery in the coming weeks — he's expected to be out at least six to eight months (Twitter links). Nonetheless, while there's a possibility Noel will return to the Wildcats for his sophomore year, Jeff Goodman of CBSSports.com hears that NBA people still expect the big man to be a top-five pick if he declares for the draft this summer (Twitter link).
Here are a few more Wednesday odds and ends from around the league:
- Danny Ainge shares a couple of Celtics injury updates with Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe, noting that Dr. James Andrew performed ACL surgery on Rajon Rondo yesterday. Additionally, Leandro Barbosa suffered MCL damage, and will have to wait until March to undergo surgery on his knee (Twitter links).
- According to Chris Forsberg of ESPNBoston.com (via Twitter), the Celtics would like to bring back Barbosa next season if they can.
- Iman Shumpert has been the subject of a few trades rumors recently, but George Willis of the New York Post believes it would be a mistake for the Knicks to move him.
- The Jazz should be in no rush to trade Al Jefferson, writes Kurt Kragthorpe of the Salt Lake Tribune.
- As All-Star weekend approaches, so too do the NBPA's annual meetings, which will include plenty of discussion about executive director Billy Hunter. Tom Ziller of SBNation.com writes that the union owes it to itself to replace Hunter with a director that's more aggressive about challenging issues like the NBA's age minimum.
- The latest piece of bad news for Hunter comes from Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, who reports that the U.S. Attorney's office is investigating a contract that authorized future payment of more than $3MM to a firm that employed Hunter's son. The NBPA's executive committee is required to authorize any expenditures more than $25K, but were reportedly never shown a deal that would have paid Prim Capital $600K+ annually for five years.
- An ESPN.com 5-on-5 panel that includes Marc Stein, Chris Broussard, and Chad Ford predict the odds that some of the big-name trade candidates will be dealt within the next eight days.