After updating his big board yesterday, ESPN.com's Chad Ford returns today with a handful of the latest draft-related rumblings he's been hearing (Insider-only link). With less than a month until draft day, let's round up the highlights from Ford's piece….
- Nerlens Noel remains atop the Cavaliers' draft board, making him the favorite to be drafted first overall, but Ford notes that Noel's ACL injury and the Cavs' desire to make the playoffs next season mean the Kentucky center is far from a lock at No. 1. If Cleveland can acquire a young small forward or big man using the top pick as trade bait, owner Dan Gilbert may push for a deal.
- One name you shouldn't totally rule out when considering Cleveland's possible trade scenarios, according to Ford? DeMarcus Cousins. Ford reports that the Cavs, Bobcats, and the Mavericks are among the clubs who could call the Kings about Cousins in the hopes of trading draft picks and/or other assets for the young big man.
- The Magic have Arron Afflalo at the two guard and a more glaring need at the point, but aren't sold on Trey Burke, according to Ford, who says the team is eyeing Ben McLemore and Victor Oladipo at No. 2. If the Magic were to draft a two guard, they'd be interested in trying to trade Afflalo to the Clippers for Eric Bledsoe and Caron Butler's expiring contract, says Ford. It's not clear whether such a deal would interest the Clips.
- Arizona State's Carrick Felix, USC's Dewayne Dedmon and Will Clyburn of Iowa State were among the standouts at this week's draft workouts in Minnesota, NBA GMs and scouts told Ford. On the other end of the spectrum, French big man Mouhammadou Jaiteh struggled and now projects as a late second-round pick.
- In a separate piece for ESPN Insider, Bradford Doolittle examines a few hypothetical trade scenarios involving draft picks.