According to ESPN.com's Chad Ford, there's very little consensus on this year's draft class beyond the top six prospects — Nerlens Noel, Ben McLemore, Victor Oladipo, Alex Len, Anthony Bennett, and Otto Porter. It seems likely those six players will be selected in some order to start the draft, which means the Kings, picking 7th overall, could be the draft's first real wild card. As we look forward to see what the new regime in Sacramento decides to do with that pick, let's round up a few items out of the Pacific Division….
- While some fans and onlookers may be surprised to see the Clippers pull away from trade talks with the Celtics, Kevin Arnovitz of ESPN.com explains why it makes some sense for Los Angeles. As Arnovitz writes, there's no real rush for the Clippers, since they could theoretically still work out a deal for Kevin Garnett and Doc Rivers after July 1st. Arnovitz also thinks the Clippers are right to be protective of their first-round picks, since those selections are more valuable under the new CBA.
- For years, the Suns have employed general managers who didn't get to hire a head coach of their choosing, or coaches who weren't hired by the current GM. But having hired Ryan McDonough and Jeff Hornacek this offseason, there's a feeling of synergy and energy in Phoenix, as president Lon Babby tells Bob Young of the Arizona Republic. "It’s palpable," Babby said. "You can feel it through the whole organization. We always envisioned it working this way, and we have a chance now to make it work."
- Eric Pincus of the Los Angeles Times explains in detail why the Lakers are extremely unlikely to acquire a player via sign-and-trade this summer.
- Although his lengthy run as the Kings' head of basketball operations came to an end this year, Geoff Petrie is happy to see the franchise stay in Sacramento, writes Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee. "That's where my heart was in the whole thing," Petrie said. "In spite of being grateful to the Maloofs and working for them all those years, I had really strong feelings that the team needed to stay here. My hat's off to those people." Petrie also spoke to Jones about sticking around the team helping with draft preparation over the last several weeks, even as his contract is set to expire on June 30th.