Draft Rumors: Embiid, Nets, Celtics, Lakers

The Cavs are strongly leaning toward taking Joel Embiid first overall, a source tells Chris Mannix of SI.com. Of course, earlier reports have indicated leanings toward Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker, and Cleveland threw a curveball with last season’s selection of Anthony Bennett at No. 1, so it’s tough to get a read on owner Dan Gilbert’s team. Still, Mannix and others have plenty of intel surrounding the draft with eight days to go:

  • The Nets are seeking a first-round pick, according to Mannix, who echoes earlier reports that the Pelicans and Knicks are doing the same.
  • The Celtics like Aaron Gordon the best among the power forwards likely to be available at No. 6, Mannix hears.
  • The Lakers are leaning toward keeping their No. 7 pick rather than trading down for multiple picks, believing there’s a drop-off after the top 10 prospects, according to Dave McMenamin of ESPNLosAngeles.com. McMenamin nonetheless doesn’t say whether the team is leaning toward keeping the pick rather than acquiring a veteran, and the Lakers and the Kings are reportedly more open to trades than any other lottery clubs.
  • The Jazz aren’t necessarily seeking Parker as they attempt to trade up from the fifth pick, as Chad Ford of ESPN.com writes in a chat with readers.
  • Several teams were disappointed when Kristaps Porzingis decided to withdraw from the draft, and one executive told Mannix that he believes the Latvian has a decent chance to become a top-five pick next year. The Thunder, who’d reportedly promised to draft him, and Mavs were particularly high on him, according to Mannix, while the Hawks were also enamored with him, Ford says in his chat.
  • The Grizzlies appear likely to trade into the second round, as we passed along earlier.
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