The Sixers and Trail Blazers have spoken about a trade that would send the No. 23 pick to Philadelphia in exchange for the 35th and 37th picks and perhaps more, sources tell Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders (Twitter links). The Pacers and Hawks have had exploratory talks about a swap of the 11th and 15th picks, presumably with other assets involved, Kennedy also hears, citing league sources. Philadelphia is willing to trade up from the No. 3 spot to acquire D’Angelo Russell, league sources tell Ken Berger of CBSSports.com, who writes within his Draft Buzz column.
Jahlil Okafor earlier this month became the focus of the Lakers at the No. 2 pick, as Chris Mannix of SI.com reported, so a willingness from Philly to trade up for Russell would indicate some doubt from the Sixers that the Lakers indeed prefer the Duke center. Karl-Anthony Towns appears to be headed to the Timberwolves with the No. 1 pick, though he’s denied a report that Minnesota has already told him he’ll be their choice.
Philadelphia leads the NBA with six picks in this year’s draft, five of which are in the second round. The Blazers appear focused on free agency, with LaMarcus Aldridge, Wesley Matthews, Robin Lopez and Arron Afflalo among the soon-to-be free agents on the roster, so moving off the nearly $1.004MM cap hold for a first-round pick would presumably have some value to them.
Willie Cauley-Stein has said that Pacers president of basketball operations Larry Bird called him a $100MM player, so it would appear Indiana has strong interest in him. Concerns about Cauley-Stein’s health threaten to push him out of the top 10, as Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress wrote in his mock draft this week, though it would seem a stretch if he were still available at No. 15. The Hawks are worried that they won’t be able to bring back the duo of Paul Millsap and DeMarre Carroll in free agency, but trading up for a higher pick wouldn’t help them create more cap space unless they gave up salary in such a deal.