Draft Rumors: Trades, Hornets, Blazers, Whitmore, Pistons, Mavs, More

The Lakers, Warriors, Nets, Grizzlies, and Pacers are among the teams with draft picks in the back half of the first round who are believed to be exploring trade scenarios, Jonathan Givony and Jeremy Woo report within their latest mock draft for ESPN.com (Insider link).

According to Givony, the Lakers are especially interested in talking to teams that hold multiple picks, which suggests they may be open to trading down from No. 17 in order to acquire an extra selection or two. The Warriors are looking into the possibility of moving up from No. 19 by moving a young player like Jonathan Kuminga, sources tell ESPN.

The Nets, who hold the Nos. 21 and 22 picks, are investigating whether they might be able to move into the lottery or the middle of the first round by packaging those two selections, according to Givony, who says Memphis (No. 25) is another team seeking opportunities to move into the late lottery or mid-first round.

As for the Pacers, they have a lottery pick at No. 7 and are thought to be interested in adding an “explosive, defensive-minded power forward,” so Givony has them selecting Jarace Walker in that spot, noting that Ausar Thompson and Taylor Hendricks are also very much on their radar. Indiana also controls the 26th, 29th, and 32nd overall picks and has been engaged in trade discussions about those selections. It seems unlikely the club will use all of them, per Woo.

Here’s more from ESPN’s two draft experts:

  • Scoot Henderson had a “highly impressive” workout with the Hornets over the weekend, but Brandon Miller still looks like the favorite to be the pick at No. 2, says Givony. If a team like the Pelicans were willing to include an impact player such as Brandon Ingram in an offer for the second overall pick, that could shake up the top of the draft, but it’s still too early to say whether that’s a realistic possibility, according to Givony.
  • While the Trail Blazers continue to explore trade opportunities at No. 3 and have done due diligence by working out prospects outside of the consensus top three, they seem content to select either Henderson or Miller if they hang onto the pick, Givony reports.
  • Villanova forward Cam Whitmore is receiving consideration from the Rockets at No. 4 and is viewed as one of the leading candidates to be drafted there, along with Amen Thompson, says Woo. If he’s not picked fourth overall, Whitmore seems like a good bet to go fifth, Givony writes, given the makeup of the Pistons‘ roster.
  • Givony suggests that a trade of Pistons forward Bojan Bogdanovic for Mavericks wing Tim Hardaway Jr. and the No. 10 pick is one scenario that could be “in play.” Based on Givony’s wording, it’s unclear whether that offer has been put on the table by either team or if it has even been seriously considered. But the specific terms suggest it has at least been discussed.
  • Arkansas guard Anthony Black has worked out – or will work out – for several lottery teams, including the Magic (Nos. 6 and 11), Jazz (Nos. 9 and 16), and Mavericks (No. 10), says Woo. The ESPN mock has Black being drafted at No. 8 by the Wizards, who are said to be focused primarily on backcourt players.
  • The Raptors are believed to be a “strong suitor” for Kansas wing Gradey Dick, according to Givony, though there’s also speculation that Toronto could be major movers on the trade market and might not end up picking at No. 13.
  • The Jazz (Nos. 9 and 16) and Thunder (No. 12) sent decision-makers to Europe this week to watch French wing Bilal Coulibaly in the LNB Pro A playoffs, according to Woo, who has Coulibaly coming off the board at No. 14 to the Pelicans in ESPN’s mock.
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