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Follow The NFL Draft At Pro Football Rumors

The 87th NFL draft begins tonight from Las Vegas. Our sister site, Pro Football Rumors (@pfrumors on Twitter), has all the top stories covered. Although this draft differs from the past several, as it appears to lack a top-end quarterback, the event features a host of teams with high-stakes decisions. This promises to be the most enigmatic NFL draft in at least nine years.

Picking first for the second straight year, the Jaguars have their quarterback (2021 top pick Trevor Lawrence) and are focusing on their lines. Georgia defensive end Travon Walker has become the odds-on favorite to be the No. 1 pick, despite fellow D-end standout Aidan Hutchinson (Michigan) producing far better college numbers. But Jags owner Shad Khan was believed to disagree with GM Trent Baalke‘s Walker preference, adding intrigue to tonight’s top pick. The Jaguars are also interested in trading down, though a lack of interested suitors may force them to stay at No. 1.

The Panthers look to represent the draft’s first quarterback domino, having needed an answer here since Cam Newton‘s injury run began years ago. Rather than the NFC South team gambling on one of this class’ polarizing QBs, waiting for a mid- or post-draft trade for the Browns’ Baker Mayfield is in play. That said, Panthers head coach Matt Rhule recruited one of this class’ top QBs (Pittsburgh’s Kenny Pickett) when he was Temple’s coach years ago; a belated partnership remains a possibility. The Falcons (No. 8), Seahawks (No. 9), Saints (No. 15) and Steelers (No. 20) also loom as quarterback suitors. Liberty’s Malik Willis and Ole Miss’ Matt Corral join Pickett as this class’ top signal-caller prospects; the group could be in for an Aaron Rodgers-esque green-room wait.

This draft’s most interesting subplot: the 49ers’ Deebo Samuel decision. The All-Pro wide receiver requested a trade last week. Reports of Samuel disenchantment with the 49ers’ first extension offer, his unconventional role as a part-time running back, and a desire not to live in California have come up as reasons for the request. The Jets are viewed as Samuel’s most likely landing spot, and the 49ers’ future with the fourth-year playmaker could come down to the wire tonight — with a loose deadline being the Jets’ No. 10 overall pick.

For the latest updates throughout tonight’s first round, and the final six rounds this weekend, stay with Pro Football Rumors and follow us on Facebook and Twitter — @pfrumors.

The NHL Trade Deadline Is Today

What’s already been a hectic week of trades and transactions is set to culminate today, as the NHL’s 2022 Trade Deadline is at 2:00 p.m. CT. Make sure to follow our coverage on Pro Hockey Rumors (@prohockeyrumors on Twitter!) to see what happens as teams have their last chance to move talent in and out before the end of the regular season.

We’ve already seen some gigantic waves this week, such as the Florida Panthers acquiring longtime Philadelphia Flyers captain Claude Giroux for an unexpectedly low price, and the Boston Bruins shoring up their defense by trading for and extending former Anaheim Ducks defenseman Hampus Lindholm.

There’s still the potential for blockbusters today, though. All eyes are on the Arizona Coyotes and defenseman Jakob Chychrun, as the 23-year-old defenseman is now the best man on the market, but it’s not a given that he gets moved out. The Anaheim Ducks may not be done yet after dealing away a good portion of their defense, as two-time 30-goal scorer Rickard Rakell is also on the market.

Make sure to continue to follow Pro Hockey Rumors throughout Deadline Day as all the action wraps up. You can also keep up with all of the trades on our Twitter.

NFL Free Agency Is Underway

Although free agency deals cannot officially be signed until Wednesday, agreements are coming at a frenetic pace. The NFL’s legal tampering period, which allows free agents to negotiate with other teams, began Monday morning. Head on over to Pro Football Rumors (@pfrumors on Twitter) to keep up with all the action!

Future Hall of Famers like Von Miller and Bobby Wagner headline a free agent crop that includes numerous Pro Bowlers, and after the NFL salary cap spiked by more than $25MM, budding young standouts will cash in as well. With teams needing to move under the $208.2MM cap by Wednesday, big names like Jarvis Landry and Za’Darius Smith are being sent to the market. The trade block continues to produce blockbusters, too.

Yes, Tom Brady is back. The Buccaneers and Broncos, who now have Russell Wilson headlining their roster, will be busy aiming to fortify their teams around Canton-bound quarterbacks. The Steelers appear to have pegged Ben Roethlisberger’s successor, agreeing to terms with Mitchell Trubisky. The Deshaun Watson market has accelerated to the point the Texans could land a historic trade haul soon.

Check out Pro Football Rumors for the latest updates from the start of unofficial NFL free agency. Follow the action on Facebook and Twitter.

Celtics Notes: Stauskas, Tatum, White, Nesmith

The Celtics were among several teams that expressed interest in Nik Stauskas, coach Ime Udoka told reporters before today’s game (Twitter link from Tim Bontemps of ESPN). Stauskas signed a two-year contract with Boston on Friday after scoring a combined 100 points in his last two G League games. Udoka said the C’s reached out to Stauskas because they need more shooting.

Stauskas has a chance to see playing time as a floor spacer for the rest of the season, adds Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe. Many fans were hoping Isaiah Thomas could be brought back to fill the roster opening, but Thomas has signed with the Hornets and Himmelsbach doesn’t think he would have been a good fit because of his defensive liabilities. He suggests that signing Thomas would have been a distraction and could have ultimately harmed his reputation in Boston.

There’s more on the Celtics:

  • When Nets forward Kevin Durant became the all-time leading scorer for Team USA at the Summer Olympics, he speculated that Jayson Tatum may someday break that record, Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston recalls in a preview of today’s matchup between the two stars. Forsberg notes that Durant made a strong impression on Tatum during their time as international teammates. “It means a lot [to hear Durant’s praise]. I mean he’s definitely somebody I looked up to growing up,” Tatum said. “Getting to have that matchup with him during the playoffs and then being his teammate and having conversation with him overseas, is something I will always remember.”
  • The Spurs‘ decision to trade Derrick White last month took him completely by surprise, per Souichi Terada of MassLive. White has turned out to be a perfect fit for the defensive-minded Celtics, but he expected to spend more time in San Antonio. “He was sad, it’s hard to say goodbye to some of those guys you’ve had good relationships with,” said Alex Welsh, White’s friend and former college teammate. “But then he was pumped. We got him all fired up. It was a great day for him in Boston to be able to play that next day. But it was a total shock.”
  • Jaylen Brown has been cleared to play today after missing time with a sprained right ankle, but Aaron Nesmith‘s ankle sprain will keep him out for a while, tweets Jared Weiss of The Athletic.

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Pacers Notes: Duarte, Jackson, Warren, Pierce

Pacers first-round pick Chris Duarte likely won’t be a starter to open the 2021/22 season, but the team is increasingly confident he’s capable of playing his way into that role, according to J. Michael of The Indianapolis Star.

Michael suggests that Duarte has already displayed an “it” factor that will be impossible to overlook and has exhibited the sort of leadership skills the Pacers were lacking in 2020/21. The 24-year-old, one of the oldest and most NBA-ready players in this year’s draft class, looks capable of making an impact and helping to improve Indiana’s defense right away, Michael writes.

Here’s more on the Pacers:

  • While Duarte has turned more heads so far, the Pacers are also high on their other first-round pick, Isaiah Jackson, Michael says in the same IndyStar story. As Michael writes, Indiana is eager to see how the shot-blocking Jackson looks alongside the team’s other rim protector, Myles Turner.
  • T.J. Warren has had a career year in his first season with the Pacers in 2019/20 (19.8 PPG on .536/.403/.819 shooting), but had a lost season in 2020/21, when foot surgery limited him to four games. Entering a contract year, Warren is in position to put himself in line for a huge payday if he can bounce back and recapture his ’19/20 form, writes Evan Sidery of BasketballNews.com.
  • Former Atlanta head coach Lloyd Pierce, recently hired by the Pacers as an assistant, spoke this week about what he’ll bring to Rick Carlisle‘s staff, including an ability to stay calm in the face of adversity, as Akeem Glaspie of The Indianapolis Star details. “I don’t stress and people that know me know that I don’t stress, this is just basketball,” Pierce said.
  • In case you missed it, Indiana signed undrafted rookie DeJon Jarreau to a two-way contract earlier in the week.

Atlantic Notes: Harden, Clifford, Knicks, Riller

Injuries limited the Nets‘ Big Three from the time James Harden joined Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving in January, but Harden is optimistic that things will be different this season, writes Zach Braziller of The New York Post“At full strength, nobody can beat us,” Harden proclaimed.

The trio played just eight games together during the regular season, and the bad luck continued through the playoffs as Harden aggravated a strained hamstring in the second-round series with the Bucks and Irving missed the final three games after injuring his right ankle.

“So I want to make sure I’m completely healed and strong enough so I can go out there and completely be myself,” Harden said. “My rehab is going very, very well, and my getting my conditioning right is a big part of that.”

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Former Magic head coach Steve Clifford will be a consultant with the Nets this season, but his duties haven’t been fully defined, according to Brian Lewis of The New York Post. Clifford said he will help coach Steve Nash and general manager Sean Marks with whatever they need. “Steve and I have had a few discussions about the best way for it to be structured. But basically I’ll be working for Steve and maybe in some instances for Sean on any area that they view I could be helpful with,” Clifford explained. “On any staff, staff chemistry is just like team chemistry. Steve’s the head coach, he’s already proven to be terrific at that; they have a veteran staff, a talented roster.”
  • The Knicks emphasized flexibility in nearly all their free agency moves, notes Ian Begley of SNY.tv. Contracts for Evan Fournier, Derrick Rose, Alec Burks and Nerlens Noel all have team options for the final season, while Taj Gibson‘s two-year deal is non-guaranteed for the second season. New York will have the chance to create some cap space in 2023, Begley adds.
  • Kyle Neubeck of The Philly Voice examines what new two-way player Grant Riller will bring to the Sixers.

Fischer’s Latest: Simmons, Lillard, Warriors, Ingles, Draft Deals, More

There has been little movement on the Ben Simmons situation, as none of the interested teams are offering an All-Star level player to the Sixers in return, according to Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report. He adds that many observers believe president of basketball operations Daryl Morey is waiting for Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard to return from the Olympics to see if he makes a trade request.

The Cavaliers, Pacers, Timberwolves, Kings and Raptors have all shown interest in trading for Simmons, sources tell Fischer. Executives from several of those teams said they view him as a play-making forward, rather than a point guard as he has been used in Philadelphia.

Simmons remains under contract for four more seasons, so there’s no urgency for the Sixers to make a move right away. Still, the “overwhelming expectation” across the league is that he will be traded during the offseason after struggling with his shot during the playoffs.

Fischer shares more inside information from around the NBA:

  • The Warriors would like to swap their two lottery picks for veteran help, but president of basketball operations Bob Myers isn’t finding many impact players available on the trade market. The Jazz could emerge as a possibility, Fischer adds, as Utah is hoping to shed some salary before re-signing point guard Mike Conley. Joe Ingles might be moved in such a deal, and Bojan Bogdanovic and Royce O’Neale are also possibilities.
  • The Kings, who hold the No. 9 pick in Thursday’s draft, may be the highest option for teams hoping to trade into the lottery. Sacramento and the Pelicans, who have the 10th selection, have been active in trade talks involving those picks, sources tell Fischer, as both teams are looking for veterans who will give them a better chance to make the playoffs next season. New Orleans, which is hoping to unload Eric Bledsoe‘s salary, has talked to the Grizzlies about a deal that would send the veteran guard and the No. 10 pick to Memphis in exchange for the 17th choice.
  • The Hornets at No. 11 and the Pacers at No. 13 may also make their picks available. Fischer confirms that Indiana has talked to the Rockets about a deal involving Eric Gordon and the 23rd pick, and Myles Turner is believed to be on the trade market as well.

Draft Notes: Giddey, Pro Days, Combine, G League Elite Camp

Potential lottery pick Josh Giddey isn’t expected to attend the NBA draft combine in Chicago or any pre-draft workouts, tweets Jonathan Wasserman of Bleacher Report. Instead, scouts will get a look at Giddey later this month when his Australian team travels to Las Vegas for exhibition games with Team USA, Spain, Nigeria and Argentina.

The 6’8″ shooting guard has been moving up draft boards and ranks No. 13 on ESPN’s latest list of prospects. Giddey, 18, played this season with the Adelaide 36ers and averaged 10.9 points, 7.1 assists and 6.9 rebounds per game.

There’s more draft news to pass along:

Grizzlies Notes: Offseason, Jackson, Winslow, Roster

The Grizzlies‘ season came to an end on Wednesday night in Utah, as a 126-110 Jazz victory completed the first-round series in five games. However, the young squad was encouraged by having made the playoffs this season and is looking forward to continuing to make strides this summer, as Evan Barnes of The Memphis Commercial Appeal writes.

“The taste of the playoffs is on everybody’s mind and this offseason’s got to be a special offseason for every single one of my teammates,” Dillon Brooks said after Wednesday’s loss.

While much of the roster is under contract for 2021/22, Barnes suggests it won’t necessarily be a quiet few months in Memphis, since the team will want to add more shooting and more reliable bench scoring. Still, there’s a solid foundation in place to build upon, led by rising star Ja Morant.

“Now, we just need to grow,” said center Jonas Valanciunas, according to ESPN’s Zach Lowe. “We have the right people — good people. It’s not going to happen overnight. But we are headed in the right direction.”

Here’s more on the Grizzlies:

  • Jaren Jackson Jr. appears to be the Grizzlies’ “biggest swing player,” Lowe writes within his deep dive into the situation in Memphis. If Jackson, who is extension-eligible this offseason, becomes an All-Star caliber player, it would increase the team’s ceiling significantly. But if he ends up being just a quality rotation piece, the path to contention would be much more difficult.
  • Josh Robbins of The Athletic and Bobby Marks of ESPN (Insider link) each preview the Grizzlies’ offseason, with Robbins reiterating the importance of adding outside shooting, while Marks takes a look at Jackson’s case for an extension and the looming decision on Justise Winslow‘s team option.
  • If the Grizzlies are going to acquire an impact player, it will almost certainly have to happen via trade, John Hollinger of The Athletic writes. The former Grizzlies executive points out that the team has a surplus of options at shooting guard and power forward and says the front office shouldn’t be afraid of giving up young players and draft picks if a good opportunity arises.