NBA Draft rumors are circulating around the league today, as the 2016 NBA Draft is just hours away. Here is the latest buzz surrounding teams looking to make a move prior to tonight’s proceedings.
The Boston Celtics have been looking to move their No. 3 overall pick, but they aren’t stopping there. CBS Sports is reporting that the Celtics and Milwaukee Bucks are discussing a trade that would involve Boston’s No. 16 and No. 23 selections. The Celtics are thought to be interested in Khris Middleton and may be in the market for Bucks big man Greg Monroe as well.
The Indiana Pacers are turning out to be one of the more active NBA teams leading up to draft night. After swinging a deal to acquire Jeff Teague from Atlanta, the Pacers reportedly have agreed to send their first-round pick (20th overall) to Brooklyn for Thaddeus Young. The Nets had been looking to trade Young for a draft pick, and they found a taker in the Pacers, who were interested in acquiring additional frontcourt help.
The Philadelphia 76ers are continuing to work the phones today with the hope of making at least one deal. According to NESN, the Sixers are trying to convince Boston to trade their No. 3 overall pick to Philadelphia for shot-blocking center Nerlens Noel. So far, the Celtics are not biting. Reports indicate that the 76ers have become very fond of Providence guard Kris Dunn and would love to pair him with Ben Simmons, the player they are expected to take with the first selection in the 2016 NBA Draft.
Centers rise, centers fall. The player who many teams are warming up to is Georgios Papagiannis of Greece. The seven-foot-two, 275-pound post player has been moving up teams’ draft boards and could be chosen as high as the 15-20 range. A.J. Hammons, the big man from Purdue who was once thought to be a first-round pick, has seen his draft stock slide in recent weeks. Teams are indicating that while they like Hammons’ talent, they question his motivation and work ethic and consequently see him as a risky prospect. Hammons is currently projected to be taken in the mid-to-late second round.
The Houston Rockets are attempting to get in on the pre-draft trade activity, shopping Trevor Ariza, Patrick Beverley, and K.J. McDaniels, as reported by Sports Illustrated. One player Houston would like to acquire is Philadelphia’s Nerlens Noel, who would replace their current center, Dwight Howard. Howard is expected to leave the Rockets via free agency this summer.
It appears the first three picks in the draft are very likely set. The Sixers and Lakers made it known earlier this week that they plan to choose LSU forward Ben Simmons and Duke forward Brandon Ingram, respectively. Despite the fact that Boston has been trying to deal the No. 3 pick (and there has been interest expressed by several teams), the player who will probably be chosen third will be Kris Dunn, regardless of who ends up owning that draft choice. A number of clubs are high on Dunn, including the Celtics.
The player who arguably has the most question marks surrounding him in this draft, seven-foot-one Thon Maker, just added another. Maker was already a mystery to NBA scouts, but now, there is a growing sentiment that he is older than originally thought. The Washington Post states that Maker could be as much as four years older than his previously-reported age of 19. Maker appears to have tantalizing talent, but NBA teams are becoming increasingly hesitant to use a first-round pick on a player whose future potential as an NBA player is very uncertain.
NBA Draft rumors are picking up steam as the big night approaches, and several significant deals have already been made. Who do you think will make the next big move ahead of the 2016 NBA Draft?
[Photo by Kamil Krzaczynski/AP Images]