The 2019 NBA Draft is now just a month away, and already the rumors about draft-day moves are starting to swirl with a report that at least four teams are willing to deal top picks.
This year’s draft comes with quite a bit of clarity at the top, with Duke big man Zion Williamson the consensus top overall pick and Ja Morant locked into the No. 2 spot. Beyond that, there could be quite a bit of movement as some teams near the top of the draft board are reportedly willing to part with their picks if the price is right.
As league sources told The Athletic, there are at least four teams willing to unload their draft picks — the Philadelphia 76ers, Brooklyn Nets, Atlanta Hawks, and Boston Celtics. Those teams all have plenty of draft capital, each possessing at least three picks and the Hawks and Sixers with a whopping five picks, The Sporting News noted. That has apparently made them more willing to part with their top picks rather than try their luck with so many rookie players.
Some of the teams willing to trade picks may not be looking to the draft to fill holes. The Sixers have already built a squad close to title contention, and general manager Elton Brand told NBC Sports Philadelphia that they may be looking more to veteran additions to get over the hump.
“Where we are in our trajectory, we need players that can play, players that can add to our team now,” Brand said. “We’re looking for maybe older players. For sure, defensive minded players and we always place a premium on shooting.
“But defensive-oriented players that can contribute now, we may look at, I don’t want to tip my hand too much, but that may be something we’re looking at.”
The Chicago Bulls may have another strategy, with reports indicating that the team is interested in using the No. 7 overall pick to land Lonzo Ball in a trade.
The rest of the drama on the horizon for the NBA may not come through the draft. After the New Orleans Pelicans won the right to pick first overall, they became all but guaranteed to pick Williamson. That means that big man Anthony Davis seems even more assured of the exit he had asked for from the team, as the NBA site reported that he has not budged off his stance of wanting out of New Orleans.
Whatever happens, the rumors are likely to continue building in the lead-up to the NBA Draft, which takes place on Thursday, June 20.