Kyrie Irving will go No. 1 overall to the Cavaliers. Minnesota may be shopping the No. 2 pick like Vince “ShamWow guy” Shlomi, but if they keep asking for Steve Nash and Andrew Bynum they will be making the pick themselves. And taking Derrick Williams.
Then things get interesting.
The Jazz will set the tone the rest of the way with their pick (or trade) at No. 3.
The conventional wisdom is that they will take Kentucky’s Brandon Knight, but ESPN’s Andy Katz heard different things.
Utah is deciding among four players at No. 3 with two of them likely not within its reach. If Irving and Williams are indeed gone by the time they come on the clock, the Jazz are leaning toward (Enes) Kanter over Brandon Knight of Kentucky, but that remains a fluid discussion for management.
Be careful about what teams are saying right now — everyone is blowing smoke to hide their intentions. My bet is the Jazz have their board set right now. But the Jazz do not want to tip their hand (in the same way the Cavaliers are saying they have not yet made a commitment to Irving).
Knight makes the most sense — with Deron Williams gone the Jazz need a point guard of the future. Knight can be that guy. Kanter kind of duplicates what they already get from Paul Millsap (at least in terms of position, not in terms of type of game). But the Jazz do go with the “best player available” theory, and if they have Kanter higher they would take him.
That pick impacts what happens next — a lot of the rumored trades up in the draft are because teams have interest in Kanter. A lot of movement in this draft is about teams who like Kanter and Jonas Valanciunas. The real fun of this draft starts at No. 3.
The Bulls tanked so hard this year, the NBA warned them to cut it out. It was a rare instance of the league responding to actual tanking measures rather than just talk of preferring to lose.
Bulls executive John Paxson, via Vincent Goodwill of NBC Sports Chicago:
“We did this year what we felt was in the longterm best interests of the Bulls,” Paxson said. “It’s not a situation that any of us want to ever be in again; it goes against everything as a competitive person that you believe in; but it’s the way the system is set up.”
Chicago could try to turn around quickly. The Bulls project to have about $25 million in cap space this summer – enough to land a good player or two.
Mark Schanowski of NBC Sports Chicago:
The assumption in league circles is the Bulls will wait until 2019 to make their big move when players like Klay Thompson, Kawhi Leonard and Kyrie Irving could be on the market, and might consider signing with the Bulls after watching another year of development from LaVine, Lauri Markkanen and Kris Dunn.
This is the wise course. It’s unlikely Chicago can lure anyone good enough to lift such a young core quickly. The Bulls are better off remaining patient – and bad, which will net another high draft pick as Lauri Markkanen, Zach LaVine and Kris Dunn develop.
This is also probably the course thrust upon Chicago. Even if they wanted to, the Bulls probably can’t land a premier free agent this summer. Star free agents can see the same problems with Chicago trying for a quick fix and will likely avoid the situation.
There’d be no harm in trying for top free agents like LeBron James or even Paul George. But the Bulls will probably be relegated to 2019 if they want to sign someone meaningful. Better they realize that than make a desperate attempt for relevance this year.
In 2011, the Trail Blazers surprisingly fired Rich Cho after only season as general manager.
Cho – since hired and fired by the Hornets – seems to be holding a grudge.
John Canzano of The Oregonian:
That’s a sentiment many people hold toward their former employer. Few say so publicly. That Cho did indicates just how strongly he feels.
Under owner Paul Allen, the Trail Blazers have run through numerous executives. It’s part of the culture in Portland, and it leaves a lot of outgoing people bitter.
Current general manager Neil Olshey ought to be mindful of that.
Josh Allen, a quarterback from Wyoming, could be the No. 1 pick in tonight’s NFL draft. But his recently unearthed high school tweets – which include using the n-word with an ‘a’ at the end – are the sports story of the day.
And there’s an NBA tie.
Via Ryan Young of Yahoo Sports:
I hate LeBron!!!!! #LeBronSucks
— Josh Allen (@JoshAllenQB) June 7, 2011
Damian Lillard went down this same road with LeBron James, and they got past it.
But it would be a little more awkward if the Cleveland Browns – who have the Nos. 1 and 4 picks – take Allen. Then, Allen will face more scrutiny over this tweet – the most innocuous of the bunch.
The Jazz blew a 25-point second-half lead in Game 5 last night, extending their series with the Thunder. Up 3-2, the Jazz are still in control. They can close out in Game 6 tomorrow in Utah. Blow that, and they must return to Oklahoma City for Game 7 Sunday.
But Utah rookie Donovan Mitchell is making it abundantly clear he doesn’t plan to do that.
Gabe Ikard of The Franchise 107.7:
Jake Edmonds of KUTV:
A confident proclamation that rallies his team or youthful exuberance run amok?
The narrative will be decided after Game 6. That’s just how this is done.