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The rumor mill is heating up with the 2023 NBA Draft just days away. Here’s the latest from around the league.
The 2023 NBA Draft is almost here, and that means trade rumor season is already in full swing. There’s reason to believe this could be an especially chaotic summer of player movement across the league. A new CBA goes into affect on July 1 with more punitive luxury tax penalties seemingly meant to cement the parity seen this season. Teams still haven’t received an official copy of the CBA less than two weeks out, but its impact is already being felt.
There’s already been one blockbuster trade in the young NBA offseason when the Phoenix Suns acquired Bradley Beal from the Washington Wizards. With the draft coming on Thursday, there’s a new round of gossip from the league insiders with some juicy tidbits regarding the Los Angeles Clippers, Atlanta Hawks, Charlotte Hornets, and Detroit Pistons.
Check out our most recent mock draft here. Let’s dive in to the latest rumors.
The Clippers could trade Paul George
The Clippers are reportedly considering breaking up the Kawhi Leonard/Paul George pairing for the first time since the duo joined the franchise in the summer of 2019. Here’s the scoop from Marc Stein:
— Adam Aaronson (@SixersAdam) June 21, 2023
“League sources tell The Stein Line that the LA Clippers have left various rival teams with the impression through their Draft Week conversations that they are, at a minimum, attempting to gauge Paul George’s trade value and, to hear some describe it, giving real consideration to the idea of disassembling the Kawhi Leonard/George tandem.”
The biggest problem with the Leonard-George pairing has of course been their lack of durability. George missed this year’s playoffs with a leg injury, and appeared in only 87 regular season games over the last two years combined. Leonard tore his ACL midway through the 2021 playoffs, and then missed the entire 2021-2022 season before returning to play in 52 games last season. The Clippers are typically very good with both of their stars on the court, but it hasn’t happened often.
These George rumors feel directly tied to the new CBA. The Clippers had the highest payroll in the NBA last season, and will have one of the most expensive rosters in the league again next year. Both Leonard and George are extension-eligible to sign deals worth up to $220 million over four years.
Hawks want to move up, may be wiling to part with Dejounte Murray
The Atlanta Hawks want to move up in Thursday’s draft, according to Woj. The Hawks own the No. 15 overall pick, and are looking to package one of their veterans with the pick to do it. Woj mentions three possible names who could be moved: John Collins, DeAndre Hunter, and Dejounte Murray:
Woj said the Hawks are looking to package Collins with 15, Hunter with 15 or even Murray with 15 to trade up in the draft
From the NBA draft special on ESPN
— 627Zach (Fire Kidd) (@627zach) June 20, 2023
Collins has basically been in trade rumors since he was drafted. Hunter was the No. 4 overall pick in the 2019 draft and is locked in for a four-year, $95 million extension. Murray is definitely the most interesting name on this list: Atlanta traded three first round picks to acquire him from the Spurs last. Murray had a solid first year in Atlanta, but he’s also going to be a free agent after the coming year, and the Hawks only finished 41-41 in their first season with him.
Hornets prefer Brandon Miller over Scoot Henderson at No. 2
Woj says the Hornets about set to select Alabama wing Brandon Miller over G League Ignite point guard Scoot Henderson with the No. 2 overall pick in the draft. Here’s Woj:
The Hornets are preparing to select Brandon Miller at No. 2 overall, per @wojespn:
– Miller impressed Michael Jordan and Co. during his second private workout yesterday.
– Charlotte prefers Miller’s fit alongside LaMelo Ball over Scoot Henderson. pic.twitter.com/P3dsnpCl2P
— Evan Sidery (@esidery) June 21, 2023
Miller feels like the better fit on a Charlotte roster led by LaMelo Ball. Henderson feels like the better overall prospect. The Hornets might have the least talented roster in the NBA outside of Ball, and probably shouldn’t be drafting for fit under any scenario. Miller is a no-doubt top-five prospect in this draft, but Henderson has a higher ceiling. Charlotte would be making a mistake passing on Scoot.
Pistons could trade down, but like Ausar Thompson
Woj said on ESPN that the Detroit Pistons are very open to trading Pick 5
He said that they have had discussions with the Utah Jazz for Pick 9 & Pick 16
said he thinks Ausar will be in heavy consideration at 5
— amar (@okcsuck) June 20, 2023
The Pistons had the worst record in the NBA, but fell to the No. 5 pick in the lottery. Detroit has a talented young core in place led by Cade Cunningham, Jaden Ivey, and Jalen Duren. Woj reported the Pistons could trade down from No. 5, and mentioned the Utah Jazz with picks No. 9 and No. 16 as a potential trade partner. The other rumor coming out of Detroit a lot lately is that the franchise really likes Overtime Elite guard Ausar Thompson. Read our feature on the Thompson twins here.
Weaver sure sounded like he was describing a Thompson twin with his comments on Tuesday:
Asked Weaver on the “boom or bust” vs. “solid/long career” prospect battle: “You weigh all of that. But, for me, I like the long ball. I’m not bunting or trying to slap it into short center. I’m going to take a big swing, especially if I only have one chance at it.”
— James L. Edwards III (@JLEdwardsIII) June 20, 2023
I’d favor Cam Whitmore for the Pistons to give them a third elite athlete next to Ivey and Duren while still having more shooting upside than Thompson. Detroit also reportedly likes UCF forward Taylor Hendricks, who I mentioned in my mock as another great fit. The Pistons should get a good player either way even if they trade down to No. 9.
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