It's possible that we won't know what the Cleveland Cavaliers will do as David Stern walks across the stage on draft night next Thursday. But it's also something ripe for speculation, and we can even speculate about whether or not the squad will even hold onto the first pick. Here's a roundup of draft rumors -- both on what teams plan on doing with their picks, and what players are doing in the run-up to the draft.
- The Cleveland Cavaliers are on the clock right now, and it looks like they'll stay that way:
According to sources the Cavs have been contacted about trading the 1st pick but nothing substantive has come from those talks.— Probasketballdraft (@Probballdraft) June 18, 2013
In a draft not considered to have any greats, a trade might be a possibility, but it's not particularly surprising the Cavs seem likely to use their third No. 1 pick in the last 11 seasons.
As for who they'll take with that No. 1 pick? New Orleans Times-Picayune writer Jimmy Smith:
Len (scouting report) is in Charlotte Tuesday to meet with the Bobcats and get a follow-up with a foot specialist on the stress fracture in his left ankle, per Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer. His injury seemed a curse as it left teams with just his two years of collegiate experience to gauge him on rather than a series of pre-draft workouts, but it could also force teams to take into account his considerable upside rather than focusing on what's currently there.
- Also meeting with teams but injured is NC State small forward C.J. Leslie:
C.J. Leslie sat out today with what he said was a hip issue. I asked if he has more workouts lined up, he grinned & said, 'We shut it down'— Josh Newman (@Joshua_Newman) June 17, 2013
That's the type of thing that indicates some squad somewhere has told him they'll draft him if he's available. He said this after meeting with the Brooklyn Nets, so, there's your speculation.
- Nerlens Noel (scouting report), another option for the top pick, concerned some by weighing in at just 206 pounds at the NBA Draft Combine. That's terrifyingly low for a 6'11 player, but he's apparently bulked up:
Nerlens Noel weighed in today at 218 pounds, according to his camp. That's basically what Kevin Garnett weighed when he came into the NBA.— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) June 17, 2013
That still isn't an ideal weight for someone who will have to go toe-to-toe with opposing big men, but if he's put on that much muscle in a relatively short amount of time, there's room to grow. (Also, it's tough to trust any weight figures after he was listed at 228 pounds by Kentucky and clearly wasn't, but, whatever.)
- Monday saw a pair of notable withdrawals from the draft. The most meaningful was French big man Mouhammadou Jaiteh, who Draft Express had going with the 35th overall pick. The 6'11 18-year-old will play another year professionally in France, and could return as a first-round pick next year. This draft isn't wanting for raw big men with plenty of upside, so waiting a year might not be the worst thing for his stock. Jaiteh's agent claims his client had first-round guarantees and that the situations merely weren't good enough, but he's got incentive to say that.
- There was also Norvel Pelle, the 6'10 one-time St. John's commit who is pulling out with a foot injury. He was a fringe prospect, with teams unlikely to take much more than a flyer on a player who hasn't managed to play a full season of competitive hoops since high school Still just 20 years old, he's expected to go to Europe while still ineligible for the NBA, although the D-League is an option. Also exiting the draft are Frenchmen Axel Toupane and Louis Labeyrie, although neither was expected to be taken.