NBA Draft rumors roundup: Salary cap space on the table in draft pick trade rumors

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

NBA teams looking past the draft to free agency are trying to free up salary cap space with draft day deals.

The 2013 NBA Draft is sharply in focus as the league's next big event is scheduled for Thursday evening. While the Miami Heat continue to celebrate their championship run, the rest of the league continues working toward the ultimate goal with the draft and/or trades around the draft guiding their path.

The NBA's current CBA puts a premium on salary cap space so as teams look to make deals involving draft picks, any open cap space is on the table. Among the latest draft rumors, the Dallas Mavericks's interest in moving the No. 13 pick to Cleveland for the Cavs' No. 19 pick may be more about the Mavs craving cap space than the Cavs craving a player at No. 13.

According the Sheridanhoops.com, Dallas wants to add Shawn Marion and his $9.3 million salary to the deal since Cleveland has the cap space to absorb the deal. The deal may hinge on Russian SF Sergey Karasev (scouting report) being available for the Cavs at No. 13.

In other salary cap trade rumors, ESPN's Marc Stein reports the Houston Rockets are fielding offers to move into the first round of the draft by moving PF Thomas Robinson and his $3.5 million salary. The Rockets are trying to clear out as much cap space as possible to make a run at free agent Dwight Howard. If the Rockets can move Robinson, in the second year of his rookie contract, Stein believes the team would use the pick on a foreign player they could stash overseas, giving them an asset that doesn't impact the current salary cap.

Another salary cap friendly rumor involving the Cavaliers involves moving the team's two second round picks (No. 31 and No 33) to the Boston Celtics in exchange for Paul Pierce. The Celtics appear ready to dismantle their veteran roster so moving the 35-year-old star and his remaining $15.3 million salary would help speed up the rebuilding process. The Cavs would then have that cap space available to use at the trade deadline or keep in reserve for next year as they continue to rebuild. Of course, Pierce may not feel so good about his role in the deal.

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