The Charlotte Hornets are wheeling and dealing in advance of the 2015 NBA Draft, making trades to acquire Nicolas Batum from the Portland Trail Blazers and Jeremy Lamb from the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Hornets still own the No. 9 pick, and with Noah Vonleh now off to Portland, multiple reports have Frank Kaminsky as the hot name on Charlotte's draft board.
You know who else supposedly really likes Kaminsky? Phil Jackson and the New York Knicks. Could Phil and his former superstar player in Michael Jordan now be duking it out for Frank the Tank as executives? Sean Deveney of Sporting News floated this out there as a possibility, and even if it's not true, it's a fun scenario to think about.
The Knicks certainly won't take Kaminsky at No. 4, but if there's a trade back in the draft, he could come into play. At that point, the "battle" between Phil and MJ could become all too real.
76ers zeroing in on Russell
Kristaps Porzingis was a hot name for the Philadelphia 76ers in recent weeks, but now the tide is shifting back toward the Sixers taking D'Angelo Russell with the third pick in the draft:
Growing consensus among teams that Philadelphia will pick D'Angelo Russell at #3. Strong workout cemented his status. Porzingis didn't visit— Jonathan Givony (@DraftExpress) June 24, 2015
Furthermore, CBS Sports' Ken Berger reports that Philly has targeted Russell and is possibly willing to move up to No. 2 to get him. However, Berger also says Sam Hinkie would consider moving back in the draft, but only if the Sixers got an unprotected future first-round pick.
Celtics continue aggressive push to move up
It's been well established that Danny Ainge is trying to move up in the draft, with reports out there stating that Ainge tried to engage the Sixers in a blockbuster trade:
So Celtics trade offer was: Marcus Smart, Kelly Olynyk, No. 16, with no specific third player to Sixers for Nerlens Noel and No. 3.— Jake Fischer (@JakeLFischer) June 24, 2015
The Sixers weren't interested, but Berger says Boston continues to be aggressive in its efforts to get into the top 10. That involves making everybody on the roster available, as evidenced by that Sixers rumor. Mark Murphy of the Boston Herald says the Celtics are finding the price of a trade into the top 10 "prohibitive," but Ainge will surely continue to work the phones.
Heat may be willing to deal 10th pick in salary dump
Another tidbit Berger has is the Miami Heat possibly willing to trade the No. 10 pick in a salary dump in order to create more flexibility moving forward. Josh McRoberts's name was mentioned as a salary dump candidate, but nothing is imminent.
The Heat would like to have as much flexibility as possible as they prepare a big contract offer for Goran Dragic and try to resolve the Dwyane Wade contract situation. Berger says rival executives are "split" on whether Wade will be back in Miami.
Spurs open to dealing Splitter
If the San Antonio Spurs want to make a play for a max player like LaMarcus Aldridge this summer, there will have to be some sacrifices made. One of those sacrifices could come in the form of a Tiago Splitter trade, according to Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News.
McDonald reports the Spurs aren't actively shopping Splitter, but teams are known he's available at the right price. That right price is likely a better pick in this year's draft, but interest has been "tepid."