Draft day is finally here. Every year, this day/week is filled with rumors about potential trades. Most years, those rumors are exactly that: rumors. However, this year seems like it is an exception to the rule. This week, we’ve already had two monster trades – one sending Bradley Beal to the Phoenix Suns and another making Marcus Smart a member of the Memphis Grizzlies.
And those deals went down on non-draft days. Now just imagine what could go down today. The day of the NBA draft. Guess what? You don’t actually have to imagine it, because we’re going to round up the biggest rumors right here.
Check out our most recent mock draft here. Let’s dive into the latest rumors.
Conflicting reports on potential Damian Lillard trade demand
Despite rumors that the Miami Heat were courting his services, it looks like Damian Lillard wants to stay put in Portland and continue to play for the only NBA franchise he’s ever known. The Blazers have shut down trade talks, according to Woj.
At the same time, ESPN colleague Brian Windhorst reported that rival teams are preparing offers from Lillard with Portland expected to use their No. 3 overall pick on a young player rather than trade it:
.@windhorstespn says teams are "preparing their offers" for Damian Lillard— Get Up (@GetUpESPN) June 22, 2023
"Anybody who would look at Dame Lillard ... Who asked [the Blazers] to go in a different direction and they draft anyway would say to him, 'It's time to go.'" pic.twitter.com/z3j9WneyU5
That seems like the kind of news that should induce a deep sigh of relief from Portland Trail Blazers’ fans, but not so fast. Remember, the Blazers still have the third pick in today’s draft. The pick that could end up being highly-coveted G League Ignite guard Scoot Henderson.
What happens if the Blazers don’t trade the draft pick and just pick Henderson? Does Lillard ask out then? What happens if they do trade the pick to get Lillard some help? How good does that version of Portland look? One way or another, tonight is going to be a big night for the Blazers.
Is Toronto going to tear it all down?
If the Blazers do trade that third-overall pick, one team we keep hearing about as a potential suitor could be the Toronto Raptors, who may be willing to unload Pascal Siakam and O.G. Anunoby in a package involving the pick.
However, according to reporting from Chris Haynes, it appears that the Blazers might not be the only team in pursuit of Toronto’s two forwards. It seems like the Sacramento Kings are also interested in acquiring the tandem in a trade.
Report: Sacramento Kings are ‘on the chase’ for Pascal Siakam and O.G. Anunoby https://t.co/rIRU10AJJR— NBACentral (@TheNBACentral) June 21, 2023
This is what Haynes had to say on a recent episode of the “What’s Chad Doing?” podcast: “Well, you know the Blazers have been rumored with [Siakam], [Anunoby] over there in Toronto as well,” Haynes said. “… Sacramento is on the chase for those two guys in Toronto as well.”
What do the Kings have to offer in a potential trade with the Raptors? Can they manage to make a deal that keeps the core of De’Aaron Fox/Kevin Huerter/Domantas Sabonis/Malik Monk intact? What would losing this trade partner mean for the Blazers and their chances of keeping Lillard?
Magic are making some of their youth available
As it stands, the Orlando Magic currently own the sixth and eleventh overall pick in today’s draft. And there have been some reports suggesting that if they use those picks to select one of (or both) Ausar Thompson and Anthony Black (our mock has them selecting Ausar Thompson and Gradey Dick with those picks), they could be looking to move Cole Anthony and/or Jalen Suggs.
The Magic could place Jalen Suggs or Cole Anthony on the trade block if they draft a guard, per @JakeLFischer— NBACentral (@TheNBACentral) June 21, 2023
“Orlando has left various personnel with the impression that drafting a guard like Ausar or Black would lead the Magic to exploring trade opportunities for one of Suggs… pic.twitter.com/kL7FeoGT92
Anthony and Suggs are both still young (23 and 22, respectively) and still boast a good deal of promise (particularly Suggs, who was the 5th overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft). It will be interesting to see what teams end up inquiring about their services if one or both of them become available.
Malcolm Brogdon may be untradeable
As we’ve already alluded to, Smart is now a member of the Grizzlies. But the reason that he’s a member of the Grizzlies is because the Los Angeles Clippers didn’t want to go through with the original three-team deal the Celtics negotiated that would have sent Malcolm Brogdon to Los Angeles.
The reason the Clippers backed out is because they were concerned with Brogdon’s health. At first, this may not seem like too big of a deal. After all, the Clippers already have enough injury problems to deal with between Paul George and Kawhi Leonard. It would make sense that they don’t want to add more to their plate in that regard. However, then we got this report from Brian Windhorst:
“Brogdon has a health issue, a health issue that as I understand, is so significant, that not only can the Celtics not do this trade, there's probably no Malcolm Brogdon trade that they can do in the short term.”— NBACentral (@TheNBACentral) June 22, 2023
- Brian Windhorst
(Via @GetUpESPN / h/t B/R) pic.twitter.com/z57QXV7lrD
(At least now it makes sense why he struggled so mightily during the Eastern Conference Finals against Miami.)
But in any event, this is worrisome if you’re the Celtics because you need Brogdon to be able to fill the offensive void left by Smart’s departure. And if he can’t, you need to be able to move him for someone who can (and obviously, that isn’t something they can really do right now).
Hopefully, all this talk about his health is overblown, and Brogdon will be ready to go for the start of the 2023-24 NBA season.