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NBA Draft: After Blake Griffin, a lot of unknowns

MIKE BALDWIN Published: June 21, 2009
For all the chatter about the lack of a can’t-miss prospect in this year’s draft other than Blake Griffin, the buzz around the league is the 2009 NBA Draft might be known for three things:

→Teams tried to unload bad contracts in tough economic times.

→A blockbuster trade or two was the highlight.

→There was better depth late in the first round than most realized.

The only certainty four days before the draft is the Los Angeles Clippers will select Griffin. Everything else is muddled.

Memphis is shopping its No. 2 pick. The Timberwolves, Kings, Wizards, Knicks, Rockets and Celtics all might have interest.

Minnesota, armed with three first-round picks, appears the team best capable of meeting Memphis’ asking price. If the Timberwolves trade up to draft Ricky Rubio, what kind of domino effect could it have?

Boston reportedly might be willing to trade Ray Allen or Rajon Rondo in an attempt to select Tyreke Evans. Rondo would go to Sacramento in a multi-player deal. Allen would end up in Washington in another multi-player trade.

"You don’t pay much attention to rumors because every year there’s positioning and information being thrown around, sometimes misinformation,” said one scout. "You have to take it with a grain of salt.”

Penciled in to be the No. 2 pick on many draft boards a few weeks ago, Rubio could slip to No. 4 if the Timberwolves, or another team, don’t trade up.

If Rubio is still on the board when Oklahoma City has the No. 3 pick, does Thunder general manager Sam Presti try to hold a team hostage that’s interested in the Spanish teenager?

Washington reportedly wants to trade the No. 5 pick for a veteran.

"There is some movement up there,” said Jim Kelly, Toronto director of player personnel. "Rumors are rumors, but you hear Washington, like they’ve done in the past, might do something else with their pick. If somebody else moves up in that slot you have no idea who they would draft.”

Trade activity could be hectic. Then again, it takes two teams to trade.

Since most teams are trying to shed salary or move down in the draft, it might be difficult to trade, especially since most consider this to be a thin draft with few difference-makers.

"That’s why all general managers and player personnel guys have to know the draft inside and out,” said one scout.


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