What will general manager Sam Presti do with the No. 3 pick in next month’s draft? Trade up? Trade down? Keep the pick? One option is Presti could use the selection to acquire a veteran.
That strategy can speed up a rebuilding process. But those types of trades also can come back to haunt a GM. If Presti were to offer the No. 3 pick, who might be available? It depends on which rumor you put stock into. Most trades will be made in July, when free agency begins. But almost every year there are a handful of draft-day trades for veterans. Last year, the Grizzlies traded former Rookie of the Year Mike Miller to Minnesota in an eight-player deal in which the two teams swapped O.J. Mayo (No. 3) for Kevin Love (No. 5). Would Presti consider such a move? If he did who might be available? Big names that could be dealt this summer include: Toronto forward Chris Bosh; Phoenix forward Amare Stoudemire; Suns center Shaquille O’Neal; Clippers forward Zach Randolph; Clippers center Chris Kaman; Golden State point guard Baron Davis and Dallas forward Josh Howard. Forget it. Presti is trying to save salary cap space, not use it. All those players have huge contracts. Scratch them off the list. Who else might be available? Clippers center Marcus Camby. Orlando point guard Rafer Alston. Memphis point guard Mike Conley. Philadelphia center Samuel Dalembert. Portland forward Travis Outlaw. Phoenix sharp-shooters Jason Richardson and Leandro Barbosa. Portland backup guard Sergio Rodriguez. Indiana forward Troy Murphy. Barbosa still has three years left on his deal for $21.3 million. Dalembert, Richardson and Murphy have huge contracts with two years left. Scratch them off the list. Alston has only one year left at $5.25 million. He wouldn’t hamper Presti’s long-term plan and could serve a useful backup to Russell Westbrook if Earl Watson is dealt. But why use a valuable draft pick on a backup, someone who would play only one year in OKC? One benefit is Alston would have value at the February trading deadline. The plot is similar for Outlaw ($4 million), Camby ($7.6 million) and Conley ($3.9).