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NBA draft roundup: Celtics, 76ers, Lakers rumored landing spots for Joel Embiid; Kings likely keeping No. 8 pick

06.26.14 at 2:57 pm ET
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Foot and back injuries have caused Kansas center Joel Embiid — once expected to be the first overall selection in Thursday’€™s NBA draft — to slide down the boards.

Embiid’€™s fall has opened up the possibility of the Celtics getting the opportunity to draft the promising big man, something that Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski tweeted could be a possibility.

Embiid, a 7-foot center from Cameroon, averaged 11.2 points, 8.1 rebounds and 2.6 blocks in his only season with the Jayhawks, despite only playing organized basketball since 2011.

– It appears that the rumored deal between the Celtics and Kings, which would include point guard Rajon Rondo and Sacramento’€™s eighth overall pick as the two main components, may not come to fruition.

Yahoo! Sports’ Marc J. Spears tweeted that the Kings seem to be content to keep their pick.

The Kings have been at the forefront of trade rumors recently, including a deal to acquire Pistons forward Josh Smith, adding him to a frontcourt that already includes DeMarcus Cousins and Rudy Gay.

– With the draft fast approaching, it seems that the 76ers are going all in in an effort to acquire the first overall pick from the Cavaliers and draft Kansas forward Andrew Wiggins.

Tom Cooney of the Philadelphia Daily News tweeted that the 76ers are doing everything they can to pry the top pick from Cleveland.

Philadelphia certainly has many trading chips at its disposal, including the third and 10th overall picks and a host of promising players such as Michael Carter-Williams and Nerlens Noel.

– The Celtics aren’t the only Atlantic Division team reportedly looking to make a few draft-day deals. The Raptors are trying to acquire the Grizzlies‘€™ 22nd overall pick, according to ESPN.

The framework of the deal would be Toronto sending veteran swingman John Salmons and the 37th overall pick to Memphis in exchange for Tayshaun Prince and the 22nd pick.

The move benefits the Rapotors because it would put them in position to select Syracuse guard (and Ontario native) Tyler Ennis.

By making the trade, the Grizzlies would be able to take Prince’€™s $7.7 million salary cap hit off their books for next season.

Read More: Celtics, Joel Embiid, Kings, NBA Draft

Three ways to survive in the East: Imagining Celtics president Danny Ainge’s phone conversations on NBA draft day

06.26.14 at 12:49 pm ET
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Well, it’€™s here. The day that will shape the Celtics‘ future, for better or worse. The 2014 NBA draft, where anything can happen happens.

With a wealth of picks, an All-Star point guard, tradeable contracts and expiring deals, Celtics president Danny Ainge is the annoying guy at a party, inserting himself into every conversation in the room.

With only hours left until Cleveland is on the clock, here are the three best possible phone conversations Ainge could have on Thursday.

1. MORTGAGE THE FARM FOR KEVIN LOVE

Danny Ainge: “Hi, Flip, it’€™s Danny again.”
Timberwolves president/coach Flip Saunders: “What do you want this time?”
Danny: “Are you sure you don’€™t want our two first-round picks this year, next year’€™s Clippers pick and Kelly Olynyk for Love?”
Flip: “I’m not sure how many times I can say no, but no.”
Danny: “But …”
Flip: “No.”
Danny: “I’m not sure you’ve consider quite how awesome Kelly’s hair really is.”
Flip: “No means no.”
Wyc Grousbeck enters Danny’€™s office.
Wyc: “Fireworks, Danny, fireworks!”
Flip: “I’m sorry, did I just hear Wyc say fireworks?”
Danny: “Oh, yeah, we’ve got this Fourth of July party in a few days. It’€™s nothing. Didn’t you get the invite? Anywho, what if I throw Jared Sullinger into the deal?”
Flip: “Let me think about it for a second. Aaaaaaannnnnnndddddd no.”
Danny: “Ah, can you hold on for a second?”
Flip: “No …”
Danny puts the phone down. “I’d Do Anything for Love’ plays on hold.
Wyc: “We can’t afford another losing season, Danny. I met with Bob Kraft, John Henry and Jeremy Jacobs for our weekly tea and crumpets yesterday, and they were all making fun of me, telling me we’€™re the fifth wheel behind the Revolution. The Revs, Danny, the Revs! When Wyc promises fireworks, Wyc delivers fireworks.”
Danny picks up the phone.
Danny: “You still there, Flip?”
Flip: “Sadly.”
Danny: “How about one of Brooklyn’s picks, too?”
Flip: “Just so we’€™re straight: You’€™re offering four first-round picks, Sully and Kelly?”
Danny: “Well, when you put it that way …”
Flip: “You’ve got yourself a deal.”

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Read More: Boston Celtics, Danny Ainge, Jabari Parker, Kevin Love

NBA draft roundup: Magic reportedly trying to move into top 3

06.26.14 at 11:54 am ET
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Joel Embiid‘€™s foot and back injuries have created a domino effect leading up to the draft – especially with the holder of the fourth overall pick, the Magic.

The Kansas center’€™s medical issues have caused him to slide on most mock drafts, pushing players such as Jabari Parker, Andrew Wiggins and Dante Exum higher up in the draft order, and potentially out of Orlando’€™s reach.

As a result, the Magic could use both their fourth and 12th overall picks in an effort to trade into a top-three position in the draft.

“Everything’s really fluid at the moment,” said first-year Magic general manager Rob Hennigan. “I think there’s a possibility we could select at [No.] 4 and [No.] 12, and I think there’s a possibility that one or both of those picks could be in play. So our job … is to prioritize what we feel is the best opportunity for us, and then go ahead and try to capitalize on that.”

While the Magic have tradeable pieces in  Jameer Nelson and Nikola Vucevic, Hennigan would not give any hints on what his team plans to do Thursday night.

“I think the big thing for us is to just stay the course — continue to add to the team, continue to improve the team, and do it in a fashion that allows us to show improvement, [and] allows us to play in more meaningful games next season,” Hennigan said. “But at the same time we don’t want to skip steps. We don’t want to compromise our vision to build a competitive team for a long time.

“If there’s an opportunity out there that will allow us to speed that up – great. If not, I think onus is on us to continue to chip away and stay disciplined.”

Meanwhile, the Magic reportedly made a move, acquiring Evan Fournier and the No. 56 pick from the Nuggets for Arron Afflalo.

The 21-year-old Fournier, a 2012 first-round pick from France, is heading into his third NBA campaign. The 6-foot-6 shooting guard averaged 8.3 points and 2.7 rebounds last season.

The 28-year-old Afflalo, who would have been Orlando’s top returning scorer (18.2 ppg), returns to the team he played for from 2009-12 before being sent to the Magic as part of the Dwight Howard multi-team trade. The 6-foot-5 shooting guard from UCLA has an option to become a free agent after the 2014-15 season.

– Three years after helping the Mavericks clinch their first championship, Tyson Chandler is heading back to Dallas.

The Knicks center, along with point guard Raymond Felton, was traded to the Mavs in exchange for guards Jose Calderon, Shane Larkin and Wayne Ellington and center Samuel Dalembert.

The Knicks also receive both of Dallas’€™ picks in Thursday’€™s draft — the 34th and 51st selections (both in the second round). New York previously did not have a pick in what should be a deep draft on Thursday.

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Read More: Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker, Joel Embiid, NBA Draft

The official Celtics-centric Kevin Love timeline 2.0

06.25.14 at 2:06 pm ET
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The Celtics-centric story surrounding Kevin Love actually began before the All-Star break, but Boston’s Love affair reached “Fatal Attraction” levels when the three-time NBA All-Star spent three days in the city a few weeks back.

Since then, Timberwolves president of basketball operations Flip Saunders and Celtics counterpart Danny Ainge have seemingly pulled the puppet strings masterfully, casting sources in a drama worthy of Michael Douglas and Glenn Close. The plot thickens every day, so here’s the storyboard updated through the latest episode.

Rumored Kings, Warriors, Lakers, Suns, Bulls, Nuggets and Cavaliers offers have been put out to pasture. All the while, the C’s package remains with the possibility of Ainge sweetening the deal. If the Wolves are looking to trade Love — and it seems inevitable given his stated goal to leave via free agency next summer and the ensuing circus the past six weeks — then the Celtics still stand among the favorites (if not the favorite) for his services.

For further analysis, read about Ainge’s final play for Love.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Danny Ainge, Kevin Love, Minnesota Timberwolves

Weekly NBA Draft Watch: Mock draft v4.0

06.25.14 at 1:45 pm ET
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This year’€™s draft is starting to feel like it could be one of the most entertaining in years. Seriously, how could there be any more drama?

The old projected top pick, Joel Embiid, is injured and sliding down draft boards. We have no clue if Andrew Wiggins or Jabari Parker will be the No. 1 pick by the Cavaliers. We don’€™t even know that Cleveland will keep the first pick — teams like the Magic, Jazz and Celtics are rumored to have interest.

The Celtics also are rumored to be one of three finalists to acquire the No. 8 pick from the Kings. Then the Lakers seem pretty serious about trying to package Steve Nash and the No. 7 pick in an attempt to get young talent. Or, dare I say, the Lakers could be trying to clear cap space to make a play on Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James.

A mock draft seems almost pointless since we are expecting so many trades. Let’€™s not forget that Kevin Love‘€™s name will be one we hear in rumors a few times Thursday. Expect to see one of the wildest drafts in recent memory, but if there is less movement than expected, here’€™s how it could shake down.

1. Cavaliers, Jabari Parker (Duke, freshman) – Embiid has been projected as the top pick for a while, even with his back issues. His broken foot is a whole different monster, though. Those two red flags will cause him to slip, and Parker is the best player in the draft right now. Wiggins will get a look here, especially if the Cavs are looking for a player to fit alongside LeBron (in their dream scenario). Owner Dan Gilbert wants to be very involved in the pick, and he reportedly likes Wiggins. That’€™s a risky strategy for Cleveland, so just take the sure thing in Parker — the Cavs really can’€™t afford to blow this one.

2. Bucks, Andrew Wiggins (Kansas, freshman) – The Bucks now hold the easiest pick in the draft. Sit back and see what the team with the top pick does, then take the other top prospect. If Parker goes No. 1, then Wiggins goes to Milwaukee to play with a decent young core. The Bucks may prefer one to the other, but they have to be pleased either way it plays out.

3. 76ers, Dante Exum (Australia) – Philly ends up the biggest loser as a result of the Embiid injury. The Sixers would have been the team that ended up with the third top prospect that was passed over, but now they have a difficult choice to make. Embiid probably still is too risky this high in the draft, so Exum is the best overall talent available. Exum would either come in to be a backcourt-mate to Michael Carter-Williams or to take MCW’€™s job if the 76ers look to trade the Rookie of the Year.

4. Magic, Marcus Smart (Oklahoma State, sophomore) – With Exum off the board, and Orlando seeking a point guard, Smart makes sense with this pick. Of course, any of the big men on the board will be tempting to the Magic, but they have been most interested in Smart and Exum all year.

5. Jazz, Noah Vonleh (Indiana, freshman) – The Jazz already have a lot of young talent in their frontcourt. But if all the guards are taken early, and Utah does not trade up, Vonleh may be the most appealing piece. Vonleh is more capable of stepping away from the basket than the remaining bigs; that could be the determining factor.

6. Celtics, Joel Embiid (Kansas, freshman) – One of the big questions of the draft becomes how far Embiid will slip. Danny Ainge will face a tough decision if he slips to No. 6, and in the end he won’€™t be able to pass up Embiid’€™s potential. If Ainge is unable to add an All-Star caliber player through a trade, Embiid is a fantastic fit for the future to play alongside Jared Sullinger in a rebuild scenario.

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Read More: Andrew Wiggins, Dante Exum, Jabari Parker, Joel Embiid

Celtics pre-draft chat with WEEI.com’s Ben Rohrbach

06.25.14 at 11:35 am ET
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Live Blog Celtics pre-draft chat with WEEI.com’s Ben Rohrbach
 

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What it would take for Celtics to acquire Picks 1-5

06.25.14 at 11:08 am ET
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If Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge didn’t call the five teams in front of him in Thursday’s NBA draft, he wouldn’t be doing his job, so it should come as no surprise he’s inquired about what it would take to acquire a top pick from the Cavaliers, Bucks, 76ers, Magic and Jazz.

In fact, Ainge also has discussed the possibility of landing picks later in the first and into the second round, according to the Boston Herald’s Mark Murphy. In all likelihood, Ainge has contacted the front offices of all 29 other teams in preparation for a draft with an infinite number of possible C’s outcomes.

As for the potential of the C’s trading into the top five, a draft-day deal of top-six picks hasn’t happened since 2008, when Minnesota and Memphis swapped No. 3 (O.J. Mayo) and No. 5 (Kevin Love), exchanging a handful of inconsequential players in the process (Marko Jaric, Antoine Walker and Greg Buckner to the Grizzlies; Mike Miller, Brian Cardinal and Jason Collins to the Timberwolves).

While Love has since become the centerpiece of blockbuster trade discussions, neither he nor Mayo were considered franchise-altering acquisitions six years ago. Derrick Rose and Michael Beasley were the big catches of that draft, just as Jabari Parker and Andrew Wiggins are the clear prizes this season. Love and Mayo (sing to Frank Sinatra‘s “Love and Marriage,” please) were more akin to Julius Randle and Marcus Smart this season.

The lack of top picks changing places in recent years has a lot to do with the increased value of those players in the new collective bargaining agreement and the scarcity of teams with win-now mentalities ending up in the top five.

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Read More: Andrew Wiggins, Boston Celtics, Cleveland Cavaliers, Danny Ainge
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