NBA draft roundup: Magic reportedly trying to move into top 3
|06.26.14 at 11:54 am ET|
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.
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.
“The journey to build this team for the upcoming season and beyond continues,” Knicks president Phil Jackson said. “We have added players with this move that will fit right into our system while maintaining future flexibility.”
Chandler is heading into the final year of a four-year deal that will pay the 2012 Defensive Player of the Year $14.5 million in 2014-15.
Chandler was the defensive anchor of a Mavericks team that defeated the Heat in the 2011 NBA Finals, earning All-Defensive second-team honors in what was his only season in Dallas.
— Houston continued its goal of clearing cap space in an effort to sign a marque free agent such as LeBron James or Carmelo Anthony Wednesday. The Rockets agreed to a deal that would send center Omer Asik and cash considerations to the Pelicans for a protected future first-round pick, according to The Associated Press.
The trade cannot be made official until July due to conditions with the NBA’s collective bargaining agreement and salary cap issues.
The move was a virtual no-brainer for Rockets general manager Daryl Morey, as the team will save $14.8 million against the salary cap with the departure of Asik, who requested a trade last season after losing his starting spot to Dwight Howard.
The addition of Asik, one of the premier interior defensive defenders in the NBA, should give New Orleans one of the most intimidating frontcourts in the league, as the Turkish center likely will be paired with All-Star power forward Anthony Davis, who led the league with 2.82 blocks per game last season.
— Most mock drafts have tabbed Parker as going second overall to the Bucks — a move that could be a very good fit for the Chicago native.
While playing with a young core that features forwards Giannis Antetokounmpo and John Henson could be an enticing scenario for Parker, it is his nearby ties to both the area that seems to make the Duke All-American a perfect fit for playing in Milwaukee.
When asked if he could see the Bucks drafting him Thursday, Parker said, “Yeah, I think so. I think that’s pretty accurate.”
Milwaukee is just a 90-minute drive from Parker’s hometown of Chicago. His high school teammate Steve Taylor Jr. is playing in Milwaukee at Marquette, which recently hired former Duke assistant Steve Wojciechowski as its coach.
“[Parker is] a very down-to-earth, level-headed person. There [are] a lot of similarities between Milwaukee and Chicago,” Wojciechowski said. “I think he would feel very comfortable.”
Another former Duke player, Chris Carrawell, is on Wojciechowski’s staff at Marquette, while former Blue Devils guard Tyler Thornton, who played with Parker last year, could be brought onto the Golden Eagles staff as a graduate assistant.
“All the guys that he’s been around a lot over the past year, anything that we can do to ease his transition here, we would be willing to do,” Wojciechowski said.