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NBA Draft day rumors, 11:00 a.m.: Could Kemba Walker be dropping? 06.23.11 at 10:59 am ET
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There has been talk that UConn’s Kemba Walker could fall out of the lottery, especially if the Kings were to pass on him with the No. 7 pick.

Andy Katz of ESPN writes that it could happen, but Walker’s camp is not expecting it. “There is legitimate concern that Walker could be sliding deep into the lottery or even out of it altogether if Sacramento were to pass on him at No. 7,” Katz writes. “However, Walker’s representation isn’t worried about the number as much as the fit. Walker initially was comfortable that he would be going to Toronto (No. 5), Sacramento (No. 7) or Detroit (No. 8). But the Raptors and Pistons have cooled a bit and a number of teams slotted after the Pistons are actively discussing that he might be on the board when they select.”

Katz also posted on Twitter regarding Walker: “There is a real belief in the Kemba camp that if he doesn’t go to the Kings at N0. 7 then he could be there for Knicks at No. 17, landing at home … Kemba camp is going to work each team between No. 7 and No. 17 to see where he could land. Need plays in. No one is worried, just surprised.”

Read More: 2011 NBA Draft, Kemba Walker,
NBA draft day rumors, 10 a.m.: Lakers tried to deal Lamar Odom at 10:22 am ET
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Without holding a first-round pick in Thursday’s NBA draft, the Lakers reportedly tried to get into the first round by attempting to deal Lamar Odom to the Timberwolves for the No. 2 pick.

According to The Los Angeles Times, the Lakers offered Odom for the No. 2 pick, and they planned to select Arizona’s Derrick Williams, but the Timberwolves turned down the offer. The Timberwolves countered by trying to make a deal for All-Star forward Pau Gasol or center Andrew Bynum. Talks broke down shortly after as the Lakers showed no interest in dealing Gasol or Bynum.

CBS Sports is reporting that the Lakers tried to trade Odom to the Warriors for Monta Ellis. The trade would also include Lakers guard Shannon Brown, but the talks went nowhere.

The Lakers do not have a first-round pick in 2011, having traded it to New Jersey when they dealt Sasha Vujacic to the Nets. This is the second straight season that the Lakers do not have a first-round pick.

Read More: 2011 NBA Draft, Derrick Williams, Lamar Odom, Pau Gasol
NBA Draft day rumors, 9:30 a.m.: Bucks, Bobcats open to trades at 9:32 am ET
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The Bucks are listening to offers for their No. 10 pick in Thursday’s NBA draft and are open to making it part of a bigger deal, a league source told ESPN. They also would not be opposed to dealing Corey Maggette, but not just to dump his salary. They want to upgrade their team.

The Nuggets are a team that is looking to move up into the top 10 and include point guard Ray Felton as a part of the deal.

Holding the No. 9 and 19 picks in the draft, the Bobcats also are looking to make a deal. They have discussed packaging both picks to move up in the draft. They’ve also discussed using the picks to add a veteran. Nearly every player on the roster is available to include in a deal in order to make the team better.

Recently promoted president of basketball operations Rod Higgins and new general manager Rich Cho have “constantly been on the phone” the past few days. “Rich and I are talking to every team around the league,” Higgins said. “We’re trying to gauge interest in our team as well as seeing what’s there in terms of the draft, in terms of different players on different rosters.”

Read More: 2011 NBA Draft, Corey Maggette, Ray Felton,
NBA Draft’s Potential Celtics: Cleveland State G Norris Cole at 8:25 am ET
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Cleveland State's Norris Cole is a jack of all trades who is looking to break into the first round. (AP)

WEEI.com continues to provide daily insight and analysis on the 2011 NBA draft. This is one in a series of profiles of players who might be available for the Celtics to select with one of their two picks (25th and 55th overall).

Norris Cole

Position: Guard

School: Cleveland State

Height: 6-foot-1

Weight: 174 pounds

Stats: 21.7 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 5.3 apg, 2.2 spg

What he brings: There isn’t much Cole can’t do. His thin build combined with the fact that he played at a mid-major school allowed him to fly under the radar. However, as the draft approaches, his stock has been steadily rising, and for good reason. Cole is one of the most complete point guards in the draft.

He can score from anywhere on the court, including the charity stripe. Cole averaged 7.4 free throws per game his senior year and converted 85.3 percent of them. Defensively, he is a superb 1-on-1 player. Cole rarely gets beat of the dribble, and he managed to tally over two steals per game his senior year. He is an adequate passer and a willing rebounder.

Some mocks now have Cole going as high as the first round. However, with Rajon Rondo and Avery Bradley under contract in Boston, seeing Cole in green and white isn’t very likely.

Where the Celtics could get him: First or second round

What they’re saying: “Given the right opportunity, he can compete with anybody at that level. He’s really out to prove to people that can happen. … If Norris went to Kentucky or Duke, he’d be a lottery pick. He’s that good.”  — Former NBA guard Sedric Toney

Notes: Cole was named 2010-11 Horizon League Player of the Year. He has been rocking a flat top haircut since senior year and joked that Chris Mullin told him it was “the best flat top in the country.”

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NBA Draft’s Potential Celtics: Oakland C Keith Benson 06.22.11 at 9:34 pm ET
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WEEI.com continues to provide daily insight and analysis on the 2011 NBA draft. This is one in a series of profiles of players who might be available for the Celtics to select with one of their two picks (25th and 55th overall).

Oakland center Keith Benson is regarded as the top mid-major prospect in this year's draft. (AP)

Keith Benson

Position: Center

School: Oakland (Mich.)

Height: 6-foot-11

Weight: 230 pounds

Stats: 17.9 ppg, 10.1 rpg, 3.6 bpg

What he brings: Benson has a lot of athleticism considering his size and can run the floor well. He is a solid guy in a half-court offense. He can post up and has a nice hook shot, but also he has shown that he can shoot a mid-range jump shot and create his shot on his own. Benson is a solid rebounder on both ends of the court and plays the game with a great deal of intensity. One thing that Benson needs to work on is his strength. At only 230 pounds, he needs to get stronger so he can hold his own in the paint.

Where the Celtics could get him: First or second round

What they’re saying: “From that day on, boy, we knew that this kid, that he’s a long way away but he’s got it in him. It was the most unbelievable thing I’ve seen in the game.” — Oakland coach Greg Kampe, after a dunk Benson had in practice

Notes: The Detroit Free Press ran a profile on Benson, who likely will be the first Oakland player ever to be drafted. In 2011, he was named Summit League Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year. He is the Summit League record-holder in blocked shots (371). In 2010 Benson was the Lou Henson Award winner, given to the nation’s top mid-major player. His nickname is “Kito.”

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NBA mock draft: Will Celtics trade out of first round? at 6:02 pm ET
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Arizona forward Derrick Williams almost certainly will be taken No. 2 overall, but by which team? (AP)

The 2010-11 NBA season is over. Dirk Nowitzki and the Mavericks denied LeBron James a ring as Dallas ousted Miami in six games. Now everyone (excluding DeShawn Stevenson) appears focused on the draft.

Brazilian prospect Lucas Nogueira withdrew from the draft. Nogueira was slated to be picked by Portland at No. 21 in our first mock. No other high-profile players have pulled out. The pre-draft workouts have helped teams get a closer look at the prospects, but very few players who are expected to go in the draft lottery (first 14 picks) have played against other lottery-caliber players.

The best example of this has been the elite point guards. Brandon Knight, Kemba Walker and Jimmer Fredette have been scheduling and rescheduling workouts for various teams as their agents don’t want any of them to hurt their stock. For the same reason, sure-fire No. 1 pick Kyrie Irving doesn’t even need to work out for teams.

The Blazers appear eager to trade up in the first round (possibly for Walker), while the Celtics are believed to be looking to trade out of the first round. All that and more in our NBA mock draft 2.0.

1. Cleveland Cavaliers

Kyrie Irving, Duke, Fr., PG, 6-2, 180

Trade rumors and speculations have been swirling about every pick except this one. The Cavaliers reportedly are interested in acquiring the No. 2 overall pick to draft Derrick Williams. Regardless, expect Cleveland to take Irving here and build its future around him.

2. Minnesota Timberwolves

Derrick Williams, Arizona, So., SF/PF, 6-9, 241

The question that should be asked regarding the No. 2 overall pick is not who will be picked with it, but rather who will take Williams, the top forward in the class. Minnesota already has an overloaded frontcourt and general manager David Kahn is no stranger to draft-day deals. However, assistant general manager Tony Rozone indicated the Wolves may keep the pick. This may be due in part to Ricky Rubio’s decision to come over from Spain.

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: 2011 NBA Draft, Brandon Knight, Derrick Williams, Justin Harper
NBA Draft’s potential Celtics: Latvian F Davis Bertans at 4:20 pm ET
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Latvia's Davis Bertans has one of the sweetest strokes in this draft class.

WEEI.com continues to provide daily insight and analysis on the 2011 NBA draft. This is one in a series of profiles of players who might be available for the Celtics to select with one of their two picks (25th and 55th overall).

Davis Bertans

Position: Forward

School: Latvia (International)

Height: 6-foot-10

Weight: 210 pounds

Stats: N/A

What he brings: At age 18, Bertans is one of the younger players in the draft. He brings a smooth jumper with NBA range and the ability to square up and fire very quickly. Bertans can shoot off the dribble, but he excels in catch-and-shoot situations.

He  isn’t overly athletic but can finish strong at the rim. An above-average passer, Bertans works hard at both ends of the court However, he needs to add muscle and improve his foot speed to play against the stronger, faster players in the NBA.

Nike International director Rich Shoebrooks called Bertans the best shooter to play on the Hoop Summit International squad since Dirk Nowitzki.

Where the Celtics could get him: First round

What they’re saying: “My best part of the game is shooting 3-pointers. I can shoot when I’m open, I can shoot in defender’s face, I can shoot even in transition. I run fast breaks, and I can also pass well.” Bertans, when asked to describe his game

Notes: Bertans won a bronze medal at the 2010 U-18 European Championships. Bertans indicated that he would pull out of the draft without a first-round promise.

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