CBSSports.com | Draft Buzz: Bulls seeking help for Derrick Rose
Ken Berger covers a lot of ground in his draft buzz column, from the latest on Chicago's expected free agency pursuit of Carmelo Anthony to Dario Saric's supposed draft promise from the Denver Nuggets.
In addition, Berger passes on word that the Cleveland Cavaliers, scrambling in the wake of Joel Embiid's foot injury and surgery, are apparently leaning toward selecting Jabari Parker with the first overall pick.
Parker is more NBA-ready than Andrew Wiggins, who would go to the Bucks at No. 2. Rival executives believe it would be out of character for Cleveland GM David Griffin to trade the top pick, and believe Bucks GM John Hammond would be hard-pressed to deviate from the other consensus top player in the draft after Embiid's injury shook up the top of the lottery.
A case could reasonably be made for both Wiggins or Parker in the top slot. While Parker is generally regarded as the "safer, more NBA-ready pick," Wiggins projects as the better defender right off the bat. Either could presumably step in as a starting SF if the Cavs elect not to re-sign Luol Deng.
Assuming Cleveland does take one of those two, popular opinion now holds that Milwaukee will simply select the other one. That's not quite set in stone though, as the Bucks could really shake things up by grabbing Embiid anyway or rolling the dice on Dante Exum, a player with whom they're reportedly very intrigued. The latter might seem more likely than the former, though both would be surprising compared to the more obvious (and safe) option of taking Wiggins or Parker. Of course, Cleveland hasn't exactly been reliable when it comes to following consensus with high draft picks either.
Berger also reiterates Milwaukee's supposed interest in Michigan big man Mitch McGary, who worked out for the Bucks on Friday.
JournalTimes.com | BUCKS BEAT: It's time to play 'Let's Make a Deal'
The draft remains in the forefront of Bucks fans' minds, but Gery Woelfel writes that Milwaukee's behind-the-scenes work on the trade market could make the bigger splash.
...the Bucks’ brass has been busy. They’ve been discussing several trade possibilities and, if you believe some NBA officials, they’ll consummate at least one deal.
The most likely Buck player to be relocated to a different zip code is Ersan Ilyasova, who is coming off a disappointing season but whose stock remains fairly high.
The general consensus among some NBA personnel is that the Bucks, who are obviously in a rebuilding mode, could obtain a late-first round pick for the 27-year-old Ilyasova in what is regarded as one of the most deep and talented draft in years.
Woelfel specifically mentions Phoenix, Oklahoma City, and Houston as teams who might be interested in Ilyasova. Each is scheduled to pick in the last third of the first round, and the Suns and Thunder each have two picks.
Ideally speaking, Ilyasova would be a great fit on any of those squads. Phoenix's offense relied heavily on Channing Frye's floor-stretching ability, and now Frye is expected to decline his $6.8M player option and explore free agency. The Thunder are always happy to surround Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook with additional shooters. Terrence Jones made strides in his second year with the Rockets, but still barely managed to crack 30% shooting from behind the arc. When he's at his best, Ersan can be one of the deadliest shooters in the NBA while also providing good rebounding from the power forward position.
Reality, unfortunately, is rarely ideal, and Ilyasova was nowhere near his best last season when his numbers dipped precipitously almost across the board. So what kind of value could Milwaukee get at this time? His contract is becoming less ominous--he'll make $7.9M each of the next two seasons with a mostly unguaranteed $8.4M salary in 2016-2017. That's not terribly difficult for a team to swallow if it thinks Ersan just needs a new address to regain his old form, but it's an awful lot if Ilyasova's best days are behind him.
According to Woelfel, though, Ilyasova is only one of many Milwaukee veterans that could be shipped out. John Henson, Larry Sanders, and even Brandon Knight have all reportedly been shopped. Each faces similar questions to Ilyasova--is now the best time to make a deal, or could another year see a positive turnaround (or in Knight's case, continued growth)?
Draft Week is here. Things are only going to get crazier.