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2010 NBA Draft: Draft Day Morning Chatter

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This post will have rolling updates throughout the day.

To kick things off, Jason Quick reverses course after a week of talking big trades.

The Trail Blazers on Thursday morning appear intent on using their draft picks in tonight's NBA draft rather than acquiring a proven NBA player, a source has told The Oregonian.

The Blazers will wait until later this summer to reshape their roster with proven NBA players, the source says.

Awful early in the day for management to be so thoroughly deflating expectations.  Quick also tweets...

Blazers will not acquire Chris Paul today

Deron Williams also will not be acquired by the Blazers tonight.  Neither will Derrick Rose.

Speaking of Chris Paul, it will be interesting to see if there is any official response today to the heavy accusations leveled at Portland's front office by Adrian Wojnarowski last night. 

Update (8:29AM)

Ezra Caraeff of the Portland Mercury sees the odds that Rudy Fernandez is traded are pretty high.

Rumor: The Blazers will trade Rudy Fernandez.
¡Sí! ¡Sí! ¡Sí! Rudy's run of breaking hearts and burying three pointers in a Blazers uniform has come to a close. Last season Fernandez failed to improve on his rookie year performance, instead he spent most of the year pouting and complaining to the Spanish media that he doesn't want to play here anymore. He'll likely get his wish tonight, while team replica jersey sales-and female interest in the team-plummet. 
Odds that it will actually happen: 80%

Update (8:42AM)

Marcus Thompson, beat writer for the Golden State Warriors, writes that the Warriors "do like Rudy." That would be an interesting fit for both sides. 

Holly MacKenzie, beat writer for the Raptors, writes that, "I don't think the Raps are trading 13 for Rudy. If they trade the pick, I think they pair it w/ Hedo. Makes more sense."  There were some pretty strong feelings in Toronto last night that 13 for 22 + Rudy didn't make a whole lot of sense from the Raptors side.

One problem with finding a trade partner in Indiana at #10 is that the Blazers don't have the extra point guard to move that Indiana covets

Jeff Goodman of Fox Sports calls Craig Brackins the draft's "Biggest sleeper."

BIGGEST SLEEPER: Craig Brackins -- A year ago, the Iowa State skilled forward was considered a lottery pick. Brackins' stock slid this past season as the Cyclones struggled, but he needed the extra year to mature on the mental side.

Update (8:54 AM)

Scott Howard-Cooper of NBA.com is hearing the up-the-board movement possibility too...

Blazers & Thunder working hard to get into lottery. Big-picture perspective: PORT still aggressive despite cutting Pritchard off at knees.

One potential target for the Blazers if they move up is Nevada wing Luke Babbitt. Adrian Wojnarowski writes that he may go to the Jazz at #9. It's very difficult to see a scenario where the Blazers move higher than pick #10.

Kevin Pelton delivers the first real must-read of the day: similarity scores for every draft pick.  Some of the comparisons are fascinating.

Update (9:14 AM)

Here's audio from this morning's Morning Sports Page discussing latest draft scenarios, Kevin Seraphin, etc. Segment starts at the 4 minute mark.

Update (9:23 AM)

Gery Woelfel, basketball writer for Journal Times.com writes, "Rumblings persist: Andre Miller and 22 to indy for 10."

League sources are laughing at this one.  The Blazers would have to take back salary from Indiana's pitiful roster and would have a gaping hole at the starting point guard position, which certainly couldn't be filled by any of the point guards available at the #10 slot.  Although Miller might be a fit in Indiana's up-tempo offense, the Pacers are said to be looking to go younger at the point guard position.

Jonathan Givony from Draft Express has two teams to watch tonight: Chicago and Miami. Brian Windhorst also sees trade movement in the name of cap space likely.

Not draft-related but our good buddy Scott Schroeder wrote up a profile of Joe Krabbenhoft, one of the Blazers Summer League players.  In case you missed it last weekend, here's how the Summer League roster stands right now

Update 9:59 AM

In my Draft Prospect Board, I wrote about how the Blazers announced their trade up shortly after spending some extra time with Armon Johnson.  Kerry Eggers sees this as a possibility too.

The scenario played out Monday when Portland moved up in the second round, sending the 44th selection plus cash to Golden State for the 34th choice. That gave the Blazers a chance at a player such as Nevada point guard Armon Johnson, who worked out for the club on Monday. The 6-3 left-hander wouldn't have still been around at No. 44 but might be at No. 34.

"If you're looking at a point guard," Buchanan says, "he is high on the board."

He also quotes Chad Buchanan saying Paul Allen does not have veto power.

"He'll express his opinions, but he trusts us. He is supportive of us and gives us the resources we need to get the guy we need to go get."

John Canzano tweets, "Just off the phone with a Western Conference executive who tells me, "Portland floated Rudy to Toronto early to see if they can do better."  

With three reports coming out within roughly an hour last night, it's safe to say someone wanted that information out there. Given the quick, skeptical reaction from Toronto's media, I think we can put two and two together.

Here's Chard Ford on who Toronto might be targeting in various scenarios.

If they're moving down from 13 to 18 and 21 I do think they could get either Bradley or Bledsoe with one pick and then the big they like Solomon Alabi with the other pick. If they stay at 13, they probably take either Bledsoe, Bradley, Patrick Patterson or Cole Aldrich.

Regarding the Blazers trying to trade Rudy Fernandez, Ford writes...

KP is trying. Love him. The guy is not going down without a fight. He's trying to move up, get a veteran, you name it. Looks like the Fernandez to the Raptors deal has cooled. As for Pritchard's future, let's just say his bags are packed.

Update (10:45AM):

David Locke, radio voice of the Utah Jazz, writes, "Had GM tell me he thinks 7 of the first 20 or so picks in the draft could be moved before they are used tonight. WOW."

The Big Lead.com agrees with the building consensus that the Blazers will take Kevin Seraphin if they stay at #22.

Now that Seraphin interest is skyrocketing, here's a look back to my first impression of him during the 2009 Nike Hoop Summit's World team practice.

From the first dribble Tuesday night, my favorite player to watch on this team is France's Kevin Seraphin.   He has a legitimate NBA power forward body and plays with rabid intensity on both ends of the floor.  

Think a taller, mentally-stable Ron Artest on the defensive end.  He seems like he'd be a natural fit on a team like Utah or Houston, as he embraces the idea of making life difficult for scorers, crashing the boards and tracking down loose balls.  He also seemed particularly adept at reading passing lanes but that might just have been a by-product of some really questionable passing from the opposing point guards.  Either way, his off-ball defense was good from what I saw.

On offense, he has no jumper although he hasn't fully realized that yet.  His range should be Przybilla-esque.  He isn't afraid to shoot in traffic in the paint and he was converting a fair percentage from close in, as he was able to overpower the less-physically-developed competition.  I don't expect him to back down from the physical challenges Team USA will try to throw at him, so it should be entertaining to see what he can do on Saturday.

Chad Ford's final mock draft has the Blazers selecting Daniel Orton, a Kentucky big man with all sorts of red flags.  In his analysis, though, he hints at some more Elliot Williams talk.

The Blazers have been very active trying to move up, but if they stay at 22, there will be a couple of guys here they like. At the top of that list are Orton and Elliot Williams. The Blazers have worked out both players and think that, at this point in the draft, they both could be steals.

Although Orton is in the discussion starting at the 10th pick, concerns about his knees and his relative lack of playing time in the past two seasons are weighing on teams. He easily could end up going earlier to Oklahoma City, but if he's on the board here, I think the Blazers can't pass him up.

If Orton is off the board, look for them to go with Williams. The Blazers know way more about Williams' situation than they are letting on.

I think drafting Orton would qualify as a shock given the Blazers' recent track record, Orton's weak statistical body of work and his messy pre-draft process, which included letting family members manage him, cancelling workouts unexpectedly, and injury concerns.
 
Update (10:57 AM):

John Canzano doesn't see Jerryd Bayless getting moved.

Agreed, and I think there are a few good reasons his name hasn't been in any trade talk this year. He is pretty entrenched as Portland's third guard. If Rudy Fernandez is moved, it's really difficult to move Bayless as well. If you want to keep Rudy and move Bayless then you have a big hole at the backup one, now and next year and the year after that. You're back to square one. It's also easier to move Rudy than it is Bayless given their respective salaries. The obvious problem is that the Blazers would be selling low on Rudy, which is one reason he might remain a Blazer through today.  Better offers for moving him might exist later this summer.

Update (11:24AM)

Jonathan Givony sees OKC out of the picture at #10.
Hearing that the Indiana-Oklahoma CIty trade is dead, and that OKC may have moved onto New Orleans instead. Trade would be 18+21 for 11.
Perhaps opening a door for Portland?

One veteran sports writer tells me in he days before the internet, reporters were far more selective in what they'd report.  These days, the pace of the internet is such that many reporters feel compelled to pass along the rumors before those rumors evolve into bona fide stories.  In the past 24 hours, one media outlet has gone from reporting the large probability of a blockbuster Blazers trade on draft day... to now saying nothing big will happen until mid-summer.  From A-to-Z in less than 24 hours!    
Adrian Wojnarowski writes that the price for the mid-first round picks might come with salary attached.
It's extremely unlikely that New Orleans trades that 11th pick unless it can attach the contract of a player like Mo Peterson in the deal.
This demand works against Portland, who is without cap space, and for teams like Oklahoma City, who can help shed salary in unbalanced trades or simply by absorbing a contract like they did with Daequan Cook yesterday.

-- Ben Golliver | benjamin.golliver@gmail.com | Twitter