This post will have rolling updates throughout the afternoon. We kick it off with a surprising move involving a player that has been in trade rumors to Portland for years. Ric Bucher reports...
The Chicago Bulls have a deal in place that would move Kirk Hinrich and the 17th pick to the Washington Wizards, fr eeing up enough cap space to pursue two maximum-salary players on this summer's free-agent market, sources with knowledge of the Bulls' plans said Thursday.
It wasn't immediately clear what Washington would send to Chicago in the trade.
This gives Washington 3 first round picks so you figure they might not be done yet today. Are there enough minutes for John Wall, Gilbert Arenas, and Kirk Hinrich, or is another deal coming? For Chicago, the salary dump benefit is obvious as they prepare to potentially land two big names in free agency.
Like New Orleans's reported attempt to tag Mo Peterson's contract into a deal for its draft pick, this rumored trade is another sign that trading up this year is going to come with a stiff price. Hinrich's contract is cumbersome and the Bulls would no doubt rather have the free cap space than any of the Blazers bench players or expiring contracts back in return. It's starting to look more and more difficult for the Blazers to move up with the pieces they're willing to move and the pieces that others are attempting to unload.
Update (1:29 PM)
Jonathan Givony writes...
New Orleans - Oklahoma City trade (18+21 for 11) deal not going to happen I hear. OKC is talking to Memphis and Toronto about it now instead
Another bad sign for Portland. If OKC is getting shut down with their available assets (cap space, multiple first round picks), Portland is further squeezed out with its assets (Rudy, first round pick, second round pick, expiring contracts).
Portland-Toronto Rudy Fernandez trade is "dead." Not happening. Portland is continuing to be very active, as is Oklahoma City.
The Oregonian's NBA Insider Mike Tokito writes...
If Hinrich to Wiz goes, anyone wanna float Arenas-to-Portland rumor? No way in heck it happens, but would be fun to watch the reaction.
Brian T. Smith says check back later...
Blazers are still exploring several draft day-related possibilities, source says. Nothing new has arisen in last few hours, though.
Update (2:17 PM)
Miami continues to make moves to keep up in the cap space clearing arms race. David Aldridge writes that they are looking to restructure James Jones's contract and...
In addition, center Joel Anthony reportedly is willing to exercise a free agent clause in his contract, which would get his $885,000 salary off of Miami's books as well, though Anthony might re-sign with Miami for a lower first-year amount.
No real impact on Portland with that one, but the major narrative emerging this afternoon is that a small number of teams are slashing and burning beyond expectations in preparation for July 1.
Update (2:25 PM)
Here's a blockbuster rumor regarding Indiana's 10th pick from Adrian Wojnarowski...
Pacers and Nets discussing trade to send package including Danny Granger and 10th pick for Devin Harris, Yi and No. 3 pick, sources tell Y!
The Pacers would trade up to third spot to draft Derrick Favors. No deal imminent, and source says Nets interest is "lukewarm" on it.
Danny Granger and Brook Lopez would make a mighty enticing duo for prospective max free agents and no Derrick Favors in New Jersey would open things up for runs at Carlos Boozer or Amar'e Stoudemire. For Indiana, they'd finally have the young point guard they've been looking for and would have a nice, young building block in Favors but they would be giving up their franchise player to do it. It's hard to picture Indiana pulling the trigger on that one unless they know something about Granger that we don't or they are really, really high on Favors (which some teams around the league are).
If deals like that are being discussed, is anyone even answering Pritchard's Rudy Fernandez phone calls?
There's been a lot of posturing going on with that third pick. Definitely possible that this rumor is coming from New Jersey with the goal of increasing the asking price for the right to take Favors.
Update (3:03 PM)
The latest Chad Ford mock draft is up. He now has the Blazers passing up Kevin Seraphin for Daniel Orton.
Also, a quick reminder: The Blazers' former Vice President of Basketball Operations Tom Penn will be the designated capologist on ESPN's broadcast tonight. Should be awesome.
I'm headed over to the Practice Facility. The next update will come from there.
Update (3:48 PM)
Brian T. Smith says keep waiting...
No new movement for Blazers in last couple hours, source says.
Joe Freeman says the same thing...
Last I heard from inside the Blazers' war room ... they're still investigating possible deals but nothing was imminent.
Andy Katz of ESPN writes...
Lots of teams are calling Atlanta for its pick -- New York Knicks, Dallas, Portland and Cleveland -- but Hawks keeping pick.
Blazers owner Paul Allen's dark SUV is parked in front of the Practice Facility with bodyguard (driver?) dressed in dark clothing in the hot sun standing watch.
There were zero people outside the Practice Facility supporting Kevin Pritchard at 3:30 PM. However, three people sat on a bench in front of the health clinic across the street, presumably waiting for a car to pick them up.
The mood among the media gathered here is much calmer and looser than less year. A sign of low expectations, perhaps.
-- Ben Golliver | email@example.com | Twitter