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Smoke & Mirrors: Potential Landing Spots for Luka Doncic, Chandler Hutchison

Rumors regarding top NBA prospects are heating up as draft night inches closer.

Basketball: Luka Doncic Sipa USA-USA TODAY NETWORK

The 2018 NBA Draft Combine is complete, and now it is time for rumors regarding this year’s crop of talented prospects to start rolling in. At the top of the NBA Draft, the future of Slovenian phenom Luka Doncic has become a hot topic after his Real Madrid squad captured the Euroleague title. Along with Doncic, Chandler Hutchison’s decision to withdraw from combine-related activities has fueled speculation regarding the likelihood of a “first-round promise” from a team selecting outside of the lottery.

Doncic is still weighing his options, but it appears he is nearing a decision on his NBA future according to ESPN’s Jonathan Givony. After Real Madrid’s victory in Belgrade, Doncic shared this with ESPN:

“I will tell about all at the right time. Right now I just want to celebrate with my team. Soon I will tell.”

As if his own decision wasn’t interesting enough, Givony also pointed to the uncertainty surrounding Doncic’s potential suitors:

Doncic’s next destination was a focal point on many a conversation over the course of the weekend. It still remains to be seen which NBA team will draft him. The growing consensus among NBA decision-makers in attendance at Stark Arena in Belgrade is that the teams drafting behind the Phoenix Suns at No. 1, the Sacramento Kings and Atlanta Hawks are likely to pass on European prodigy in favor of American frontcourt players. The question remains whether a team will trade up into the top three to snag Doncic, or if he will fall to the No. 4 (Memphis) or even the No. 5 pick (Dallas) after being heavily scouted in the Euroleague playoffs against Panathinaikos and mostly struggling.

Although the Blazers have openly denied that it was them that promised Boise State wing Chandler Hutchison he would be a first round pick, they remain a team that is right in the range for his services.

The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor took a closer look at Hutchison’s situation in the combine’s aftermath:

It’s unclear who made the promise, if one was made at all, but it’s no secret that Hutchison’s agent Mark Bartelstein, the CEO of Chicago-based agency Priority Sports, is a family friend of Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf. The Bulls and Bartelstein have a successful working relationship. Bartelstein has represented a long list of former Bulls, from Steve Kerr and Jud Buechler to Taj Gibson and Bobby Portis, among many others.

The Bulls own pick No. 22 in the 2018 NBA Draft, which puts them two spots ahead of the Blazers who will be selecting at pick No. 24.

Along with representing several current and former Chicago players, Bartelstein’s agency currently advocates on behalf of Zach Collins.