The Portland Trail Blazers, currently slotted at No. 24 in the NBA Draft, will be at the mercy of other teams being so far back in the first round. One prospect the Blazers could target is Chandler Hutchison, who dropped out of the NBA Draft Combine after reportedly securing a promise from a team drafting somewhere in the 20s. Who made the promise to Hutchison remains unknown, but it’s a hot topic for teams picking in that range.
Rumors out of the combine were that Hutchison pulled out of participating in measurements and other activities due to a promise. Our sources indicate that the promise is in fact with the Bulls.
Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer pointed out the connection Hutchison has to the Bulls already:
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.
But the Bulls aren’t alone. Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress/ESPN, in his most recent mock draft (Insider subscription required), pointed out rumors around Hutchison and the Indiana Pacers (selecting No. 23 in the draft):
Hutchison is reported to have a promise after he skipped the combine and canceled all his workouts, and some teams think Indiana could be the team that guaranteed him.
And the Blazers aren’t getting away from Hutchison rumors, despite the claim they are not the team that gave Hutchison the promise. On ESPN’s “Mock Draft Special,” Hutchison went to Portland at No. 24, and insider Adrian Wojnarowski mentioned their possible involvement with the forward:
“He has shut it down. He’s not working out for teams, he’s not meeting with teams. The belief is he has a promise somewhere in the 20s; I’m told it is somewhere after Utah at 21, and it could very well be Portland. And there’s certainly some other teams there with interest in him, and there’s some teams who think, ‘If we want to get Hutchison, we’re gonna have to move up into that 19, 20, 21 range to get him.’”
Update: Video of Wojnarowski’s comments available here.
ESPN’s next “Mock Draft Special” will be June 18, ahead of the NBA Draft on Thursday, June 21.