Recapping The Reports Of Teams Looking To Move Up In The NBA Draft

by June 20, 2019
Cam Reddish

Well, it’s smokescreen season, so there’s no shortage of speculation about which teams are looking to trade up, down, in or out of the NBA Draft. One need not look far on Twitter to hear whispers about what their team might do or what their front office is at least thinking of doing.

At Newswire, we try to sit on reports that come in from national writers and those on the beat until we know there’s some substance behind them but that doesn’t mean there aren’t still valuable nuggets of potential information floating around.

I use the term ‘potential’ by design here. Although many, perhaps most, of the rumors that end up circulating around NBA Twitter and the hoops community don’t end up coming to fruition, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the reports were wrong or that the sources were disingenuous.

This time of year teams are torn in so many different directions that even valid reports that leak out about team intentions end up being moot within days or hours of the initial story breaking.

With that preamble out of the way, I thought it would be worth collecting the fringe information that could still end up impacting the draft.

No. 1 – New Orleans Pelicans
This pick will not be moved. Period.

No. 2 – Memphis Grizzlies
Earlier this week, Marc Berman of the New York Post suggested that the Pelicans have had internal talks about moving up to the No. 2 pick in order to ensure they get R.J. Barrett. Ian Begley of SportsNet New York has since added that there’s a sense the Grizzlies would need to be blown away with a strong offer for that choice. Begley reports that the Grizzlies seem content drafting Ja Morant.

No. 3 – New York Knicks
The Knicks have their eyes set on R.J. Barrett and Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN says they’re locked in on drafting him but Darius Garland’s name had previously also come up here, according to ESPN’s Jonathan Givony.

According to Ian Begley of SportsNet New York, the Knicks are supposedly open to offers to trade down. The team’s lengthy list of workouts with early-to-mid lottery prospects (like Coby White, per Marc Berman of the New York Post) would certainly support that.

No. 4 – New Orleans Pelicans
This pick, which came over from the Lakers in the Anthony Davis trade, is available. Malika Andrews of ESPN has reported that the Pelicans seek a veteran guard or veteran big here.

According to ESPN’s Jonathan Givony, the Minnesota Timberwolves, Chicago Bulls and Boston Celtics are all looking to trade up to here for a chance at Darius Garland. The Atlanta Hawks could also be in play here, per Givony.

Earlier this morning, Wojnarowski and Brian Windhorst of ESPN (h/t Arthur Hill of Hoops Rumors) spoke on television about possible trades for No. 4. On that show, Wojnarowski reported that the Hawks could potentially take back Solomon Hill’s $12.8 million contract in a deal for the pick and Windhorst adds that Minnesota has dangled Robert Covington and Dario Saric in their own attempts to snag it.

Another team with an apparent interest in the No. 4 pick is Cleveland, Terry Pluto of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports.

No. 5 – Cleveland Cavaliers
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN hinted that the Hawks could swap the No. 8 and No. 10 in exchange for Cleveland’s No. 5 but there haven’t been any substantive reports that the Cavs have been eager to do so.

No. 6 – Phoenix Suns
According to Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic, Suns general manager James Jones is happy picking at No. 6 and not looking to make a trade.

No. 7 – Chicago Bulls
As we mentioned previously, the Bulls may be eager to trade up to No. 4 in an effort to chase Garland.

No. 8 – Atlanta Hawks
As discussed, the Hawks are exploring any means of consolidating their No. 8 and No. 10 picks. They could move up in tonight’s draft or even stockpile future assets.

No. 9 – Washington Wizards
There have been no substantive reports that the Wiz are looking to move from No. 9.

No. 10 – Atlanta Hawks
See No. 8.

Related: Ranking the teams with the best batches of draft picks
Related: A team-by-team breakdown of all 2019 NBA Draft pick