I'm hearing the Cavs are exploring moving down a few spots in the draft to take [Jonas Valanciunas]. The goal is to secure another first-round pick to compensate them for not getting Valanciunas to play this season. One potential scenario has the Wizards giving up Nos. 6 and 18 for the No. 4 pick. The caveat? Enes Kanter has to be there at No. 4 for the Wizards. If he's not, there's no deal.
The Cavaliers want Valanciunas, and the Wizards want Kanter, so why not trade? Personally, I'd call Cleveland's bluff and make them take Valanciunas at 4 and see what happens with Toronto at 5, but there's risk there. If the Wizards surrender the 18th, I'd like to see them try to buy a pick in the late first round, potentially for a draft-and-stash.
Other links below the jump:
-Huge labor news today: the owners relaxed their stance on a hard cap, saying it will go from $45 to $62 million and have room for some exceptions. Ken Berger breaks it down here. The players still seem dead-set against a hard cap, but that seems to me like one heck of a concession.
-Ernie Grunfeld spoke to the media today. I missed it because I'm on my way to New York (I'm on the bus now), but Wizards.com has a transcript of key remarks. He didn't really say much. Here's the only line with some substance:
Right now, in all likelihood, we're going to be picking from where we are right now, we're comfortable with that. But if the right opportunity presents itself and it's a thing we think can help us both short term and long term that's something we'll look at, but those kind of things pop up closer to the draft, and I wouldn't believe all the rumors that I read either.
The last part of that quote is something you could c&p from any of his previous pre-draft remarks. If you're really into reading between the lines, it sounds like Ernie thinks the Wizards need a big, though that might be because that's what people asked about.
-More Ernie quotes to Michael Lee here.
I don't make the picks. I haven't done the scouting and I am NOT a professional in this regard. I believe in our scouts and in our front office and know they have been working hard and have seen - countless times - most of the top prospects.
As an Owner, I don't do other people's jobs. If I did, we would all be in trouble. I am not an armchair GM. I do set strategy and vision but then the professionals execute on tactics and manage to outcomes and quantifiable metrics. I believe that is the best course.
From what I know about him, I don't think he's just babbling either. This is how he conducts business, and I think it's the right way to go. Nothing bugs a basketball executive more than his owner proclaiming to know more about his craft than they do.
-I participated in The Basketball Jones' live mock draft this afternoon, which you can find by clicking the link. There, I was overjoyed that the Wizards ended up with Enes Kanter. I also did a radio hit for 1320 KFAN out in Utah with Scott Garrard, where we discussed the Wizards' tough position and eventually decided Jan Vesely would be the likely pick with Kanter and Derrick Williams off the board. Link on that is coming.
-Great article on Jonas Valanciunas by NBA.com's Scott Howard-Cooper. Here's the money line to me.
"A future franchise center," is how one competing executive described Valanciunas. "If you've got two picks in the top four, that's exactly what you roll the dice on. Especially in that community, with the history with Ilgauskas."
I still think he has a ways to go, but I can see why Cleveland might prefer him to Kanter, given their pace with their rebuilding effort and the likelihood that they are already getting Kyrie Irving to provide immediate help.
-Derrick Williams to SI.com on what position he thinks he should play.
I'll probably stay as a big 3 [small forward]. A lot of people would say I have no position; I'm just a basketball player. I really have the best of both worlds right now, using my speed and quickness against bigger players and my size against smaller guys. If they put me at the 3, being able to defend a 3 is going to be good for me because of my size and my strength. Being 6-8, 6-9, 250, it's pretty hard for a player to go by me. If they put me at the 4 [power forward], bigger players really can't step outside. Whatever position it is I'm going to play it, work hard and try to do my best.
I'm slated to write something about Williams for SBNation.com, so I'll ask him more about this tomorrow.
-Bismack Biyombo sort of tells Grantland's Davy Rothbart that he doesn't want to play in D.C.
Grantland: A lot of teams are giving you serious consideration in the draft. There's easily 10 or 12 cities where you could wind up. Let's play a game: I'll say the name of a city and you say the first word that comes to mind. Any word you want - just the first word that pops into your head. Cool?
Grantland: OK, here we go. Washington, D.C.
The rest of the interview is worth reading. Biyombo says he checks out the cities of every team in front of him, so the "no" isn't random. Keep in mind: the Wizards passed on seeing him conduct a workout prior to the Adidas Eurocamp.
-Video of the Wizards' workout today, plus video of the media interview with Jordan Hamilton. Tomorrow, the Wizards will hold a workout for only Donatas Motiejunas, who has been rumored to go at No. 18 in several mocks.
-Invaluable resources that are must-reads at this time of year: Draft Express' "By The Numbers" series (guards, forwards, bigs), DX's "Situational Stats" series (guards, forwards, bigs), John Hollinger's Draft Rater (In$ider, but spoiler: it loves Tristan Thompson) and Dean Oliver's piece for ESPN.com on why age matters.
-Shaun Powell of NBA.com says the Wizards' options make them "more flexible than any Olympic gymnast." Slow down, chief.
-All four of Wizards Extreme's staff writers say Kahwi Leonard should be the Wizards' No. 6 pick.
-More draft buzz from Chad Ford on stuff happening below the Wizards.