It is officially NBA Draft day, and unsurprisingly, that means that rumors are flying left and right as teams finalize their plans for not just the evening, but the offseason as a whole. Aside from perhaps deadline day, no date on the NBA calendar leads to more player movement than the draft. After a year of scouting, teams finally know who will be available and when, and as such, are open to making moves to grab preferred targets.
So with mere hours to go before the picks start rolling in, here are some of the juiciest rumors leading up to the NBA Draft.
Scoot Henderson headed to Charlotte?
Scoot Henderson may be the No. 2 overall prospect on most big boards, but Brandon Miller has most frequently been mocked to the Charlotte Hornets throughout the draft process. Henderson briefly earned favored status at No. 2 earlier this week, but for the most part, the expectation based on what has been reported was that Miller, the forward who would complement point guard LaMelo Ball, would be their selection.
Well... hold the phone. According to The Athletic's Shams Charania, Henderson is gaining "serious momentum" to be the selection at No. 2 overall. Notable here is Charlotte's transition from Michael Jordan as the team's owner to Gabe Plotkin and Rick Schnall. Jordan is in control of the team for now, but with a new ownership group coming in, it's easy to imagine a lengthy debate leading to the Hornets not settling on their pick until the day of the draft. This could also be a smokescreen meant to generate interest in a trade. On draft day, almost anything is possible. For the time being, Caesars Sportsbook has Henderson as the minus-370 favorite to go No. 2 as of this writing. Miller is in second at plus-200.
Knicks, Clippers talked Paul George
Marc Stein reported that the Clippers have quietly been gauging Paul George's trade value this week, and now, it seems we've found our first named suitor. According to SNY's Ian Begley, the Knicks and Clippers have held talks regarding George. It is unknown at this time whether or not the Clippers would actually move George, or what it would cost if they ultimately decided to do so.
The Knicks are coming off their first playoff series victory since 2013. With Jalen Brunson in place, they have a star-caliber centerpiece in place moving forward. Now they need to decide how to allocate their mountain of draft picks to best support him. The Knicks have several strong guards and a number of big men, but aside from RJ Barrett, they are light on traditional wings. George would certainly fill that hole, but he is 33, injury-prone and eligible for a hefty contract extension. The Knicks should be interested, but only at the right price.
As for the Clippers? They haven't won a playoff series in two years, and if they are at all skittish about extending both George and Kawhi Leonard, it's worth exploring what kind of market George has now, before they'd potentially extend him. The Clippers have a new stadium set to open for the 2024-25 season, so a full rebuild isn't likely, but if they can reload in a way that makes them more durable moving forward, it is an option they should at least consider.
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Boston has more moves to make
The Celtics have already made one blockbuster by swapping Marcus Smart for Kristaps Porzingis and draft picks, but according to Brian Robb of Mass Live, one source insists that Boston isn't done. On paper, Boston is still well-positioned to make trades. In addition to the No. 25 overall pick in Thursday's draft, the Celtics own all of their own future first-rounders as well as a lightly-protected Warriors pick in 2024 that they got from the Grizzlies on Wednesday. They have the draft capital to keep adding to their team.
So what could they look to do? With Smart gone, Boston could look to replace him with another point guard. The original iteration of the Porzingis deal fell apart because of concerns over Malcolm Brogdon's medical report, so Boston might need another ball-handler if those issues persist into the season. Wing depth has been an issue as well behind Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. Boston hoped Danilo Gallinari could provide some last season, but a torn ACL put those hopes to bed. Price will be a sticking point here, as the Celtics now have three players earning close to max money. If they add another significant player, he will have to be relatively affordable.