Draft 2K8 - Rumors and Speculation


We compiled many of the latest draft rumors (*updated for Thursday, July 26) surrounding your favorite team, even if most of them are completely speculatory. It's still fun to think about, right?

In fact, Wolves Assistant General Manager Fred Hoiberg said that 95 percent of the rumors you hear in various media outlets right now are untrue. Whether it's who a particular team is going to draft, or possible trades that teams might be considering ... Who knows what's real.

Rumors could be coming from agents interested in making their clients money, or media members simply stating an idea or opinion. Generally speaking, it's not in the interest of general managers around the NBA to be sharing publicly what they're thinking, so don't believe everything you read.

That said, here is a good portion of the pertinent local and national draft news involving the Timberwolves.

Thursday, June 26

ESPN.com's Chad Ford - Trade talk dominating on draft day
The Memphis Grizzlies like Eric Gordon and Kevin Love. But it is looking more and more likely that they will trade away their No. 5 pick on draft night.

The New Jersey Nets and the Grizzlies are in talks about a trade that would send the No. 5 pick to New Jersey for the No. 10 pick and a future first-round pick.

The Grizzlies aren't the only team talking of trading down. The Minnesota Timberwolves and the Seattle SuperSonics also have had talks with teams about the No. 3 and No. 4 picks. The Wolves are likely to select O.J. Mayo with the No. 3 pick, according to sources. However, with a number of teams coveting Mayo, they might move the pick if they can find the right deal -- especially one that could bring them back Love.



ESPN.com's Chad Ford - Draft Day Chat
Jarred (DC): Chad, Please tell me the Heat aren't going to get any suitable offers so the "have to" hold onto the pick and take Beasley?

Chad Ford: (1:09 PM ET ) So far ... that's how it looks. They don't have a trade yet. I think they'd be happy with a deal that nets them either O.J. Mayo or Jerryd Bayless and gives them some cap relief by taking Mark Blount off their hands. Seattle could reciprocate (they could send Chris Wilcox). So could Minnesota (they could send back Antoine Walker's expiring deal). If I were Minnesota or Seattle, I'd do that deal in a heartbeat. But as of right now ... sounds like the Heat and Wolves and Sonics are all playing chicken.

Rikki (Minneapolis): What is the latest trade talk concerning the 3rd and the Wolves? Please tell me McHale will just take Mayo and run..

Chad Ford: (1:14 PM ET ) That's what the Wolves are saying. They're taking Mayo. I'm not sure whether that's true or whether it's a negotiating ploy. I know they are enamored with Kevin Love. If they take Mayo, they could try to pick up an asset and select him later ... though with all the trade talk swirling it sounds like Love not be on the board after No. 5.



Star Tribune's Jerry Zgooda - NBA was O.J. Mayo's dream since childhood
Nationally known since he was in middle school, once erroneously tabbed as the second coming of LeBron James and allegedly paid thousands of dollars by a sports agent when he was still in high school, Mayo is the player around whom tonight's draft might unfurl.

He's considered the draft's consensus third overall pick, which, it so happens, belongs to the Timberwolves. Thing is, if you believe all the predraft subterfuge, the Miami Heat might boldly take Mayo over Kansas State's Michael Beasley with the second pick, presumably because Pat Riley has concerns about Beasley's character. Or, more likely, it'd orchestrate a draft-night deal by dangling the chance to select Beasley in front of the Wolves, Seattle or Memphis.

Strange that Mayo, over whom so much hangs, has become considered perhaps the player most ready in both body and mind for the NBA.

A reporter recently asked Mayo -- first introduced nationally by the media when he was a seventh-grade prep star -- if he planned on taking a posse with him to the NBA.

"Yes, sir," Mayo said. "My mother and a best friend of mine."

The Wolves were one of five teams that traveled to Chicago last week to watch Mayo drill alone in an invitation-only workout at a training facility. Afterward, team representatives met with him in an hourlong interview from which Wolves General Manager Jim Stack said the team emerged "impressed" by a gifted player who has charted his own course with schools and teams from West Virginia to Kentucky, from Ohio to Los Angeles since he long ago told his single mother he intended to play in the NBA someday.

"He knows he has to be accountable for whatever happens in his life," Stack said.

"He might be as good a shooter as there is in this draft," said Fred Hoiberg, Wolves assistant general manager. "His stroke is so pure, the same release every single time. It's just a textbook jump shot. He's going to space the floor for you in our league because his man will never be able to leave him."

The inside scoop?

Hoiberg's coach when he played at Iowa State was Tim Floyd, who coached Mayo last season at USC. They've had more than a few conversations about a player who finished second in the Pac-10 last season in scoring as a freshman.

"Talking to people, he's the ultimate competitor," Hoiberg said. "The kid wants to win every drill. He's intelligent; he got a 29 on his ACT. And he's a winner."

The Wolves are not in need of another guard, yet Mayo fills three of their biggest needs: talent, outside shooting, perimeter defense. Hoiberg projects him as a shooting guard who can play some point guard in the NBA. They already have one combo guard in Randy Foye. Will two combos make a complete backcourt?

"I think it does fit," Hoiberg said. "One of O.J.'s biggest strengths is his defense. He can stay in front of the ball, and he has the size to guard 2s [shooting guards] in our league. I think it gives us versatility to have a couple of combo guys on the court together."



Star Tribune's Sid Hartman - Wolves seem torn between selecting Mayo or Love
The Timberwolves will have a tough choice tonight, when they are scheduled to make the third pick in the first round of the NBA draft.

I believe that if assistant general manager Fred Hoiberg is a good salesman and if the Wolves don't make a trade, they will take Southern California guard O.J. Mayo.

I believe Kevin McHale, the Wolves' vice president of basketball operations, favors Kevin Love because the UCLA center/forward would make Wolves center/forward Al Jefferson that much better.

Well, I believe that Love would be a great choice. The Timberwolves would have won a lot more games last year if they had Love taking the pressure off Jefferson. As a freshman, he averaged 17.5 points and 10.6 rebounds per game.

It would be great if they make the right deal, but the safest choice would be Love.



Star Tribune's Jerry Zgoda - Blog: 28 hours and counting
There’s too much smoke there with Miami having no intention of keeping Michael Beasley, but if the Heat really want O.J. Mayo then they better stand up with their conviction and just take him No. 2 or get what they can (their future No. 1 back or, according to ESPN.com, Corey Brewer) from the Wolves for a swap because he won’t be there at No. 4 or lower. Unless, that is, they really think Jerryd Bayless is comparable. There’s no guarantee Mayo or Bayless are left after the Sonics are done picking fourth.

Wouldn’t surprise me at all if there’s a three-way deal done with the Heat, Wolves and Grizzlies that makes everybody happy (Heat get Mayo, Grizzlies Beasley, the Wolves the fifth pick they can use for Love or Gallinari or Lopez and something good such as the rights to European center Marc Gasol, a Kyle Lowry or Mike Miller or that other first rounder (28th overall) Memphis has.

For some reason, my gut still tells me Mayo is the third pick and Love wears a Wolves cap before the night is through.

If the Wolves trade down, it better be because they make their team better with the extra pieces they acquire and not just because their “consensus” management method means they can’t agree on who’s the third best player in the draft and deal down just to solve the deadlock.

Adam Morrison and No. 9 for the No. 3? Are you kidding me? A hurt guy who doesn’t look like he can play even when he’s healthy? Even the Wolves aren’t that stupid, are they? (Don’t answer that).



Pioneer Press' Don Seeholzer - Miami Heat Shopping No. 2 pick?
While the Timberwolves continued to weigh their draft options Wednesday, the national focus turned to the team picking in front of them. ESPN.com reported that the Miami Heat are actively shopping the second selection in tonight's NBA draft and could take Southern California guard O.J. Mayo over Kansas State forward Michael Beasley if they are unable to trade it.

If true, that would be fine with the Wolves, leaving them to use the third choice on Beasley, who is considered one of the top two players in the draft. The other is Memphis guard Derrick Rose, who is expected to go No. 1 to Chicago.

Wolves officials were unavailable for comment Wednesday, but vice president of basketball operations Kevin McHale, in a radio interview with KFAN-AM, had this to say about the possibility of Beasley falling to No. 3: "That'd be something I wouldn't mind, I tell you that much."

If Beasley goes second, Mayo is considered the Wolves' likely choice, with UCLA power forward/center Kevin Love next in line.

The Wolves have been listening to offers for the No. 3 pick and have said they might be willing to move down four or five spots for the right package.

McHale, during his KFAN interview, said the Timberwolves have had discussions about some three-way trades but added, "It's hard enough to do a deal in our league with one team."

It's also hard to separate truth from fiction, which the idea of the Heat taking Mayo at No. 2 likely is, even though they had him and Arizona guard Jerryd Bayless in for secret workouts Tuesday.

"I do think there's a part of them that's a little bit conflicted," McHale said of the Heat. "But believe me, they're not saying anything they don't want everybody to know. They're not giving out trade secrets."



Pioneer Press' Don Seeholzer - Key to Wolves' draft: best fit with Jefferson
NBA draft day is here at last, and with the Timberwolves, there still are more questions than answers.

Do they keep the third selection and use it on Southern California guard O.J. Mayo?

Or do they trade down a few spots and grab UCLA power forward/center Kevin Love, Italian forward Danilo Gallinari or Stanford center Brook Lopez?

To ESPN college basketball analyst and former college coach Fran Fraschilla, it comes down to which player the Wolves believe is the best fit and one more key question.

"Obviously, they're going to build this team around Al Jefferson," Fraschilla said. "I think the most important thing is, who do you put around Al Jefferson that makes him better? Do you put a scorer on the perimeter like Mayo? Do you draft Lopez because he gives you an inside anchor? Or do you take the multidimensional European guy in Gallinari who could be a guy that makes Jefferson better because he's very versatile?"

In Fraschilla's mind, the answer is obvious.

"I think the safest of the bunch is O.J. Mayo," he said. "Because there's a reasonable assumption that he's going to continue to do what he's done in high school and college. There's nothing to indicate that he's not going to be a very, very good NBA player. He's got size; he can shoot it; he understands the game. If there's one weakness, he's not jet quick, but he's quick enough. He did nothing at USC this year that would cause concern from an ability standpoint."

ESPN college basketball analyst Jay Bilas is another big Mayo fan, but like the Wolves, he's also high on Love, who had an impressive workout at Target Center.

"Kevin is an outstanding player," Bilas said. "He's very skilled and a terrific passer, and he's a really good pick-and-pop big guy. People talk about his athleticism, but statistically he's off the charts. He's so productive, it belies a lack of athleticism. I think he's a good athlete who's just not a pretty runner."

After Mayo and perhaps Love, there might not be another player worth taking at No. 3, but the Wolves will have plenty of other options if they trade down a little lower.

Start with Gallinari, whom Fraschilla calls "one of the three or four most skilled players in this draft."

That doesn't mean he's the right fit for the Wolves, but they are legitimately intrigued by a 6-10 small forward with point guard skills and shooting ability.

In terms of freeing Jefferson to move to power forward, nothing would affect the Wolves more than the addition of a true center, but Lopez's talent level might put him near the lower end of the top 10.

If the Wolves trade down to that area and he's available, though, Bilas said they could do worse.

"He'd be a very solid choice for them," he said. "He is still very young. He's got great size. He is very strong, got a mean streak. He is skilled, and I think he's going to get better and better. The only question mark about Brook Lopez is his level of athleticism. He's not a great run-and-jump athlete, but he's a solid rebounder. He's a big guy who embraces playing in the low post."



ESPN.com's Chad Ford - How high (or low) will the top prospects go?
With a day to go before the 2008 NBA draft, things are still very much in flux. Getting an exact read on where players are going is tough, but here's what I'm hearing about each potential first-rounder's range:

Michael Beasley: It seems more and more likely that the Heat are going to pass on him. But that doesn't mean he won't go No. 2. The Wolves, Sonics, Grizzlies and Clippers all are trying to move up to No. 2 to get him. Worst-case scenario, he goes No. 3 to the Wolves.

O.J. Mayo: It looks like Mayo is the consensus No. 3 pick. The Wolves are saying they will take him if Beasley is off the board. Whether they will keep him is still up for debate. The Knicks and the Clippers seem to be working the hardest to move up to No. 3 for a shot at Mayo. However, the Wolves sound like they don't want to move below No. 5, with Kevin Love as their target.

Kevin Love: Wolves at 3, Grizzlies at 5, Bucks at 8, Bobcats at 9, Nets at 10. It sounds like the Wolves are high on him, but they don't want to take him at No. 3. However, they are worried the Grizzlies might snag him at No. 5. Right now, it sounds like the Grizzlies are leaning toward Eric Gordon, on the remote chance they actually keep the pick.



AP's Jon Krawczynski - NBA Draft starts with Timberwolves at No. 3
Barring a big surprise, everyone knows what's going to happen with the top two picks in Thursday night's NBA Draft.

Derrick Rose, then Michael Beasley. Or Michael Beasley, then Derrick Rose. In either order, it's as close to a sure thing as LeBron James going No. 1 to the Cavaliers in 2003.

The real mystery begins at No. 3 with the Minnesota Timberwolves.

For a team that hasn't had the best history in the draft, the Timberwolves are in a powerful position to influence how the rest of the 2008 lottery shakes out. It's the first spot in the draft where anything can happen - a trade up, a trade down, a swapping of players or simply, an actual draft choice.

Kevin McHale says the team has whittled the possible candidates for the pick down to four - excluding Rose and Beasley. Of course, McHale plays it coy when defining that pool, but the Wolves have worked out UCLA forward Kevin Love, Stanford center Brook Lopez, USC guard O.J. Mayo and Arizona guard Jerryd Bayless in the weeks leading up to the draft.

"We're going to get a really good player, there's no question," McHale said earlier this week. "We're very comfortable with a lot of these players and there's a lot of good players in this draft."

They have also looked closely at Italian forward Danilo Gallinari, Indiana guard Eric Gordon and Kansas forward Brandon Rush, though it is widely thought that No. 3 would be too high to choose any of those players.



CBS Sportsline - Memphis emerges as eager trade partner; Mayo to Heat?
The Knicks are trying to get into the O.J. Mayo derby, talking with Minnesota about the No. 3 pick. Sources have also told The Sports Xchange that New York offered its No. 6 overall pick and forwards David Lee and Malik Rose to Memphis, which owns the fifth pick.

If Mayo goes before Minnesota can choose at No. 3, look for the Timberwolves to trade down (Knicks), as they have UCLA center Kevin Love next on their draft board, but feel they can get him later in the lottery.



Pro Basketball News' Sam Amico - Heat trade is on
The Miami Heat have found a taker in their quest to trade the No. 2 draft pick, a source familiar with the situation told Pro Basketball News. The source did not indicate which team would be the Heat’s trading partner, or what other draft picks or players are involved.

The supposed deal will reportedly be announced during or shortly after the draft. According to the source, the Heat will select USC guard O.J. Mayo and trade him. Kansas State forward Michael Beasley is expected to fall to No. 3 -- although not to Minnesota, which is expected to trade down.

Reports say the Timberwolves are aiming to deal the third overall selection for a veteran, or at the very least, trade down and select West Virginia forward Joe Alexander. Expect Milwaukee to get involved in these talks (if it isn’t already). The Bucks are also very high on Alexander and are considering selecting him at No. 8. That is, of course, unless the Wolves get to him first.



NewsOK.com's Darnell Mayberry - Sonics might get K-State's Beasley by pick or trade
The Seattle SuperSonics could walk away from tonight's NBA Draft with Michael Beasley.

That best-case scenario seemed ludicrous a month ago, when the NBA Draft Lottery's ping-pong balls dealt the Sonics the disappointing No. 4 pick in a year Beasley was considered a consensus top-two selection.

But the pieces seemingly have fallen into place for the Sonics, and what was once a romanticized idea could turn into reality tonight.

But the Sonics need some help in order to land the former Kansas State star who led the nation in rebounding and finished third in scoring.

Enter Minnesota, owner of the third pick and the franchise that likely will shape the landscape of the first round following the first two selections.

"They'll certainly have a big impact on how things start to fall,” said Sonics general manager Sam Presti of the Timberwolves. "Lucky for us they can only pick one player, so that gives us the opportunity to be a little more prepared than say if you're picking multiple spots behind them. But they have the first crack at it and we'll be ready regardless.”



DL-Online's Brian Wierima - Wolves, leave Love alone
There are three reasonable choices for the Minnesota NBA team: One – Michael Beasley. Two – Derrick Rose. Three – O.J. Mayo.

There, that’s it. Pick the one who falls.

McHale seems to have grown a liking to the 6-10 power forward in Kevin Love, who allegedly reminds him of himself when he was playing for the Celtics.

Here are some other big, unathletic players McHale has tried to shape into himself during his glory years in Boston: Luc Longley, Paul Grant, Sean Rooks, Radoslav Nesterovic, and Donyell Marshall.



AOL Sports' Will Brinson - NBA Draft Crystal Ballin': Minnesota T-Wolves
Ah. The Land of Lakes. Where anything can happen. The first rounder could be O.J. Mayo, it could be Michael Beasley, it could be Kevin Love, it could be Larry Bird or it could be traded straight up for Joe Smith a few first rounders. Seriously, Kevin McHale could do anything. But ... oddly, the Wolves might be set up to have a pretty freaking good draft this year if they play their cards right.

Needs: Assuming they think either Randy Foye or Sebastian Telfair will work out (and they'll probably go through with the experiment anyway even if they don't) at point, they'll look for frontcourt depth (and defense) to compliment Al Jefferson. They also need a legit scorer to keep A's in the seats, though, and that's something they might address first.

Best case scenario: McHale stays away from the phone lines and ends up with either O.J. Mayo or Michael Beasley. Mayo gives them a safety net if Foye/Telfair fail and Beasley would be a pretty nasty tandem with Baby Al down low and allows them to look for frontcourt help (Roy Hibbert?) late in the first round when they package 31 and 34 to move back up.



Wednesday, June 25

Star Tribune's Jerry Zgoda - Wolves still trying to decide on draft strategy
Timberwolves executives interviewed West Virginia forward Joe Alexander by telephone Tuesday as they continue to investigate trading their third overall pick to move down in Thursday's NBA draft. Alexander declined an invitation to work out at Target Center to concentrate on working out with teams -- New York at No. 6 and Milwaukee at No. 8 among them -- more likely to draft him.

"You'd like to see everybody," Wolves assistant general manager Fred Hoiberg said, "but it usually works out that you just can't."

The Wolves also want to talk by phone with Kansas State forward Michael Beasley -- just in case they can somehow grasp him on draft night -- but likely will be denied by Beasley's agent. If the Wolves move down anywhere from one to five draft slots, they would do so betting that a player such as UCLA's Kevin Love, Stanford's Brook Lopez, Italian forward Danilo Gallinari or perhaps Alexander is still on the board. Here's a look at the teams picking near the Wolves and what teams might have to offer in any draft-night jockeying.

• Miami (second overall pick): The Wolves own a Miami future first-round pick but seemingly possess little else if they want to swap for a chance at Beasley or perhaps Derrick Rose.

• Memphis (fifth): A Spanish newspaper reported European center Marc Gasol, whose rights are owned by the Grizzlies, might end up a Timberwolf in a draft-related deal. Gasol, 23, recently said he's ready to move to the NBA. His brother, Pau, plays for the Lakers. The Grizzlies also might be willing to part with guard Kyle Lowry or swingman Mike Miller.

• New York (sixth): Forward David Lee?



Star Tribune's Jerry Zgoda - Kevin Love a mirror image of McHale
By the time the Timberwolves either use or trade their third pick in Thursday night's NBA draft, they will have tested and examined potential selections in a process so extensive Kevin McHale says "we look in every orifice they've got."

Still, there are some things you couldn't know, you wouldn't know, you shouldn't know.

Such as UCLA freshman forward Kevin Love's perhaps too-cozy relationship with a particular food product. In an attempt to convince NBA teams that he is nimble and athletic enough, Love has lost 15 pounds since the college basketball season by changing his diet and forsaking what he calls his "chocolate-milk fetish."

Even more disturbing to long-suffering Timberwolves fans might be Love's old-school game nurtured by his father and ancient NBA game videotapes that he hopes McHale -- the Basketball Hall of Fame player and unpopular Wolves executive -- sees as his "mirror image."

A comparison to one of the greatest big men who ever played shouldn't be a bad thing, but given McHale's standing among the team's fan base ...

"If he doesn't see a little bit of himself in me or me see a little of myself in him, that'd be weird," Love said. "I used to watch tapes of him all the time growing up. He might have been my favorite player. There were so many things in his game that I just love. Watching me, it's almost like seeing a smaller, bulkier image of him."

USC's O.J. Mayo remains the probable choice with that third overall pick because most teams purportedly consider him the draft's third-best talent after Kansas State forward Michael Beasley and Memphis guard Derrick Rose. The Wolves could surprise by taking Love or Stanford center Brook Lopez at No. 3 or, more likely, they could make Love a Timberwolf if they trade down a bit in the draft.



Pioneer Press' Don Seeholzer - Timberwolves still open to trade offers for No. 3 pick
That is the question for the Timberwolves, who own the third selection in Thursday's NBA draft but remain open to the possibility of moving down in the first round.

"If we can address a need and still get the guy that we feel like is our guy, we absolutely have to look at that," general manager Jim Stack said Tuesday. "Whether or not we're able to do that remains to be seen, but I am encouraged by some of the conversations I've had with some of the different teams."

To this point, the Wolves don't have any offers that would cause them to move out of the third spot, where they could have the opportunity to draft Southern California guard O.J. Mayo, but that could change by Thursday.

If they do trade down, there are limits to how far they would go.

"I think getting back to nine or even eight, it would take really a home run ball for us to move back," Stack said. "To where we get a veteran player that can step in and be part of our core right away. We've got to make sure we don't outsmart ourselves. Getting too far back in addressing a need maybe, but then losing out on the player that we feel like could be the best player for our team."

Stack said the Wolves have yet to reach a consensus on which player they would take at No. 3 if they keep the pick, but Mayo is considered the leading candidate, with UCLA power forward/center Kevin Love next in line.

Assistant general manager Fred Hoiberg mentioned Stanford center Brook Lopez, Italian forward Danilo Gallinari and guards Eric Gordon of Indiana and Jerryd Bayless of Arizona as other players who could be in the mix.

This is the highest the Wolves have drafted since 1992, when they took Christian Laettner with the third pick, and Stack and Hoiberg said the important thing is to get someone they can add to their young core.

"We're going to try to get a player who can come in here and hopefully be with the franchise for 10 years and be a very good NBA player," Hoiberg said. "That's our goal."

Stack said it would take a lot to get the Wolves to move down, but that they are willing to listen to offers.

"It's a high pick," he said, "but we (have to) look at it if teams place a premium on getting up to three. If we can still get the player that we need to get and address another need, I think it's something we absolutely have to take a look at."

Briefly: Hoiberg said the Wolves had a phone interview Tuesday with West Virginia forward Joe Alexander and were trying to set one up with Kansas State forward Michael Beasley, who is expected to be one of the first two players selected.



ESPN Chat with Andy Katz
Chris , Detroit: I have heard alot of rumors about Minnesota moving their pick. Can you please tell me they are going to do the smart thing and just pick Mayo?

Andy Katz: Utlimately that's what I think they will do. There is a good debate going on at Minnesota but I expect they will take Mayo.



ESPN.com's Chad Ford - Heat Rumors
If the Miami Heat's recent activities are any indication, they are not going to select Kansas State forward Michael Beasley with the No. 2 pick in Thursday's NBA draft.

So the question is … who is going to win the Michael Beasley sweepstakes? After talking to numerous sources around the league, here are the top four contenders:

1. Memphis Grizzlies
The Grizzlies have a huge hole at the power forward position (since trading away Pau Gasol) and see Beasley as an elite talent to pair up with Rudy Gay.

The Grizzlies can offer a number of deals that could entice Miami. They could include the No. 5 pick, Mike Miller and the Heat's choice of either Kyle Lowry or Mike Conley. Adding Miller and a point guard would allow the Heat to be very flexible with whomever they draft at No. 5. They could add another guard such as Bayless or they could go big with a player such as Brook Lopez or Kevin Love.

2. Los Angeles Clippers
The Clippers can offer the Heat someone Riley desperately covets: Elton Brand. A swap of the No. 2 pick and Marion for Brand and the No. 7 pick works under the salary cap and helps both teams with their needs. Why would Riley pull the trigger on that trade now, when he could just make a run at Brand in free agency next summer? Sources said the Heat would like to get Brand to Miami as soon as they can and lock him up to a long-term extension this fall. At No. 7, it's possible the Heat could still get Bayless.
The Clippers like Marion and Beasley, but they could actually use the No. 2 pick to grab Mayo. Mayo has been coveted by the Clippers for a while.

The Heat would have to weigh their interest in Brand against their desire for Boozer in 2009 in this scenario, however.

3. Seattle SuperSonics
Kevin Durant covets Beasley as a teammate. They were best friends growing up and want to play together. The Sonics think Beasley is the perfect complement to Durant. They'd be willing to take back more salary to make it happen.

Sources say the Sonics are offering the expiring contract of Chris Wilcox, Johan Petro and the No. 4 pick to Miami for the No. 2 pick and Mark Blount. The move would save the Heat some serious money, putting them well below the cap in the summer of 2009.

The Heat would prefer Jeff Green in the deal instead of Wilcox and Petro, but it doesn't appear the Sonics are willing to go that far, even if the Heat dropped Blount from the equation.

A source close to Seattle told Katz that Miami hasn't called about a deal as of Tuesday.

4. Minnesota Timberwolves
The Wolves have been hoping and praying that Beasley somehow falls to them at No. 3. While he's not a perfect fit, they could move Al Jefferson to the 5 and have one of the highest-scoring front lines in the league. However, Beasley falling to No. 3 looks unlikely -- unless the Heat do pull the trigger on Mayo outright at No. 2. Can the Wolves put together a package that works if Beasley doesn't fall?

The Wolves have a few assets that could entice Miami. They actually hold the Heat's 2009 first-round pick, which is top-10 protected. They also have a player who the Heat have interest in: last year's lottery pick, Corey Brewer. If the Wolves really want Beasley, perhaps a return of the Heat's first-round pick and/or Brewer could make it happen.

A source close to Minnesota told Katz, however, that the Heat and the Timberwolves have talked but there was no deal that worked for both teams as of Tuesday night. Sources close to both Seattle and Minnesota also said they would take Mayo if he was on the board when they selected.



SI's Ian Thomsen - Inside the NBA
Kevin Love has heard that the Timberwolves are considering him with the No. 3 pick. He hopes they act on that interest Thursday.

"I would love to work with [Minnesota vice president] Kevin McHale,'' the UCLA freshman power forward said. "When I was working out with them, I told him: 'You don't understand. I'm starstruck. You were my guy growing up.' He said, 'Oh, you're bulling me.'

"But it's the truth. I used to watch those Boston Celtics tapes all the time. I would see him do a move, or see [Larry] Bird do a move, and then I would go out and work on it with my dad. Kevin McHale had every post move in the world, and I see -- I hope I see -- a little bit of him in me.''

One question is whether the 6-9 Love could share the frontcourt with the 6-10 Al Jefferson, a natural power forward like Love who played out of position at center for the Timberwolves in 2007-08.

"I think it would be a great situation,'' Love said. "Al Jefferson is going to manage a double-double every night, and with my shooting and the way I can handle the ball, I think we would play great together.''

Love said he would appreciate joining with McHale and Jefferson regardless of where they are picking in the draft.



Hoopsworld.com's Jessica Camerato
In the same season that Kevin Garnett won an NBA title, the Minnesota Timberwolves finished 22-60. The rebuilding has begun and like Garnett did for so many years, Al Jefferson needs help. Aside from Big Al, there are no players with overwhelming trade value. The Timberwolves have over $30 million tied up next season with Jefferson, Antoine Walker, Marko Jaric, and Greg Buckner alone, limiting their off-season options. They could deepen their pool of young talent with a carefully selected, NBA-ready rookie. Or, if they play their cards right, they could use the third overall pick to land a proven player in yet another offseason deal.



The Rake's Britt Robson - Hoiberg Interview
No great secrets were divulged in the 15-minute phone conversation I had with Fred Hoiberg this morning, nor did I expect him to spill the beans about what will happen on Thursday. But he was kind enough to give me the time during his busy schedule and what follows is as close to verbatim as my flying typing fingers would allow. If I were to handicap what he said, I'd say it is a tossup between Mayo and Love if the team stays pat, and that a trade of the #3 down to anywhere between #12-13 isn't out of the question.

R: You've already done this to some extrent, but let me throw four names out at you and have you respond as if the Wolves just drafted this guy. Describe why you picked him and why he fits in with your ballclub. The first one is Mayo.
FH: I think OJ Mayo when we look back in 5 years we'll say he was the best shooter in this draft. He has very good range, he is very consistent and he is a guy I don't think the moment will ever be too big for him because the spotlight has been on him for so long. He defends well and you can play him at both [guard] spots-he's not a pure point but he can get you into your basic sets.
R: What about Love?
FH: Looking at this draft class I think he is the smartest player. He is a skilled big which is something we need and there are not many in the league right now. His passing ability is just unbelievable--he sees things before they happen and already knows where the ball is going to go before it hits his hands. He is a great rebounder and shoots the ball well, with legit three-point range, so we'd be able to space him around Al.

R: Lopez?
FH: Lopez probably fills one of our biggest needs which is a legitimate center. He averages almost 20 points per game and did that although he got double-teamed almost every night. We saw him have a big game against Texas. He runs pretty well for his size and is a legitimate 7-1.

R: Finally, Gallinari. FH: Gallinari grew up as a point guard--two years ago he was a 6-5 point guard and then he shot up 5 inches, so now he's a small forward with point guard skills. He can go right or left and has great shooting skills. He has the potential to be a star in our league.

R: If you were to make a trade, would it likely involve a more established player and/or a better draft pick?
FH: I think both those scenarios will be there. I don't think we'll see the best offers on the table until Thursday. But [then] we'll probably see different scenarios with draft picks or getting rid of a contract or a [established] player who makes sense for us or all of the above. But if it doesn't make sense for us we don't need to do it, we'll just go out and get the player we want.

R: I'm figuring that if you don't land a big man with your first pick, that, given the depth of bigs later in the draft, you will probably get a big with one of your two later picks. Is that a fair assumption?
FH: I would think so unless somebody drops who we feel can't pass on at 31 or 34. But you're right [about the depth], there should be somebody there for us.

Newsday's Alan Hahn - Trade Rumors
Even Walsh has admitted "some of it is gamesmanship," but as he said Tuesday during his media address at the MSG Training Center, the result of this year's draft for the Knicks depends largely on what the five teams ahead of them do. The Knicks likely will choose from players such as Mayo, UCLA's Russell Westbrook and Italian swingman Danilo Gallinari. But Walsh has no idea what will be available to him until the draft actually takes place.

"I can sit here and tell you what I want all I want," Walsh said. "But the people who are in front of us are going to have some control over that."

With that in mind, Walsh has involved himself in talks with the Minnesota Timberwolves (third overall) and Memphis Grizzlies (fifth) that involve the Knicks moving up in the draft, which would ensure the opportunity to land Mayo. Minnesota is believed to also have an interest in Mayo, but Timberwolves GM Kevin McHale is believed to be more interested in landing a big man -- Stanford's Brook Lopez, for instance -- to play alongside forward Al Jefferson, who was the centerpiece of the Kevin Garnett trade with Boston.



Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's Charles Gardner - Mayo Speculation
Southern California guard O.J. Mayo could be the third overall pick in the NBA draft on Thursday night, but he might not wind up in Minnesota. It is thought several teams have discussed potential deals with the Timberwolves, who hold the No. 3 selection.

Among those reported to have interest are the New York Knicks, Los Angeles Clippers, Bucks and Charlotte Bobcats - teams with the sixth through ninth picks, respectively. Would the Bucks package Charlie Villanueva or Yi Jianlian with their No. 8 pick in a multi-player deal to land Mayo?

Mayo has been working out with NBA players in Chicago at Attack Athletics, and he has impressed Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade, who was named to the U.S. Olympic team on Monday.

"Mayo is a combo guard," Wade said. "I'm not going to say he's like me, but he can play the 1 (point guard), he can play the 2 (shooting guard). He can guard bigger guys as well.

"One thing I did like about Mayo, besides basketball, is him as a person. You take a kid who's been getting hyped up since sixth grade, you think he's going to come in like he's already in the NBA. But he came in and has been a student of everybody who's been in the gym. He's asking questions and he's trying to learn."

The 6-4, 200-pound Mayo impressed Timberwolves officials during a five-team workout held in Chicago on Saturday.

"I see him as being NBA-ready," Wade said of Mayo. "The top three guys that we named are all NBA-ready.



WCCO's Mike Max: Walker, McCants?
The number two player the Minnesota Timberwolves would package in a draft day trade behind Antoinne Walker is Rashad McCants, who could offer some value.



Washington Post's Ivan Carter
Heading into tomorrow night's NBA draft, Patrick Ewing Jr. doesn't care if he's called a role player -- as long as some team simply picks up the phone and calls him. Ewing, who finished his college career as a senior at Georgetown last season, may not be selected in the two-round draft, but he's optimistic that he'll get a chance to show what he can do in summer league play and later in some team's fall training camp.

To make his case, the 6-foot-8, 240-pound Ewing has crisscrossed the country for workouts with the Chicago Bulls, Charlotte Bobcats, Detroit Pistons, Portland Trail Blazers, San Antonio Spurs, Seattle SuperSonics, Minnesota Timberwolves, Sacramento Kings and New Orleans Hornets.



Tuesday, June 24

SI.com's Ian Thomson
All I know is that I seem to be revising my interpretation of this draft every 45 minutes. Therefore, I'm not going to update my online mock draft until Wednesday. In the meantime, here is the latest information I have on the lottery heading into the draft Thursday night.

1. Chicago Bulls: A big surprise if they don't go for Memphis point guard Derrick Rose.
2. Miami Heat: I heard Monday afternoon that the Sonics were trying to trade up to No. 2 for Michael Beasley. I don't believe that's true. I do believe that Miami will keep the pick to take Beasley and that he'll be Rookie of the Year.
3. Minnesota Timberwolves: The roundtable in their draft room is said to be split between UCLA forward Kevin Love and USC guard O.J. Mayo. Can they rationalize taking Love as high as No. 3? They can't afford to trade too far back for either player.

Note that the Timberwolves have done a good job of hiding their true intentions in previous years.

I'm thinking Mayo is going to emerge as their choice over the next couple of days. Not only is he seen as the best player available, but it's also in Minnesota's interests to have the rest of the league know that Mayo is the guy. That way, if a rival wants to trade up to get Mayo, it must negotiate with Minnesota to do so. Stanford center Brook Lopez remains in play here too.



ESPN.com's Andy Katz
Here are some quick hitters two days before the NBA draft from a number of NBA sources:

Love's likely destinations are one of four places: Minnesota (3), Memphis (5), Charlotte (9) and New Jersey (10).

The swap with Miami (2) and Seattle (4) doesn't make sense for a lot of other executives in the league. It makes sense for Seattle to get Michael Beasley and give up Chris Wilcox, but it doesn't make sense for the Heat. The problem for the Heat is that if they move drop a spot or two to get O.J. Mayo, he could easily be gone at No. 3 to Minnesota. The consensus from a number of teams is that Miami will stay where it is in the draft despite exploring a number of options. Making trades next week is another matter.

Mayo said Monday night that his interview with the Timberwolves went very well in Chicago on Saturday. He said that the T-Wolves wanted the conversation to keep going. He has also interviewed with Memphis and Seattle. "Right now, I'm happy to play for any team," Mayo said.



Hoopsworld.com's Jason Fleming
The Timberwolves, like just about every team in the draft, expect to be talking trade in the next 48-60 hours. With either O.J. Mayo or Michael Beasley available at this spot, that's a position a large number of teams – reportedly a list that includes Portland, the LA Clippers, Memphis, and a host of others – would like to be in. Supposedly the Wolves draft list has Mayo at the top of the board followed by Kevin Love, but that only assumes Beasley has been picked. So really, isn't it Mayo and that's all? It's not like if the Miami HEAT take Mayo they Wolves would then choose Love, leaving Beasley to the Seattle SuperSonics at the four spot. That would be silly, especially when they could draft Beasley and trade him to Seattle for the #4 pick, probably another #1 (Seattle also owns the #24 pick in the first round) and likely a future pick as well.

If the HEAT do choose Mayo, drafting Beasley and trading him makes the most sense. They could choose to keep him and have a frontline of Beasley and Al Jefferson, but while that would make a nice fantasy hoops combination the porous defense would probably leave a lot to be desired. If the Wolves did end up with Beasley and then traded him to Seattle, their pick at #4 would likely be Love. Then, later in the first round they could pick either another big man like DeAndre Jordan or Nicolas Batum, or a swingman like Courtney Lee or Chis Douglas-Roberts.



ESPN.com's Doug Gottlieb
• Credit O.J. Mayo for being very smart. Mayo looks great in individual workouts as he is mature (20-years-old) and very skilled at nearly every part of the game. My main issue with Mayo is simple -- he lacks two things to make him a great player: A big-time first step and a clue about shot selection. Mayo will be a very solid and competitive pro, but he really believes he is the next Kobe, and in my honest opinion, he is not because of his lack of a Kobe/Jordan/Dwyane Wade-like first step. If a team takes him as a second option, he will perhaps be the most productive player in the draft from Day 1.



Hoopshype.com rumors
The Minnesota Timberwolves may be working on a deal to acquire the rights to Spanish center Marc Gasol.

Star Tribune's Jerry Zgoda
Will the Wolves trade down from the third pick a couple slots to acquire an extra player or draft pick and still hope they can select UCLA forward Kevin Love, Stanford center Brook Lopez, Italian forward Danilo Gallinari or Indiana guard Eric Gordon? Will they package their two second-round picks -- two of the first four in that round -- to acquire another first-round pick? If the Wolves keep the pick, will O.J. Mayo be your next Timberwolf?

Wolves vice president of basketball operations Kevin McHale watched Gordon, Arizona guard Jerryd Bayless, Indiana guard Eric Gordon and Oklahoma forward Longar Longar work out at Target Center, assured he knew one thing about Thursday night.

"We're going to get a really good player, no question," he said. "There are a lot of good players in this draft. It's a really deep draft. That's why I'm excited about 31 and 34 [their two second-round picks]. We can package those and move up, but the more and more I look at it, we might stay there. There are some really good, interesting players who might drop. It's going to be a fun Thursday night."

Asked what his gut feeling is about the Wolves keeping their pick or trading it, McHale said, "I've got one of those. I'm not going to share it with you ... Up until now, there have been a lot of people throwing some stuff out there. It'll get more serious today and tomorrow. On Thursday, you'll get a good offer."

McHale said Monday's workouts were the team's last. He said his staff still was trying to organize a phone conversation with Kansas State's Michael Beasley, who worked out only for Chicago and Miami, just in case the Wolves find themselves with the chance to draft him.

"I hope so, not that it will be earth-shaking," McHale said. "But you'd like a chance of talking to him. We don't control that. You can just ask."

Bayless, a shooter and scorer in a point guard's body, said the Wolves project him as a point guard if they draft him.

"They'd play a three-guard offense," Bayless said after a lengthy sideline conversation with McHale following his workout. "That's what I was talking to Coach McHale, Mr. McHale about. I think it would work out well."

Vice president of basketball operations Kevin McHale, in his last media session before Thursday's NBA draft, said he expects trade offers for the Wolves' third overall selection to heat up between now and then.

"Up until now, there's been a lot of people who have just kind of thrown some stuff out there," McHale said. "They'll get more serious starting (Monday) and (Tuesday) and on Thursday you'll get a good offer. The teams you talk to, you say, 'Will I do this?' And they say, 'Will I do that?' We're not matching up right now so we'll see."



Pioneer Press' Don Seeholzer
New York, the Los Angeles Clippers, Milwaukee and Charlotte — which pick sixth through ninth, respectively — are among the teams that have been rumored to be talking trade with Minnesota. McHale wouldn't speculate on the chances of a deal or say how many teams the Wolves have heard from beyond, "A lot."

If they keep the pick, Southern California guard O.J. Mayo is considered the top candidate, with UCLA power forward/center Kevin Love next in line.

Asked what he and the basketball staff would be doing between now and Thursday night, McHale said: "Phones. We'll probably spend some time looking at some guys (whose) names have come up in trades. ... Just a lot of film work between now and then."



ESPN.com's Chad Ford
The Minnesota Timberwolves are waiting, too, and talking to numerous teams about possible deals.

The Wolves remain the most difficult team to peg right now. As of Sunday, the word out of Minnesota was that the team will draft Mayo if Beasley is off the board. Though Mayo doesn't fit a need, he would be considered the best player available, and that appears to be swaying Minnesota in his direction.

At the same time, a lot of trade talk surrounds this pick. The Knicks, Clippers, Bucks and Trail Blazers all have tried to maneuver to get this pick. The Bucks may have the best chance of succeeding if they offer Yi Jianlian or Charlie Villanueva as part of a package.

If the Wolves trade down, their target seems to be Lopez or UCLA's Kevin Love.



Hoopsworld.com's Bill Ingram
This one's more of the absurd rumors we've come across. Adam Morrison, who was drafted by the Bobcats in 2006 and then missed the entire season with an injury, is said to be on the block and of interest to a number of teams around the NBA.

What?

Let me explain something. Teams don't want to trade for a player who wasn't all that highly rated when he was drafted and has since missed his entire sophomore season with a knee injury. So rumors of the Minnesota Timberwolves possibly making a deal for Morrison is highly unlikely. Maybe at the trade deadline, once Morrison has been able to log 40 or so games without getting hurt again, but if he's productive and playing well enough to be of interest in a trade the Bobcats would most likely want to keep him.



New York Daily News' Frank Isola
Donnie Walsh's long-range plan is to make a play for LeBron James when the James becomes a free agent in two years. In the interim, the Knicks' president is trying to clear salary cap space and assemble a few pieces that would make New York more appealing to James.

One such player is USC guard O.J. Mayo, who could go as high as third in Thursday's draft. The Minnesota Timberwolves own the pick and the club is open to trading it.



Draft Express' Jonathan Givony
Russell Westbrook’s reported “promise” (according to one internet rumor) ended up being a whole bunch of hot air it turns out. After initially telling teams such as Milwaukee, Indiana and Phoenix that he is shutting down workouts, Westbrook traveled to Charlotte this weekend to work out for the Bobcats. Westbrook has suffered a number of minor ankle injuries that forced him to rest and reevaluate his situation and the teams he would like to be picked by, but with his stock being as high as it is at the moment, that’s really of little consequence. Westbrook was frustrated by the fact that he could not get any of the more highly touted guards ranked ahead of him—O.J. Mayo, Jerryd Bayless or Eric Gordon—to work out against him, as they saw little to gain and were too concerned about hurting their own stock. Bayless would not work out with Eric Gordon either yesterday in Minnesota reportedly.



Draft Express' Jonathan Givony
As of right now, if Minnesota keeps the pick, it appears likely that Mayo will be selected at #3, although things could still change between now and draft day. One rumor making the rounds says that the LA Clippers may offer to package their own pick (#7) along with their 2009 first round pick (protected) and the future pick they are owed by Minnesota(top 10 protected), in order to move up and select Mayo.



St. Cloud Times' Frank Rajkowski
Let’s be honest. There is really only one choice the Minnesota Timberwolves can make with the No. 3 pick in Thursday’s NBA Draft.

Yes, the Timberwolves need a legitimate big man like 7-foot-0 Stanford center Brook Lopez. And yes, they could use a forward like UCLA’s Kevin Love to help out Al Jefferson in the front court.

But assuming Chicago and Miami select Memphis guard Derrick Rose and Kansas State forward Michael Beasley (as everyone expects they will), the only choice the Timberwolves can afford to make at this point in the franchise’s history is USC guard O.J. Mayo.

The Timberwolves, at least for the time being, aren’t offering fans much to be hopeful about. But selecting Mayo — who is a name most people are familiar with and curious about — would go a long way toward getting the fan base intrigued again.

Beyond that, he’s the right choice from a talent standpoint as well. He has the best chance at becoming an NBA star. Does that mean he’s a guarantee? Of course not. No player is a lock, and there are questions to be answered about his attitude and perhaps his off-court judgment as well.



ESPN.com's Andy Katz
Love's likely destinations are one of four places: Minnesota (3), Memphis (5), Charlotte (9) and New Jersey (10).

Mayo said Monday night that his interview with the Timberwolves went very well in Chicago on Saturday. He said that the T-Wolves wanted the conversation to keep going. He has also interviewed with Memphis and Seattle.

"Right now, I'm happy to play for any team," Mayo said.



ESPN.com's Bill Simmons and Chad Ford
Pick No. 3: Minnesota Timberwolves
Bill Simmons selects: Kevin Love, UCLA

(For the second straight year, I'm slipping into an ugly cardigan sweater and adding five inches of armpit hair to either arm so I can tap into my inner McHale.)

If this were any other team in the league, I'd take O.J. Mayo in this spot. He's the most misunderstood guy in the draft -- I don't see him as a point guard and/or a No. 1 crunch-time scorer, I see him as a super-athletic, super-competitive 2-guard with elite passing skills, 3-point range and (potentially) First-Team All-Defensive skills. So it's really going to depend on the team for him. For instance, if he goes to Seattle? Perfect. Durant would be established as the Crunch-Time Guy and Mayo could do all the things he should be doing. For Minnesota, he worries me because they'd play him at point guard and ask him to take too big of a role offensively; I'm not sure it's in him, and I definitely don't think he's a point guard. I see him as a Scottie Pippen type, potentially a fantastic Second Banana and someone who could do all the Little Things to help you win. I'd also worry about him going from four years as The Man in high school, to one year of reportedly getting paid under the table and being The Man in Los Angeles ... to living in Minnesota and dealing with frigid weather and a perpetually underachieving franchise. Couldn't you see him serving his time there (for lack of a better phrase), then bolting as soon as he became a free agent?

So selfishly, I want to see Kevin Love go in this spot because it's the best scenario for everyone involved. He'll like Minnesota; he'll complement Al Jefferson; he gives them three good character guys for their frontline (Jefferson and Ryan Gomes being the other two); and he could learn the ropes of NBA whiteness from McHale and Mark Madsen. I like everything about this pick for them. You know what you're getting with Love: Intelligence, rebounding, superior passing, smart team defense, 3-point shooting and someone who will compete every single night. He makes any team better. And again, you have to love anyone who can successfully bring back the Color Me Badd beard.

Ford: Why am I not surprised Bill goes with Kevin Love at No. 3? Here's what I wrote at the end of last year's debate with Bill: "You're going to love Kevin Love. He'll be the Adam Morrison of the 2008 NBA draft." I was right and wrong. Love is a better player than Morrison. He has more skills, is much, much stronger and won't be out of the league in three years the way Morrison seems to be headed. But he lacks athleticism. He lacks great size at his position. He struggles to score or rebound over more athletic guys (did you see what Joey Dorsey did to him in the NCAA semifinals). I think he's a good role player. But on Minnesota? With Al Jefferson there, they already have a small front line. This would make things even worse. And are there enough touches for the two of them?

I like what you wrote about Mayo. I think we see eye-to-eye on this. He's not a great fit in Minnesota either for all the reason you mentioned. I think the Wolves are trading this pick. No one makes sense for them at No. 3. Look for them to pick up a player like Charlie Villanueva and the No. 8 pick. There they can take a guy like Brook Lopez or Joe Alexander.

Simmons: Dammit, I hate when we agree! You're right, Minny should trade the pick. (Note: I was operating under the premise that they would keep it.) Here's the scenario that makes the most sense to me: McHale deals the No. 3 and Marko Jaric (expires 2011) to the Clippers for the No. 7, Tim Thomas (expires 2010) and the rights to Minny's future No. 1 that the Clippers own (with the Clips moving up to take Mayo). Then he takes whomever is left standing from the Lopez/Gallinari/Mayo group. And since I have nothing left to add, I'd like to start the movement for McHale getting a 2008 championship ring from the Boston Celtics for graciously sending us Kevin Garnett. The man deserves a ring! Give him a ring!