Two teams in the lottery made big moves on Tuesday, each could have a profound effect on who goes where, so after the jump let's take a look at the top ten picks and try to figure out what has changed in the past 24 hours.
If you've just come out of hiding, here are the two reported trades:
Minnesota will send Mike Miller and Randy Foye to Washington for Oleksiy Pecherov, Etan Thomas and the #5 pick in tomorrow night's draft, provided Thomas agrees to exercise his option year.
Financially, Minnesota added $13.4M to their payroll this season, and $4.8 next season, provided Songalia does not opt out and the T-Wolves decline their option on Pecherov. Washington added $13.5M to their payroll this season, $4.8M next season if Washington offers Foye, a restricted free agent, a qualifying offer and he accepts. Washington also doesn't have to pay that pesky guaranteed salary for the number five pick. All told, they're probably going to save about $2.75M this season.
On the floor, Washington added a below-average point guard with injury problems and a below-average shooting guard with injury problems. Obviously, they're now contenders in the Eastern Conference. Minnesota took on Songalia and now they hold the #5 and #6 picks in tomorrow night's draft, which is widely considered to be an extremely weak draft.
The other trade didn't involve picks, but it may have an impact on the draft nonetheless. It was widely believed the Milwaukee Bucks would not be able to re-sign restricted free agents Charlie Villaneuva and Ramon Sessions, their starting point guard and power forward, without going over the luxury tax. By trading Richard Jefferson to the Spurs for Bruce Bowen, Fabricio Oberto and Kurt Thomas, they have made some breathing room for themselves under the tax. The Bucks then turned around and traded Oberto to the Pistons for Amir Johnson. Now I believe they can afford to sign either Sessions or Villaneuva and remain under the luxury tax. If they were a smart franchise, they'd re-sign Sessions, but no one has accused them of being smart recently, so your guess is as good as mine.
Now, let's take a look at the top 10 picks, and team needs for each. One more note, there are rumors circulating that the T-Wolves are looking to trade up to #2 in the draft, either using picks 5 & 6 or maybe one of their other two first-round picks, 18 & 28, or Kevin Love, or Al Jefferson or ... well, anyone but Kevin McHale. Let's go with what we've got for now, though.
- Los Angeles Clippers - They're taking Blake Griffin, lucky him. Would probably love to get rid of Zach Randolph, Chris Kaman and Baron Davis' contracts, but they aren't trading out.
- Memphis Grizzlies - They need better defense at the three, four and five. Pretty much set in the backcourt. Bad contracts include Marco Jaric and Darko Milicic
- Oklahoma City Thunder - Need a center and a SG who can play off the ball. No bad contracts.
- Sacramento Kings - Need a point, a wing and probably interior defense as well. Beno Udrih and Andres Nocioni both have absolutely horrible contracts.
- Minnesota Timberwolves - Have no backcourt whatsover after the trade, the 3 is manned by Corey Brewer and Ryan Gomes, not to mention the fact they zero interior defense. No bad contracts which extend beyond this upcoming season.
- Minnesota Timberwolves - See above.
- Golden State Warriors - Need a point, assuming Monta Ellis will allow them to draft one, they also don't really have a power forward on their roster. GSW has more long contracts than you can shake a stick at: Ellis, Biedrins, Maggette, Stephen Jackson. I have a feeling they'd be eager to find a way out from under Maggette's contract more than any other.
- NY Knicks - They need everything, absolutely everything. Eddy Curry and Jared Jeffries are the only bad contracts extending past this season, and I'm sure they'd love to move them as well.
- Toronto - Right now, they need a two and a three badly, and maybe a center who plays like a center. Bad contracts include Marcus Banks and Khris Humprhies.
- Milwaukee - They either need a point or a power forward, depending on their plans with CV and RS. Bad contracts include Michael Redd, Andrew Bogut, Dan Gadzuric, Luke Ridnour and Charlie Bell.
I could see four or five points going in the top ten, but that's doubtful. Rubio and Curry are the only mortal locks at this point. Flynn has gotten a tremendous boost during workouts, but with Minnesota using two of the picks, I think there's a very good chance Holiday could fall out of the top 10. If he does, he'll probably drop at least to Indiana at #13, or Phoenix at #14. If he falls past there, he's still on the board at #17. It's also looking like a real possibility that Brandon Jennings could be available at #17.
On the one hand, Minnesota taking Washington's pick probably eliminates the most-likely partern for the Sixers to trade up and get Curry. On the other, it shifts the team needs and it could mean someone will fall to the Sixers. Of course, when guys start sliding you also have to worry about someone leaping over Philly to grab a bargain.
So here's today's question. The Sixers are on the clock and the following guys are still available at #17: Holiday, Jennings, Flynn, Lawson, Gerald Henderson, Maynor and Teague. Which one do you take?