We expect to be at the Prudential Center Thursday night, with our laptop, ready to soak in the proceedings and record them as they happen. Here's some helpful hints of what to look for between now and then and on Draft Day...starting as early as this afternoon!
--If history is any judge, there will be a trade involving the Nets on Thursday. The Nets have completed five Draft Day trades in the last four years. In 2011, the Nets traded the #25 pick and their 2014 second rounder to Boston for the the #27 pick and purchased the #31 pick from the Timberwolves for a reported $1.5 million; in 2010, the Nets traded the #27 pick to the Hawks for the #24 and #31 picks; In 2009, it was Vince Carter and Ryan Anderson for Courtney Lee, Rafer Alston and Tony Battie; and in 2008, it was Richard Jefferson for Yi Jianlian and Bobby Simmons.
--BIG Trade talk usually starts the day or two before the Draft. Historically, the Nets big trades have broken the day of the Draft. Of course, that was under Rod Thorn. The Richard Jefferson trade broke at about 2:30 p.m. on Draft Day in 2008. The Vince Carter deal a bit earlier in 2009. Billy King's two trade last year took place during the draft.
--If there's a trade (or purchase) for a pick during the draft, it's not likely to be known immediately unless it's been rumored and ESPN's commentators are ready. In 2001, the Nets selected Eddie Griffin knowing the Rockets wanted him and that Houston had three first round picks. The trade was announced (to a chorus of boos) 10 picks later. In 2011, Marshon Brooks said he didn't know he had been traded when the pick was announced but knew immediately after he left the stage.
The reason is that trading PICKS has consequences. It limits teams in what they can do down the road. Trading RIGHTS subsequent to the pick, even minutes later, doesn't have those consequences. So if there's a rumored trade and the other team in the deal is still making the trade, don't be surprised. Just wait a few minutes till ESPN catches up. Last year, Adrian Wojanarowski seemed to have inside information on each pick and every transaction, even before Stern announced the picks! Twitter may be a better way to keep track than ESPN.
--The $3 million available through June 30 may go a bit further this year. There are reports that since the new CBA puts a ceiling on annual cash considerations, there may be more bargaining and a first round pick might cost less than $3 million. In the past almost any first rounder went for $3 million; a top second rounder between $1.5 million and $2 million; a mid second rounder, $750,000 to $1 million and a late first-rounder about $250,000.
--Billy King has a great record in getting value in the draft, particularly when picking late, and with traded picks. Last June, of course, the player he picked at #25, Marshon Brooks, made the All-Rookie Team. While in Philadelphia, he took Thaddeus Young at #12 in 2008 (between Acie Law and Julian Wright); Lou Williams in 2005 (the last high school player ever drafted) in 2005 with the #45 pick; took Andre Iguodala at #9 (between Rafael Araujo and Luke Jackson); took Kyle Korver and Willie Green after #40 (both with traded picks) in 2003; traded for John Salmons after the Spurs took him at #26 in 2002; took Samuel Dalembert, also at #26, in 2001; and Speedy Claxton at #20 in 2000. He also signed Raja Bell after he went undrafted.
--Immediately after the draft, the Nets (and other front offices) will make calls to agents for the undrafted, trying to sign players for the summer league and/or training camp. The Nets have a financial advantage here. As they proved in 2010, the last time the opportunity arose, they're willing to offer partial guarantees to undrafted players. Brian Zoubek of Duke got $50,000 and Ben Uzoh of Tulsa got $35,000. There are 15 spots on the Orlando Summer League roster and the only slots we know that are filled belong to Marshon Brooks, Jordan Williams, Brian Foote, Edwin Ubiles and Julian Wright. Dennis Horner broke his foot or would have been headed to Orlando.
--Finally, never ever say one GM or another doesn't have the assets to make a deal. Never say a player is untradeable. Teams pay their GM's and capologists a LOT of money to know the CBA and be creative within it. Expect to be surprised. (That's inside information.)