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Biggest Questions Heading into the 2014 NBA Draft

by Photo of Sam Cohen

We answer some of the most burning questions leading up to the NBA Draft.

Biggest Questions Heading into the 2014 NBA Draft

The 2014 NBA Draft is only a few hours away and there are so many questions waiting to be answered. From rumors surrounding whether Kevin Love will be dealt tonight to where the top prospects might end up, this will be one of the most entertaining drafts in recent years. This is a truly can't-miss draft and we discuss the top storylines heading into tonight.

Will Kevin Love be traded?

Kevin Love's name has been one of the more popular ones in sports these past few weeks. After making it clear that he wanted out of Minnesota, teams have been trying to figure out ways to trade for the superstar big man.

The Minnesota Timberwolves have talked with the Cavs, Warriors, and Celtics as far as we know, but Minnesota clearly never received an offer to their liking. More teams will certainly ask about trading picks for Love tonight, but if the Timberwolves were to move him, they would have to receive an offer that would blow them away. 

For one, a team that trades for Love would have to figure that they have a chance to resign him when he becomes a free agent next summer. No team would give up top picks and/or key players in order to get someone for only one year. Also, head coach and President of Basketball Operations Flip Saunders has also made it clear that he is going to take his time in trading Love. If the Timberwolves can't get a deal done during the draft, they still have a ton of time to move Love whether it's during the rest of the offseason or before the trade deadline next year.

Unless Joel Embiid falls to the Celtics at six, I don't see any team presenting an offer that the Timberwolves will accept. If Embiid does fall, however, things become a lot more interesting, as the Timberwolves would certainly consider a trade involving the talented prospect and the Celtics have other tradable pieces.

Will Rajon Rondo be traded?

A report broke a couple days ago that the Sacramento Kings might trade for Boston Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo. While the Celtics have been hesitant to deal one of the best point guards in the league, it is possible that the Kings can pull of a trade. They have the number 8 pick and if Boston were to deal Rondo for that eighth pick, they could look to draft a point guard at 6, 8, or 18. Having three draft picks, including two top-ten picks, in one of the most loaded draft classes ever is something that the Celtics have to at least consider.

The Celtics would be smart to trade Rondo for the eighth pick because getting another very good young prospect would make sense for the rebuilding Celtics. But the Celtics seem to have Rondo in their long term plans and I don't see Danny Ainge pulling the trigger this time around.

Will the Cavs trade away their first overall pick?

The Cleveland Cavaliers are asking for a lot for their first overall pick. Tom Moore, a beat writer for the 76ers, tweeted today that the asking price for the number 1 pick is three top-32 picks. That is a very hefty price to pay, but one that teams in need of a future superstar like Andrew Wiggins or Jabari Parker could pay.

The Philadelphia 76ers might be the team that pays the price. The team has fallen in love with Wiggins and the Cavs are reportedly torn between choosing Wiggins or Parker. THey have been fielding trade offers for their first pick for quite some time. The Cavs want as much young talent as possible in order to convince Kyrie Irving to stay in Cleveland and possibly persuade LeBron James to rejoin his former team. It ultimately comes down to whether the 76ers want to give up their third, 10th, and 32nd overall picks or if another team is willing to give up so much to draft first.

This is so hard to predict, but I think that the Cavs end up dealing the number one pick. The 76ers are definitely the most likely team to be on the other end of that deal, but look out for the Jazz and Magic as well. All eyes are on the Cavs right now.

What moves will the Knicks make tonight?

The New York Knicks made headlines yesterday when they made their first move towards clearing up cap space. The team traded away big man Tyson Chandler and point guard Raymond Felton for Samuel Dalembert, Jose Calderon, Shane Larkin, Wayne Ellington, and two second-round picks in this year's draft. The move not only cleared up some money that they can use to resign Carmelo Anthony, but it also gives the Knicks their only two picks in this year's draft.

The first move tonight might be to waive Dalembert, which would save them about $2 million in salary. While the Knicks would be losing their only playable center on the roster, it is Samuel Dalembert, not Lebron James. He can be replaced pretty easily and the Knicks aren't going to be competitive next year anyways. Saving money any way they can is very important. I think they make the smart decision and dump Dalembert either tonight or in the near future.

Another move the Knicks will surely consider is trading the 34th pick that they received from the Mavericks as well as Iman Shumpert to move into the first round. The Knicks have dangled Iman Shumpert in order to receive a first-round pick, but haven't had any takers. Packaging him with the 34th pick, which is valuable this year since the draft is so deep, might be the answer the Knicks are looking for. I think the Knicks make a deal to get a pick at the end of the first round.

Where will the top prospects end up?

As I said before, it is really hard to predict trades on draft night. No pick in the top ten seems set and stone and every team with a high pick will try to find any way to improve their roster. That being said, let's take a look at my projected top 5 picks.

1) Andrew Wiggins to the 76ers

I think the 76ers trade up to take Wiggins at 1. The 76ers could lose three first-round picks, but they want Wiggins badly enough to take a huge risk.

2) Jabari Parker to the Bucks

This one is pretty obvious. If the Bucks don't trade this pick, they will take Jabari Parker. He has massive upside and if he doesn't go first, he won't fall past the second pick.

3) Joel Embiid to the Cavs

If the Cavs do indeed trade their number 1 pick to the 76ers, they will receive the number 3 pick no matter what or who is involved in the trade. Taking Embiid would come with huge risk, as the Cavs plan to contend as early as next year and taking an injury-prone player might not help them do so. But Embiid was also projected to go number 1 before his foot surgery and there isn't really anyone else the Cavs would consider here. Dante Exum wouldn't make sense because they have Kyrie Irving at point guard and the Cavs need a big man. I think that they will take Embiid and pray that he stays healthy. And if he does, the Cavs are getting a future superstar.

4) Dante Exum to the Magic

Dante Exum is a perfect fit for Orlando. They don't have a point guard on the roster since Jameer Nelson is set to become a free agent and pairing the 6'6" point guard with the second overall pick of last year's draft Victor Oladipo would make for a scary backcourt. Drafting Exum would also mean that Oladipo can play his natural position, shooting guard. If the Magic keep this pick, Exum seems like their guy.

5) Noah Vonleh to the Jazz

The Jazz are looking to trade up in the draft, so in the event that they keep this pick, Noah Vonleh out of Indiana seems like the best fit. He is a big power forward that can stretch the floor as well as rebound and block. Pairing him with Derrick Favors would make for a very good front court and Enes Kanter can become either a tradable piece or a valuable asset off the bench.

The Jazz could very well trade this pick, which would change all of their plans. But if they stay put, Vonleh would give them another very solid big man.

This is going to be a hell of a night and one you won't want to miss. There are so many things to look out for and the NBA landscape could look very different by the end of the night. Not to mention, there will be a bunch of teams that look to clear up cap space by moving players around in order to sign LeBron James. This should be pretty fun.

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