Uh oh – the Knicks have an eye for The Polish Hammer as well: “Though the Knicks likely will take a combo-type guard in the June 25 NBA Draft, Knicks team president Donnie Walsh will eye a center with his $5 million mid-level exception during free agency, and Orlando’s 7-foot backup Marcin Gortat is very high on his list, The Post has learned.”
Darnell Mayberry looks at how each potential draft pick fits in with the Thunder: “Harden has the potential to compete for the starting shooting guard spot from Day 1 because of his instincts for the game and ability to score. He is almost the exact opposite of current starter Thabo Sefolosha, whose impact begins on the defensive end and is a work-in-progress offensively. There are questions about whether Harden will be able to defend in the NBA. It remains to be seen if those questions have any merit, but we do know Harden would be protected on the wing with the Thunder thanks to willing defenders Sefolosha, Jeff Green and Russell Westbrook.” He also gave Harden a 70 percent chance of being here, Thabeet 30 and Rubio 50.
A lawsuit could be imminent for Ricky Rubio: “Plenty of chatter about the Ricky Rubio situation, with the most interesting commentary coming from the many members of the Spanish basketball industry, which are out here in full force. The news this morning about a lawsuit being planned by Rubio’s camp is apparently very true, and there was plenty of spirited discussion regarding whether his exorbitant buyout relative to his proportional contract will hold up in a Spanish court. Some cited the fact that similar cases in soccer (for example in England) had sided in favor of the players in the past, while others mentioned that Rubio’s willing acceptance of a large pay raise a few months back had nullified his ability to dispute the validity of the deal. The main questions here are-how long will such a case take to play out? How much does Joventut need the money for this upcoming season? And how much will the negative publicity from such a bombastic story hurt them down the road in terms of signing young players? Can all this be resolved in satisfactory fashion in time for the draft? This move likely ends any chance Rubio has of pulling his name out of the draft, as the damage caused by such a lawsuit would likely be too great of a rift to heal this upcoming summer.”
John Rohde on the top three picks: “If the Grizzlies choose 7-foot-3 center Hasheem Thabeet with the No. 2 pick, it leaves 6-foot-4 point guard Ricky Rubio for the Thunder. This would seem to give the Thunder its greatest leverage. More teams are in need of a point guard, and the Thunder is adamant it has filled that position with the Russell Westbrook Project. If the Thunder is able to pick Rubio at No. 3, it could trade his rights for a proven player plus a draft pick not far down the line this year or a first-rounder next year.”
Shoals disucssing ideas on the NBA’s age limit: ”The only losers here? Someone like Kevin Durant, who wants to both play ball and pursue a degree (over the summer). The question is, would he have the same educational option available to him if he tried to go to college as a preps-to-pro player? That would depend on a lot of things, and might be an actually realistic reason for the one-and-done to exist. Derrick Rose, though? Surely he’s got some friend screwed over by city schools, and who might even be useful to him down the road if he gets a business degree.”
Jonny Flynn Q&A: “So what’s a positive situation for you? …There are a lot of them. You look at Sacramento, with Jason Thompson and Donte Green, maybe it’s there. It looks like they might want a point guard who can push the ball and run the offense and score and defend. People say that’s a team that’s been losing, but I’m not afraid of all that. I’m a guy who likes to fix something, and take something that might be a little wrong right now and make it right. That’s appealing to me. So as long as I get into a situation that’s good, it doesn’t really concern me what the team is doing right now.”
Reportedly the Knicks are trying to move David Lee: “An NBA executive said Knicks president Donnie Walsh is trying to work out a sign-and-trade for forward-center David Lee in a cost-cutting move.”
HoopsWorld has a new consensus mock draft out. Just one guy has the Thunder taking Thabeet, two going for Rubio and one Harden: “As we get closer and closer to draft night there are enough rumors swirling around to do 15 different mock drafts, none of which will likely be close to what actually goes down on June 25th. With so much contradicting information out there at some point you have to just completely disregard everything and go by where the best fits are because in the end that’s what matters the most. The Oklahoma City Thunder have shown interest in Ricky Rubio, Jrue Holiday, James Harden, and just about everyone other than Hasheem Thabeet. However, the 7’3″ project is exactly what the team needs and brings so many things to the table that they currently don’t have at the center position. That is why the UConn product has remained locked in at #3 and will continue to do so the rest of the way on my mock draft.”
Blake Griffin has his lone workout yesterday: “Griffin himself was just what you’d expect. Essentially working 1-on-0 around 6-11 Clippers assistant coach Kim Hughes, he was solid on either block with either hand, going over either shoulder. Plenty of hops to spare, his head was right at the rim on several dunks, while he looked right at 6-9 in shoes. He’ll have issues with his jump shot, which isn’t anywhere near Carlos Boozer’s(notes) at this point. He falls backwards on his release, and moves as he comes down, which means the ball is always fading away with a poor rotation. It also showed on his free throws, where he missed more than he made. Still, these are simple mechanics that will be taken care of within a year, probably. Jump straight up, land in the same place. Typical big man stuff. I’m not ready to declare him a borderline All-Star in his second year, a la Kevin Durant(notes), but he’ll be right there eventually. This guy is going to be fantastic. With his frame, he reminds me of a Terry Cummings with hops, and that description should excite Clipper fans, even without taking into consideration TC’s time in Los Angeles.”
Mike Dunleavy: “Blake’s a tremendous talent, and an even better kid,” Dunleavy said. “From a character standpoint, his work ethic is off the charts. Everybody just expounds on what a great kid he is and how hard he plays all the time.”
Jordan Hill’s stock is falling, according to DX: “Jordan Hill potentially slipping into the bottom of the top-10 or even possibly slightly beyond. The talk is that the Washington Wizards’ 5th pick could very well end up being claimed by Stephen Curry (whether for them or another team trading up), and that since Minnesota, Golden State, New York and maybe even Toronto appear to be looking at other positional needs, Hill could be on the short end of the stick come draft night. ”
Earl Watson got married in Beverly Hills this weekend: “Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Earl Watson was married to actress Jennifer Freeman at the Beverly Hills home of producer Ed Weinberger. The morning ceremony was kicked off with champagne and cupcakees for the guests. Freeman wore an ivory strapless gown with gold embroidery by Kenneth Pool, and Watson wore a champagne-coloured tux by Elevee. Flowers were a large part of the ceremony, with white, cream and powder-pink peonies, roses, gardenias and, hydrangeas, as well as boxes of baby’s breath lining the aisles, decorating the ceremony.”
The Lakers have Jack Nicholson. The Bethseda Big Train have Jeff Green (h/t Daniel): “As NBA star Jeff Green watched from the Shirley Povich Field stands, the Bethesda Big Train opened their 11th season with an impressive 4-0 win over the visiting College Park Bombers. Green was on hand as a special guest for the Big Train’s “Green Out.”"
Ben Gordon is being courted by the Olympiakos: “Ben Gordon(1.91-PG/SG) is rumored to have been offered to Olympiakos by his agent and this is something that is being confirmed by a plenty of greek sports portals, redplanet.gr and gazzetta.gr to name a few. This sets a new spin on the transfer targets of Olympiakos because Ben Gordon has a british passport. That means he occupies the position of a bosman player and not of a foreign player.”