Howard or Okafor at 1?
As of Thursday afternoon, sources close to the Orlando Magic indicate they are leaning towards taking Dwight Howard.
Sources close to the Bobcats organization indicated this morning that they believe it will be Okafor, but consider that unlikely.
When all is said and done look for Dwight Howard to be the Orlando Magic's #1 selection.
Though negotiations have reportedly stalled between Phoenix and Orlando, how's this for a blockbuster: T-Mac and Dwight Howard for Shawn Marion and local guy Amare Stoudemire? This is purely speculation, but Phoenix reportedly loves Howard, and has been involved in trade rumors for McGrady. Amare is by all accounts untouchable right now anyway, so the deal is very unlikely.
With Orlando trading away the franchise Tracy McGrady, (likely to either Phoenix or Houston), a commitment to building for the future is in place. Emeka Okafor will make a GM look better a year from now. But in 2-3 years it's likely Howard will begin to surpass Okafor as an offensive superstar.
More likely is that Steve Francis will come around on the idea of playing in Orlando, or will be moved for a player of close to the same talent and salary.
The Lakers and Mavericks have pulled in the Cleveland as a third interested party for the Shaq trade. The proposed trade will send Shaq to the Mavericks. Dirk Nowitzki and Zydrunas Ilgauskas will go to the Lakers, it's uncertain the other players or picks involved, but the Cavs could end up making the 5th selection and adding another veteren or two from the Lakers or Mavs.
With this trade likely going down, look for pavel Podkolzine to end up going 10th.
European small forward Viktor Sanikidze is a hot name right now among teams. He's the biggest International sleeper in the draft, and maybe overall. Just a few teams scouted him this season, but he's automatically eligible due to a rule which stipulates players that play US college ball and return to Europe become automatically eligible the following draft. The Suns are a possibility to take him with the second pick in the second round.
The Bulls are now a virtual lock to take Gordon with the 3rd pick.
The fourth pick gets interesting. It was originally thought that the Clippers would go with Livingston if Gordon were gone. But Harris remains a real possibility. Mike Dunleavy would like Devin Harris, which makes sense as he would come in and produce sooner, and he was impressive in his workout for the clippers.
Clippers owner Donald Sterling may ultimately make the call as he likes Livingston and the thought of potentially the next Magic playing on his team.
Check back for more updates here as they come in.