Barring a last-minute change in thinking, the New Jersey Nets will select Georgia Tech freshman Derrick Favors over Syracuse's Wesley Johnson with the No. 3 pick in tonight's draft, ESPN.com was told Thursday.
According to a source with knowledge of the selection, the Nets made the decision because they are not guaranteed to get a power forward such as Utah's Carlos Boozer, Toronto's Chris Bosh or Phoenix's Amare Stoudemire in free agency.
The source said that Favors is also the most tradeable asset available to the Nets in a possible deal -- more so than Johnson. The source said the Nets might make a deal Thursday night after selecting Favors, or wait to see if one comes in July during the free-agency period. The source said if the Nets make a deal they would have to include the pick of Favors.
Johnson and Boozer are represented by the same agent, Rob Pelinka, but he was adamant Wednesday that there was no package deal to get both players to New Jersey.
Pelinka obviously wants Johnson to be selected as high as possible, but he said the two players are working independently.
Another source close to Boozer said he was still undecided on his ultimate destinations. His options include staying with Utah or looking at New Jersey, Chicago or Miami.
Unless something changes with the Nets, the first three selections in Thursday's draft will be Kentucky freshman John Wall to Washington, then Ohio State's Evan Turner to Philadelphia. Favors then will go to the Nets.
Washington can't say publicly that it will take Wall, but the Wizards have said it privately, and no one in the league is considering another option. Wall worked out only for the Wizards.
The Sixers did work out Turner, Johnson and DeMarcus Cousins.
But Turner told ESPN.com on Wednesday he expects to be selected by the 76ers, and multiple sources close to coach Doug Collins said the 76ers would select Turner because of his maturity, professionalism and ability to make an impact immediately with new teammates Jrue Holiday and Andre Iguodala on the perimeter.
Andy Katz covers college basketball and the NBA draft for ESPN.com.