I've been working the phones all day and here's the latest chatter around the league
It's time to end all of the Chris Paul speculation that grew like wildfire over the past few days. The Hornets did receive a few calls about Paul, but a very good source in New Orleans tells me they aren't trading him. Owner George Shinn may want to save cash, but he can't part with with his franchise cornerstone.
Georgia Tech big man Derrick Favors is back in favor in New Jersey. A league source told me on Wednesday night that after 24 hours of debate, it looks like Favors has re-emerged as the favorite to go No. 3. After a so-so Favors workout on Monday, the Nets began to move toward Syracuse forward Wes Johnson. But with the draft now less than 24 hours away, Favors has re-emerged as the favorite. The news squashes the prevailing theory around the league that drafting Johnson was a precursor to the Nets signing free agent forward Carlos Boozer this summer. Both Johnson and Boozer are represented by the same agent, Rob Pelinka. The source stressed that the decision wasn't a final one and that the Nets were also exploring potential trade options with the No. 3 pick. But if the draft were held tonight, Favors would be the pick.
I'm not sure if Minnesota will greet the news with joy or relief. They focused in on Johnson early but got comfortable with the idea of taking Favors at 4 over the course of the last 24 hours. The Wolves continue to look for an Al Jefferson deal after being rebuffed by Detroit over the weekend (Wolves offered Jefferson for Tayshaun Prince and No. 7) and the Grizzlies (for Zach Randolph) earlier in the day.
The Kings, as we've been reporting all week, are still leaning toward taking DeMarcus Cousins at No. 5 if both Favors and Wes Johnson are off the board. A team source disputes a report that the Kings have made up their mind, but as we told you last night, the consensus remains with Cousins.
The Warriors are talking to a number of teams about potential trades and it looks like the No. 6 pick in the draft is up for grabs. The cost, however is high. The Warriors want whoever takes the pick to take on the contract of Monta Ellis as part of the deal. If the Warriors keep the pick, they're deciding between Greg Monroe and Ekpe Udoh. My source continues to support what I wrote Tuesday night -- Udoh has the edge.
The Pistons have been exploring a number of deals, but at this point they seem pretty set at No. 7. Of course they would to land DeMarcus Cousins. But the Pistons seem content to take Greg Monroe or Ed Davis here. While the team is high on both Monroe, Davis and Ekpe Udoh, Detroit is still leaning toward Greg Monroe here if he's on the board.
The Raptors have had serious talks today with the Portland Trail Blazers about a deal that would send the 22nd pick and Rudy Fernandez to Toronto for the 13th pick. The Blazers have been very aggressive about getting up into the lottery, but have been reluctant to part with both Fernandez and the 22nd pick to do it.
The Heat traded the 18th pick and Daequan Cook to Oklahoma City for the 32nd pick. The move for Miami adds around $3 million in room next year to pursue their strategy of landing two big time free agents to add alongside Dwyane Wade The Thunder are still trying to package picks to move up in the draft and can now offer 18, 21 and 26 to get into the Top 10. Will 18 seal the deal? If they stay at 18, look for them to consider Solomon Alabi, Daniel Orton and Avery Bradley.