With the 2013 NBA less than a week away, many teams' plans are starting to come into focus.
There aren't a ton of top-class players in the draft pool, so that means plenty of teams will look to move around. Of course you can never know where a player will be drafted for sure, but this year seems to be especially unpredictable.
After being bombarded with rumors over the last couple of months, fans are getting a much better idea of how the draft could unfold. The truth is starting to come to light, and it's separating fact from fiction.
Here are three rumors that look to have some major validity.
Alex Len Still the Guy at No. 1
For so long, it seemed a foregone conclusion that Nerlens Noel would be the top pick in the draft. The Cleveland Cavaliers had a lot of flexibility, but couldn't possibly pass up what looked to be the most talented player in the pool.
Now, Alex Len has supplanted Noel as Cleveland's top target. According to Probasketballdraft, he remains the most likely selection, even after the Cavaliers had a very good interview with Noel.
At first, this news seemed a little off base. Now, though, it's hard to deny that Len being selected with the No. 1 overall pick isn't a realistic possibility.
This would definitely be a case of the Cavs looking down the line in terms of Noel and Len's respective development. Even before the ACL injury, you wondered if Noel would be the kind of all-around center who could change a game. Len is slightly more polished offensively and much more athletic.
The No. 13 Pick May Be On the Move
Speaking of the Cavs, it looks like they will make a deal with the Dallas Mavericks. Joe Kotoch of SheridanHoops.com reported that Dallas would trade Shawn Marion and the 19th pick to Cleveland for the 13th pick:
Also, sources tell SheridanHoops.com the Cavs are in serious discussions to acquire Shawn Marion from Dallas in a lopsided trade that would allow them to move up from No. 19 to No. 13 in the first round by relieving the Mavs of Marion’s $9.3 million salary, allowing Mark Cuban more salary cap flexibility to use on July 1.
This would be a good trade for both sides. The Cavaliers have enough cap space to afford bringing in Marion. He's the 3 that the team desperately needs right now. Alonzo Gee is a solid player, but you can't expect the Cavs to be a contender by relying on him to start.
Although Marion is 35 years old, he's coming off a season in which he averaged 12.1 points a game and 7.8 rebounds. He could be a good stopgap while the team drafts a younger player later in the first round to groom for the future.
Staying at 13 would allow the Mavericks to select Sergey Karasev. Probasketballdraft reported that he would be the main reason that Dallas would want to hang on to the pick.
Kotoch reported that Karasev is also a target for Cleveland, but if it can get Marion, then that may not be a major concern anymore.
Thomas Robinson Unwanted Again
Hopefully Thomas Robinson didn't get too settled in Houston. He was drafted by the Sacramento Kings in the 2012 draft and sent to the Houston Rockets in the middle of the season. Now he could be dealt again.
Now, ESPN's Marc Stein reported that Houston could get a first-rounder for Robinson.
He also went on to explain what the Rockets' draft plans could be.
Although Robinson only averaged 4.8 points and 4.5 rebounds, he's got a lot of upside. If the Rockets can essentially swap him for Howard, though, that's a no-brainer.
Houston emerged in a big way this past season. Adding Howard would make them genuine title contenders given the young players that continue to develop. Taking international players also makes sense because they can sit overseas until they're more prepared to help the Rockets.