NBA Draft rumors: Weird and likely bogus Bulls whisperings!

Jamie Squire

Draft season is upon us.

Alright, let's lead off with the most substantial rumor of the day. The Nuggets are willing to part with the No. 27 overall selection for a second rounder and cash, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. Would the Bulls possibly be interested?

Because rookie contracts are the one true value deal found in the NBA, it makes sense that every team (and their bloggers!) would be all about buying up a late first round pick. There can be real value from those selections, and there's essentially zero risk aside from a slightly heftier luxury tax bill. I've looked at five guys I think could help the Bulls at the No. 20 pick over the last week here -- Tony Mitchell, Gourgui Dieng, Reggie Bullock, Allen Crabbe and Jamaal Franklin -- and it's possible the Bulls could grab two of those guys were they able to buy up Denver's pick.

The latest DraftExpress mock has Mitchell going at No. 27. Chad Ford has Dieng going at No. 28 in his latest projection. NBA Draft dot net has Bullock being available, and slated to go at No. 35.

If the Bulls can find a way to acquire a pick between 25-40, it would only be met with a round of applause. This draft is weak at the top because it lacks players obviously ticketed for All-Star games, but I do think there are plenty of quality role players, some of whom will develop into much more than that.

It's tough to say how bidding will go for that Nuggets pick -- will a team take on a bad contract in return? -- but I'm all in favor of the Bulls getting involved. Same goes for the two early second round picks the Cavs own.

Speaking of the Cavs, this Ric Bucher report of them being interested in Deng is something. Now, I find it very hard to believe the Cavs are willing to trade the No. 1 pick for one season of Luol Deng, but it's worth noting owner Dan Gilbert's publicized desire to make the postseason next year. The Cavs have been in the lottery every season since LeBron James bolted town, and even with a historically strong-looking 2014 draft class coming down the pipe, Gilbert doesn't want his clan fitted for bow ties at the live loser's bracket a year from now.

If Gilbert is serious about trading the No. 1 pick for a veteran, I can't help but think that's pretty dumb. I know losing is tough on a fanbase, and the Bulls certainly strung together their fair share of unwatchable seasons, but the best way to get good is by collecting high picks and nailing the draft. Why is there a ticker on the Cavs' postseason chances? Kyrie Irving is 21. Dion Waiters is 21. Tristan Thompson is 22. These guys have all the time in the world, particularly if they select 19-year old Nerlens Noel and can add some talent at picks 19, 31, 33.

But for the sake of argument, if Luol Deng for the No. 1 pick is on the table, I would be very tempted to go for it if I were running the Bulls. Yes, I really do believe the team has a shot at the title next season and trading Deng for anyone in this class would amount to a quick step back. But the luxury tax is a real thing the Bulls have to worry about now, as is Deng's impending free agency. Making this move (that won't happen) could absolutely help the team the next few years.

So, it begs the question: if you could add any player in this draft to the Bulls, who would it be?

It would be difficult to pass up on the size of Noel and Maryland's Alex Len when you have an unusually high pick with a great team already in place. Still, I think it would have to come down to Otto Porter, Ben McLemore and Victor Oladipo.

Porter is the closest thing in this draft to a ready-made contributor, but his ceiling doesn't strike me as being high enough to warrant the selection. If his best case player comp is Luol Deng, do you really want to pull the trigger?

I would take McLemore because I believe he has the highest ceiling and highest floor of anyone in the draft. His shooting would help out immediately, and he'd fit seamlessly into the starting lineup after Jimmy Butler shifts to small forward. McLemore has prototypical size and athleticism for a modern two-guard, and while he's constantly chided for lacking a killer instinct, that wouldn't be much of an issue on a team full of veterans led by Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah.

But yeah: I really don't think the Cavs will be accepting Luol Deng for the No. 1 pick.

STRANGE RUMBLINGS

I would take the following all with a pretty sizable grain of salt [especially since they're mostly coming from message-board hero 'RumorPress' -yfbb]. There will be a ton of rumors over the next few days leading up to the draft on Thursday, and I wouldn't be surprised if nearly ever team gets linked to a top 10 pick by some vaguely sourced online outlet. But hey: nothing wrong with letting the imagination run wild so long as you're still based in reality.

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