DeMarcus, LaMarcus, and So Much More: Your Draft Day Rumor Rankings

Rocky Widner/NBA

We’re here. We made it. Today is officially the greatest day of the year for every NBA fan who loves to believe every stupid rumor that pops up on Twitter. I am absolutely one of those fans, and in the spirit of celebration, it’s time to run down all the different draft scenarios we have on the board. Can you feel the chaos in your bones?

Let’s (a) put a bunch of these NBA draft rumors in one place, and (b) rank them based on general insanity. Spoiler alert: Boogie in Los Angeles is no. 1.

25. Mario Elie Is Headed to Disney World

Analysis: Can’t lie, this made the list only because I’d forgotten all about Mario Elie. I saw this rumor on Twitter on Wednesday, and it made me irrationally happy. Who doesn’t love Mario Elie? He was great. There’s never a bad time to remember Mario Elie. Oh, and if the Magic draft Hezonja at no. 5 tonight? SUPER MARIO X 2.

24. Make Way for Milutinov

Analysis: We’ve hit the point in the draft process when all of our favorite beat reporters are hallucinating and making up fake prospects.

23. The Sixers Want the Blazers’ First-Rounder

Analysis: On the heels of Wednesday’s Nic Batum deal, it’s pretty clear that the Blazers are trying to clear space wherever possible. If this deal goes through, just consider Noah Vonleh their first-round pick. Also, prepare for lots of Sixers fans lecturing you about the value of Sam Hinkie’s second-round picks. Personally, something like this would just annoy me if I were a Sixers fan. “Oh, cool, Embiid can’t play, Saric just went on Ustream to light his passport on fire, and the Players Association is investigating us, but that’s great that those two second-rounders will turn into Rashad Vaughn. [Dismissive jerk-off motion.]” The Process is going great.

22. Charlotte Loves Frank

Analysis: Can you even imagine what would happen if the Hornets were ever to trot out a starting front line of Spencer Hawes and Frank Kaminsky? Do they just hold the Republican National Convention at halftime of a Hornets game? Someone better warn Nic Batum.

21. Boogie in New Orleans

Analysis: Oh my god. The ultimate response to the “death of the big men” conversations everyone was having 10 days ago. This hypothetical started on Twitter on Tuesday afternoon, and I refuse to believe it’s a real possibility, but I also refuse to stop thinking about it, because GOOD GOD BOOGIE AND BROW ARE HERE AND YOU’RE ALL GETTING DUNKED TO DEATH.

20. OKC Loves Frank

FRANK
(Via Sports Illustrated)

Analysis: Serge Ibaka, Enes Kanter, Frank Kaminsky, Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, Dion Waiters, Mitch McGary, Kyle Singler, and Steven Adams. OKC could have the single weirdest team in NBA history. If that were a friend’s video game roster, you’d look at him like, “What the f-​-​- were you thinking?” Adding Frank would be glorious. We all need OKC back in our lives.

19. Would the Nuggets Send Jusuf Nurkic to the Knicks?

One move making the rounds lately has [the Knicks] going to Denver and No. 7 for No. 4 and getting Jusuf Nurkic … Denver then would take one of the point guards, probably Mudiay, enabling them to move Lawson. The Knicks are said to like Kentucky’s Trey Lyles. They also could be interested in shooting big man Frank Kaminsky as Phil Jackson believes in having size with skill. (Via Sam Smith/NBA.com)

Analysis: Nope.

18. The Mavs Just Want Somebody, Anybody

Analysis: Who do Mavericks fans hate the most right now?

A. Mark Cuban for getting them here
B. Rajon Rondo for really getting them here
C. Lamar Odom for being the original Rondo
D. Daryl Morey for being himself
E. Anyone, anywhere who knows joy

It’s not looking great. If you know a Mavericks fan, give them a hug. Then remind that person that the 2011 Finals were so completely awesome that all the rest of this is gravy.

17. Monta to Atlanta? Monta to South Beach?

Analysis: If you heard “Monta Ellis is a free agent” and immediately cringed because you love Monta but couldn’t imagine what team would want to pay him … you were not alone. But hey! Either one of these spots would be fun. Especially Atlanta, a team that is allergic to marquee free agents (or vice versa, to be exact) but has the system to unleash just the right amount of Monta to make him murderous. Also, putting him and Dennis Schroder together for 10 minutes a night would be like a science experiment. They could kill each other or the other team, or the basketball itself could explode from all the dribbling. Anything is possible.

16. Are the Celtics Trying to Trade Marcus Smart for No. 3?

Analysis: The Celtics will deny this, but there have been enough rumors to this effect that there’s clearly some truth to it. The Celtics want Jahlil Okafor, and they’re willing to give up Marcus Smart. The Sixers are apparently willing to part with no. 3, but they want first-round picks in the future. And really, this entry covers a lot of ground for both teams. Is there any trade for a star available, at any time? Well, Danny Ainge is doing whatever he can to make it happen. And whoever is calling, the Sixers are listening, but Sam Hinkie is demanding future first-rounders no matter what the discussion is.

15. The Wizards Want to Reunite Wall and Boogie

Analysis: Yeah, screw it. I’m starting this rumor myself.

Hear me out: This is on par with any return that Sacramento would get in a Boogie trade, and it would give us the least depressing version of the Boogie-less Kings. (They go small with Lawson/Beal/Chandler/Rudy Gay at the 4, score 120 a game like owner Vivek Ranadivé has always wanted, and reunite the Nuggets like George Karl has always wanted. That’s not bad!) Clearing salary and using no. 6 and no. 7 is also the clearest path to rebuilding for a Denver team that has desperately needed to choose that path for going on two years. And the Wizards: Losing Beal and Gortat would be heartbreaking, but paying Boogie $16 million to $17 million makes a lot more sense than paying Beal $20 million to $21 million (or more?) a year or two from now. Also, Gallinari is very available, and he would average 42 points per game (on 14 3-pointers) playing with Wall. And Boogie’s presence would make the Wizards the clear front-runners if Durant decided to leave OKC.

It’s worth it. For everyone.

And it will never happen.

Goddammit.

(Hopefully everybody skipped this section.)

14. Portland Wants Love If They Lose LaMarcus

Analysis: Kevin Love opted out of his deal Wednesday, and while that sounds shocking at first, it’s a pretty simple business decision. If he re-signs a one- or two-year deal, his salary jumps to $19 million (as opposed to the $17 million he was slated to make on his previous deal). On the other hand … Zach Lowe has already mentioned that a sign-and-trade is the outcome that’s expected among some executives around the league. But if you’re trying to imagine a scenario that has Love signing as a free agent outright … he went to high school in Oregon, first of all. And basketball-wise, it’s hard to imagine a better fit on a team that actually has a chance to win something.

13. The Suns Are Shopping Eric Bledsoe

Analysis: You want to get really deep into this rumor shit?

You want to get wet?

Eric Bledsoe is a client of Klutch Sports, the management company operated by LeBron and Rich Paul. … The Suns have been chasing Kevin Love since he was in Minnesota. They were chasing him during the season, and they’ll want him this summer. … The Cavs have a franchise point guard whose balky knees may or may not make him the NBA’s equivalent of RG3. Nobody in the world wants that to happen, but it’s a concern. … If Cleveland is looking to ship Love elsewhere, wouldn’t it make a lot of sense to push for Bledsoe as Kyrie insurance? Especially if LeBron wields as much power as we think? … Half the reason Love came to Cleveland to begin with is because LeBron demanded the trade — and because Andrew Wiggins didn’t choose Klutch Sports. Meanwhile, keeping Tristan Thompson is apparently a higher priority for the Cavs than is keeping Kevin Love. … Tristan Thompson’s management company?

And we just getting started! @norriscole @ebled2 @realtristan13 #Klutch #RWTW #StriveForGreatness

A photo posted by LeBron James (@kingjames) on Aug 2, 2014 at 9:45pm PDT

Just saying. It’s a possibility.

12. The Celtics Want Love

Analysis: Look, at some point someone needs to pull Danny Ainge aside and tell him it’s not going to happen. I want the Celtics to be good again as much as anyone, but we can’t keep doing this every summer. Remember last year when they were trying to sell the Wolves on Jared Sullinger and Kelly Olynyk? Selling Love with a package of Robin Lopez and legendary-but-fossilizing Paul Pierce is not that much better. I think I’d actually rather watch the 2014-15 Celtics than watch them try to compete for the East with old Pierce and Love.

11. Would the Heat Trade No. 10?

The Heat, needing to preserve flexibility after re-signing Goran Dragic and potentially Dwyane Wade this summer, are open to trading the 10th pick if it means unloading salary. (Josh McRoberts, for example, is owed $17 million over the next three years.) (Via Ken Berger/CBS Sports)

Analysis: Life comes at you fast when it’s time to pay Goran Dragic $90 million. But let’s hope they don’t make this move, and steal Willie Cauley-Stein instead. The world is more fun when the Heat are good and hateable. Speaking of which …

10. Dwyane Wade to the Cavs

Analysis: There’s not a single NBA reporter who hasn’t suggested that the schism between Wade and the Heat is realer than we initially thought, and a jump to the Cavs isn’t quite as crazy as you think. Ken Berger, for instance, cited one executive who thought Wade and Pat Riley could make it work, but another who said there are “strong indications” that Wade is headed for the Lakers or Cavs. On the other hand, Wade (and Gabrielle Union, and Wade’s son) has done a lot of stupid little things on social media that suggest these are all obnoxious mind games, and that he’ll eventually end up back in Miami, with the money he wants, having successfully annoyed everyone involved and won. It might be our last, true vintage Wade performance.

9. George Wants to Get the Band Back Together

Karl’s former team, Denver, also is a possibility — with Malone and D’Alessandro there and with Karl pushing the idea of “putting the band back together” from his Nuggets tenure, a person with knowledge of the situation said. League sources say Karl is enamored with the idea of a deal that would send Kenneth Faried, Ty Lawson and Wilson Chandler to Sacramento. The Nuggets, who have the seventh pick, are open to trading Lawson and Chandler. But Faried would be difficult to trade before July since his contract includes a poison-pill provision; his incoming salary for the Kings ($10.45 million) would be vastly greater than his outgoing salary for the Nuggets ($2.25 million) if traded during the current league year. (Via Ken Berger/CBS Sports)

Analysis: This is the second-best draft rumor of the week. The whole world was focused on how much power George Karl was wielding, how he felt about Boogie, and whether the delicate relationship could be repaired. Then, in the middle of all that, we find out, “OH YEAH, GEORGE KARL IS LOSING HIS MIND.” Seriously. This trade will never happen, but even considering it is deeply concerning. Go Kings.

8. The Sixers Want D’Angelo Russell?

Analysis: Even though we’ve all joked about Sam Hinkie and Philly, if they just keep it simple and draft D’Angelo Russell, the Sixers could be a lot of fun as soon as next season. Now watch Hinkie take Emmanuel Mudiay.

7. The Knicks Want Kaminsky at No. 4

Analysis: NOW WE’RE GETTING TO THE GOOD STUFF.

NEW YORK CITY, THIS COULD BE YOUR FUTURE.

God I love this draft.

The Knicks could realistically end up with (a) Russell, (b) Hezonja, (c) Mudiay, (d) Cauley-Stein, (e) Okafor, or (f) FRANK. Each of them has been rumored in the past 72 hours. New York is apparently leery of Kristaps Porzingis because of the memories fans have of Frederic Weis, a bust that still hangs over everyone 16 years later. It’s all incredible. No one knows what the Knicks are going to do, because gauging the Knicks’ intentions is something that usually ends poorly for everyone.

6. Someone Threw a Brownie at Knicks Executives

Analysis: In the Karl section, I said that his Nuggets interest was the second-best story of draft week. This is obviously the best.

5. Rumor: Porzingis Is God

Analysis: This isn’t really a rumor, but it’s included here because it might be my favorite scouting report ever. Right up there with DeShawn Stevenson’s. Part of me wishes that the Porzingis era would never really begin. We could just spend the next 15 years dreaming of what he might be, and Danny Chau could keep writing these pieces until it turned into his personal A Song of Ice and Fire series. Alas, it all ends tonight.

Whoever drafts him should redo this commercial starring Kristaps:

And then immediately book the best dinner ever:

4. The Rumor We Haven’t Even Thought Of

Analysis: It could be nothing. It could be anything. The best part about staying up Wednesday night to write this is knowing that there are 10 things coming Thursday that nobody has even considered.

3. Tough Love. Interesting Choice.

Analysis: See, it makes sense for the Cavs to bring back Kevin Love for at least next season. It makes sense for Love to stay and chase a ring, then go get paid even more next summer. Things got better as the year unfolded, and if he comes back healthy, next season could be a lot of fun. But that note above is why he’s probably gone.

If LeBron doesn’t want him there, Love won’t be there. Love, for his part, doesn’t seem to be doing a great job of mending fences — remember when he picked Westbrook for MVP? — and I’d hope that he’d have enough pride to move on if things don’t improve over the next month or so.

We’ll see. For now, I’m just enjoying this because LeBron’s pitch to Love is basically exactly what Pat Riley said when asked about recruiting LeBron last summer. And look how that turned out.

2. LaMarcus in Los Angeles

Analysis: L.A. in L.A. Love to Portland. Danny Ainge trades for Bledsoe somehow. Knicks draft Porzingis. Nikola Milutinov rockets up teams’ boards. I don’t even know what’s happening anymore.

1. BOOGIE IN LOS ANGELES

Analysis: Here’s why it’s possible: The Kings and George Karl have taken all kinds of heat over the past week, and some of it is definitely fair. The firing of Mike Malone remains inexplicable, and hiring Karl to replace him was just as puzzling. If Boogie hadn’t gotten viral meningitis last November, maybe none of this ever would have happened. But we’re here, and the Kings are dealing with a superstar who’s always been a pain in the ass and now pretty openly wants out. Maybe Boogie was never the biggest problem with the Kings, but so far, he hasn’t been the solution. Rumor has it that Rudy Gay doesn’t want to play with him, and Boogie apparently spent last year bullying Nik Stauskas. It’s not that crazy to trade him.

The argument to keep Cousins is much easier to make in a vacuum where everyone else on your payroll doesn’t dread having to work with him every day. Of course, having said all of that, I can’t really blame Boogie for being moody and miserable in Sacramento. He deserves better than this. The situation is a disaster, and it’s been like this since his rookie year. The one time things looked like they were working, the Kings fired his coach.

Now comes the important part: BOOGIE MIGHT FINALLY BE FREE.

For the Lakers, giving up something like Julius Randle and the no. 2 pick makes sense — keeping Randle was always a stretch if they were going to take Okafor — and gambling on Boogie’s talent is just as smart. Just because he was doomed with the Kings doesn’t mean he’s doomed everywhere. Want to find out whether Boogie was the problem in Sacramento? Want to see what he looks like playing for a real team? Want to see him motivated for an entire year? Throw him in there with Kobe and see what happens.

It’s so crazy, you can’t really trust anyone who doesn’t love it. Except Kings fans — they are likely disgusted by all of this given their history with the Lakers, and rightfully so. But the roots of all this go back to Vivek, Pete D’Alessandro, and now, amazingly, Vlade Divac. Deep down, anyone who loves DeMarcus Cousins knows he’s better off somewhere else. We’ll see.

It’s still a long shot, but the Lakers have been making power plays like this for the past 40 years, and there’s a chance at another one here. It makes just enough sense. Then, who knows? LaMarcus? Love? Rondo for cheap? The best part of rumor season is that anything is possible. And in a week that was already nuts, we have one of the most insane trade sagas in years to push it to another level.

Now it’s time for the draft.

(H/T: Reddit/Flip Saunders/The One True King Kristaps Porzingis)

Filed Under: 2015 NBA Draft, NBA, demarcus cousins, Mario Elie, Orlando Magic, Nikola Milutinov, Philadelphia 76ers, Charlotte Hornets, Frank Kaminsky, New Orleans Pelicans, Oklahoma City Thunder, Denver Nuggets, New York Knicks, Dallas Mavericks, Monta Ellis, Dwyane Wade, Kevin Love, Miami Heat, Cleveland Cavaliers, Atlanta Hawks, Boston Celtics, Washington Wizards, LaMarcus Aldridge, Portland Trail Blazers, Phoenix Suns, eric bledsoe, George Karl, Sacramento Kings, DeAngelo Russel, Kristaps Porzingis, Los Angeles Lakers

Andrew Sharp is a staff editor at Grantland.

Archive @ andrewsharp