CHICAGO If you haven’t already, you’ll read a lot on the Internet the next two weeks about how the Charlotte Bobcats are “shopping” the No. 2 pick.
I don’t like the word “shopping.” It reminds me of want ads to sell a 2003 Accord: “Call with best offer! Gently driven!”
That’s not what this is. I suspect the Bobcats are more likely to keep their pick than trade it because that’s usually what happens with such a high pick. But if they weren’t exploring their options, particularly in their current situation, then it would be both newsworthy and troubling.
The day after the lottery, after the New Orleans Hornets jumped over the Bobcats for the right to draft Anthony Davis, I wrote that they had to be creative to maximize the second pick, either in who they took or exploiting it as a commodity. A few days later Bobcats general manager Rich Cho said the following to me:
“As we whittle down the choices, there will be a couple of guys we really like. And there will be a lot of options: Trading back? Trading out?’’
I should hope so. And I’m confident they’ll listen with an open mind to whatever they hear. But the No. 2 pick won’t be traded for a suckling pig and three magic beans.
I’m intrigued by the idea that the Memphis Grizzlies might part with Rudy Gay, in part to manage their salary cap. Owner Michael Heisley said the Grizzlies aren’t looking to trade Gay “right now” but that’s less than a compelling denial.
Under the new collective bargaining agreement, there will be opportunities for teams well below the cap (the Bobcats can create up to $21 million). That’s because teams over the luxury tax will be punished more harshly. But would the Bobcats take on the $50 million-plus Gay is still owed over the next three seasons?
We’ll see. I’ll tell you this: Gay should have been the Bobcats’ pick in 2006 when they chose Adam Morrison. He’s more talented than any player in Bobcats history. On a team with a vista of needs, he’d be a start.
Cookie monster: Connecticut center Andre Drummond is a fascinating case. He has the ideal frame for an NBA big man and he sent every signal in his only college season for teams to beware.
He’s trying to dig out from that, and I cautiously liked what I saw from him at the draft combine.
Drummond lost 22 pounds from his playing weight at UConn. He attributes that to Spartan 6 a.m. workouts. Then I asked, “No, what did you cut out of your diet?”
“Sugary stuff, I love cookies,” Drummond explained, showing up with 7.5 percent body fat and 279 pounds over a 7-footer’s body.
Drummond looked disinterested and ineffectual in that one college season with the Huskies. But he explained the problem well Friday.
The Huskies were transitioning from the team that won the national championship to…what? Several key veterans slipped in and out of the lineup with injuries. Coach Jim Calhoun missed part of the season with a health issue. There was no continuity and that left a heralded freshman confused and struggling.
More interesting, I asked Drummond how much Connecticut having to sit out the 2013 postseason (for failing to reach NCAA academic standards) made his decision to turn pro. Not at all, Drummond said.
“I felt I need to compete with tougher players,” Drummond said. “I can learn a whole lot (from NBA big men). I can go ask them questions when I don’t know.”
I don’t know whether Drummond should be the No. 2 pick. But I believed him that he’s learning to apply himself.
Odd couple: Bold prediction concerning stars with local ties — I think North Carolina’s Harrison Barnes will join Duke’s Kyrie Irving on the perimeter for the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Despite the obvious rivalry angle, Irving and Barnes are close friends. Barnes hired Irving’s agent, Jeff Wechsler, who might be one of the classiest guys in a not-so-classy business.
The Cavs, with the No. 4 pick, need a wing scorer. Barnes needs a creative point guard who can find him when he’s open, because he’s deficient in creating his own shot. It’s such an obvious marriage, so something will probably screw up a good story.