Follow the Sonics off and on the court with reporters Percy Allen and Jayda Evans.
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June 24, 2008 7:24 PM
Posted by Percy Allen
ESPN senior writer Andy Katz reported Tuesday night the Miami Heat could pull off a shocker and select USC guard O.J. Mayo with the No. 2 pick.
That would be a stunner considering the Chicago Bulls, which has the top pick, are telling Kansas State forward Michael Beasley that he's still in the running with Memphis guard Derrick Rose for the No.1 spot.
If the Heat does the unexpected and take Mayo, then Minnesota, which picks third, will have to resort to Plan B. The Timberwolves hope to draft Mayo, but if he's off the board they'l have to take a long look at Stanford center Brook Lopez or one of the top combo guards such as Arizona's Jerryd Bayless and Indiana's Eric Gordon.
Beasley doesn't make sense for Minnesota. Even though he shrunk at the combine (he's listed at 6-10, but is actually 6-7 without shoes and 6-8 1/4 with shoes) he's still a NBA power forward and that position belongs to potential All-Star Al Jefferson in Minnesota.
The folks in the Sonics War Room at the Furtado Center - not to mention Kevin Durant - would be ecastic if events unfolded like this on draft day. Durant and Beasley are childhood friends. During an interview a few weeks ago, Durant told me he loves Beasley and thinks of him as a brother.
A part of me thinks the Heat are posturing, which is an annual draft gimmick. It's no secret Miami President Pat Riley has doubts about Beasley, however, it wouldn't be unlike Riley to plant a story in an attempt to lure T-Wolves GM Kevin McHale into a trade offer for the No. 2 pick.
Over the next two days, we'll hear lots of crazy rumors and some involving the Sonics. Rumors on Tuesday and Wednesday tend to have no merit. Rumors on Thursday, however, are more legitimate so stay tuned.
After meeting with the media Tuesday, Sonics GM Sam Presti didn't divulge any secrets. It's his second year as GM, but he's quickly developed a heckuva poker face. He smiles, answers questions and says nothing.
Much more interesting than Presti's opinion on the draft were his opinions on Robert Swift, Mouhamed Sene and Mickael Gelabale.
Quick reminder. Swift played just eight games while recovering from right knee surgery. He tore meniscus in the knee and underwent surgery on March 4. Sene had microfracture surgery on his right knee after tearing his lateral meniscus April 4. Gelabale tore his right ACL on March. 18.
According to Presti: "Robert was in today. He looks good and continues to work toward getting back on the floor. He's made steady progress. Mo is the same thing. He's worked hard on his rehab. He's been very diligent and has been in the weight room just about every day, which has been kind of interesting because we've been bringing all of these draft prospects in and he's in there working out. Nick (Collison) is in working out. ... But Mo's been a regular. He looks good and getting strong. And then Gelly is obviously overseas, but things have progressed for him as well and he's rehabbing over there."
Presti said he's "still evaluating" when asked about their futures. Swift and Gelabale have contracts that expire July 1. Sene has a roster spot next year and will make $2.2 million next season.
Since Gelabale, a second-round pick in 2005, has returned home and he won't be available for training camp, he's unlikely to return. In two seasons, he averaged 4.5 points and 2.1 rebounds.
Obviously if the Sonics draft a center, Swift's days are numbered. Even if they don't take a center, the team isn't likely to re-sign him and save $3.6 million.
If I were GM, I'd let Swift walk and try to sign with another team, which will be next to impossible because nobody wants an unproven center recovering from knee surgeries who hasn't played in two years. Then the Supes can re-sign Swift - if they have a roster spot - just before camp for the veteran's minimum and a one-year, incentive-laden contract.
It's cold and heartless, but it's the smart move.
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