The rumor mill is kicking into gear in advance of Thursday's NBA draft. Here's a round-up of the most noteworthy trade rumors from Monday.
• ESPN.com: "Sources close to the situation told ESPN.com that the Chicago Bulls, in their latest attempt to gauge the trade value of All-Star swingman Luol Deng, have had exploratory discussions with Washington about a deal that would land Deng with the Wizards and bring the No. 3 pick in Thursday's draft to the Bulls. The most likely trade construction, if talks were to progress to the serious stage, would send Deng to the Wizards for the No. 3 pick and center Emeka Okafor, who would have to formally opt into his contract for next season ($14.5 million) this week for the trade to go through."
• Washington Post: "ESPN.com is reporting that the Bulls and Wizards have had exploratory talks about a trade that would also include sending center Emeka Okafor to Chicago. Okafor, according to the report, would have to formally opt in to his $14.5 million option this week for the deal to be completed. When informed of the report, one source said there was “no truth” to the rumored trade proposal for Deng."
• NBA.com: "You can put Luol Deng to the Wiz for [Emeka Okafor] and the third pick on ice. No chance."
• CSNBayArea.com: "League source: three veterans who are candidates to be in deals leading up to, or during NBA draft are the Bulls' Luol Deng, Pacers' Danny Granger and Blazers' Lamarcus Aldridge. The Cavs apparently have interest in Deng and he certainly would be a terrific role model and leader-by-example for a young squad; the Cavs also have a gaping hole at that position and if they have interest in vying for a playoff spot next season, a rookie out of this draft isn't going to move them appreciably closer. That said, there is skepticism that the Cavs are actually serious about parting with the No. 1 pick because they keep asking for assets as if it were the first pick in next year's draft."
• Boston Globe: "The Cleveland Cavaliers are interested in the possibility of acquiring Celtics forward Paul Pierce, a league source confirmed to the Globe Monday, and reportedly the Cavaliers have discussed the possibility of offering multiple second-round draft picks in exchange for him. However, the source told the Globe any talks are very much in the preliminary stages."
• Cleveland Plain-Dealer: "According to a report in SheridanHoops.com, the Cavaliers have been discussing a trade with the Mavericks that would send Shawn Marion to Cleveland, while the Cavaliers would also swap their No. 19 pick for Dallas' No. 13 pick. Not so, said an NBA source with knowledge of the trade talks. At least for now, Marion has not been a part of the discussion."
• ESPNDallas.com: "Sources insisted to ESPNDallas.com that the Mavericks -- as of Monday -- are not looking to move Marion. And if that changes this week in connection with Thursday's draft, Dallas must go directly to Marion and ask him to opt into the final season of contract, which does give the 35-year-old some measure of input into his fate. 'Not a single discussion,' owner Mark Cuban told ESPNDallas.com last week."
• Star-Tribune: "There has been a lot of talk about the Wolves trading Derrick Williams, who might have been playing the best of anyone on the roster at the end of last season. Does [Timberwolves owner Glen] Taylor see any reason to move him? 'There are teams that have called us and asked us if we are going to trade him, but I think that everybody saw the same thing that you saw, including the coach,' Taylor said. 'Once we got him out on the floor and he had a chance to play, he started to play better. We have to remember that he still a very young man and a player that has a lot of potential. So we may trade somebody on our team, but it’s not going to be [him], unless it really would help our team.'” • Cleveland Plain-Dealer: "Asked what the chances were of the Cavs being able to trade the No. 1 pick, another Eastern Conference executive said, 'Probably wouldn't get much.' Added a Western Conference executive: 'The only way a trade gets done is when there's a consensus No. 1. Not only is there no consensus No. 1 right now, there's no consensus No. 2, 3, 4 or 5 right now. Nobody knows that the draft order is.'"