With exactly a month away from the 2016 NBA Draft which will be held in Brooklyn, rumors are swirling that both the Toronto Raptors and the Utah Jazz are willing to explore trades for their first round picks on June 23.
The Raptors have currently tied the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference Finals at 2-games apiece. They will be picking ninth in the draft thanks to the Denver Nuggets and according to general manager Masai Ujiri they could either get a player who could bolster their chances next season or use it to listen to trades from other teams. Otherwise, Ujiri described the coming draft as an exciting and curious one.
“Everyone talks about (the ninth pick) and yeah, it feels great, but now we have to make the pick,” Ujiri said. “Now we have to do something with it. Whether that makes the pick or trade the pick or whatever it is, I think this is a good, good asset for our organization and something else to add to what we already have.”
Ujiri described their road to the draft as an exciting one as he has to call colleagues from other teams to know how they do things for the draft and have to visit Chicago for the workouts and NBA Combine plus the injection of European players as well. Not to mention that they have to be with the team as they hit the road once again for the Eastern Conference finals in Cleveland.
“It’s a great problem to have, trust me. It’s a unique one because it’s my first time being a part of this and it’s very cool. We were shuttling back and forth to Chicago (and the NBA’s draft combine earlier this month) and I had to call R.C. (Buford, the San Antonio general manager) and I called a couple of other guys who are used to it to find out how you do it because there’s Europe, there’s workout, there’s talking to agents and all that stuff going on and you have to figure out a way,”: Ujiri explains.
He added that together with the team’s executive vice-president Jeff Weltman, director of player personnel Dan Tolzman and the team’s scouts, they have to find time wherein they could sit down and discuss the possibilities of which candidate would best suit their team.
On the other hand, the Utah Jazz is picking 12th overall in the first round of the draft and with their dismal performance this season, they are looking at possibilities of making a trade bolster their chances of making it to the postseason next year. As ESPN’s Zach Lowe describes it, the Jazz is looking for a solid point guard and a versatile wingman that would suit their need.
“For the second straight year, rival execs expect Utah to quietly gauge the market for its lottery pick in search of veteran help at point guard or on the wing. And for the second straight year, Utah will have trouble finding a player under the right sort of contract, and in the right age range, to make a deal worthwhile,” Lowe writes.
The Jazz are hoping that they could get trades out of their 12th pick for the draft and hopes to even get a solid free agent who could carry the load for the team in a better finish next season. Both the Raptors and the Jazz hope that their picks could go their way and help them in the coming season as other teams are also bolstering their respective rosters.
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