The 2016 NBA Draft is less than one month away, and there are plenty of news and rumors swirling around the top prospects in the draft. We're also approaching a crucial deadline, as Wednesday is the last day early entrants can withdraw and return to school. Here's everything you need to know about the NBA Draft:
Celtics willing to draft project
The Celtics haven't been shy about their desire to acquire a superstar to help turn their core group - which earned the No. 5 seed in the Eastern Conference this year - into a legitimate title contender. Many expect them to draft a player with the No. 3 pick that can contribute right away (if they keep it), but team president Danny Ainge says that's not necessarily the case.
“I can’t talk about any players in particular, but a player that is going to take time to develop or a player who may not come to the NBA for a year or two, if we feel he’s the best player we have to take him. We can’t let a player slip by us just because it doesn’t fulfill our immediate satisfaction, or the objective for the fans to see someone exciting,” Ainge said. “We have to pick the best player under any circumstance.
"There are too many examples of really good players that fans haven’t been excited about. When Kristaps Porzingis was drafted by New York, fans were booing all over the place and we didn’t understand. When I was in Phoenix and we drafted Steve Nash, we were booed.”
Boston has also been looking to trade the pick in a package deal for Chicago's Jimmy Butler, Indiana's Paul George or Sacramento's DeMarcus Cousins. If they do keep the pick, they are favoring Maccabi Tel Aviv PF Dragan Bender.
Raptors looking to trade No. 9 pick?
Toronto is just two wins away from being in the NBA Finals, yet they still hold a top 10 pick in the draft thanks to a trade with the Nuggets. They are looking at all of the top prospects, but because they're looking for a player that can help their roster next year, they are listening to trade offers.
“Everyone talks about (the ninth pick) and yeah, it feels great, but now we have to make the pick,” general manager Masai Ujiri said. “Now we have to do something with it. Whether that is make 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.”
Jazz want to trade No. 12 pick
Utah is another team with a young core that has been on the cusp of making the playoffs for two years in a row, and that is driving them to explore trade offers for the No. 12 pick, according to ESPN's Zach Lowe.
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.
Several prospects declare draft intentions
Here's the latest news involving prospects deciding to stay in the draft or withdraw ahead of Wednesday's deadline:
UC Irvine 7-6 junior Mamadou Ndiaye told ESPN that he will remain in the NBA Draft and forgo his final season of college eligibility.— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) May 24, 2016
San Diego State's Malik Pope told ESPN he will withdraw from the NBA Draft and return to school.— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) May 24, 2016
Isaiah Whitehead has NBA workouts scheduled for after Wednesday, source tells @SNYtv. Deadline is Wednesday.— Adam Zagoria (@AdamZagoria) May 24, 2016
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NBA scout on Kentucky's Isaiah Briscoe and Marcus Lee: 'Neither one of them is ready. They both need to go back to school'— Adam Zagoria (@AdamZagoria) May 23, 2016