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Word on the Street: Thomas Visits Houston, Minnesota (Update: 12:57)

Word on the Street: Thomas Visits Houston, Minnesota (Update: 12:57)
Jun 23, 2006, 06:05 pm
Tyrus Thomas flew into Houston today for measurements and an interview, DraftExpress learned today. Thomas' agent Brian Elfus would not deny nor confirm the visit, stating that he has "no comment." Thomas flew in from Baton Rouge for a brief visit and flew back to Louisiana just a few hours later. Thomas did not workout for the Rockets due to a groin injury he suffered earlier this week in Chicago.

Rumors of a trade between Portland and Houston are likely the reason for Thomas' visit today. Both teams are reportedly in discussions for swapping their picks (#4 for #8), but the exact details are still unknown. Further confirming the fact that Houston is serious about trading up is the fact that the Rockets will bring in Brandon Roy on Saturday as well.

Thomas was seeking assurances that the Chicago Bulls will draft him with the #2 pick, but has received nothing of that nature at this point.

Update: 6:50 DraftExpress has learned that the Trailblazers are asking the Rockets to take on the contract of Darius Miles in return for Juwan Howard and the swapping of picks. A proposal made a few days ago by Portland a few days ago involed trading Darius Miles and the #30 and #31 picks in return for Juwan Howard and the #8 pick. That offer was rejected by Houston and the teams have gone back to the drawing board.

Update #2: (9:45 PM) DraftExpress was informed by multiple sources that Tyrus Thomas also conducted a “very private meeting" with the Timberwolves on Wednesday at the Target Center, further confirming the notion that he is still searching for a floor if the Bulls decide to go in another direction with the #2 pick.




James White to LA at #26?

James White returned to Los Angeles today for his 2nd workout with the Lakers, a source confirmed to DraftExpress. The workout was “extremely competitive,” according to one source in the gym and “one of the longer ones the Lakers have conducted so far,” according to another. White worked out with British power forward Joel Freeland, Stanford senior Dan Grunfeld and another unnamed big man. Our source in the gym went on to say that White “shot the lights out” and “dunked on the big men repeatedly.” He emphasized his “ridiculous” leaping ability time and time again and mentioned that he “can’t imagine how anyone can be more athletic than him.” The Lakers got a good look at how the players might fit in their Triangle offense with the various drills they ran, and White’s passing and ball-handling skills tested out extremely well. White measured out at 6-7 1/2 in shoes with a 7-foot wingspan. Lakers owner Dr. Jerry Buss made a rare appearance at the workout and was reportedly impressed, as were GM Mitch Kupchak and Head Coach Phil Jackson. According to one of our readers, both Kupchak and Jackson were on separate LA radio shows today talking about the need for drafting an athletic wing with defensive skills that has the ability to shoot the three, with Kupchak mentioning looking at a 4 year player. White fits the ball for all of those needs and is a great fit for the Triangle offense due to his point forward skills, having played quite a bit of point for Cincinnati over the past three years.

White is reportedly looked at as a first round talent by the various shoe companies, and is on the verge of landing a 6 figure contract. His first class athleticism makes him potentially one of the more marketable players in this draft class.

To get a visual of why the shoe companies covet his feet, take a look at the following 3 ½ minute highlight reel we dug up on Youtube.com




Bargnani Slipping?

Teams drafting in the mid-late lottery are scrambling at the moment to do as much research as they can on young Italian star Andrea Bargnani. Multiple sources tonight informed us that teams drafting 7-10 are going into the draft process assuming he may slip to them, and are preparing for the option that he is there.

It’s been widely assumed since the news that Maurizio Gherardini will be hired by the Raptors broke before the NBA Draft lottery that the Raptors will be targeting Bargnani in the draft. That all happened before the Raptors won the #1 overall pick, though. Since then, it was assumed that Toronto will trade down to the 3rd or 4th spot in the draft and acquire another piece to the puzzle in the process.

What has happened is that as the trade waters have begun to freeze up lately between Toronto, Charlotte and Portland, and it’s no longer become a given that the Raptors won’t be selecting first overall.

With that in mind, there are question marks whether Bargnani has value that high in the draft, which could force Raptors GM Bryan Colangelo to look elsewhere, particularly at LaMarcus Aldridge or Adam Morrison. If Bargnani does not get drafted by the Raptors (whether at #1, #3 or #4), there is no telling just how far he could fall, which has teams in the mid-late lottery preparing for the option that he falls. Teams like Charlotte, Portland, Atlanta and Minnesota already appear to have their draft boards set with the prospects they covet, and Bargnani’s name is not featured as high as some others.

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