Buchanan: Portland 'open' to trade possibilities
The ping-pong balls rolled out nicely for the Trail Blazers in the NBA draft lottery Wednesday night at New York.
Portland received the No. 6 and No. 11 picks in the June 28 draft, getting the former selection from Brooklyn in the midseason Gerald Wallace trade.
The choice from the Nets was protected through the first three picks in 2012, meaning the Nets would have kept it had they landed Nos. 1 through 3 and Portland wouldn't have gotten a pick from them until at least next year.
'It was a little nerve-racking as it went down to who was in the top three and who was not,' said Chad Buchanan, Portland's acting general manager.
The Blazers are open to trading one or both of the draft picks if it would reap a veteran they covet.
'We feel fortunate to have the opportunity to potentially add two young players through the draft,' Buchanan said. 'But this also opens up trade possibilities. We need to add talent to our roster. We're looking for any creative way we can to go about helping our team.'
Buchanan said if the Blazers choose to keep the No. 6 pick, they won't worry about position.
'When you pick that high, it's better to go with the best player available,' he said. 'Some guys are more (NBA) ready than others, but (at No. 6) there are some options there of guys who are ready to start right away.'
New Orleans, slotted fourth going into the lottery, got the top prize with the No. 1 pick.
'We're blessed to be in this position,' said New Orleans coach Monty Williams, the former Blazer assistant. 'It's great for the city and the state of Louisiana. We're really excited right now.'
Charlotte, which had the greatest odds (25 percent) of drawing the top choice, will draft second, followed by Washington, Cleveland and Sacramento.
NOTES - The Blazers currently hold the sixth, 11th, 40th and 41st picks in the draft. ... The No. 6 pick commands a cap hold of $2,554,200; the 11th pick $1,772,100. Each player can sign for as much as 120 percent of that figure under the rookie pay scale. ... two teams own a pair of lottery picks: Portland and New Orleans (No. 1 and 10). ... LaMarcus Aldridge is in Dallas recuperating from hip surgery earlier in the month. He is not expected to participate with the U.S. Olympic team this summer, but is optimistic about being 100 percent by the start of the Blazers' training camp in October. ... Elliot Williams is in Portland recovering from right shoulder surgery and is expected to be at full strength for training camp. Blazer executives have asked him to be with the team's entry at the Las Vegas Summer League, though he won't play in games. ... Wesley Matthews said he will play 'a few games' with the Portland entry at the Las Vegas Summer League. 'I want to be there at practice, be with the new guys, the younger guys,' the veteran guard said. 'I'm going to go out and compete with them.'
Order for the June 28 NBA draft:
1. New Orleans
6. Portland (from Brooklyn)
7. Golden State
10. New Orleans (from Minnesota)