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Miller/#6 for Miles/#8/#12?

http://chicagosports.chicagotribune.com/sports/basketball/bulls/cs-020624smith.column?coll=cs-bulls-headlines

There's usually a theme to NBA drafts. Last June it was the Year of the Kid as four of the top eight picks were high schoolers. This was to be the Year of the Visitor with as many as four lottery picks, including projected No. 1 selection Yao Ming, needing visas.

A look at the top talent for Wednesday's NBA draft suggests six of the top 10 picks could play the same position. It could be the Year of the Power Forward.

But as draft day approaches, this could become the Year of the Traded Point Guard. Talks heated up Monday, but the Hornets denied rumors about a deal involving Baron Davis.

There were indications Cleveland's Andre Miller could be close to being dealt to the Clippers.

Talks continued Monday about several possibilities, the most likely having Miller and the No. 6 pick going to the Clippers for Darius Miles and the No. 8 pick and perhaps No. 12.

The Cavs also were looking to unload some salaries on the Clippers. Also, Memphis was said to want to drop down from No. 4 by perhaps getting the two Clippers picks.

Looking to move up as well to get a power forward was Phoenix, while the Wizards were said to be angling for guard DuJuan Wagner. That also produced talk in Washington that the Wizards planned to make another run at the Bulls' Jamal Crawford.

Michael Jordan, who practiced with Crawford last summer, was said to again be interested in a big point guard like Crawford, and the Wizards don't think they can get one in the draft.

The Bulls have been saying they don't intend to deal Crawford, but they have yet to receive an offer from the Wizards.

Crawford could be valuable for the Bulls playing with Jay Williams, if Williams is available at No. 2. But if Williams wins the training-camp battle to start, the question is whether Crawford can fit happily into a dual guard role even though there figures to be enough playing time for both.

Getting a top point guard in the draft is considered a coup, but these drafts often come down to being lucky.

The Bulls were lucky in 1984 when Portland passed on Michael Jordan for Sam Bowie. The Magic was lucky in 1992 when it hit the lottery and got the No. 1 pick when Shaquille O'Neal was eligible. The Lakers were luckier the Magic couldn't figure out how to keep O'Neal. And the Spurs were lucky a David Robinson injury dropped them into the lottery and the balls fell their way in 1997 when Tim Duncan was ready to come to the NBA.

The Bulls weren't lucky the two times they had three first-round picks, 1989 and 2000. Those were regarded as two of the poorest drafts in NBA history. There isn't a single player from the 1989 draft regarded as a future Hall of Famer. Likewise 2000, as rookie of the year Mike Miller already is being shopped around in deals.

The Bulls would be luckier if they had another first-round pick this season, and the Wizards reportedly are willing to deal their No. 1 pick, which is 11th.

Overall, this draft looks like it could produce some top talent, especially at power forward.

"It's not a draft of impact players, but I think it's pretty deep," Bucks general manager Ernie Grunfeld said. "It's a draft of younger players. It's strong at the top at the forward position."
 
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