SI.com's NBA draft day blog (cont.)
8 p.m.: With the Vince Carter trade earlier today, it's interesting that his name was brought up with USC guard DeMar DeRozan during interviews on Wednesday with the prospective draftees. DeRozan was asked about the comparisons between Carter and him. "I remember when Vince Carter came into the league and how he affected the NBA," said DeRozan. "It seemed like he brought the excitement back to the league. Everybody wanted to see Vince Carter. Everybody fell in love with Vince Carter. I think a lot of people look at me like that and I consider that an honor." -- Richard Deitsch
7:51 p.m.: I spoke some to a couple of college students-cum Knick fans in the rafters. Steven Jones, 19, and J.J.Dean, 18, traveled into the city from Garrison and Poughkeepsie, towns in the suburbs north of the city. They woke up at 5 a.m. to get $15 seats to the draft. "I want the Knicks to take Stephen Curry," said J.J. "He's talented and a star and everyone loves him." Both guys said they would boo if the Knicks didn't get who they wanted. So if Ricky Rubio or Gerald Henderson get picked, you'll be hearing boos from their seats. That said, it's clear that most of the Knicks fans here want Rubio. -- Richard Deitsch
7:35 p.m.: Theater fans already getting on Blake Griffin. "Blake is soft...Blake is soft." -- Richard Deitsch
7:22 p.m.: The crowd chanted "Jeff Van Gundy, Jeff Van Gundy" when the former Knicks coach was introduced by ESPN (On Sirius XM Radio this afternoon, Van Gundy ended any notion of coaching college basketball by calling the game a "cesspool. The agents have overtaken major college basketball. At least in the NBA we all pay our players and it's above board. I have no interest in coaching college.")
Strangely, not a lot of reaction from the Theater crowd to the announcement of the Vince Carter trade. Shows you that the Nets have no traction outside of New Jersey. Not surprisingly, chants of "We want Ricky," "We want Ricky" went through the auditorium when Spanish sensation Ricky Rubio appeared on the big screen. Knicks fans (and coach Mike D'Antoni) can dream. -- Richard Deitsch
7:09 p.m.: The Trail Blazers and Nets are discussing a trade involving Portland point guard Sergio Rodriguez, a league source told SI.com. In addition to their planned acquisition of Rodriguez, the Nets were discussing a bold final-hour move that would package All-Star point guard Devin Harris and the No. 11 pick to Minnesota for the No. 5 pick. These talks were described by a league source as "shaky'' but ongoing. -- Ian Thomsen
7:04 p.m.: They were hawking "LeBron James Knicks 2010" outside the Theater at Madison Square Garden (price $10) tonight, which gives you an idea of the buzz on the draft. The crowd is slowly filing in -- more corporate suits than diehards. Tickets for the draft went for $15 but you had to arrive at the Garden long before sunrise to have any shot at them. As far as the fashion goes, we'll channel our inner-Armani late, but No. 1 overall-pick-to-be Blake Griffin opted for a conservative dark suit with a purple shirt and purple tie. Not exactly Dwight Howard when it comes to No. 1 overall pick style. -- Richard Deitsch
VC TO ORLANDO: The Magic reportedly have acquired seven-time All-Star Vince Carter from the Nets.
MORE ON THE CARTER DEAL: Assuming the deal that would send rookie Courtney Lee, point guard Rafer Alston and veteran big man Tony Battie to New Jersey in exchange for Vince Carter is consummated, it would be yet another one-sided deal in terms of basketball talent: The Magic would receive the superior player in Carter while providing the Nets with relief from the $51 million over the three years remaining on Carter's contract.
Carter, at age 32, had one of his best seasons with New Jersey while showing newfound leadership skills. If the Magic were able to retain free agent Hedo Turkoglu this summer, he would return next season to an Orlando lineup replete with four All-Stars in Carter, Dwight Howard, Rashard Lewis and Jameer Nelson.
New Jersey would receive a solid swingman in Lee in addition to the flexibility provided by Alston and Battie, whose contracts expire in 2010 for cap relief amounting to nearly $12 million. -- Ian Thomsen
POINT-GUARD FALLOUT WILL TAKE YEARS: The Great Point Guard Debate will not end in a few hours. This will be an issue to be tracked for years, actually, to see how the pack thinned out in a draft loaded with ball handlers, and particularly because some prospects will go high in the lottery without much experience getting the ball to others.
Stephen Curry, Tyreke Evans and Jrue Holiday are a debate unto themselves, guys with limited or no experience as distributors who are projected to run the point in the NBA. Maybe Jeff Teague is in there, as well, though he handled the job all season for Wake Forest and has an outside chance to break the lottery compared to Curry, Evans and Holiday as automatics. Curry was also the starting point guard in 2008-09, but he took 320 more shots than other Davidson player and was not exactly living a past-first world.
Holiday is the biggest unknown in that regard, and therefore the biggest risk. He played one year at UCLA, in the structured offense of Ben Howland and with Darren Collison, likely to land somewhere between the end of the first round and the first 10 or 12 picks of the second round tonight, as the point guard. At least Curry had a lot of decision-making moments, and Evans had the ball in his hands a fair amount. Holiday, though, is considered the best defender of the group and someone with a good chance to make an impact in that area in the NBA as well.
The opinions of three front-office veterans, when asked which of the pseudo-point guards will have the best career:
One: "I would say Curry is the safest one. He'll be very solid. But the best actual point guard of those guys -- Holiday. He's most natural as a point guard."
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