By Daron Grandberry on July 3, 2014
The 2014 NBA Draft saw its share of surprises, trades and picks that left some people scratching their heads. With free agency officially underway, here's a list of 10 available players who were impacted by the draft.
Just because the Utah Jazz selected Dante Exum doesn’t mean Hayward isn’t in their future. But if history is any indication of things to come, the Jazz are unlikely to fork over the big dollars for the sharp shooter. The selection of shooting guard Rodney Hood with the 23rd pick makes more sense if Hayward isn’t brought back.
Both Pau Gasol and the Los Angeles Lakers struggled to co-exist last season under former head coach Mike D’Antoni. With the selection of Kentucky standout Julius Randle, the Lakers now have a young forward to build around. Although undersized, Randle’s tenacity and physicality is something Laker fans have loathed Gasol for lacking. Can the two co-exist?
After a less than impressive season, Thabo Sefolosha may be the odd man out in Oklahoma City. With Reggie Jackson emerging as a key piece to the Thunder’s future and the selection of former Stanford forward Josh Huestis with the 29th pick, the Thunder may have found a less expensive replacement for Sefolosha.
Channing Frye didn’t miss a beat last season after returning to the floor from an enlarged heart. Frye was pretty productive for the Suns, averaging 11 points and five rebounds while playing in all 82 games. However, with the Morris twins under contract and the addition of scoring forward T.J. Warren, Frye may be packing his bags this summer.
With rumors of Paul Pierce re-uniting with former head coach Doc Rivers in Los Angeles, Danny Granger is all but gone. The Clippers were pretty much renting the former All-Star last season and Granger struggled to get on the court. With the addition of shooting guard C.J. Wilcox with the 28th pick, the Clippers added another outside threat, something Granger is not.
One of the reasons why the Cleveland Cavaliers traded for the cagy veteran was his expiring contract. Although the Cavs may have given away a bunch of draft picks for nothing, I’m pretty sure they’re content with the younger Andrew Wiggins. Cleveland proved to be a terrible fit for Deng, who could be looking to sign with a contender.
Despite an injury plagued season, Eric Bledsoe flourished under head coach Jeff Hornacek. Although Bledsoe averaged a career-high 17.7 PPG and 5.5 APG, the Suns already have another starting guard in Goran Dragic. With Bledsoe expected to attract big offers, Phoenix selected point guard Tyler Ennis as insurance. Don’t be too surprised if Bledsoe is on the move.
Mario Chalmers picked the wrong time to play poorly last season. After helping the Heat win two NBA titles, the unrestricted free agent fell out of Erik Spoelstra’s rotation during the playoffs. Although Chalmers is known to hit big shots, his poor decision making often works against him. With the addition of Shabazz Napier, Chalmers’ days in Miami may be over.
What LeBron James wants, LeBron James gets? After expressing his interest in former Connecticut guard Shabazz Napier during the NBA Draft, Pat Riley and the Miami Heat traded for the 6-foot scoring guard. With the addition of Napier, the Heat can now pursue a serviceable big-man or another free agent to entice the Big 3 to stay.
No one has been impacted by the NBA Draft more than free agent Jameer Nelson. After trading for rookie point guard Elfrid Payton, the Orlando Magic finally pulled the plug on Nelson by waiving the 10-year veteran. It’s been no secret that the Magic have been trying to rid themselves of Jameer Nelson for years. With a young Payton at the helm, the Magic finally severed ties with the veteran.
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