With the draft approaching, it looks like teams are making moves. The Charlotte Bobcats acquired the #20 pick from the Nuggets. In return Denver will receive a future protected first round pick, and they also save some cap space this year (by not being forced to sign their draft pick). Similarly the Hornets traded their first round pick to Portland for cash. Grabbing the #27 pick gives the Blazers 5 picks this year, at least for now.
But the biggest trade of the pre-draft (for now) was made between Toronto and Indiana. The Pacers send their All Star Center Jermaine O’Neal for the #17 pick, T.J. Ford, Rasho Nesterovic, and another player that makes about $4M (Anthony Parker?). This trades marks two teams heading in different directions. The Raptors are looking to build around their star player Chris Bosh, and Jermaine O’Neal should make Toronto a better defensive team. If nothing else he’ll give the Raps an upgrade from the 1600+ minutes they got last year from Nesterovic and cut into the 1600+ minutes they gave to Bargnani. Meanwhile the Pacers finally decide to go full force into rebuild mode, and will compete for a lottery pick in 2009.