The 2022 NBA Draft is just a few hours away, and the rumor mill is in overdrive as teams try to figure out how to add star players, move up in the first round, clear out unwanted salary, etc.
ESPN's "2022 NBA Draft Preview" show asked its panel Wednesday night to give a bold prediction for the upcoming draft.
NBA rumors: Latest trade buzz on Collins, Beal and more entering draft
Insider Adrian Wojnarowski's "bold prediction" was particularly interesting given the excitement that player and draft pick movement creates.
"A lot of trades," Wojnarowski said. "Listen, trades are the new free agency this time of year. You're seeing fewer and fewer impact players going into free agency. They're signing extensions, and then they enter the transfer portal when they want out and ask for a trade.
"So I think you're going to see, with lots of teams with multiple draft picks and teams knowing their best chance to improve is not going to be in July in free agency, it's going to be around the draft with trades. I think we're going to see a lot of them (Thursday) night."
We've already seen one notable trade this week.
The Portland Trail Blazers acquired forward Jerami Grant from the Detroit Pistons in exchange for a 2025 first-round pick on Wednesday. The move creates salary cap space for the Pistons, who could be a landing spot for Phoenix Suns center DeAndre Ayton in a potential sign-and-trade.
The Los Angeles Clippers reportedly are shopping Luke Kennard, who led the league in 3-point shooting last season. A couple teams without first-round picks might look to trade back into Round 1. The Boston Celtics reportedly are among the teams with interest in the Golden State Warriors' first-round pick at No. 28 overall.
The stage is set for a fantastic first round of the NBA Draft, both in regards to the actual draft itself and the trade rumors/completed deals made throughout the night. No sports creates more offseason excitement than pro basketball.