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Report: Wizards weren't only team interested in trading up for Oubre

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Report: Wizards weren't only team interested in trading up for Oubre

The Wizards weren't alone in trying to trade up for Kelly Oubre, Jr. in the 2015 NBA Draft, according to a report. 

Thursday's Sporting News profile of Oubre revealed that several other teams explored moving up for the Kansas product after he fell out of the top ten.

Oubre was the 15th pick in this year’s NBA draft, taken by the Wizards after they were able to work out a deal with the Hawks. Oubre was high on the board of several lottery teams, including the Hornets at No. 9 and Heat at No. 10, but when he slipped into the teens, there was a clamor from teams to move up and grab him.

Boston likely would have taken him at No. 16, a source said, and once the Celtics failed to get Charlotte’s pick, they tried to move up for Oubre. Several other teams had interest, and a source told Sporting News that the Rockets (with the 18th pick) were trying to move up, too. But it wasn’t until Oubre’s agent, Nima Namakian, got a text message from Wizards vice president Tommy Sheppard on draft night, telling him that the Hawks had agreed to a deal, that Oubre finally knew how his situation would pan out.

Both Boston and Houston owned higher first-round picks than Washington at No. 19, but the Wizards put together the most attractive offer. They sent the Hawks the No. 19 pick (Jerian Grant, subsequently traded to the Knicks for Tim Hardaway, Jr.) as well as their second-round picks in 2016 and 2019. 

The team's decision to move up for Oubre rather than waiting until 19 makes more sense knowing the competition that existed for his services. 

Demand for 3-and-D players is higher than ever in the NBA. It's not surprising to learn that Washington faced challengers in pursuit of the athletic wing. 

MORE WIZARDS: Nene takes a quick trip down memory lane

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Chris Paul is reportedly recruiting LeBron James to the Rockets, which would change East dramatically

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Chris Paul is reportedly recruiting LeBron James to the Rockets, which would change East dramatically

Next to actually signing LeBron James himself, there is another scenario involving the NBA's best player that should sound great to Eastern Conference teams. That is if James decides to leave the conference altogether for a team in the West, and it sounds like Chris Paul is trying to make that dream come true.

Paul, according to ESPN, is actively recruiting James to join the Houston Rockets. The Rockets won an NBA-best 65 games in the 2017-18 season and fell one win short of reaching the NBA Finals.

Here is what Adrian Wojnarowski said as transcribed by Pro Basketball Talk:

Chris is going to return there. And listen, right now, Chris Paul’s focus isn’t so much on his own free agency. He’s trying to recruit LeBron James to Houston, and somebody close to him said to me he is as focused on recruiting LeBron as anything he’s done in this league. He wants to find a way.

There's no doubt Houston would give James an opportunity to contend and maybe even win championships. They were up 3-2 on the Warriors in the conference finals before losing the final two games. Paul missed the last two games of the series due to injury.

If the Rockets were that close without James, adding him would likely push them over the hump. Even with the Warriors being as good as they are, the Rockets would be a super team on a level rarely seen in NBA history. James and Rockets guard James Harden are the two frontrunners for MVP. Then there's Paul, a perennial All-NBA guard who is a surefire Hall of Famer once his playing days are over.

If James went West, that would break the streak of his teams winning the Eastern Conference playoff bracket eight years in a row. The conference would be more wide open than it has been in nearly a decade, giving teams like the Sixers, Celtics, Raptors, Wizards and others a better shot at reaching the Finals.

One alternative is James leaving Cleveland to form another titan within the East. That could happen if he goes to Philly or Boston or somewhere else with some pieces already in place. It's conceivable that James stays in the East and does so with a team that is much better than the Cavs squad he led to the Finals this past season.

On the face of it, James would probably be smart to not go to Houston. As good as the Rockets are and as stacked as they would be if he joined them, he would then subject himself to battling the Warriors in the conference finals or earlier. If winning is his No. 1 goal, he is better off continuing to dominate the East and focus on improving his chances of beating the Warriors once he sees them in the Finals.

Still, Paul can dream. And if James does go West, no one in the East will complain.

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Wizards Tipoff podcast: Full 2018 NBA Draft preview for Wizards fans, including an interview with Robert Williams

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Wizards Tipoff podcast: Full 2018 NBA Draft preview for Wizards fans, including an interview with Robert Williams

On the latest episode of the Wizards Tipoff podcast presented by Greenberg and Bederman, Chase Hughes and Chris Miller talked all things NBA Draft.

They gave their picks for the best options for the Wizards, the safest and riskiest prospects, plus what they expect the team to do. Texas A&M big man Robert Williams also joined the show in a 1-on-1 interview.

You can listen to the episode right here:

You can download the podcast on Apple Podcasts right here and on Google Play. If you like the show please tell your friends!

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