CHARLOTTE — An NBA source with knowledge of the situation adamantly denied Tuesday that the Charlotte Bobcats are shopping small forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist as a trade commodity.
Rumors spread quickly Tuesday afternoon, after the website sheridanhoops.com posted a story saying the Bobcats were looking to move Kidd-Gilchrist, on the assumption Georgetown small forward Otto Porter Jr. might be available when they pick fourth Thursday.
Porter and Kidd-Gilchrist would create a redundancy on a Charlotte roster with many other needs. Hence the assumption the Bobcats would move Kidd-Gilchrist, the No.2 overall pick a year ago, to make room for Porter.
The league source said not only that Kidd-Gilchrist isn’t on the trading block, but that the chances of Porter making it past the top three picks are slim. Another league source strongly doubted any chance of Porter getting past the Wizards at No. 3.
Porter’s agent, David Falk – who represented Bobcats owner Michael Jordan as a player – chose not to send Porter to a workout in Charlotte, apparently out of confidence he wouldn’t get to No. 4.
The Wizards’ most apparent need is at small forward. Porter, 6-foot-8, has obvious ties to Washington from his time with the Hoyas. Also, as one draft source noted, Wizards owner Ted Leonsis is a Georgetown graduate and a big fan of Porter’s.
According to the sheridanhoops.com story, the Wizards would choose Nevada-Las Vegas forward Anthony Bennett. He primarily is projected as a power forward, but Bennett said during a visit to Charlotte that he could play some small forward at the NBA level.
It’s not uncommon during the days leading to a draft for misinformation to be spread, particularly in a draft such as this with no clear-cut top pick or an obvious order of the top six selections. It’s a mystery what the Cleveland Cavaliers will do with the top pick Thursday night, in part because the Cavs acknowledging their intentions could only hurt the trade value of the No.1 pick.
Porter, who averaged 16.2 points and 7.5 rebounds last season as a sophomore, generally is considered the most ready-to-play prospect in the 2013 draft.
Kidd-Gilchrist, who left Kentucky after his freshman season, had an uneven rookie season with Charlotte. He averaged 9.0 points and 5.8 rebounds, while starting 77 of the team’s 82 games. He was a strong defender and rebounder for his position, but he has an undependable jump shot.
New Bobcats coach Steve Clifford expressed great enthusiasm about developing the 6-7 Kidd-Gilchrist’s game when he got the job, particularly in finding him better scoring opportunities.
“I think he can be an absolute lock-down defender, which is a big deal,” Clifford said. “I think he has the versatility to guard (shooting guards, small forwards and big forwards) – the good (shooting guards, small forwards and big forwards). There are not many guys like that.
“At that (offensive) end of the floor he can be really good. He has a great knack for cutting, which is critical because he’s not a range shooter yet, and he’s 19 years old. This summer is about developing consistency facing the basket.”