Portland now owns three firsts
The Portland Trail Blazers may be closer to finding a first-round spot for Lincoln High (N.Y.) point guard Sebastian Telfair after agreeing to trade backup point guard Eddie Gill and $3 million to the New Jersey Nets for the 22nd overall pick in Thursday's NBA draft, league sources told ESPN.com Sunday night.
The trade, which will be consummated on draft night, gives the Blazers three first-round picks at No. 13, 22 (from New Jersey) and 23 (from Memphis to fulfill the terms of a Bonzi Wells trade last year).
On Monday, Nets chief executive officer Rod Thorn refused to comment on the trade report but did tell The Associated Press: "We haven't done it [traded the pick] yet. That doesn't mean we might not do it later."
League sources told ESPN.com that the deal is done but it can't be announced until after the conclusion of the first round Thursday night in New York. New Jersey would make the No. 22 selection for the Blazers.
Telfair, who already has signed a reported six-year, $15 million deal with adidas, has been a possibility for Portland for months, but the Blazers are having discussions about whether to take him at No. 13. By getting the Nets' pick at No. 22, the Blazers would have more flexibility to draft Telfair further down in the first round. Portland could get a higher-rated player at No. 13, especially if there are surprises ahead of them in the lottery.
Thorn told AP the Nets have questions about the talent level of this year's draft.
"If we do this, it's because there is no one at No. 22 who we think is worth making a guaranteed three-year contract commitment to," he said.
Trading their top pick also isn't a big deal for the Nets because they hope to finally sign center Nenad Krstic, their No. 1 draft pick in 2002 who has been playing in Europe.
The Blazers-Nets deal is the first of what should be many on draft night. The most discussed trade has the Clippers trading the No. 2 pick in the first round for Atlanta's No. 6 and 17 picks.
Gill played eight games for the Nets in 2000-01 after finishing his career at Weber State in 2000. Gill played 23 games for Memphis in 2001-02 and 22 games for the Blazers last season.
Andy Katz is a senior writer at ESPN.com.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
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