SALT LAKE CITY — When it comes to the ins and outs of the NBA, ESPN expert Chad Ford ranks among the most respected in the business.
So, it's no wonder Utah Jazz fans' eyes and ears perked up when they read and heard some of the information he discussed during a recent online chat about the upcoming draft.
ITEM 1: Ford, ESPN's NBA Insider, reported that trade talk "started picking up on Tuesday," and he claimed in the SportsNation chat on ESPN.com that the Jazz were among the teams willing to wheel and deal.
According to Ford, the Jazz "would be open to discussing Paul Millsap or Devin Harris."
General manager Kevin O'Connor doesn't openly discuss Jazz affairs, but the team has brought in high-profile point guards in Brandon Knight, Jimmer Fredette and Kemba Walker, so it's understandable why speculation could be out there about Harris' future in Utah.
The Jazz also have an abundance of power-forward types, with Al Jefferson, Derrick Favors and Millsap on the roster.
Millsap's productivity, work ethic and contract (about $7 million in each of the next two seasons) makes him a very valuable trade commodity for the Jazz.
Then again, good luck naming the last trade Utah made that was leaked before it happened.
ITEM 2: Speaking of Favors, whom the Jazz received in the Deron Williams deal this past season, the promising 6-foot-10 rookie was the No. 3 selection by the Nets a year ago.
But Ford doesn't believe that scenario would play out again had the athletic power forward stayed for his sophomore season at Georgia Tech.
Asked about Favors' projected position in this year's draft had he stayed in college, Ford didn't beat around the bush.
"Hands down No. 1 pick," Ford said.
ITEM 3: So, will the Jazz try to please the local fans and pick Jimmer Fredette?
"It all depends on what they do at three," Ford said. "If they go with (Enes) Kanter, (Jonas) Valanciunas or (Jan) Vesely ... or if Derrick Williams fell, there's a VERY good chance they take him at 12. If they go point guard with Brandon Knight or Kyrie Irving if he fell, it's very unlikely. The question for Jazz fans is ... what would you rather have, Knight plus an athletic forward like Chris Singleton or Kanter-Fredette? Those are two VERY different drafts."
ITEM 4: Speaking of The Jimmer, could he really go as high as No. 7 to the Sacramento Kings?
Ford said the Kings haven't made a promise to Fredette's camp, and, by the way, they didn't go ga-ga over him just from his workout in Sacramento last week.
"As I reported a couple of weeks ago, they fell in love during the season and had to press hard to get him into the workout," Ford said. "I think it will be very interesting if Jimmer, Kemba (Walker) and Kawhi (Leonard) are all on the board. I have (the Kings) taking Kawhi in my mock, but if the Maloofs (Kings owners) push the issue, it could be Jimmer."
NO DEFENSE: Jazz general manager Kevin O'Connor had some fun poking fun of Jazz assistant coaches at Thursday's workout when it was suggested Kentucky point guard Brandon Knight must have punished the defender during his one-on-none session.
"Jeff (Hornacek)'s slipped a little bit," O'Connor joked. "And Scott (Layden) couldn't keep anybody in front of him."
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