NBA DRAFT RUMORS: Is A Fight Brewing Over Klay Thompson?

Tonight's the big night -- sometime after 4 p.m. PDT, Klay Thompson will hear his name called in the NBA Draft by commissioner David Stern, announcing with whom the former WSU star will most likely begin his professional career.

Just which team that will be, however, is still a matter of some debate.

Over the past few weeks, Thompson has seen his stock rise precipitously as NBA executives have taken a closer look, climbing from fringe first round prospect to fringe lottery pick to fringe top 10 pick to ... top 10 lock? It's starting to appear that way.

The consensus among the mock drafts is that Thompson is unlikely to slip past either the Milwaukee Bucks at No. 10 or the Golden State Warriors at No. 11. ESPN.com's Chad Ford projects Thompson to the Bucks, as does DraftExpress.com and Sam Amick of SI.com. SBNation.com's Tom Ziller projects Thompson to the Warriors in his 2011 NBA Mock Draft.

Writes Amick:

The Bucks might see Colorado shooting guard Alec Burks as the better prospect, but every talent evaluator I've spoken with prefers the sharpshooting Thompson over the slashing Burks.

But the rumors are now flying that at least one team -- the San Antonio Spurs -- is attempting to head off the Bucks by moving into the top 10 to make sure to get Thompson.

FORGET 'RUMORED,' MYSTERY MAN SPURS WANT TO TRADE UP FOR IS DEFINITELY KLAY THOMPSON... Due in NY yesterday, detoured to SA to meet Pop, RCless than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply

 

In addition to the Spurs, Ford is reporting the Houston Rockets, Indiana Pacers and the New York Knicks all have inquired about moving into the top 10, potentially with an eye on Thompson.

This is all fantastic news for Thompson. As we detailed a couple of days ago, Thompson possesses a skill set at a premium size for his position that can be very useful to a contending team; a number of those teams were probably hoping Thompson would fall to them. But as it becomes clear he's unlikely to slip out of the lottery, teams in the bottom half of the first round who believe he can help them immediately are forced to try and trade up if they truly want him.

Of course, misinformation can be a strategy at this time of year. But at the very least, all the chatter is driving his value up. And that's never a bad thing.

We'll be back tonight with the results of the draft and some quick thoughts on where Thompson will be headed.

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