Raps trade rumour running hot

STEVE BUFFERY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:24 AM ET

The hottest rumour concerning the Raptors right now is not which player general manager Bryan Colangelo will draft with the No. 1 overall pick on July 28.

Rather, it's a possible deal brewing between the Raptors and the Charlotte Bobcats, which would involve a swap of veteran point guards, Alvin Williams for Brevin Knight, with Toronto also giving up the No. 1 pick for Charlotte's No. 3 overall in the draft.

Williams, 31, has played very little the past two seasons after undergoing microfracture surgery on his right knee in November 2004. There is no guarantee he'll play again, although his agent, Bill Strickland, told the Toronto Sun yesterday that Williams will be ready to play when the 2006-07 NBA season begins next fall.

Williams told reporters late this past season that he was ready to play, but coach Sam Mitchell was not convinced.

The possible deal between Toronto and Charlotte would make some sense if the Raptors are intent on drafting Italian forward Andrea Bargnani, as reports have suggested. The European star likely still would be available to the Raptors if they held the No. 3 pick.

Strickland would not comment on the trade rumour yesterday, but he did not shoot it down either.

BIG DECISIONS

"Bryan understands that this is a business and I understand business decisions have to be made," he said. "Whatever happens, I can trust Bryan to be a man of his word."

Williams is going into the player option season of a deal that will pay him $6.8 million US. Knight, who averaged 12.6 points and 8.8 assists last season in 69 games, stands to earn $4.4 million, with a team option for $4.2 million in 2007-08, meaning that another Charlotte-bound player might be involved.

The Raptors, meanwhile, worked out six more potential second-round picks yesterday at the Air Canada Centre, including guards Darius Washington Jr. of Memphis, Donnie McGrath of Providence and Maurice Ager of Michigan State.

A number of possible No. 1 picks will work out at the ACC today, including forwards Adam Morrison of Gonzaga and Rudy Gay of Connecticut. The Raps will also take a look at Toronto native Denham Brown once again. Jim Kelly, the club's director of player personnel, said the Raps are giving "serious consideration" to drafting the former Eastern Commerce star with one of its second-round picks (35th and 56th).

Kelly reiterated the fact that the Raptors have their short list of possible No. 1 selections down to five or six players, with Bargnani, Morrison and LaMarcus Aldridge of Texas three of them. But he pointed out that nothing has been decided yet.


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