The 8 Big Stories Everyone Can't Stop Talking About Going Into Thursday's NBA Draft

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If reports from recent days and weeks hold up, Thursday’s NBA Draft will be pretty exciting.A number of teams are looking to make trades.

They’re looking to dump big salaries, get rid of disgruntled/no longer fitting stars, or drop down in the draft order and pick up someone they deem cheaper but of equal value.

The New Orleans Hornets will definitely take Anthony Davis with the first overall pick.

Thomas Robinson or Bradley Beal look poised to go next, but to which team and in what order are still up in the air.

After that, it’s really anyone’s guess.

Dwight Howard could be gone from Orlando by the end of the night

The Houston Rockets and Brooklyn Nets really, really, really want Dwight Howard.

Houston has loaded up with three first round picks, hoping to sweeten a potential deal with the Magic, even though Howard insists he doesn't want to play there.

As for the Nets, they still desperately want Howard. Despite reports that Brooklyn is stopping at nothing to get into the lottery and pick up Kansas forward Thomas Robinson to be part of a Howard deal, they have little to offer a lottery team in return so it looks rather far-fetched.

We still have no idea what the Charlotte Bobcats will do with the No. 2 pick

Ever since the lottery was figured out and New Orleans was awarded the No. 1 pick NBA Draft intrigue has centered around Charlotte at No. 2.

Lately Florida's Bradley Beal seemed to be the likeliest selection, but after acquiring another guard in Ben Gordon from the Detroit Pistons Charlotte may very well take Thomas Robinson to shore up the front line.

Or they could trade out of the second spot with the Cleveland Cavaliers, which are really high on Beal.

Speaking of trades, there could be a whole slew of them Thursday night

Anthony Davis seems to be the only sure thing in this draft so with a bevy of teams holding multiple picks expect a ton of player movement.

A bunch of teams have given similar grades to multiple players. Sacramento, Portland and Milwaukee have all reportedly expressed interest in moving out of the lottery.

But there's also another big reason why there could be plenty of transactions as the night goes on...

Starting in 2013 the NBA's harsher luxury tax rules kick in, so everyone is trying to get under the threshold

There's a good chance teams will start dumping salary Thursday.

After the 2012-13 season teams over the luxury tax line will no longer pay just $1 in taxes for every $1 they're over. It'll be bumped up to higher rates depending on how often you go over the line and by how much.

This will severely affect teams like the Bulls, Knicks, Lakers and Heat but many more will have to make hard decisions.

Rudy Gay, Luol Deng, Shaun Marion and Andre Iguodala are all potential salary dumps.

The Lakers may completely revamp their roster

Pau Gasol and Metta World Peace will probably be gone by next season.

The questions are, where to and when will they leave?

Los Angeles thinks it can get into the high lottery by dangling Gasol and hopes Metta can bring back a late first rounder.

Draft night could be a huge moment in the Lakers efforts to build around Andrew Bynum.

One of the most talented guys in the draft won't hear his name called for a long time

Were it not for an anxiety disorder Iowa State forward Royce White would be a lottery pick.

Because of it, though, no one inside the top-15 seems willing to take a chance on a guy scouts agree could be one of the absolute best players to come out of the 2012 draft.

White will likely fall in the 20-30 range.

Plenty of late risers like Syracuse's Dion Waiters could move into the mid-to-late lottery

Waiters, St. John forward Moe Harkless, Duke's Austin Rivers and Illinois centre Meyers Leonard are all quickly moving up teams' boards.

This trend could also play a big role in the number of trades Thursday evening.

The back end of the first round could include some real front court gems

Big men like Jared Sullinger of Ohio State, Perry Jones of Baylor and Terrence Jones of Kentucky have slipped down draft boards significantly.

They were top-notch talent not too long ago so there's a legitimate chance their poor combine and workouts or other issues don't tell the full story.

Teams looking for post players in the mid-to-late first round could find real gems with any of these three, i.e. Rockets, Mavericks, Celtics, Hawks.

So where will everyone end up...

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