Kansas basketball coach Roy Williams has spoken with numerous NBA scouts and general managers the past month or so.
The topic of discussion? Ex-Jayhawks Raef LaFrentz and Paul Pierce, regarded as possible top five overall picks in next Wednesday's NBA Draft.
``Paul and Raef have got a big problem right now. They are going to be rich or real rich -- that's a heck of a deal,'' Williams said Wednesday.
About all he knows for sure after talking to officials from Vancouver, Toronto, Denver, Golden State and Philadelphia is both players will not slip below the eighth overall pick.
They could, of course, go higher.
``I've got a lot of scenarios,'' Williams said, ``but it's so complicated. Even after I say it I can't understand it myself.''
He said he's heard of 10 to 12 trade possibilities which could make draft night one wild show on the TNT network.
``I think the Clippers will take (Mike) Bibby,'' Williams said of the Arizona point guard. A lot of people think Vancouver will trade the second pick.''
The Grizzlies, who pick after Los Angeles have worked out both Pierce and LaFrentz. Interestingly, LaFrentz returned to Canada for a second workout on Wednesday. He returns to Denver (third pick) for a second workout today.
``Paul at Vancouver probably had a better workout than Raef's first workout,'' Williams said. ``Denver and Vancouver I think are playing games with each other about which one will take (Michael) Olowakandi. I think one of them would love to have him and the other is faking like they'll take him.''
Williams, who has coached ``19 or 20 No. 1 draft choices,'' in his 20 years as a major college head or assistant coach, says he's currently more involved with LaFrentz's NBA situation than Pierce's.
``It's just because Raef has no clue (about where he'll be picked) and it is an uncomfortable feeling,'' Williams said. ``It's uncomfortable for him and his family. Paul is a little more relaxed with it than Raef.''
Williams has been brutally honest in assessing his players' strengths and weaknesses.
``With Paul and Raef it's easy. There are not a lot of warts on those two,'' Williams said. ``Their two greatest skills is putting the ball in the basket. They can score. It's pretty important in that league.
``Paul can get his shot, post you up, score from outside, drive and hit the medium-range shot. Other than his casual-ness with the ball which leads to some turnovers, he has no holes in his offensive game.
``Raef can post you up, score from the outside. He can put the ball on the floor. He can score. His biggest negative is what he does on the defensive end of the floor. He is not a great defender. He's gotten better and better. For us he'll score 23, 24 a night with 12 rebounds.''
The bottom line? ``No doubt in my mind if you ask every general manager in the NBA to name the top five picks, Raef and Paul would be in the top five,'' Williams said. ``But if a certain team does not have a need, they will not take them in the top five. That's like us in recruiting. If we get a point guard one year, the next year and again the next year, that's senseless.''
Williams said Wednesday he would not recruit high school players who planned on leaving college for the pros after just one year.
``I'd have to feel I'd get more than that out of him. I have a tough enough time recruiting junior college players knowing I'll only get two years,'' Williams said.
Chicago talk radio has been spreading the rumor Williams is next coach of the Chicago Bulls.
``I guess I'm also leading candidate to be coach of the soccer team,'' he said, not identifying which soccer team. ``That has about as much bearing as the Bulls. I know as much about being coach of the Bulls.
``I never have had any discussions with the Chicago Bulls other than the fact we laughed about the rumors. The only time I ever had discussions with Michael Jordan about coaching in the NBA was when I worked with the (U.S.) Developmental team in 1992 when we played the Dream Team. I spoke with one team a good bit ago (in spring). I have had no discussions with anybody else the entire spring. I don't anticipate any discussions this entire summer. There are so many radio call-in shows they've got to have something to talk about.''
-- Gary Bedore's phone number is 832-7186. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.