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TRADING UP NOT A LIKELY POSSIBILITY

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Chances of trading up to get a higher pick in this year's NBA Draft are remote, says Jazz Director of Basketball Operations Scott Layden. "I think it's impossible to trade up these days. I don't think you see that much trading up anywhere," said Layden.

Layden is back in Utah after spending most of last week in Chicago at the final rookie-free agent camp before the June 29 NBA Draft. The Chicago camp is composed of free agents and players expected to go in the late first and second rounds.Layden points out that although a team occasionally will trade up, it usually involves teams near one another in the draft, such as last year when Orlando traded the rights to the No. 1 pick, Chris Webber, to Golden State for the rights to the third pick, Anfernee Hardaway, and three future first-round picks.

Otherwise, trading for high draft picks is becoming increasingly unlikely. "Most teams that get in the lottery are building for the future, looking for long-term players, so it's not likely for someone else to get one of those picks," said Layden.

The Jazz's first-round pick this year, No. 20 overall, was bartered away in the February trade that brought Jeff Hornacek to Utah and sent Jeff Malone to Philadelphia. Consequently, the only pick the Jazz have this year is the No. 47 pick overall.

"If you look at the No. 47 pick over the last 20 years, not a lot of them have made the All-Star team," Layden added.

Certainly drafting second-round players can be an iffy proposition. Last year the Jazz took forward Bryon Russell at No. 45, and he ended up starting 48 games. The Jazz claimed Isaac Austin at No. 48 in 1991, and he played two years before being waived. Other Jazz second-round picks included Walter Palmer, Junie Lewis, Jeff Moe, Carey Scurry, Howard Wood, Tico Brown, Tommy Green, Essie Hollis, Jack Dorsey and Aaron James.

However, the NBA has numerous examples of outstanding players who were picked in the second round or later, or were undrafted: Dennis Rodman, Mark Price, Sedale Threatt, Cedric Ceballos, Kevin Duckworth and Craig Ehlo.

Layden said upon returning from the Chicago camp, he is convinced players are now stronger and more athletic than ever. One of the standout players at the camp was Heisman football award winner Charlie Ward of Flordia State, a point guard.

"If you asked a lot of people how he'd do in the NBA, I don't think people would have been optimistic," said Layden. "But now that his focus is strictly on basketball, he's doing very well."

Layden said Ward showed up well in the Chicago camp and will likely be drafted in the second round or late first round. Another impressive player at Chicago was Tennessee State's 6-foot-11, 220-pound Carlos Rogers. Layden called him a player similar to Milwaukee's Vin Baker.

Among the players who could still be available when the Jazz pick this year are Missouri's Melvin Booker, Indiana's Damon Bailey, Georgia's Charles Claxton, Ohio State's Lawrence Funderburke, Duke's Antonio Lang, Vanderbilt's Billy McCaffrey, South Carolina's Jamie Watson and Oklahoma's Jeff Webster.

As usual, Layden says the Jazz will look again for the best player possible, rather than going for a specific position. "We'll just put a premium on athleticism and take the best guy there," said Layden. "We're looking for another Bryon Russell. If we could get somebody that good, we'd jump for joy."