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Anthony Bennett a surprise No. 1 pick in 2013 NBA Draft; Nerlens Noel finds way to 76ers

NBA Commissioner David Stern left shakes hands with UNLV's Anthony Bennett who was selected first overall by ClevelCavaliers NBA basketball

NBA Commissioner David Stern, left, shakes hands with UNLV's Anthony Bennett, who was selected first overall by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA basketball draft, Thursday, June 27, 2013, in New York. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)

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Anthony Bennett became the first Canadian to be the No. 1 pick and Nerlens Noel tumbled out of the top five and right into a trade Thursday night, a surprising start to an unsettled NBA draft in New York.

Considered one of the favorites to be taken first, Noel instead fell to No. 6, where the New Orleans Pelicans took him and then dealt his rights to the Philadelphia 76ers for a package headlined by All-Star guard Jrue Holiday, according to a person familiar with the details.

The Cleveland Cavaliers started things by passing on centers Noel and Alex Len, who went to the Phoenix Suns at No. 5, in favor of Bennett, the UNLV freshman forward who has starred for Canada’s junior national teams.

Most predictions had the Cavs taking one of the big men, with Noel largely considered the favorite even after a torn anterior cruciate ligament that ended his lone season at Kentucky in February.

‘‘I’m just as surprised as anyone else,’’ Bennett said.

There was suspense right until the end, either because the Cavs were unsure who they wanted or were trying to trade the pick.

David Stern, booed heavily in his final draft as commissioner, added to the surprise of the moment by pausing slightly before announcing the Cavs’ pick.

The Orlando Magic passed on both of the big men, too, going with Indiana swingman Victor Oladipo at No. 2. The Washington Wizards took Georgetown’s Otto Porter Jr. with the third pick. The Charlotte Bobcats pulled another surprise with Indiana center Cody Zeller at No. 4.

Garnett, Pierce to Nets
in blockbuster trade

The Nets and Boston Celtics were nearing completion on a deal late Thursday that would bring Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce to Brooklyn, a person with knowledge of the talks said, while ESPN reported the deal had been worked and that Garnett had waived his no-trade clause, a necessary step.

The deal, which cannot be made official until July 10, also would bring Jason Terry to the Nets; the Celtics would get Gerald Wallace, Tornike Shengelia, the expiring contract of Kris Humphries and three future first-round picks.

The deal would complete the breakup of the core that brought the Celtics their NBA-record 17th championship in 2008. The process began earlier this week when the Celtics traded coach Doc Rivers to the Los Angeles Clippers for a first-round draft pick in 2015.

The Celtics traded up three spots to get Gonzaga 7-footer Kelly Olynyk at No. 13 in the draft.

† The Memphis Grizzles introduced assistant Dave Joerger, 39, as their new head coach.

Sun-Times wires



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