Emeka Okafor sat inside a hotel ballroom completely unaware he was possibly setting a record for most shoulder shrugs. On the day before the NBA draft, Okafor still had no idea where he'll be headed -- or whether he'll be chosen first or second.
It was a fitting welcome to the world of uncertainty that the NBA has become, with virtually no one untradeable now that Shaquille O'Neal and Tracy McGrady are being shopped.
"Well, there is one guy who won't be traded," San Antonio Spurs General Manager R.C. Buford said, making a reference to Tim Duncan.
Personnel managers, team executives and coaches were all part of what felt like a league-wide caffeine binge yesterday, with the possibility of several imminent blockbuster trades making them as hungry to consume information as they were to disperse disinformation.
For the moment, all eyes were on Orlando General Manager John Weisbrod, who holds two of the most important cards -- McGrady, and the No. 1 pick in tonight's draft -- in what has evolved into a 30-team poker tournament.
Was Weisbrod bluffing today when he said no deals were imminent?
"There are plenty of deals out there right now" for McGrady and the No. 1 pick, Weisbrod said. "But we're certainly not going to rush anything.
"These are the two biggest chips we have to use to improve a team that was a pretty bad team last year. There's no time pressure. We're going about it as methodically as we can."
Weisbrod said there were at least seven teams under consideration for a trade involving McGrady, neglecting to specify whether the Houston Rockets were still one of them.
Houston thought it had the inside track to acquire McGrady for a package of players that included Steve Francis and Cuttino Mobley, but that deal was looking more and more dead with each passing hour.
The Atlanta Hawks were known to be one of the teams making a push to acquire the No. 1 pick from the Magic.
"We've worked on it diligently," General Manager Billy Knight said. "Now, all we can do is sit back and wait. Whatever happens, happens."
The Hawks would want to select local prep star Dwight Howard with the first pick, which would be just fine with the expansion Charlotte Bobcats, who seem to be leaning toward Okafor, a 6-foot-10 junior from Connecticut, as their preferred choice at No. 2.
Boston General Manager Danny Ainge said he had 14 different trades under consideration depending on how teams use their lottery picks, and the Chicago Bulls were known to be offering Tyson Chandler to a number of teams.
Ainge denied a report that the Celtics were considering swapping Paul Pierce for Chandler and the No. 3 pick in the draft, while Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban labeled "false" a reported offer of Steve Nash and Dirk Nowitzki for O'Neal.
Amid all the trade talk and uncertainty, Okafor arrived in New York and was peppered with questions regarding where he would rather play, Orlando or Charlotte (which hold the first two picks), and whether his gut instinct led him to believe that the Magic would trade the No. 1 pick.
"Trade it? People don't ordinarily trade the first pick," Okafor replied.
Orlando had the overall No. 1 pick in 1993 and used it in a trade, sending Chris Webber to Golden State for Penny Hardaway and three future first-round picks.
Orlando also let the top pick from 1992, O'Neal, leave as a free agent four years later -- a mistake from which the Magic have yet to recover.
"It's still an option," Weisbrod said of trading the No. 1 pick. "We have not made up our minds."