With the NBA’s trade deadline less than 24 hours away from arriving, trade rumors are rampant around the league. Here are the 5 biggest stories we’re tracking.
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5. THE NEW YORK KNICKS WON’T BUDGE
The Knicks’ rise this season was fast, but its fall was slow and inevitable given the age of its roster couple with the reliance on three-point shooting. One of their best trade chips is Iman Shumpert but talk has cooled to the point Mike Woodson told Newsday the team would “sit tight.
Mike Woodson reiterated that he doesn’t expect the Knicks to make a trade before Thursday’s deadline and that Iman Shumpert would remain in New York.
“I think we’ll sit tight and try to make this final run with what we have,” Woodson said at Wednesday morning’s shootaround.
This comes after a Shumpert-for-J.J. Redick deal was bandied about all weekend. Why would the Knicks want a shorter Steve Novak? We weren’t sure, either. It seems as though Redick could still move, but not to the Big Apple.
Woodson joins Houston’s Kevin McHale in coaches who have declared their teams out of the running for trades.
4. PERKINS TO PHOENIX?
Kendrick Perkins’ signing changed the frontline of the Thunder and the course of the team’s ascension when he arrived from Boston. Now he could be on the move again, says The Oklahoman and The Arizona Republic.
This, as the day has gone on, seems to be a false rumor that doesn’t have any actual talks from teams behind it. Marcin Gortat could be dealt somewhere (Josh Smith?) but it’s looking like Perkins isn’t bound for Phoenix at all.
3. SHOOTING GUARDS SWAP?
Klay Thompson of Golden State and Eric Gordon of New Orleans are similar in their scoring ability at the two-guard. What makes a swap here interesting and challenging is the health concerns for Gordon after knee rehabilitation still won’t allow him to play in the second game of a back-to-back schedule. Adding a wrinkle to that, however, is that despite Gordon holding veto power over any trade, according to the New Orleans Times-Picayune, he desperately wanted out of town last summer as a restricted free agent before the Hornets matched Phoenix’s offer. So even if he wants to go, his knee might not let him.
Sources confirm the Hornets would be interested in any trade deal with the Golden State Warriors that would include second-year shooting guard Klay Thompson. But sources indicate the Warriors are reluctant to part ways with Thompson, whom they feel is a young emerging star.
With the Hornets’ matching the Phoenix Suns’ four-year, $58 million offer sheet to retain him as a restricted free agent, Gordon has veto power over any trade deal going into Thursday’s deadline. The Hornets are restricted from trading Gordon to the Suns.
I wouldn’t pull the trigger on the trade if I were Golden State, though it’s clear why the trade is interesting: Gordon offers a slashing guard’s skill set that is different from Stephen Curry‘s stationary shooting excellence. Thompson overlaps Curry a lot in that regard, but has shown flashes of driving more as his second season in the NBA has gone on.
2. RONDO IS NOT FOR SALE
Rajon Rondo is a game-changing point guard when healthy, and even a season-ending ACL tear three weeks ago hasn’t scared off some from his potential. Unfortunately for other teams outside of Boston, the Celtics aren’t scared by the injury’s deleterious effect, either. USA Today has the story that GM Danny Ainge has told Rondo’s camp he will not be dealt in the wake of All-Star weekend rumors Dwight Howard could be sent to Boston for Rondo, that scoop coming from CBS’ Ken Berger.
Boston Celtics President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge is a good listener, and league executives continue to call Ainge about point guard Rajon Rondo’s availability even though Rondo is out for the season with a torn ACL, an NBA executive told USA TODAY Sports.
The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly about ongoing negotiations.
Yet according to Rondo’s agent, Bill Duffy, Ainge said on Wednesday that Rondo will not be traded.
What does this mean for Boston? Well, the Celtics now only have one trade chip of consequence after Kevin Garnett verbally invoked his no-trade clause to management. That means the player most available to be dealt is …
1. INSTEAD OF JOSH SMITH, BROOKLYN WANTS PAUL PIERCE
Brooklyn has been obvious in its courtship of Atlanta’s Josh Smith, who is angry the Hawks won’t give him a max contract when he becomes an unrestricted free agent this summer. The player who has grown up his entire life in Atlanta except for a year at Oak Hill Academy desperately wants to find a home where he’ll be appreciated and paid like a star. (Is he worth it? That’s another question.) Now, though, the Nets are eyeing Paul Pierce, according to Adrian Wojnarowski.
The Nets’ offer centered on forward Kris Humphries, guard MarShon Brooks and a first-round draft pick, but the Celtics want a more substantial package to consider moving Pierce, league sources said.
“The Celtics still highly value Pierce and it wouldn’t make sense to trade him for that kind of a package if they’re keeping Kevin Garnett,” one league source said.
Boston has shown interest in guard Mirza Teletovic and securing another possible first-round pick, but the Nets have shown no inclination to pay that steep of a price for Pierce.
If the Nets can’t make a deal, it’s unlikely Pierce is traded anywhere. His value on the market is not drawing many outside offers, according to A. Sherrod Blakely.
What move do you think will be made?
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