NBA AM: Knicks, Mavs and Pacers Are Talking Deals
Trade Watch: Over the last week we have hit on the Bucks, Pistons, Jazz and Raptors on Monday, and the Blazers, Timberwolves, Nets and Magic on Tuesday. The 2013 NBA Trade Deadline is exactly a week away, so let’s check in on a few more teams that seems to be percolating in the NBA rumor mill.
New York Knicks: The playoff window doesn’t get any more wide open for the New York Knicks than it is right now, and for the oldest team in the NBA, they have been contemplating cashing in some of their remaining youth – second year standout Iman Shumpert – in exchange for a better-fitting veteran who can play a role in a sustained playoff push.
The Knicks have been linked to Phoenix Suns forward Jared Dudley. His camp claims that there is nothing there; however, sources in New York peg Dudley as exactly the kind of veteran the team is considering. The Knicks are battling their very real present, with what needs to be some kind of future. Shumpert is far from a future franchise player, which is why the Knicks are considering moves involving him. However, the Knicks do value Shumpert greatly, so dealing him won’t be on a whim; rather it would be a deal to acquire a real piece that would help them advance this year.
The Knicks are reported to have eyes for Minnesota’s Luke Ridnour. The interesting thing about Ridnour is that he can play both guard positions and has been effective coming off the bench. Ironically, Ridnour and Knicks sharp shooter Steve Novak make the same money and could be traded for one another fairly effortlessly.
The odds that the Knicks pull off something in the next week seems slim, but they are talking with teams and considering their options.
If the Knicks make a deal, expect it to be Shumpert who is cashed out, and the player coming back will be a more rounded and proven veteran. Knicks fans may not like that, but the name of the game this year is getting past Miami in a series and into the NBA Finals, and if moving Shumpert gets them that piece, he’ll be sent packing.
Time To Move On: Much was made about the Dallas Mavericks and owner Mark Cuban’s “The bank of Cuban is open” comments several weeks ago. There is no doubting the Mavericks would like to make a trade. In fact, they’d like to make a big trade.
The Mavericks have been watching the Dwight Howard saga unfold in LA, and are ready to unload anyone not named Dirk Nowitizki if the Lakers decide to blink on Howard’s pending free agency.
The Mavericks have been at the Atlanta Hawks regarding Josh Smith, although the fit in Dallas seems unlikely.
The Mavericks have been linked to the likes of Milwaukee’s Brandon Jennings.
The problem with all of those scenarios is that Dallas just doesn’t seem to have the pieces anyone wants – at least not in return for what Dallas wants.
There is a market for Darren Collison, although sources close to Collison say he’s been assured he’s not going anywhere. That might be more to protect Collision’s fragile confidence level than any real commitment to him. There is a market for O.J. Mayo, although there is a sense that Dallas would like to keep him. Mavs big man Chris Kaman has some value especially for a playoff team looking for a big guy.
The Mavericks are willing to take on long-term salary and the Mavericks are willing to give up draft picks and young guys, maybe even super second rounder Jae Crowder.
It’s clear “the bank” in Dallas is open, but it does not seem like any one team is lining up to make a withdrawal.
The Mavericks have historically made deals at the deadline and there is a real desire to make one this year. If one of the bigger name players is moved, Dallas wants to be there to catch him. The problem is the kinds of players Dallas wants, they may not have the assets to acquire. It’s unclear if Dallas can truly get what they want at the deadline other than making a deal just to make one, and that’s something both Mavericks GM Donnie Nelson and Cuban have said the Mavs won’t do.
Dallas wants to make a deal, so that’s always a good precursor to making one.
Is The Sale Mucking Things Up?: There are conversations taking place with the Sacramento Kings that have nothing to do with who will own the team. More than a few league sources openly question whether the Kings management really could make a deal given all of the uncertainty despite their willingness to talk trades.
Sources close to the process say until the team is actually sold, the Maloof family and team president Geoff Petrie are not limited in what they can do with the roster, and have engaged trade talks.
The two prevailing names that have been talked about since training camp are veteran guard John Salmons and veteran forward Francisco Garcia. There does appear to be some interest in Tyreke Evans, although one team that was trying to pursue him got little traction in that conversation.
It’s not out of the question that the Kings make a deal between now and the Feb. 21 deadline at 3pm EST, it just seems that what the Kings will seriously entertain in terms of outgoing players isn’t blowing anyone’s skirt up.
The Kings have roughly $63 million in expected salary commitments next season so dumping some cash makes a lot of sense.
Moving Granger?: Pacers’ forward Danny Granger has a problematic knee. He has had it for his entire career and there is a sense that the best days of Granger’s career knee-wise are behind him. It should come as no surprise that with the emergence of Paul George as a legit go-to guy in Indiana that the Pacers have at least entertained the idea of trading Granger.
Now before we get too far on this, Granger is owed $13.05 million this season and has just one more year worth $14.02 million left on his deal. That’s not a cap-killer of deal if the Pacers hang on to Granger, which is more likely than not.
The Pacers view themselves as serious contenders in the Eastern Conference and while Granger may have become somewhat redundant with the George emerging, the Pacers still view Granger as a critical part of their team. If the right combination of assets where offered Indiana might consider moving Granger, but to characterize Indiana as “ready to move him” wouldn’t be accurate.
The more likely course with Granger is that Indiana rides this roster into the offseason and explores his value as an ending contract around the draft or during the summer in free agency.
This summer will be when George becomes eligible for his rookie scale contract extension, and you can bet with David West hitting unrestricted free agency, Roy Hibbert and George Hill’s contracts kicking into their second years, that the $14 million owed to Granger starts to become a problem, especially if the Pacers don’t make the Eastern Conference Finals.
The Pacers don’t look to be players at the deadline, although they have kicked around a few things. If they Danny Granger, it would be surprising, although there is some inevitability to it happening at some point before the start of next season.
Josh Smith Just Playing: Atlanta’s Josh Smith is one of the more talked about names in the trade market. As a pending unrestricted free agent in July there has been a lot of speculation about Smith and whether his agent has told other teams that he won’t re-sign in Atlanta.
The Hawks have a tough decision to make before next Thursdays trade deadline. Do they cash out Josh now, or risk losing him to free agency?
For his part Smith is surprisingly uninterested in all the chatter that’s surrounding him, admitting that he and the team really have not talked about the rumors and that he’s really not letting any of the trade talk enter his process.
Smith talked about the situation with HOOPSWORLD last night in Orlando, and said he’s really trying to stay focused on playing and not the rumors.
Did KG Announce His Retirement?: Boston’s Kevin Garnett is headed to Houston this weekend for his 15th NBA All-Star game, and while Garnett is under contract for one more year after this season, he hinted that this might be his last go with some cryptic comments about his future.
“For [this All-Star] being my last,” said Garnett to Ben Rohrbach of WEEI.com, “I got my family coming down.
“The All-Star experience for me is more for friends and fam. You’ve always got that wild-ass uncle who shows his ass. You’ve always got that friend that you have to pull to the side and have that conversation. It’s no different for me. It’s a fun time.
“Y’all don’t know what I know. So, let’s put it like this: I’m more than grateful for going, but I’m not going to act like I’ve got more All-Star Games in me, so I’m actually going to enjoy this one with some friends and family.”
Garnett has been at the center of trade speculation for the better part of the last month, but has a defined no-trade clause in his contract with Boston that would allow him to block any trade scenario.
Source close to the Celtics point to Garnett’s undying loyalty to teammate Paul Pierce and to head coach Doc Rivers as key reasons he would block a trade.
Garnett has been linked to rumors involving the LA Clippers, one of the few situations insiders say would be attractive to Garnett.
With his cryptic comments about not knowing what he knows, you have to wonder if Garnett set himself up for more rumors this weekend and assuredly more questions about his future and the vague commentary he just put into the media.
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