NBA AM: New Faces Headed To New NBA Places?
New Faces In New Places: With the NBA Trade deadline inching closer. There are a couple of situation that look like they might play out if the teams involved cannot find better options over the next seven days.
Sessions Out In Cleveland?: The word is the Cleveland Cavaliers are ready to trade Ramon Sessions.
This one was somewhat obvious considering Sessions has an opt-out in his deal and has made no secret that he’ll use it this summer to try and land a better deal.
The Cavs were holding on to Ramon in part as insurance for rookie guard Kyrie Irving, but given that the Cavs are now 14-23 on the season and 4 games out of the playoff picture, the writing is on the wall. The Cavs have lost seven of their last ten games and 11 of their last 17 and seem ready to take care of business.
Sources close to the situation say the Cavs are not looking for much in return for Sessions and would rather have a draft pick and a roster spot than a cap filler type player.
The Lakers are considered the front runner for Sessions, although the Lakers still have their eye on a bigger fish like Orlando’s Dwight Howard or Boston’s Rajon Rondo – although both are extreme longshots.
Once it becomes clear that the major piece the Lakers are targeting cannot be obtained, moving on a Sessions deal seems likely, unless someone else swoops in with a better offer for the Cavs which is always possible in the march to the deadline.
Crawford Headed To Minnesota?: As HOOPSWORLD’s Yannis Koutroupis first reported Monday, the Portland Trail Blazers have been entertaining calls on Jamal Crawford and may have found a trade partner in the Minnesota Timberwolves.
ESPN’s Chad Ford hinted in his chat yesterday of a deal between the Wolves and the Blazers that would send Luke Ridnour to Portland in exchange for Crawford.
Wolves’ sources caution that a deal is not done and that Portland seems to be talking to several teams, but Minnesota’s interest is real and they would pull the trigger on a deal for Crawford.
The Wolves were one of several teams in the hunt for Crawford as a free agent.
There is a belief that Crawford will opt-out of his contract in July, so that will limit how much value a team gives Portland, but with the log jam of point guards in Minnesota, moving out Luke Ridnour seems inevitable.
A Minnesota deal for Crawford isn’t done, but it seems like it’s the leader in the clubhouse with 7 days to go before the trade deadline.
Kaman and Gordon?: Don’t go trading Chris Kaman and Eric Gordon out of New Orleans just yet.
While there has been rampant speculation that not only would Chris Kaman be traded from the New Orleans Hornets, but that the jewel of the Chris Paul trade Eric Gordon could be had to if the price was right too.
The wrinkle coming into the trade deadline is who exactly is calling the shots for the Hornets front office?
The Hornets could be sold in the coming weeks and the group in the lead to own the team includes former Clipper coach and executive Mike Dunleavy. Sources close to the situation say Dunleavy will be actively involved in running the team when and if the deal closes and that he wants Kaman and Gordon on the roster.
Keeping Gordon is a no-brainer, and sources say that anything involving Gordon at this point was New Orleans trying to sell high on him not liquidate him.
The NBA is trying to complete a new lease deal for the team with the state of Louisiana and that’s viewed as the final hurdle to selling the team. Things are said to be happening in parallel on the sale front and while an official transfer of ownership requires the NBA Board of Governors’ approval. Sources say the new ownership group may have more influence on the Hornets trade deadline decisions than normal because of the unusual ownership situation in New Orleans.
Sources say Dunleavy feels like he can get both of his former players signed to new deals, so it will be interesting to see how this shakes out because Chris Kaman was viewed as someone who would absolutely be moved, now that certainty is not so clear.
The NBA trade deadline is just seven days away and the typical process is that teams start to get serious the week of the deadline. It’s unlikely anything major drops before Monday, but teams are actively talking so expect more and more chatter over the next week.
Bulls Not Being Very Aggressive: If the Chicago Bulls are trying to make a trade they are doing a good job keeping it low key.
League sources say the Bulls are talking to other teams about who those teams want to part with, but more as a ‘survey the landscape’ kind of exercise.
Bulls’ head coach Tom Thibodeau says his team is doing their due diligence, but if the roster he has stays the same he’s not overly concerned with it.
Thibodeau admitted that he is talking things through on a daily basis with Bulls’ General Manager Gar Forman and Bulls’ Vice President John Paxson.
“We talk every day,” Thibodeau said to ESPN Chicago’s Nick Friedell. “Their job is to study the league, field calls; and often times if you have a good team, you have good players, people want them, they call. That doesn’t mean we’re going to do anything. We listen. And if we think it could make the team better we’ll consider it, if not we’re more than happy with the roster that we have. We feel very good about that.”
A number of teams have expressed concern about trying to force change into this compressed 66 game season, but Thibodeau says if his team makes a move fitting in a new guy can work even with so little practice time.
“You can always fit somebody in,” Thibodeau said. “They may not have a full understanding of everything, but you can design specific packages for those guys when they’re in the game. And that’s not uncommon, you deal with that throughout the course of the season whether you bring a guy in for a 10 day or there’s a trade made, but I think that’s one of the great challenges of the league. In general, it’s a league of change and you have to be able to respond quickly to any change that might occur at any time. And I think the teams that handle those situations the best are the ones that have the most success.”
Given all the lineup permutations the Bulls had last year due to injury and even some this year, adapting to change doesn’t seem to be the issue in Chicago. It just doesn’t seem like there is anything out there the Bulls really want.
The Bulls are still atop the Eastern Conference with a 33-8 record with a two game lead on Miami.
Of the Bulls’ remaining 25 games they have just nine road games (the fewest of any team in the playoff picture) and will see 13 teams with a record above .500 in that span.
Are The Celtics Sitting Out The Deadline?: The Boston Celtics are rolling right now having won five of their last six games. NBA teams have been calling the Celtics looking to pry loose a major piece but if what the C’s are telling teams and their players is true; the Celtics may not be involved in the trade market in a major way over the next week. Wouldn’t that be a surprise considering how frequently Boston has been linked to deals this season?
Celtics’ coach Doc Rivers again played down the idea that his team was looking for a major change, hinting that the C’s might be buyers in this market not sellers.
“I’m sure there will be more rumors, there’s nothing you can do about that,” Rivers said to Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe. “We pretty much know what we want to do.
“Like I said a week ago, I’d be surprised if we did anything. Obviously, if we find someone out there who wants to give us a player, we’ll take them.”
The Celtics are looking for a reserve big man and that’s something they have been sniffing around for, so it’s not like they are not answering calls.
Celtic’s reserve Jermaine O’Neal is pondering season ending surgery, so that could expedite the need to replace him, but beyond a big from the bench teams around the league are saying Boston seems unwilling to engage on anything serious, but as the trade market often does… things change quickly especially if you start stringing together losses.
The Celtics are 20-18 on the season and just two games behind Philadelphia for command of the Atlantic and a home court playoff berth.
As improbable as it may seem, the Celtics could very well sit out the trade deadline, especially if they can keep winning games.
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