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NBA AM: Plenty of Trade Rumors Surfacing
Posted By Alex Kennedy On November 30, 2011 @ 9:41 am In All,Main Page,NBA | No Comments
The NBA opens for business this morning as teams are allowed to contact agents starting at 9 a.m. and general managers are able to speak publicly for the first time since the lockout commenced on July 1. For months, we have known that the condensed free agency period would be interesting, but one surprise has been the amount of trade rumors surfacing in recent days.
General managers have had months to look over their rosters and weigh their options so the trade activity makes sense, but some of the names being discussed have been rather surprising. Here are some of the players who have been mentioned the most:
Dwight Howard – With free agency looming after this year, Howard’s name will come up repeatedly this season and the Magic will have to decide what to do with their superstar. He can opt out of his contract in July so Orlando risks losing him for nothing if they don’t make a deal. The New Jersey Nets are preparing to make an offer today and the Magic can expect calls from every other team in the league as well. The Los Angeles Clippers, Boston Celtics and New York Knicks have also expressed their interest in Howard. This drama will likely carry on throughout the season, at least until March’s trade deadline.
Brook Lopez – The Nets are preparing to offer Lopez and two future first-round picks to the Magic in exchange for Howard and Hedo Turkoglu, according to Marc Stein of ESPN.com. Don’t expect the Magic to trade Howard early in the season, unless he demands to be dealt. Because the new collective bargaining agreement still includes extend-and-trades, Howard will have some say in where he lands because he can refuse to sign an extension with certain teams. Like Carmelo Anthony last season, Howard has leverage. If he wants to play with Deron Williams in New Jersey, this is the offer that starts those talks and, eventually, the Magic may have no choice but to accept it. Sources close to the Nets are downplaying this rumor for now. With that said, it’s not a bad offer. Orlando gets a 23-year-old replacement for Howard and a ton of cap room, especially if they amnesty Gilbert Arenas.
Chris Paul – Teams have started contacting the New Orleans Hornets about Paul, who finds himself in a same situation as Howard. He can opt out of his contract after the season and it’s no secret that he would like to play with another star or two. Yesterday, Paul was asked about the possibility of being traded to the New York Knicks and he responded, “Right now, my heart is in New Orleans.” That’s not only an excellent way to avoid answering the question, it’s also the truth. Paul loves New Orleans and they’ve embraced him and his family over the past six years. At the end of the day, he would love to win in New Orleans but understands that it’s going to be difficult to compete for a championship there. The Hornets are currently owned by the NBA so it’s also hard for Paul to commit to the team and city when their future is up in the air as well. Expect plenty of teams to make offers for Paul over the next few months.
Rajon Rondo – One of the more surprising names on this list is Rondo, who signed a five-year extension with the Boston Celtics in 2009. Multiple reports have indicated that the Celtics are shopping Rondo around the league and sources confirm that Boston has had discussions with the New Orleans Hornets and Indiana Pacers among other teams. Boston seems to be zeroing in on Chris Paul, but it appears they’ll consider other packages for Rondo as well.
Paul Millsap – The Utah Jazz is open to trading Millsap and has begun shopping him around the league. With Derrick Favors, Enes Kanter and Jeremy Evans in Utah, Millsap is expendable and the Jazz have other holes they need to fill. There are many teams who have expressed significant interest in Millsap in the past, either when he was testing free agency or being shopped, so expect several potential suitors to come forward and make an offer for the power forward.
There will be plenty of news and rumors throughout the day and HOOPSWORLD will keep you up-to-date.
Players Stuck in China: The Chinese Basketball Association won’t let NBA players such as Wilson Chandler, Kenyon Martin and J.R. Smith out of their contracts just because the lockout has ended, sources close to the situation confirm.
The players have been told that they won’t be released and that they must stay for the duration of the season. While many reports have suggested that these players will be free to sign with NBA teams in March, one player who signed in China will attempt to leave in mid-February, when his team’s regular season comes to an end.
While there was a belief that the teams would release the players as part of a handshake agreement, that was never the case. In fact, the Chinese Basketball Association implemented very strict rules that would punish teams who used an NBA player and then let him return to the United States.
“Once a U.S. player plays in China, by rule his team will have to forfeit every game if he plays in a single NBA game before the [CBA] season is up,” said one source close to a Chinese team.
This is why the Chinese teams have indicated that they’ll sit these players for the season before they let them return to the NBA. Someone like Aaron Brooks may be able to leave because he signed very recently and hasn’t played in a game yet. Remember, it was awfully easy for Earl Clark to leave Zhejiang when he hadn’t played a single game.
Chandler, Martin and Smith are a different story. This will just make the season even more unusual because teams will be able to sign quality free agents just as they’re gearing up for their postseason run.
Clark Wants to Stay in Orlando: Earl Clark recently played in Dwight Howard’s charity game that featured current Orlando Magic players taking on former members of the team. Clark suited up for the current squad, even though he’s a free agent and his future is up in the air.
While he’s not currently under contract with the Magic, he has been working out in Orlando. He enjoyed his brief stint with the Magic last year and has made it clear that he wants to re-sign with the team.
“Definitely, I don’t want to play anywhere else,” Clark told HOOPSWORLD. “Hopefully I can stay here, I want to. We’ll see what happens.”
After signing with the Zhejiang Tigers of the Chinese Basketball Association in September, Clark didn’t have the best experience overseas and eventually had to leave the team when his girlfriend had complications with her pregnancy. He left at the right time because now he’ll be able to test free agency on December 9.
“I went over there for a little bit and, honestly, it wasn’t for me,” Clark said of his time in China. “I didn’t like it too much. I talked to the GM and they were very understanding. I had to be home with my family.”
Since returning from China, he has been working out and trying to expand his game.
“I’ve been working on my overall game,” Clark said. “I’ve worked on my shooting and just on trying to be a complete player. That’s all I want to do.”
One thing that NBA players take for granted is access to a gym. With team facilities closed during the lockout, Clark has had to get creative and even work out at the local YMCA.
“I’ve just been here working out, trying to find a gym,” Clark said with a laugh. “Sometimes it’s hard. I’ve been going to the YMCA and sometimes they have exercise class or youth basketball so it’s tough. Sometimes I play one-on-one with the kids and have some fun.”
Clark will have access to a team’s facility soon, but whether or not it’s in Orlando remains to be seen.
HOOPSWORLD Chats: There are two chats on today’s schedule. CBA guru Larry Coon will answer your questions during his salary cap chat today at 3 p.m. ET. HOOPSWORLD’s newsline editor Mark Nugent will host his weekly NBA chat at 5 p.m. ET. These chats fill up fast so submit your questions early. You can view all of HOOPSWORLD”s upcoming chats here.
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