NBA AM: Thunder Pursuing Marcin Gortat?
Gortat and the Thunder? The NBA trade deadline is rapidly approaching and while there doesn’t seem to be many blockbuster deals heading down the pike, the belief around the league is that we’ll start to see a flurry of minor trades beginning to take shape. One title contending team that could potentially get in the mix is the Oklahoma City Thunder.
The Thunder’s front office is still looking for ways to strengthen their position as a championship contender this season. While many believe the Thunder are the favorites to emerge from the Western Conference come playoff time there is still a major weakness which could be hindering the team.
The Thunder boast a perimeter-oriented attack led by All-Stars Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, but there interior post game lacks a true and consistent threat. Emerging forward Serge Ibaka is comfortable operating on the perimeter offensively, while center Kendrick Perkins lacks a refined offensive game.
According to a report by Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic, sources believe Oklahoma City is looking to address their weakness in the post by pursuing Phoenix Suns center Marcin Gortat.
According to the source, Oklahoma City is prepared to offer a package including Kendrick Perkins, Jeremy Lamb and a first round pick in a deal which would net them Gortat and forward P.J. Tucker from Phoenix.
The future of Gortat in Phoenix has been in question for some time now and there is a strong belief the franchise is listening to offers for the veteran center as we approach the deadline.
The Thunder’s front office hasn’t been exactly bashful about making deals they deem to be in the best long term interest of the franchise. The team traded forward Jeff Green, who was thought to be a key building block, to Boston in 2011 at the deadline and before the start of this season traded 2012 Sixth Man of the Year James Harden to Houston.
Gortat is averaging 11.3 points and 8.6 rebounds this season on a Suns team that possesses the worst record in the Western Conference.
Nothing is imminent on this front but it clearly shows Oklahoma City’s brass aren’t interested in resting on their laurels on the hunt for a championship.
Trade Market For Josh Smith Growing
The NBA trade deadline this season is Feb. 21 at 3:00 PM EST and the Atlanta Hawks have a major decision to make regarding the future direction of their franchise – either trade Josh Smith now or risk potentially losing him for nothing this summer in free agency.
The Atlanta Hawks are poised to reach the playoffs for the sixth-consecutive season as it stands today and while the team has failed to advance past the second round Josh Smith has served as a lynchpin in this recent success. Since Danny Ferry was named president of basketball operations last June he has echoed the same sentiment regarding Smith’s value to the Hawks both on and off the court.
But since the start of the season teams such as Charlotte, Dallas, Milwaukee, Phoenix, Houston and New York have been rumored to at least have exploratory interest in the 27 year old forward.
However, if the Hawks are going to cash out Smith they’re not going to make a deal for the sake of doing it. Smith understands he may be dealt, but isn’t actively campaigning for a change of scenery so Ferry isn’t operating under that sort of pressure. The Hawks have long been in the market for a productive center which would allow Al Horford to play more minutes at the power forward spot. The Hawks are also seeking a defensive minded forward with size on the wing, young talent or draft picks.
While there have been plenty of incoming calls to Atlanta regarding Smith, Ferry has yet to find a package which addresses all of those stated needs from any of the teams which means a third team would likely need to be involved to sweeten the pot and move the trade needle.
Hornets Making Eric Gordon Available?
The New Orleans Hornets have maintained a public stance that high scoring guard Eric Gordon is part of their long term plans, but recent reports are indicating the team would be willing to move the fifth year guard for the right package as we approach the deadline.
“I don’t really get caught up to it,’’ Gordon told John Reid of The Times-Picayune on trade rumors. “But you just never know your situation. That’s part of the process but at the end of the day, you can’t worry about that as a player. If it happens, it happens. I’m definitely not worried about it.’’
Questions arose about Gordon’s desire to be in New Orleans after he signed a four-year $58 million offer sheet from the Phoenix Suns last summer as a restricted free agent. The Hornets would subsequently match the deal but the aftermath has been one of uncertainty between both parties as it relates to the long term.
According to the report, the Hornets have been making Gordon available but rival teams have been scared off because of his surgically repaired knee. The latest results show no structural damage in the knee but Gordon has still been hampered by pain in it and the team still hasn’t cleared him to play in back-to-back games yet.
The report also states the Hornets’ interest in Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson in a potential deal involving Gordon.
It is important to note Gordon can veto any deal so the Hornets must factor this in the equation if there is validity in the Gordon trade rumors.
HOOPSWORLD 2013 NBA Trade Deadline Diary
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