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NBA AM: Trade Rumors Are Heating Up

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It Is That Time Of Year

The 2017 NBA Trade Deadline is just 16 days away, which means trade talks are not only heating up, but many teams are starting to get serious about completing a deal, which means more talk is leaking out through the media.

Most teams would like to get a deal done before the deadline, which would allow them more time to focus on other things that pop up. It is hard to run multiple trade scenarios at the same time, and getting deals done before in the deadline ensures that you don’t miss out on the chance to change.

There are some things worth talking about at this point, and here are some of them:

Cavs Are Not Trading Kevin Love

There was a report out of New York yesterday suggesting that the New York Knicks made another run at the Cleveland Cavaliers regarding a Kevin Love/Carmelo Anthony swap with the notion that Cavs star LeBron James was pushing for Anthony to land in Cleveland.

As soon as the report hit, Cavaliers sources went on the offensive denying that it was ever discussed. The denials continued after the Cavalier’s game last night with LeBron himself saying “I saw it. It’s trash. And the guy who wrote it is trash, too. Especially for writing that.”

The Cavaliers at every level have said both publicly and privately that they are not at all interested in talking about moving Kevin Love.

League sources did say that the Cavs did initially express interest in Anthony if the cost in trade were lower, but that nothing new has been discussed in some time and that the team is not looking for a deal for Anthony. They are looking to bolster their bench for a title run this year and have been exploring options to add a big man to their bench and a point guard for depth.

The Cavaliers have been aggressively exploring options to off-load the contract of Chris Andersen to open a roster spot and clear out his salary.

The Cavs are also preparing for the annual NBA buyout market, which is where they believe they’ll find the answers to their depth issues.

Pelicans Are Very Active

The New Orleans Pelicans dominated the news yesterday with multiple reports suggesting the team was engaged in serious talks with the Philadelphia 76ers on a deal to obtain Jahlil Okafor in a package built around Alexis Ajinca and a 2018 first round draft pick.

It seems the Pelicans are being aggressive. They are pursuing Okafor as well as Brooklyn Nets big man Brook Lopez, according to sources close to the situation.

The 76ers, according to a source, were not as enamored with the Pelicans offer as maybe it seemed. Sources close to the situation are saying the 76ers wanted guard Jrue Holiday in an Okafor deal instead of the draft pick. Both sides are said to be continuing the dialogue, and now that the talks are out in the open, there will be some urgency to either complete the deal or move on.

League sources suggested that both sides of the deal seem to be exploring other options as of yesterday, so this may be a case of a conversation getting out after it was basically dead, but at this point in the trade calendar a “No” becomes a “Yes” in a single phone call.

Cousins Deals Not Being Considered

If you read this space frequently, you’ll know our story has been consistent on DeMarcus Cousins since the summer. The Kings are not open to trading their All-Star center and recently told his agents as much as they have started to lay the groundwork on a monster Designated Veteran Extension worth more than $200 million.

Kings general manager Vlade Divac told ESPN’s Marc Stein last night that his team was not entertaining offers on Cousins.

“We’re not trading DeMarcus,” Divac said. “We hope he’s here for a long time.”

Divac also confirmed that he recently met with Cousin’ agents and assured them he was not exploring trades with Cousins and that they were “going in that direction” on an extension.

The Kings have been active in the trade market looking for other deals, and there is a growing sense that the Kings could move guard Darren Collison and possibly big man Kostas Koufos before the deadline.

Magic Are Open For Business

The Orlando Magic have been kicking the tires on deals since early December, so that fact they have ramped up efforts to make a deal in February is not a big surprise.

League source continue to speculate that Orlando could be the team that makes the most moves around the deadline with big man Nikola Vucevic, forward Serge Ibaka, forward Jeff Green and possibly guard C.J. Watson also changing teams before the deadline.

The Magic are not holding a fire sale, at least according to sources close to the talks. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. The Magic seem to be valuing most of their trade chips too greatly, which is why they haven’t triggered a deal.

The Magic are also not looking at cosmetic change, they’d like to land a major player and have been after the Miami HEAT regarding Goran Dragic and the Chicago Bulls about Jimmy Butler, but neither seems to be obtainable at this point in the trade cycle.

There was talk recently about Ibaka heading to the Raptors, but the more that situation has been talked about it seems less likely that Toronto will give up meaningful assets for the Magic’s would-be free agent. Sources close to the situation labeled the Raptors as a favorable situation for Ibaka long-term, but it’s unclear if he’d give assurances of re-signing there.

Ibaka does share the same agent as Raptors star Kyle Lowry, so that is an easy answer to obtain.

Lopez Will Be Pricey

The Brooklyn Nets would move big man Brook Lopez. League sources have said the Nets have been open to that discussion all year, but that their asking price is steep and has been unchanged. The Nets are said to be seeking a lottery level pick this year, and a first-round pick next year.

Nets sources have said from the start of the season that if they ended the season with Lopez on the roster, it would not be a bad thing because they would simply restart the talks around the draft.

Nets leadership has been happy with Lopez’s drive and desire all year and believe he’s playing the best basketball of his career and that his value only goes up the more he can put on tape and the longer he can play without major injury.

That does not mean the Nets are not open to a move, it simply means they want real value for Lopez, which may make moving him a little tough at the deadline.

Basketball Insiders will again drop our annual NBA Trade Deadline Diary the week of the NBA Trade Deadline, but until then check back early and often for the latest news and NBA trade rumors.

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About Steve Kyler

Steve Kyler

Steve Kyler is the Editor and Publisher of Basketball Insiders and has covered the NBA and basketball for the last 17 seasons.