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NBA PM: The Latest Trade Rumors

A look at the latest trade rumors around the NBA, involving Zach Randolph, Carmelo Anthony, Arron Afflalo, Kyle Lowry and more

Alex Kennedy



Orlando Magic head coach Jacque Vaughn recently addressed the media.

The Latest NBA Trade Rumors

The NBA trade deadline is just a week and a half away, which means talks are heating up around the league. Around this time of year, every general manager is working the phones and talking to many teams. That means there’s an increase in rumors. Here are the latest rumblings from around the NBA.

Suns Interested in Zach Randolph: It’s well documented that the Phoenix Suns are going to be players at the trade deadline. They have Emeka Okafor’s insured, expiring contract to dangle and as many as four first-round picks in this year’s draft. The team has been playing well and wants to ensure a playoff berth, so they’re willing to part with some of their assets if they can land a significant piece.

They pursued Pau Gasol recently, but those talks with the Los Angeles Lakers have ended (for now). Gasol’s questionable health and Los Angeles’ insistence on acquiring a high draft pick turned Phoenix off, and now they’re weighing other options. Acquiring Zach Randolph from the Memphis Grizzlies is apparently one of those options, according to David Aldridge of

“The Suns were reportedly the latest team to ask the Grizz about Randolph,” Aldridge writes. “He would be a perfect fit in Phoenix, a 270-pound docking station for all those satellites firing threes around him. The Suns certainly have a number of prospects to offer as well.”

Asking about a player doesn’t mean the other team is interested in trading him, and there have been reports in recent days that the Grizzlies want to keep Randolph, even though he can opt out of his contract this summer and become an unrestricted free agent. However, this is just one more rumor that shows Phoenix is definitely going to be active at the deadline and they’re pursuing big names.

Knicks Aren’t Trading Carmelo Anthony: While it may seem like a no-brainer that the New York Knicks will hold onto Carmelo Anthony past the trade deadline, there is some risk involved in that. Anthony has made it clear that he plans to exercise his early termination option in his contract, which means he’ll be an unrestricted free agent this summer.

That means the Knicks could lose Anthony and receive nothing in return, much like the Los Angeles Lakers lost Dwight Howard to unrestricted free agency this past offseason. However, Marc Spears of Yahoo! Sports reports that the Knicks are going to roll the dice and hold onto Anthony.

“There is ‘no chance’ the Knicks will deal Carmelo Anthony, who owns a contract opt-out this summer, before the trade deadline, a source said,” writes Spears.

With how this season has gone, and with a number of suitors expected to have cap space this summer, this is a risky decision for the Knicks. New York gave up a ton for Anthony when they acquired him from the Denver Nuggets, so losing him for nothing would be a monumental blow, especially because the team has spent money and traded draft picks in an effort to win now with ‘Melo.

Timberwolves Likely Standing Pat: Flip Saunders, the Minnesota Timberwolves’ president of basketball operations, made it pretty clear that he’s not going to make a trade before the deadline in an interview with

Saunders and his staff did a study that took a closer look at 189 trades over the last 10 years. Saunders found that only two trades helped a team improve significantly: Rasheed Wallace to the Detroit Pistons and Pau Gasol to the Los Angeles Lakers (both teams won the championship the year of the trade).

“Of the 189 trades, teams that were at or below .500, only 14 percent made the playoffs,” Saunders said of the research. “With teams above .500 making a trade, only 55 percent stayed at the same position or improved.”

“That means 45 percent were worse,” Saunders said. “When you look, I think a lot of time teams make trades to satisfy fans, to make them look like they are really trying to do something to make their team better. And I think sometimes teams make trades to make it look to their owners like they are working. If you want to make a trade to make yourself significantly better right now, then those have to be blockbuster-type trades, and I don’t think there are a lot of teams that are leaning toward doing something like that.”

In other words, don’t expect Minnesota to make a major move.

Raptors Leaning Toward Keeping Lowry: Kyle Lowry is having a career-year, averaging 16.6 points, 7.4 assists, 4.4 rebounds and 1.6 steals. Earlier this season, it seemed like the Toronto Raptors would trade Lowry shortly after trading Rudy Gay. Toronto liked the idea of moving up the draft lottery and having a shot at one of the top prospects in the 2014 NBA Draft.

However, after the Gay trade, Toronto played their best basketball in quite awhile. The Raptors went on an impressive run that allowed them to climb in the Eastern Conference standings to the third seed. After winning so many games, the Raptors ditched the tanking idea and decided it would be better to end their five-year playoff drought.

So it’s no surprise that David Aldridge of is reporting that the team is leaning toward keeping Lowry post deadline.

“Now it appears the Raptors are less likely than more likely to trade Lowry by the deadline,” writes Aldridge. “If a team overwhelmed them with an offer, they’d most assuredly listen, but the likelihood is growing that Lowry will finish the season in Toronto. The chance of a division championship is too enticing.”

Magic In No Rush to Trade Afflalo: From a distance, it seems obvious that the rebuilding Orlando Magic would trade Arron Afflalo in the midst of his career-year. The veteran shooting guard’s trade value has never been higher, and Magic general manager Rob Hennigan cashed in a similar asset at last year’s trade deadline when he dealt J.J. Redick, who was also 28 years old and in the midst of his career-year.

However, it seems that Orlando is content with holding onto Afflalo, or at least that’s what they’re telling inquiring teams. It’s possible that the Magic move Jameer Nelson or Glen Davis before the deadline, but they’re strongly considering holding onto Afflalo past the deadline.

Afflalo has been excellent with Orlando’s young players, as detailed in this article, and he has become the player that Hennigan hoped he would when he acquired him in the four-team Dwight Howard trade. Two reports today indicate the Magic are fine with keeping Afflalo.

“Orlando really does not seem overly interested in trading Afflalo,” writes Basketball Insiders’ Steve Kyler. “Several teams that have made passes at Orlando classify them as listening to offers, engaging in the normal due diligence that teams engage in to understand what’s possible and available at the deadline, but that serious offers are not being considered and that real trade scenarios are not taking place. This could be a case of the Magic playing a little poker in the days leading up to the deadline or it genuinely could be that the Magic are not going to make a trade involving their best player.”

“Right now, the Magic are inclined to hang on to Afflalo — unless, again, they get a significant talent in return,” writes David Aldridge of “They don’t see the need to deal Afflalo just because he’s a young veteran and don’t need any more picks. They need to start showing some signs of real improvement next season, and make some kind of playoff push, and trading one’s leading scorer tends to impede that kind of progress. Next season will be the third since the Dwight Howard trade; fans are patient, but only to a point.”

Durant, Sullinger Named Players of Week

The Boston Celtics’ Jared Sullinger and the Oklahoma City Thunder’s Kevin Durant today were named NBA Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week, respectively, for games played Monday, Feb. 3, through Sunday, Feb. 9.

Sullinger helped the Celtics to a 2-1 week, which included wins over the Philadelphia 76ers and Sacramento Kings. He averaged 20.3 points (13th in the conference), 12.7 rebounds (second in the conference) and 1.67 blocks (fourth in the conference). Sullinger posted a point-rebound double-double in all three games, including a 31-point, 16-rebound effort on Feb. 7, when the Celtics topped the Kings 99-89 at TD Garden.

Durant led the Thunder to a 3-1 week, which included wins over Memphis Grizzlies, Minnesota Timberwolves and New York Knicks. He averaged 31.8 points (second in the conference), 9.0 assists (second in the conference) and 8.0 rebounds. Durant posted two-double-doubles, including a 41-point, 10-rebound effort in which he added nine assists on Feb. 9, as the Thunder beat the Knicks 112-100, at Chesapeake Energy Arena.

Other nominees for the Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week were Brooklyn’s Mason Plumlee, Charlotte’s Al Jefferson, Detroit’s Brandon Jennings and Josh Smith, Houston’s Dwight Howard, Indiana’s David West, Los Angeles Clippers’ Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan, Orlando’s Victor Oladipo and San Antonio’s Patty Mills.

Alex Kennedy is the Managing Editor of Basketball Insiders and this is his 10th season covering the NBA. He is a member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association.




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Middleton, Bucks Aiming To ‘Lock In’ As Season Comes To Close

Spencer Davies catches up with Milwaukee Bucks swingman Khris Middleton in a Basketball Insiders exclusive.

Spencer Davies



Basketball Insiders had the chance to chat with Khris Middleton about the direction of the Milwaukee Bucks as the season comes to a close.

You guys won three out of four before you came into Cleveland. What was working during that stretch?

Just being us. Doing it with our defense, playing fast-paced offense. Just trying to keep teams off the three-point line. We haven’t done that. We didn’t do that [Monday] or two games ago, but it’s something we’ve just gotta get back to.

With the offense—it seems like it’s inconsistent. What do you think that’s got to do with mostly?

Just trying to do it by ourselves sometimes. Standing, keeping the ball on one side of the floor. We’re a better team when we play in a fast pace. And then also in the half court, when we move the ball from side-to-side it just opens the paint for everybody and there’s a lot more space.

For you, on both ends you’ve been ultra-aggressive here in the last couple weeks or so, does that have to do with you feeling better or is it just a mindset?

I’ve been healthy all year. Right now, it’s the end of the season. Gotta make a push. Everybody’s gotta lock in. Have to be confident, have to be aggressive. Have to do my job and that’s to shoot the ball well and to defend.

Have you changed anything with your jumper? Looking at the past couple months back-to-back, your perimeter shooting was below 32 percent. In March it’s above 45 percent.

I feel like I got a lot of great looks earlier this year. They just weren’t falling. Right now, they’re falling for me, so I have the same mindset that I had when I was missing and that’s to keep on shooting. At some point, they’re gonna go down for me.

Is knowing that every game at this point means more an extra motivator for you guys?

Definitely. We’re basically in the playoffs right now. We’re in a playoff series right now where we have to win games, we have to close out games, in order to get the seeding and to stay in the playoffs. Each game and each possession means something to us right now.

Is it disappointing to be in the position the team is in right now, or are you looking at it as, ‘If we get there, we’re going to be alright’?

I mean, we wish we were in a better position. But where we’re at right now, we’re fine with it. We want to make that last push to get higher in the seeding.

Lots of changes have gone on here. Eric Bledsoe came in two weeks into the season. You had the coaching change and lineup changes. Jabari Parker’s been getting situated before the postseason. How difficult does that make it for you guys to build consistency?

Yeah, it was tough at first. But I think early on we had to adjust on the fly. We didn’t have too many practices. There was a stretch where we were able to get in the film room, get on the court, and practice with each other more.

Now it’s just at a point where we’re adding a lot of new guys off the bench where we have to do the same things—learn on the fly, watch film. We’re not on the court as much now, but we just have to do a great job of buying in to our system, try to get to know each other.

Does this team feel like it has unfinished business based on what happened last year?

Definitely. Last year, we felt like we let one go. Toronto’s a great team. They’re having a hell of a season this year, but I feel like we let one go. This year’s a new year—a little add of extra motivation. We’ve been in the playoff position before, so hopefully, we learn from it when we go into it this year.

Would you welcome that rematch?

I mean, we welcome anybody man. We showed that we compete with any team out here. We can’t worry about other teams as much. We just have to be focused on us.

What has to happen for you guys to achieve your full potential?

Lock in. Just play as hard as we can, play unselfish, and do our job out there night-in, night-out.

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NBA Daily: Raptors Look To Fine-Tune The Defense

The Toronto Raptors’ defense had a letdown against the Cavaliers, but has been outstanding overall.

Buddy Grizzard



The Cleveland Cavaliers and Toronto Raptors engaged in an offensive shootout on Wednesday that could be a playoff preview. The Cavs protected home court with a single-possession, 132-129 victory. Afterward, the Raptors spoke about the types of defensive adjustments the team needs to make as the postseason rapidly approaches.

“That’s how a playoff game would be,” said DeMar DeRozan, who missed a three at the buzzer that could have forced overtime. “This is a team we’ve been playing against the last two years in the postseason. Understanding how we can tighten up things defensively, how to make things tougher for them [is key].

“[It’s] little small things that go a long way, and not just with them … with every team.”

Raptors coach Dwane Casey concurred with DeRozan that fine-tuning of the defense is needed. He also pointed out that, with young contributors such as center Jakob Poeltl and power forward Pascal Siakam on the roster, defensive experience against the league’s best player, LeBron James, is something they will have to gain on the fly.

“I don’t think Jakob Poeltl played against him that much, and Siakam,” said Casey. “This is their first time seeing it. I thought Jak and Pascal did an excellent job, but there are certain situations where they’ve got to read and understand what the other team is trying to do to them.”

Poeltl was outstanding, leading the bench with 17 points and tying for the team lead in rebounds with eight. Casey praised the diversity of his contributions.

“I thought he did an excellent job of rolling, finishing, finding people,” said Casey. “I thought defensively, he did a good job of protecting the paint, going vertical. So I liked what he was giving us, especially his defense against Kevin Love.”

Basketball Insiders previously noted how the Raptors have performed vastly better as a team this season when starting point guard Kyle Lowry is out of the game. Much of that is due to Fred VanVleet’s emergence as one of the NBA’s best reserve point guards. VanVleet scored 16 points with five assists and no turnovers against Cleveland. It’s also a reflection of how good Toronto’s perimeter defense has been up and down the roster.

According to ESPN’s defensive Real Plus-Minus statistic, three of the NBA’s top 15 defensive point guards play for the Raptors. VanVleet ranks seventh while Lowry is 12th and Delon Wright is 14th. Starting small forward OG Anunoby ranks 16th at his position.

The Raptors also rank in the top five in offensive efficiency (third) and defensive efficiency (fifth). Having established an identity as a defensive team, especially on the perimeter, it’s perhaps understandable that Lowry was the one player in the visiting locker room who took the sub-standard defensive showing personally.

“It was a disgraceful display of defense by us and we’ve got to be better than that,” said Lowry. “We’ve got to be more physical. They picked us apart and made a lot of threes. We’ve got to find a way to be a better defensive team.”

Lowry continued the theme of fine-tuning as the regular season winds down.

“I think we’ve just got to make adjustments on the fly as a team,” said Lowry. “We can score with the best of them, but they outscored us tonight. We got what we wanted offensively. We’re one of the top teams in scoring in the league, but we’re also a good defensive team.”

Lowry was clearly bothered by Toronto’s defensive showing, but Casey downplayed the importance of a single regular-season game.

“We’ve got to take these games and learn from them, and again learn from the situations where we have to be disciplined,” said Casey. “It’s not a huge thing. It’s situations where we are that we’ve got to learn from and be disciplined and not maybe take this step and over-help here. Because a team like that and a passer like James will make you pay.”

While the Raptors continue to gain experience and dial in the fine defensive details, Casey was insistent that his players should not hang their heads over falling short against Cleveland.

“Hopefully our guys understand that we’re right there,” said Casey.

The Raptors host the Brooklyn Nets tonight to open a three-game home stand that includes visits from the Clippers Sunday and the Nuggets Tuesday. After that, Toronto visits the Celtics March 31 followed by a return to Cleveland April 3 and a home game against Boston the next night. With three games in a row against the other two top-three teams in the East, the schedule presents plenty of opportunities for the Raptors to add defensive polish before the playoffs begin.

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NBA Daily: Jaylen Brown Set To Return For Celtics

The Celtics finally got some good news on Thursday. Jaylen Brown’s return is imminent.

Moke Hamilton



Finally, some good news for the Boston Celtics.

Jaylen Brown is set to return to action.

Brown has been M.I.A. since sustaining a concussion during the team’s 117-109 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves back on March 8, but has traveled with the team to Portland and is expecting to return to the lineup on Sunday when the Celtics do battle with the Sacramento Kings.

As the Celts gear up for a playoff run, which they hope will result in them ending LeBron James’ reign atop the Eastern Conference, they’ve picked the wrong time to run into injury issues. Along with Brown, both Kyrie Irving and Marcus Smart have each been conspicuous by their absences, and the team could certainly use all of their pieces as they attempt to enter the postseason on a high note.

Fortunately for Boston, with the Toronto Raptors leading them by 4.5 games in the standings and the Celts ahead of the Cleveland Cavaliers by a comfortable six games, Brad Stevens’ team is enjoying the rare situation of having a playoff seed that appears to be somewhat locked in.

Still, with the team only able to go as far as its young rotation will carry it, Brown addressed the media on Thursday.

“I’m feeling a lot better. I’m just trying to hurry up and get back,” Brown said, as quoted by

“I’m tired of not playing.”

Stevens is probably tired of him not playing, too.

As we head into the month of April, playoff-bound teams and conference contenders begin to think about playing into June, while the cellar-dwellers and pretenders begin to look toward the draft lottery and free agency.

What’s funny is that in the midst of the Raptors and their rise out East, the Celtics and their dominance has become a bit of a forgotten storyline. When Gordon Hayward went down on opening night, the neophytes from the Northeast were thought to be a decent team in the making whose ceiling probably wasn’t anywhere near that of the Cavs, the Raptors and perhaps even the Washington Wizards.

Yet through it all, with the impressive growth of Jaylen Brown, impressive rookie Jayson Tatum and the rise of Irving as a franchise’s lynchpin, the Celtics stormed out the games to the tune of a a 17-3 record. What made the strong start even more impressive was the fact that the team won 16 straight games after beginning the season 0-2.

Although they weren’t able to keep up that pace, they began the month of February having gone 37-15 and turned a great many into believers. With their spry legs, team-first playing style and capable leader in Irving, the Celtics, it was thought, were a true contender in the Eastern Conference — if not the favorite.

Since then, and after experiencing injuries to some of its key cogs, the team has gone just 11-8.

In the interim, it seems that many have forgotten about the team that tantalized the Eastern Conference in the early goings of the season.

Brown’s return, in one important respect, will signify a return to Boston’s prior self.

With Marcus Smart having recently undergone surgery to repair a torn tendon in his right thumb, he is expected to be out another five weeks or so, meaning that he’ll likely miss the beginning of the postseason.

As for Irving, although reports say that his ailing knee has no structural damage, everything the Celtics hope to accomplish begins and ends with him. FOX Sports 1’s Chris Broussard believes that it’s no slam dunk that Irving returns to action this season, but he’s in the minority. This team has simply come too far to not give themselves every opportunity to compete at the highest level, so long as doing so doesn’t jeopardize the long term health of any of the franchise’s cornerstones.

Make no mistake about it, the Celtics are far from a finished product. With their nucleus intact and flexibility preserved, they will have another offseason with which to tinker with their rotation pieces and plug away at building a champion.

But here and now, with what they’ve got, the Celtics are much closer than any of us thought they would be at this point.

And on Sunday, when Jaylen Brown rejoins his team in the lineup, to the delight of the Boston faithful, the Celtics will be that much closer.

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