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NBA Daily: Trade Talk Is Heating Up

With the G-League Showcase getting underway in Las Vegas today, NBA teams will be spending the next few days in the same building together, likely fueling an increasingly active trade market.

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Trade Talk Is Heating Up

As the annual NBA G-League Showcase gets underway in Las Vegas today, every team in the NBA will gather under one roof and give teams a chance to casually explore their options as they evaluate minor league talent. Whenever teams are in such proximity, trade talk is an expected by-product, and there are a few situations to watch.

The Magic Are Looking

The word in NBA circles is the Orlando Magic are looking for deals. Ideally, anything the Magic do returns a starting caliber point guard. However, there doesn’t appear to be much out there for Orlando, but that hasn’t stopped teams from calling, especially as it pertains to the Magic’s expiring contracts guys.

There has been considerable interest in Magic guard Terrence Ross dating back to last season, even while injured. With Ross scorching the NBA from the three-point line and a sense that he’ll walk in free agency, Ross’ name comes up most frequently from teams that have been poking around the Magic’s roster.

The New York Time’s Marc Stein recently reported the Magic seem more interest in moving Jonathon Simmons than Ross, although league sources have said repeatedly that Ross would return far more value, even as a pending free agent.

Simmons is an interesting name to watch also, mainly because only $1 million of his 2019-20 salary is guaranteed, making him an interesting addition for a team looking to shed contract dollars next summer.

It’s not hard to see the Magic’s biggest roster need is a point guard. The Magic have been linked to the Philadelphia 76ers and former top pick Markelle Fultz, although Magic sources have downplayed how serious or in-depth those talks really were.

The Magic, according to sources, have started doing due diligence on some of the notable would-be free agent point guards, and they do have eyes for both Boston’s Terry Rozier and Brooklyn’s D’Angelo Russell. Rozier is considered the top option, but there is expected to be significant demand for Rozier, if and when he hits free agency.

The Magic seem to be willing to deal now, but not at the expense of their future, so this could be an interesting week regarding what gets offered to Orlando with so many teams saying the Magic are open for business.

What’s Cleveland’s Next Move

The Cleveland Cavaliers have kept no secret of their desire to move on from J.R. Smith and there seems to be some interest from would-be contenders in landing Smith for a postseason run, and then waiving his partially guaranteed deal this summer.

Smith isn’t the only Cavs veteran league source talk about. Recently acquired big man John Henson is believed to be on the move as well. Henson underwent wrist surgery in early December and is expected to make his return sometime in mid-to-late February. Henson is not in the long-term plan for the Cavs and is eligible to be aggregated in a trade at the trade deadline.

The Cavaliers have listened to offers on forward Kevin Love, but league sources doubted that Love’s contract could be moved in-season, given that it would likely take multiple players to make a deal work. Sources said there didn’t seem to be enough demand to think moving Love in-season was likely. Typically, NBA teams find more appetite for big-dollar deals in the off-season when they have the roster flexibility to add multiple players or teams into a deal.

A New Home For Caldwell-Pope

The Los Angeles Lakers seem to be more than open to moving guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. There were reports that the Lakers tried to acquire Trevor Ariza from the Suns in a Caldwell-Pope deal, even though Caldwell-Pope can veto a trade.

The prevailing thought in NBA circles is that Caldwell-Pope is open to a trade mainly because he knows he isn’t in the Lakers’ long-term plans, and that a team that acquires him would get the ability to re-sign him using his Early-Bird rights eligibility based on his current $12 million contract value.

The Philadelphia 76ers and the New Orleans Pelicans are believed to have a significant interest in Caldwell-Pope, so this could be an interesting week for Laker trade talk.

One More Guy

There is a sense that some of the teams sitting at the top will use this week in Vegas to see if they can obtain “one more guy.”

The Houston Rockets are looking for a trade partner to dump off the Carmelo Anthony minimum contract and avoid the double whammy of paying luxury tax on waiving Anthony and then paying tax on signing another player.

The Rockets have also dangled guard Brandon Knight in trade talks, although Knight has returned to playing after several injury-plagued seasons and there isn’t much demand for him. The Rockets seem to be looking for one more notable guy and the Knight contract ($14.6 million this season and $15.64 million next season) could be the salary needed to get Houston a bigger dollar guy.

The Philadelphia 76ers are looking for another wing player, specifically someone that can space the floor. The 76ers have been linked to a few names, but they seem unwilling to part with much to make a deal, so it will be interesting to see what surfaces this week.

The Chicago Bulls are looking to move off forward Jabari Parker and have been working with Parker’s agents to find him a home. His $20 million deal is basically an expiring contract, as the final year is a team option. The wrinkle for the Bulls is they seem unwilling to take back any significant salary into next season, but don’t seem to be holding Parker hostage for a serious return either. Parker is said to have a couple of interested suitors, so a deal to move him out of Chicago could take shape this week if the Bulls are genuinely willing to cut bait.

With the G-League Showcase almost a month early this year, it will be interesting to see if so much proximity, sparks earlier than normal deal.

Basketball Insiders will be on the ground in Las Vegas this week, so stay tuned for more trade talk.

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

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