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 NBA.com.
“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 TwinCities.com.
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 NBA.com 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 NBA.com. “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.
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