NBA Rumors Round-Up

NBA Rumors: Kings Pursuing Deron Williams

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Check out the biggest rumors of the day in our NBA Rumor Round-Up. For more rumors and news, check out Basketball Insiders’ headlines, which are constantly being updated.

Kings Trying to Trade for Williams

The Brooklyn Nets and Sacramento Kings are discussing a deal centered on former All-Star guard Deron Williams, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

The Nets have been shopping their high-priced star players, and the Kings have been probing the market for an impact point guard.

No deal is imminent, but the talks are ongoing, sources told Yahoo Sports.

The talks have centered on sending the Nets point guard Darren Collison and forwards Derrick Williams and Jason Thompson as part of a multi-player package for Williams, league sources said.

Sacramento has significant interest with Williams, but a hurdle to a possible deal is the Kings’ desire to have center Mason Plumlee included into the package, league sources said.

via Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports

The Nets and Kings have each surfaced in trade rumors recently, so it’s no surprise that the two teams are talking. Since Wojnarowski’s initial rumor, other reports have indicated that the Kings placed the first call to the Nets and that this is still in the very early stages, but these are certainly two teams to watch as the Feb. 19 trade deadline approaches.

This is an interesting trade that could be intriguing for all of the parties involved since both of these clubs seem interested in shaking up their roster.

The Nets are reportedly open to moving Deron Williams, Brook Lopez and Joe Johnson if the right deal presents itself. The fact that Brooklyn is having these ongoing talks with Sacramento (no matter how advanced) lends credibility to those rumors, as it does seem like the Nets are weighing all of their options.

The Kings have been very aggressive since Pete D’Alessandro and Vivek Ranadive started calling the shots, trading for Rudy Gay and Derrick Williams among others and being linked to Rajon Rondo, Josh Smith and others in rumors. It’s clear that Sacramento wants to win now, as evidenced by the team’s decision to fire head coach Mike Malone for failing to live up to the front office’s lofty expectations.

The Kings’ decision-makers have made it clear that they’re fine with taking on players who are perceived as overpaid and that mentality worked out in December of 2013 when it allowed them to steal Gay, who at the time was struggling with the Toronto Raptors and had very little trade value due to his deal. Williams is in a similar position now, as his production has dropped in recent years and he has a huge contract. However, adding the veteran point guard could be worth it for the Kings if they don’t have to give up too much and feel that they can revitalize his career with this change of scenery.

It seems these talks are still in the exploratory stages, but it’s worth keeping an eye on this situation over the next month and a half.

Suns Listening to Offers for Dragic

The Phoenix Suns, who beat the lowly Knicks 99-90 on Saturday, are in a bit of a quagmire with free agent-to-be Goran Dragic, rival executives say. Multiple teams already are inquiring as to what it would take to break up the Suns’ three-guard rotation of Dragic, Eric Bledsoe and Isaiah Thomas — with Dragic, a prospective free agent, garnering the most attention. Coincidentally, executives have gotten the impression that Dragic is the one Phoenix would most like to keep if they do, indeed, decide to make a move.

The West is every bit as tough, if not tougher, this season. The anticipated rise in the salary cap resulting from the NBA’s $24 billion TV deal has bolstered Phoenix’s hopes of re-signing Dragic, which they fully intend to do, a league source said. But in the meantime, they’ll listen to offers as they try to establish his value on the open market and what it will cost to pay him.

The team to watch here is Houston, which has been after Dragic since he left as a free agent in 2012. Dragic can, and will, opt out of his $7.5 million contract for next season.

via Ken Berger of CBS Sports

Goran Dragic hasn’t been mentioned in very many trade rumors this season, but that may change as Feb. 19 gets closer since the Suns have two other starting-caliber point guards (Eric Bledsoe and Isaiah Thomas) on their roster and Dragic can become an unrestricted free agent this offseason by opting out of his deal.

It must be said that the Suns love Dragic and want to re-sign him. It’s not like Thomas was brought to Phoenix to make Dragic expendable or replace him; in fact, one of Phoenix’s biggest selling points for Thomas in his free agency meeting with the Suns was the idea of running a three-headed backcourt with he, Dragic and Bledsoe. That’s what head coach Jeff Hornacek wants to do and everyone in Phoenix seems to love Dragic. If Dragic wants to stay put, he’s likely going to be back next season and beyond.

However, if the Suns are worried about being able to retain Dragic or believe he’s asking for too much money, it’s possible that they could look to trade him and get something back in return.

Berger points out that the Houston Rockets would love to add Dragic, as I suggested in this video back in October. That would give them an excellent trio of Dragic, James Harden and Dwight Howard, which would make them an even tougher out in the Western Conference.

If the Suns were dominating and sitting high in the West standings, then there’d be no questions about Dragic’s future in Phoenix. However, because the team is just 14-14 and barely in the playoff picture, Dragic’s situation could be somewhat up in the air. When a team is struggling to live up to expectations and has attractive assets on their roster, rival executives start calling and circling like vultures. Judging from Berger’s report, it sounds like that is already starting to happen.

Stephenson Staying Put for Now

The Hornets aren’t having much luck drumming up quality offers for Lance Stephenson, who they signed to a three-year, $27.4 million deal this past summer. After winning 43 games last season and making the playoffs, Charlotte is an abysmal 7-19 — and chemistry, or lack of it, is a big part of the problem.

via Ken Berger of CBS Sports

The Hornets will hold onto Lance Stephenson for now, which isn’t a big surprise. As we recently discussed in this space, it didn’t make much sense to trade Stephenson right now while his trade value is at an all-time low and no team is willing to give up a significant asset to acquire him. There were even some reports that teams were looking to acquire a first-round pick back from Charlotte just to take on Stephenson’s contract, which isn’t a move that would really help the Hornets.

The only way it made sense to trade Stephenson right now is if he had become such a team cancer that the front office didn’t want him around the other players and felt that a trade could lead to addition by subtraction. While Stephenson has struggled this year, it doesn’t seem like the Hornets are close to that point with him.

The best move for Charlotte is holding onto Stephenson and hoping that he can get back to the impressive level that he played at last season with the Indiana Pacers (particularly in the first half of the season). If he can get acclimated and do that, then this Hornets team could turn things around and still sneak into the East playoff picture (since the conference is so weak).

The Hornets currently sit at 8-19, but they’re only three and a half games out from the eighth seed.