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Karl-Anthony Towns, Blake Griffin, and Nikola Mirotic Headline NBA Trade Rumors

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With the trade deadline less than a month away, trade rumors are starting to heat up around the league.

Los Angeles Clippers v Minnesota Timberwolves Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

This Monday will mark the day when NBA players who signed new contracts during the offseason can officially be traded. Throw in an earlier than usual Feb. 8 trade deadline, and it’s no surprise that rumors around the league have started to heat up.

A potential mega-trade involving the Timberwolves’ Karl-Anthony Towns and Clippers’ Blake Griffin, reported by Basketball Insider’s Michael Scotto on Twitter, headlines this week’s batch of rumors:

Nikola Mirotic of the Chicago Bulls has also been mentioned as a potential trade candidate. Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times reported on Wednesday that Mirotic is hoping to be moved soon:

A source close to the situation told the Sun-Times on Wednesday that Mirotic remains hopeful that he’ll be traded soon, and he has even told Bulls management where he’d like to play through his representatives.

As we noted earlier this week, Portland is one of the teams interested in acquiring Mirotic. Cowley lists the Jazz, Pistons, and Knicks, along with the Blazers, as teams who have inquired about Chicago’s asking price. According to Cowley, “The Bulls are holding firm on their demand for a first-round pick.” Mirotic is signed through the end of this season, but his contract has a team option for $12.5 million in the 2018-19 season.

On Monday, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the Atlanta Hawks want to move veterans for draft picks or young players. Kent Bazemore, Ersan Ilyasova, and Marco Belinelli were three of the players Wojnarowski reported as being available. On Thursday Scotto gave some more specifics on what the Hawks might be asking:

The Atlanta Hawks are seeking a high second-round draft pick in exchange for either veteran guard Marco Belinelli or forward Ersan Ilyasova, league sources told Basketball Insiders.

Both players are in the final year of their contracts. Belinelli is on the books for $6.6 million this season. Ilyasova is due $6 million, according to our Hawks salary page. That price tag is contingent on Atlanta not being required to take on a long-term contract involving a player who is not considered an asset.

The Orlando Magic is another team looking to sell. Basketball Insiders’ Steve Kyler wrote this week that teams have inquired about a number of different Magic players. Unlike the Hawks, however, Orlando is less interested in draft picks:

The Magic also don’t find draft pick based offers overly appealing, mainly because of the youth on the roster already and the likelihood their own pick will land in the top five. Too much youth, especially mid-to-late first round youth, would likely stall forward progress.

The Magic have arguably some of the more team-friendly deals in the NBA in [Evan] Fournier, center Nikola Vucevic and injured swingman Terrence Ross. The Magic do not seem eager to cash those favorable chips in unless it returned something significant in terms of a roster upgrade.

Wojnarowski reported that the Pistons have “pursued a deal for Fournier, but that would’ve been hard to execute without Reggie Jackson’s contract included—even if Detroit decided to include promising rookie Luke Kennard.” Ian Bagley of ESPN reported Friday that the team is not interested in including Kennard but are willing to part with Stanley Johnson:

Forward Stanley Johnson is one name that has come up in the Pistons’ conversations with other teams, per ESPN sources. Opposing teams have come away with the impression that Johnson is available for the right return.

Teams have also asked Detroit about rookie Luke Kennard, per league sources, though the Pistons don’t appear to be interested in moving their 2017 first-round pick.

Yahoo’s Shams Charania reported Thursday that the Cleveland Cavaliers may be willing to move Tristan Thompson for the right deal:

As teams pick up trade activity before the trade deadline, the Cavaliers are shaping up to be perhaps the most fascinating contending team. They have two first-round draft picks—including the heralded Brooklyn Nets’ selection via the Irving trade—but the superstar player whom the franchise could pursue with that pick has not been made available. Multiple NBA teams have cited Tristan Thompson as an asset Cleveland is willing to move in the right deal, such as one for the Los Angeles ClippersDeAndre Jordan.

The Milwaukee Bucks, another team rumored to be interested in the Clippers’ big man, may be filling their need for a center a different way. Gery Woelfel of the Racine Journal Times wrote on his blog that the Bucks are interested in signing Andrew Bogut. The Lakers released Bogut last weekend.

The Lakers are looking to shed more salary and, according to Wojnarowski, would be willing to move a number of players:

The Los Angeles Lakers, needing to shed salary for summer free agency, had been hopeful of waiting until the end of the season to move Jordan Clarkson—owed $26 million beyond this season—but there’s a mutual desire to find something sooner than later. The Lakers have made it clear that Clarkson, Julius Randle and Larry Nance are available.

The Memphis Grizzlies are also selling. Wojnarowski reported that the Grizzlies are hoping to get a first-round pick for Tyreke Evans. The former fourth overall pick has played well after signing a 1-year contract with Memphis. Evans is leading the Grizzlies with 19.9 points per game—the most since his rookie season. Memphis is also gauging the value of backup Ben McLemore according to Scotto.

That’s it for this week’s rumors. Check back next week for the latest rumblings from around the league.