The NBA’s Feb. 8 trade deadline is rapidly approaching. Teams haven’t pulled the trigger on any trades yet, but rumors continue to trickle out.
Probably the most talked about team is the Cleveland Cavaliers, who have been linked to a number of potentially available players. The main rumor this week involves Sacramento Kings point guard George Hill. Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee reported on Tuesday that the Kings were working with the Cavs on a deal for Hill:
The Kings continue to work closer to a trade that would send guard George Hill to the Cleveland Cavaliers for a package that would include Channing Frye and guard Iman Shumpert and some form of draft compensation, league sources told The Bee on Tuesday.
Sacramento would need to create a roster spot if they executed on a 2-for-1 trade involving Hill. Jones reported that they are looking into additional trades to do so:
League sources said the Kings are exploring trades that would allow them to unload one or two young players, with second-year players Skal Labissiere and Malachi Richardson having been made available.
Joe Vardon, however, of Cleveland.com reported on Thursday that the deal for Hill wasn’t as close as previously thought:
The Cavaliers and Kings are further apart on a trade for George Hill than it first appeared, sources told cleveland.com, with significant hurdles toward a potential deal remaining.
One source told cleveland.com that the two sides were speaking “conceptually” about Hill and were never close; another said the Cavs sought to change the parameters of a potential trade.
The Cavaliers have made it clear all year that they don’t want to and don’t intend to the trade the Brooklyn pick (they do have their own 2018 first-round pick they could include in a deal), in part because they have no idea whether James -- who can opt out of his deal and enter free agency this summer -- will return next season. James hasn’t given them any indication of what he’s going to do, and it’s possible he may not know yet. But Cleveland can’t leave itself with nothing.
Aldridge added that Cleveland has asked about Atlanta Hawks wing Kent Bazemore.
The Dallas Mavericks have emerged as a potential third team that could help facilitate a Kings-Cavs trade. Mike Fisher of DallasBasketball.com reported that the Kings reached out to Dallas. The Mavericks, however, are not that interested in the players who have been mentioned:
Dallas doesn’t need the expensive mediocrity on the end of the Cavs’ bench, and they don’t want the mediocrity on Sacramento’s bench, either.
The Mavs’ price of poker to get involved in a George Hill three-way trade? I’m told the Kings’ second-round pick -- which at this moment would be the first pick of the second round and the No. 31 pick overall -- would be considered a “get’’ by Dallas.
The other moving pieces in such a deal are fluid. But if the Mavs’ reward for facilitating a George Hill deal is a high 2? We’re told Dallas wants in.
Marc Stein reported this week that Wesley Matthews is available for the right price:
It would take a first-round pick to get him, because Dallas sees him as one of its culture-setters, but league sources say that the Mavs would part with Wes Matthews before the Feb. 8 trade deadline if they can get a first in return— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) January 25, 2018
Charlotte Hornets point guard Kemba Walker was featured in last week’s trade rumors. This week, Hornets owner and former professional basketball player Michael Jordan told Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer that the team isn’t looking to move on from their star point guard:
Jordan acknowledged there have been discussions with other teams, some initiated by the Hornets’ front office, but that he isn’t looking to lose Walker, clearly the team’s most talented and productive player and an All-Star last season.
“Obviously, the season has been a disappointment so far, and there have been teams asking about players. Also, we’ve been asking about players,” Jordan said, with the NBA’s trade deadline looming Feb. 8. “We ask teams who they like on our roster and they always say Kemba. It’s not like we are shopping him. We would not just give him up. I love Kemba Walker. I would not trade him for anything but an All-Star player.”
The story surrounding the Magic is that virtually anything on the roster could be had in trade and that the Magic really are not seeking a ton in return.
The overarching theme from other teams is that the Magic are looking to shed salary and get out of players that do not fit the direction team leadership wants to take the team. Equally, the Magic are not overly interested in additional draft picks, understanding too much youth can and likely would slow down progress.
The ideal package seems to be some combination of ending contracts and players on rookie scale deals that are a little further along.
The players most likely to be involved in a trade, according to Kyler, are guards Evan Fournier or Elfrid Payton.
Several different New York Knicks centers popped up in trade rumors this week. ESPN’s Ian Begley reported that the Knicks want to move one of their centers:
Opposing executives believe that the Knicks will move one of their four centers before the deadline. As ESPN first reported, several teams have expressed interest in 23-year-old center Willy Hernangomez.”
“Starting center Enes Kanter and backup center Kyle O’Quinn also have received interest from opposing executives, sources said, with members of the Golden State Warriors among those executives to express interest in 27-year-old big man O’Quinn.
Begley also reported that teams have shown interest in Knicks wings Courtney Lee and Lance Thomas. Both players are signed through the 2019-20 season with respective cap hits of about about $12 million and $7 million per year.
This week Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the relationship between the San Antonio Spurs and their star Kawhi Leonard has become strained:
Under president and coach Gregg Popovich and general manager RC Buford, the Spurs have a two-decades-long history of strong relationships with star players, but multiple sources describe Leonard and his camp as “distant” and “disconnected” from the organization.
While some teams have begun wondering if the relationship has deteriorated to the point where the Spurs would consider trading Leonard, one rival GM said emphatically that’s not the case.
“If they didn’t trade LaMarcus [Aldridge] when he was off the reservation last year because of jealousy over Kawhi, they’re not going to trade the best two-way player in the NBA over a medical protocol disagreement,” the GM told B/R.
It seems unlikely that San Antonio would be willing to move the former NBA Finals MVP even if he is not happy with the organization has handled his injury this season.
Marc Berman of The New York Post is reporting that the Knicks would like to trade center Joakim Noah. This season Noah, who has appeared in seven games for New York, will make $17.8 million. His contract goes through 2020 and will pay him $18.5 million next season and $19.3 million in 2019-20.
The trade deadline is only 12 days away. Check back next week for the latest.