NBA trade buzz: Nets get set for deadline
With the NBA trading deadline less than a week away, here is what’s making noise:
• FOX Sports Ohio sources all but guarantee Atlanta forward Josh Smith will be moved. No one is quite sure where he might go, although Brooklyn, Dallas and Phoenix are mentioned most as possible destinations.
• San Antonio could emerge as a potential landing spot for Smith, according to an Eastern Conference GM. With Smith’s expiring contract, it is believed the Spurs wouldn’t have to surrender much in return — and that coach Gregg Popovich and stars Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili would be able to keep the sometimes-difficult Smith in line.
• One source said he believes Smith could be retained by Hawks general manager Danny Ferry past the deadline, provided the offers aren’t to Ferry’s liking. “They won’t just give the guy away,” the source said. “(Smith) is practically an All-Star. You can deal with the contract situation later.”
• The Nets are expected to be especially active, looking to make a major change to gear for a serious playoff run. Along with Smith, they supposedly have a strong interest in Utah forward Paul Millsap and Portland center J.J. Hickson.
• Of course, sources say the Nets haven’t completely given up on the idea of somehow obtaining Lakers center Dwight Howard. But New Jersey realizes its options are limited. Just as the Nets did over the summer, if they want to make a strong play for Howard, they’ll likely need to get a third team involved.
• While many sources consider it unlikely, some don’t rule out the idea of the Hawks dangling Smith as part of package to obtain Howard, who was born and played his high school ball in Atlanta.
• Denver is fairly content with its current lineup, as the Nuggets have been one of the hottest teams as of late. But the possibility exists they could make a smaller move at the deadline by dangling rotation players such as Wilson Chandler, Corey Brewer and Anthony Randolph.
• The Nuggets supposedly wouldn’t mind adding Orlando guard J.J. Redick, whose contract expires at season’s end. But sources say conversations involving Redick have all but disappeared after he indicated he wants to stay with the Magic.
• Chicago and Philadelphia are two under-the-radar teams sources suspect will become more aggressive on the day before the deadline. The Bulls and 76ers have started being more active just this past week. It’s also been reported the Bulls have a standing offer from Toronto for Carlos Boozer and John Lucas III. Andrea Bargnani is said to be the centerpiece from the Raptors’ end.
• The Raptors have also engaged the Sixers in conversations centered on Bargnani, sources said. No word on what the Sixers would need to offer in return, although a Western Conference executive suspects it would involve center Spencer Hawes.
• Oklahoma City is another team with plenty of assets. After losing to the Lakers and both games of the season series to Miami, the Thunder are strongly considering a move, sources said. Thunder GM Sam Presti is likely dangling younger players and draft picks to land an offensively-gifted player to join Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook.