NBA Trade Rumors: Playing Fact or Fiction with the Latest League Buzz

Stephen BabbFeatured ColumnistAugust 31, 2012

NBA Trade Rumors: Playing Fact or Fiction with the Latest League Buzz

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    Most of the NBA's wheeling and dealing may happen during the summer, but there will be plenty of ongoing trade chatter right up until the deadline in February.

    As organizations get a better feel for their rosters and whether they should be buying or selling, the trade market comes into clearer view.

    HOOPSWORLD's Steve Kyler offers a rundown of players who could be on the move at some point this season.

    In case you didn't have your fill of rumors and speculation during the offseason, there's more where all that came from. Whether any of it comes to fruition is another question altogether.

    Let's play some fact or fiction.

Charlotte Bobcats Trading Tyrus Thomas?

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    FACT

    It's no secret that Tyrus Thomas' most recent season with the Charlotte Bobcats was an utter disaster, but it was hardly consistent with what he'd done up to that point.

    Thomas averaged more than 10 points in three of the four seasons leading up to 2011-12, and he'd never shot anywhere close to the lowly 37 percent he put up last season. You have to think he just might bounce back and once again become a reliable contributor for Charlotte.

    Nevertheless, Steve Kyler reports that the Bobcats may be looking to move him in the not-too-distant future:

    Sources close to the process say the team hopes new head Coach Mike Dunlap can reach Tyrus in a way that Paul Silas couldn’t, but the truth of the matter is that Tyrus is not in the long-term plan. If the Bobcats can find anyone who’d take him, they’d trade Tyrus tomorrow.

    Even if Thomas does return to form, Charlotte probably isn't interested in paying him another $26 million over the next three seasons.

    That's a high price to pay for a team that's rebuilding.

Cleveland Cavaliers Trading Daniel Gibson?

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    FICTION

    Daniel Gibson is in the last year of his contract, and it just doesn't make much sense for the Cleveland Cavaliers to trade him.

    They don't have much depth behind Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters, and Gibson's ability to play minutes at both positions makes him an attractive candidate to play the role of a sixth man. He also gives the team another perimeter shooter, and it doesn't have many of those.

    Plus, Steve Kyler's evidence isn't all that compelling in this instance:

    The Cavs deny that they are “shopping” Daniel Gibson, but more than a few team sources say their club has had some level of contact regarding Gibson throughout the summer. With draft pick Dion Waiters expected to join super sophomore Kyrie Irving in the Cavs backcourt there may not be much of a role for Gibson and several teams have tried to engage Cleveland on a deal.

    As Kyler later points out, the Cavs might be interested in getting a draft pick given that Gibson could walk next season. That makes a lot of sense, but it also presupposes the organization isn't interested in keeping Gibson around at a lower price.

    More importantly, Cleveland could actually be half-way decent this season. Therefore, parting ways with valuable depth might not be worth yet another draft pick. Besides, it's not like they're going to get a lottery pick for this guy. 

Detroit Pistons Trading Corey Maggette?

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    FICTION

    Steve Kyler doesn't attribute this notion to any sources, and that's not especially surprising. It wouldn't make any sense for the Detroit Pistons to trade Corey Maggette.

    The team acquired him precisely because his expiring deal came off the books before Ben Gordon's contract would have. Sure, if there's a team out there interested in trading a good $10 million player for an expiring contract, the Pistons would listen.

    But, why would a player like that be on the market?

    If a guy is making $10 million and his current team wants to trade him for cap space, chances are the Pistons would prefer cap space over that guy too.

Houston Rockets Trading Kevin Martin?

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    FACT

    Steve Kyler is on point with this one:

    The Houston Rockets have tried to repair the relationship with Kevin Martin, but after trying to trade him over the last two offseasons, it’s clear Kevin’s time in Houston is short. With one season worth $12.43 million left on his deal, Kevin is the salary chip the Rockets will have to cash before the trade deadline.

    Given the dramatic youth movement the Houston Rockets have embarked upon, there's really only one scenario in which keeping Kevin Martin would be advisable.

    If the organization can turn its young assets into an established star (as it attempted to do in its pursuits of Dwight Howard and Andrew Bynum), holding on to Martin might make sense.

    Of course, that's assuming he wasn't also included in such a deal.

    Otherwise, HTown is rebuilding. The Rockets would be better off with a second-round pick than waiting around for Martin to leave this summer as a free agent.

Orlando Magic Trading Al Harrington?

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    FICTION

    Steve Kyler should trust his sources on this one:

    Sources near the Magic deny that Al Harrington was a throw-in in the Dwight Howard trade. There is a belief that Al could be a good locker room influence on Orlando’s cast of young bigs and that’s likely true to start the season. However, at the trade deadline you can bet that the Magic are going to try and off-load Harrington on a playoff team and try to dump the remaining years on his contract.

    Dumping contracts doesn't always make as much sense as you might think for a rebuilding team. After all, how many big-time free agents are going to be interested in playing for the Orlando Magic any time soon?

    Plus, Orlando won't have an opportunity for serious cap room until the summer of 2014 anyway. That's assuming Hedo Turkoglu picks up his option for 2013-14, but that's probably a pretty safe assumption.

    Finally, Harrington's contract was one of the reasons he was included in this deal.

    He's only guaranteed half of the money he's owed in the final two seasons of his deal (so half of $7.1 million in 2013-14 and $7.6 million in 2014-15). That means Orlando can waive Harrington after this season or in the summer of 2014 and clear some additional cap space.

    Alternatively, if general manager Rob Hennigan does opt to trade Harrington, it makes more sense for him to do so once the dust settles this season and he has a better sense of the organization's needs going forward.