NBA Rumors: 5 Whispers We're Buying

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistNovember 16, 2012

NBA Rumors: 5 Whispers We're Buying

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    While the never-ending stream of rumors constantly flying around the NBA is sometimes as entertaining as the on-court action, many of these rumblings wind up being pure speculation.

    After all, we're not going to have a James Harden trade or Mike Brown firing every day. If we did, the league would be in constant chaos and would look a whole lot like my NBA 2K13 Association after a few years.

    Instead, the stable of whispers around the league must be combed through, and we must find the rumors worth believing.

    With that in mind, here is a look at a few rumors that may come to fruition.

Al Jefferson Would Love to Return to Boston?

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    When Utah Jazz center Al Jefferson wasn't getting posterized by Jeff Green in Boston, he was talking to reporters about a possible return to the city.

    A free agent in the offseason, Jefferson would love to return to the team that drafted him in 2004, according to CSN New England's A. Sherrod Blakely:

    Jefferson has said he's focused on doing all he can to get the Jazz back to the playoffs for the second straight year, but added that he would consider a return to Boston when he becomes a free agent.

    "This is my first home," said Jefferson, who added that he loves it in Utah because they do things the right way, "kind of like Boston."

    While it's obviously not imminent, nabbing Jefferson would be a great move for the Celtics as well. Almost the entire core of Boston's best players outside of Rajon Rondo are nearing their twilight, while Jefferson is fully in his prime at just 27 years old. 

    There's just one problem: Financial flexibility. The Celtics have around $71 million in commitments for the 2013-14 season, meaning a sign-and-trade is the only way the big man could return to his old stomping grounds.

    I'm buying that Jefferson would love for it to happen. As for the execution? I'm far more skeptical. 

Kobe "Campaigned Hard" to Bring Phil Jackson Back to Lakers?

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    If you hear a player on the Los Angeles Lakers speak, they are likely singing the praises of new coach Mike D'Antoni.

    Still, the Phil Jackson gorilla in the room won't be going away anytime soon. From now until the moment D'Antoni hoists a championship (if that day ever comes), he'll be known by some Lakers fans as "not Phil."

    Obviously, that's unfair. It doesn't make it any less true, nor does it take away the fact that even some players desperately wanted Jackson to come back—particularly Kobe Bryant. According to Mark Medina and Elliott Teaford of the Long Beach Press Telegram, Bryant campaigned to get his former coach back to Los Angeles: 

    Once Bryant learned [Jackson] was in the mix, though, he campaigned hard.

    He relished the "We Want Phil" chants showering down from the Lakers fans at Staples Center. Bryant glowingly sang his praises in news conferences.

    In just about every sense imaginable, this was expected. Jackson is the only coach Bryant has truly respected at the professional level and a guy that was vital to Mamba's five championship rings. 

    That doesn't mean he was against hiring D'Antoni in any way, shape or form. But when Jackson is available, he automatically becomes the first choice of just about anyone involved with basketball. You know, unless your name is Jim Buss. 

Timberwolves Looking to Make a Trade?

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    Despite being absolutely ravaged by injuries, the Minnesota Timberwolves are 5-3 heading into Friday's contest and have been a pleasant surprise thus far.

    Nevertheless, it's not a sustainable model that can work over the long term. The team's depth is in desperate need of help, particularly on the wing, and signing Josh Howard isn't going to suddenly solve all of those ills.

    That's likely why an agent told 1500 ESPN's Darren Wolfson that he feels like Minnesota is gearing itself up to make a trade:

    An agent who's trying to get his guy on Wolves: "I think the team is trying to make a trade. No one has said as much, but that’s my guess."

    — Darren Wolfson (@DarrenWolfson) November 14, 2012

    Even outside of the depth questions, all the signs point to the Timberwolves being in the trade market sooner rather than later. According to 1500 ESPN, the team has already considered moving power forward Derrick Williams and point guards Luke Ridnour and J.J. Barea.

    What the team wants in return remains to be seen. But don't be shocked if we see Minnesota in a ton of trade rumors in the coming weeks.

Raja Bell Trade Coming Soon?

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    Essentially told "you don't gotta go home, but you can't stay here" by the Utah Jazz, it's only a matter of time before the team trades disgruntled shooting guard Raja Bell.

    The 36-year-old has been at odds with the Jazz, particularly coach Ty Corbin, dating back to last season. That relationship did not heal over the summer, and now the team is actively trying to shop him. Though there is no movement yet, Hoopsworld's Alex Kennedy is reporting that a move could be imminent:

    Last month, Bell was told not to report to training camp. Now, a trade seems imminent. The 12-year veteran can still contribute on the defensive end and, at this point in his career, he’d love to play for a contender. Don’t be surprised if Bell is traded in the coming weeks.

    As anyone who follows the NBA knows, this situation is all a matter of a team becoming desperate on the wing. Bell is a guard who can both stroke from the outside and defend shooting guards well in limited minutes, two traits that are always attractive to contenders.

    He may not be what he once was and certainly has a questionable reputation at the moment, but Bell will land somewhere before we hit 2013.

Nothing Imminent on Kenyon Martin?

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    When Kenyon Martin's price came down to the veteran's minimum level, many figured that the veteran forward wouldn't be long for the free-agent market.

    Well, that hasn't been the case. We're hitting the third week of NBA action, and the former All-Star is yet to ink a deal. What's more, Yahoo! Sports' Marc J. Spears is reporting that nothing is even close to happening yet:

    Conversations continue with NBA teams for forward Kenyon Martin, but nothing is imminent, source tells Y! Sports.

    — Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) November 10, 2012

    Though Martin certainly isn't lacking in ability, his feet-shuffling and questionable reputation are the root causes of him being without a team. There was a cavalcade of interested teams in August and September chasing Martin with minimum contracts, only for him to balk at taking less than his assumed worth.

    Now, rosters are set for the most part. That means the next time we see Martin undoubtedly comes with the next ravaging of injuries in a contender's frontcourt.

    For some reason, I just don't think that will happen anytime soon.