NBA Rumors: Ranking Top 5 Rumors from Least to Most Probable

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistNovember 26, 2012

NBA Rumors: Ranking Top 5 Rumors from Least to Most Probable

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    Speculation smoke oftentimes fails to lead to fire on the NBA rumor mill, so it's always important to take all the rumblings with a grain of salt.

    After all, if everything that was rumored actually happened, the league would crumble. Movement would rival even the most active fantasy league, and beloved players would ping-pong across the league almost on a nightly basis.

    However, fans have to be aware by now that this isn't your typical NBA season. Players, coaches and front office personnel will all be on the move in 2012-13, and it's our job to pick through the rumors and judge which rumblings actually carry weight. 

    With that in mind, here's a look at all the latest rumors around the league, ranked in order of their probability of happening.


    (All stats are updated as of Nov. 26.)

5. Michael Finley to Make an NBA Return?

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    Rasheed Wallace's return with the New York Knicks has proven this season that boxers aren't the only athletes who can make a successful comeback.

    Perhaps using Wallace as an inspiration, other veterans are looking to make a return as well. We've already noted Antonio McDyess' desired comeback in this space.

    According to ESPN's Marc Stein, former guard Michael Finley is also looking to make his way to an NBA floor near you:

    Former NBA All-Star Michael Finley is putting his front-office career on hold in hopes of extending his playing career, according to sources with knowledge of his plans.

    Sources told ESPN that Finley, after participating in NBA pickup games all summer, continues to work out vigorously in pursuit of a contract that would give him one more run as an NBA player before shifting his focus to front-office work.

    Barring some team getting ravaged by injuries, Finley is probably better off sticking to his front-office job with the Dallas Mavericks. There is a stable of capable guards on the open market, nearly all of which are younger than Finley (who is 39) and have played far more recently. 

    So while Finley may want to make a comeback, look for him to be met with a "thanks, but no thanks" response from NBA teams.

4. Raptors Think There's a Trade Market for Bargnani?

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    To say the 2012-13 season hasn't gone to plan for Andrea Bargnani would be a bit of an understatement.

    His 38.6 shooting percentage is tied for his career low, a figure most adversely effected by Bargnani's embarrassingly bad 2-of-19 shooting performance against the San Antonio Spurs on Sunday night.

    Never a stout defender, Bargnani hasn't exactly been helping too much on that end either.

    Understandably, the former No. 1 pick's standing with fans has taken a nosedive, many of whom want Bargnani traded.

    According to Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun, the Raptors have not begun shopping their center. However, the team does believe that there would be interested parties if it chose to make Bargnani available:


    From what I've heard, Raptors not yet taking looking to move Bargnani. But team believes (and it isn't BS) there would be market for him

    —Ryan Wolstat (@WolstatSun) November 20, 2012

    On the surface, Raptors management likely has a point. Despite his defensive deficiencies, Bargnani is a big that stretches defenses, an extremely valuable commodity. He also has a manageable contract and isn't a known malcontent. 

    If Toronto looks to move Bargnani, don't look for it to take long for it to find a suitor. 

3. Eddy Curry Drawing Interest on Open Market?

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    Released by the Dallas Mavericks after two games so the team could sign Troy Murphy, center Eddy Curry has now been given walking papers by two clubs in the past couple months.

    Considering Curry has played just 26 games in the last four-plus seasons, it would stand to reason that we'd be looking at the end for the former prep star. However, according to Hoopsworld's Alex Kennedy, five teams have inquired about the free-agent center since his release:

    Free-agent center Eddy Curry has received interest from several NBA teams, according to sources close to the situation. Five teams have been in contact with Curry and expressed some level of interest in his services.

    In fact, Curry's NBA interest is high enough that he turned down an opportunity to sign with Foshan in the Chinese Basketball Association, per ESPN's Marc Stein.

    If his management is turning down a paycheck, that means there has to be some smoke to this rumor fire. 

    As for what Curry can contribute at this point in his career, there really isn't a concrete answer. But, hey, he's a big guy and people know his name. So there's that, I guess. 

2. Jannero Pargo a Popular Target, Bulls the Favorite?

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    Released by the Washington Wizards on Nov. 15 when they signed Shaun Livingston, Jannero Pargo is yet to find a new home.

    Despite his unemployment problems, the point guard is drawing interest from teams, according to Real GM—particularly the Chicago Bulls:

    After being waived by the Washington Wizards, Jannero Pargo has received interest from a number of teams, agent Mark Bartelstein told RealGM on Friday.

    The Chicago Bulls are among the teams that have already reached out to Pargo, and the two parties plan to talk in the coming days, as his representatives will do with other interested teams.

    Anyone who has seen Chicago's offense play this season cannot be shocked by the team's interest. The Bulls are averaging only 94.2 points per game, and their guard play has been a massive deficiency. 

    Obviously, the loss of Derrick Rose has loomed large. Kirk Hinrich has quietly been one of the season's biggest disappointments, shooting an embarrassingly low 30.4 percent from the field thus far. 

    Pargo isn't the type of player who can single-handedly fix those woes—he was dropped for Livingston, after all. However, Chicago desperately needs help and Pargo has shown intermittent flashes in his career. 

1. Lakers Pursuing Raja Bell?

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    Still unable to complete a buyout with the Utah Jazz, Raja Bell is a man essentially on Exile Island until further notice.

    His relationship with the team and coach Ty Corbin has deteriorated to the point where they asked him to stay away, and the two sides have seemingly been working on a way to get him out forever.

    Well, Bell may have some extra motivation now. According to Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski, the Los Angeles Lakers have shown interest in bringing the veteran guard after a buyout agreement is reached: 

    With the hiring of Mike D'Antoni as coach, the Los Angeles Lakers are showing a renewed interest in trying to find a way to sign exiled Utah Jazz guard Raja Bell once his contract buyout is completed, league sources told Yahoo! Sports.

    Because of Bell's relationship with D'Antoni, I'm totally buying the Lakers interest. Bell was fantastic with the Phoenix Suns in the coach's "seven-seconds-or-less" offense and can still knock down an open jumper from the outside.

    As a basketball fit, though, signing Bell would be the definition of "meh." He would serve simply as another aging, mediocre guard who would do little to fix the Lakers' athleticism problem. 

    It may wind up happening, but don't confuse this with some sort of catalyzing move.