As Avery Johnson found out on Thursday, patience is not a virtue in the 2012-13 NBA season. It's either contend for a championship now or face sweeping organizational changes before you know it.
While that fact isn't good for anyone's job security around the league, it's fantastic for those NBA nuts who follow the inner workings of the league's rumor mill. With every firing or player suspension (*cough, DeMarcus Cousins, cough*) comes a cabal of rumblings, none of which can be instantly dismissed.
With so much internal jostling going on throughout the league, the buildup to February's trade deadline may be more active than ever. For that reason, let's take a look at all the latest rumors flying around the Association and break down what they could mean going forward.
Celtics a Possible DeMarcus Cousins Suitor?
Cousins' "indefinite" suspension may have lasted only a game, but the troubled young forward hasn't stepped foot on the floor in over a week and his status isn't clear for Friday night's game, either. To say he's on rocky ground with the Kings would be putting it mildly.
With Cousins' status within the franchise very much in the air, it's not exactly shocking that his name has been bandied about in trade talks. Still, there aren't many teams or franchises out there that are willing to risk a ton of young assets to get a guy who could be nicely put as a malcontent.
According to ESPN's Chad Ford, one of those select few teams could be the Boston Celtics:
I do think the Celtics are one of the teams that would be willing to pull the trigger on a Cousins deal. Danny Ainge has never been afraid of players like Cousins. They do have assets too: Jared Sullinger, Fab Melo, Avery Bradley are all players the Kings would have interest in.
The appeal of Cousins for the Celtics is pretty apparent. Boston ranks dead last in the NBA in rebounding (38.6 per game) and have very few proven young assets other than Rajon Rondo. Avery Bradley had a great second half to the season and he's a scintillating defender, but he's still a guy who had a 11.31 PER last season and is coming off a horrific shoulder injury.
If a package involving Bradley and Melo or Sullinger (or even all three) is all it takes to get someone of Cousins' caliber, you pull the trigger 10 times out of 10.
Raptors Would Rather Trade Kyle Lowry Than Jose Calderon?
Talk about a paradigm shift. Long thought to be a goner after the Raptors' acquisition of Lowry in the summer, it seems like Calderon has slowly built himself back into favor with the club.
Calderon has played exceedingly well in Lowry's latest absence, prompting head coach Dwayne Casey to say the Spaniard would keep his starting job, according to the Toronto Star's Doug Smith. Perhaps playing off that notion, it seems like general manager Bryan Colangelo would now rather move Lowry, according to NBA.com's Sam Smith:
Though he’s out now injured, the Raptors supposedly would like to put Kyle Lowry in a trade package and keep Jose Calderon. The Raptors give up 11 more points per game when Lowry is on the court compared with Calderon.
To put it mildly, this is why Colangelo probably won't have a job next summer. Calderon had always been a perfectly serviceable NBA starter, and though Lowry stood to be an improvement, trading a guaranteed lottery pick was a curious decision. That pick eventually became instrumental to the Rockets' trade for James Harden and may be inside the top five come next June.
And now that Calderon has put together a stretch of games that are right in line with his career numbers, the team has decided to throw its plan out the window. Never mind the fact that Calderon is an expiring contract and Lowry has one of the most cap-friendly contracts in the NBA.
Instead, the Raptors would rather sell low on Lowry rather than sticking to a plan they made less than six months ago. Don't worry folks, I can't find much sense in this one, either.
Jeff Van Gundy Nearing a Return to the Bench?
While he seems pleased with his duties as an NBA analyst for ESPN, Jeff Van Gundy has long stated that he would eventually like to get back into coaching. Though no job has quite piqued his interest enough yet, the new vacancy in Brooklyn is bound to have a bunch of names linked in the coming days.
Speculating on a possible match between the Nets and Van Gundy CBS Sports' Ken Berger reported that the 50-year-old coach is closing on a return to the bench:
Staying in the family, coaching industry sources believe Stan's brother, Jeff Van Gundy, is getting closer to entertaining offers to return to coaching. Would a high-profile job in New York, in a conference where defense still carries the day, be enough to lure him away from the broadcast microphone? The Nets would do well to find out.
In 11 seasons as a head coach with the Knicks and Rockets, Van Gundy compiled 430-318 record and led New York to the NBA finals in 1999-2000. Though it's been nearly six years since Van Gundy was fired by Houston, he's still a respected name in coaching circles and would be a welcomed addition to any franchise.