With the NBA trade deadline just weeks away, the temperature is really starting to rise in the rumor world. From players being told that they would not be dealt to a potential blockbuster in the making, the coming weeks are sure to be full of drama and suspense.
In one instance, the Chicago Bulls may finally rid themselves of Carlos Boozer's amnesty-worthy contract. However, who they get in return won't necessarily be an improvement.
The Memphis Grizzlies may also have another move waiting in the wings, though reports suggest otherwise. The team still has holes to fill, so it's hard to determine whether the rumblings out of FedEx Forum are fact or fiction.
Oh, and did I mention that a front-runner has emerged for Utah Jazz center Al Jefferson?
We have a lot of rumors to cover, dear readers, so fasten your seat belts. This could be quite the bumpy ride.
Carlos Boozer Headed North of the Border?
Carlos Boozer signed a max contract with the Chicago Bulls in July 2010, but he has been far from the regular double-double machine he was in his days with the Utah Jazz, save for a hot streak here and there. Fortunately, GM Gar Forman may be on the verge of shedding this contract from the payroll.
Unfortunately, the player he'd get in return wouldn't necessarily be an improvement.
According to ESPN's Marc Stein, the Bulls have engaged the Toronto Raptors about a straight-up Boozer for Andrea Bargnani trade. Bargani is a decent scorer, but not exactly what one would call a solid defensive power forward. Despite being 7'0", 256 pounds, he plays more like a stretch 4 and has little to no interior game.
As of now, it's hard to figure out just where this trade ranks on the rumor intensity meter. It's a deal that makes sense for the Bulls financially, but only if Taj Gibson becomes the starter at the 4 and Bargnani is used in a sixth man or bench shooter's role.
It's a deal where money is the biggest hangup, but Forman has enough experience and know-how to put together a package that can satisfy both parties. For now, fans should look at this with a wait-and-see attitude.
Memphis Grizzlies Will Keep Zach Randolph...or WILL They?
The Memphis Grizzlies already pulled off a huge trade that sent star forward Rudy Gay to the Toronto Raptors in a three-team deal, but they may not be done yet. The team needs help on the wing now that Gay is gone, and Ric Bucher of CSN Bay Area is reporting that the Grizzlies have shown interest in Courtney Lee of the Boston Celtics.
The Grizzlies are far enough under the luxury tax that they're willing to utilize at least part of their $7.5 million trade exception to add some perimeter help. Acquiring SG Courtney Lee, who Boston would consider flipping for some frontline help, was discussed but the Celtics aren't looking just to drop salary but add size.
However, don't expect Memphis to include Zach Randolph in any potential deal. According to a tweet from Ronald Tillery of the Memphis Commercial Appeal, Randolph has been told that he will not be dealt this season.
ZBo was in trade talks earlier this season. Team brass told ZBo yesterday that he won’t be moved this season.Focus is on rallying the troops— Ronald Tillery (@CAGrizBlog) February 8, 2013
That decision could definitely benefit Memphis, as Randolph has been an excellent low post presence and is averaging 15.7 points and 11.7 rebounds this season. However, is he really worth the money now that the newly-acquired Ed Davis is in the picture?
Needless to say, it's hard to determine whether this is fact or fiction. If the Grizzlies' link to Lee holds water, then a deal involving Randolph seems inevitable, given the Celtics' interior needs.
If what Tillery reports is true, however, then the Grizzlies could very well be done on the trade market this season.
Big Al Headed South?
It's been no secret that at some point this season, Utah Jazz GM Ted Lindsey was going to move one of two players: Al Jefferson or Paul Millsap. According to Chris Sheridan of Sheridanhoops.com, Jefferson looks like the man who will be traded.
The crazy part is that Lindsey would roll the dice and send Jefferson from the No. 7 Jazz to the top-seeded San Antonio Spurs. Trading Jefferson is one thing, but to a conference rival? That's just a bit crazy, if you ask me.
However, Sheridan reports the history between both teams' front offices as the reason for the trade, what with Lindsey being a former Spurs assistant. On top of that, Spurs assistant GM Scott Layden is a former Jazz assistant coach.
Sheridan also states that Utah would likely get one of the Spurs' backup point men in Patty Mills or Nando de Colo, with Tiago Splitter emerging as a possibility as well. Stephen Jackson would be included so the money would match up.
Though this wouldn't be the most conventional trade, it definitely benefits both sides immensely. Utah gets the guard depth they so desperately need, and the Spurs get the reliable center needed to complement Tim Duncan.
This is definitely something to watch over the next couple of weeks. The idea of Jefferson or Millsap being traded is not just a rumor, but an inevitability.
Thus, if Jefferson is indeed sent to San Antonio, expect the roof to be blown off.