We're less than a week away from the NBA trade deadline, and the rumors are well past the boiling point. No one player is any closer to being moved, but the number of teams interested in many is sky high.
In Minnesota, Luke Ridnour is preparing for the inevitability that is GM David Kahn dumping his salary via trade. Multiple teams are interested, however, and there is no telling just where he'll end up.
Head south to New Orleans, where the Hornets could be listening to offers on top scorer and star guard Eric Gordon. The man is definitely a top option who can put points on the board, but his past knee issues are definitely a red flag other teams must consider.
Meanwhile, in the Windy City, the Chicago Bulls may be on the verge of pulling off one of the most puzzling trades in NBA history, one that involves Carlos Boozer and a former No. 1 pick that is straddling the border between success story and bust.
There's a lot of news to cover, so let's jump right in!
The Future of Luke Ridnour
Minnesota Timberwolves guard Luke Ridnour is unique in that he can play both guard positions, but his price tag is an issue. The former Oregon Duck is set to make $4 million this season, and $4.3 million in 2013-14. Thus, GM David Kahn is more inclined to move him than to keep him aboard with both Ricky Rubio and Alexey Shved in the mix.
This season, Ridnour has posted 12.3 points per game while shooting just 32 percent from downtown.
According to Darren Wolfson of 1500ESPN.com, the New York Knicks are one of several teams interested in Ridnour, with the Boston Celtics and Utah Jazz also in the mix. More importantly, Ridnour is "mentally prepared" to be dealt by next week's deadline.
Just where he ends up is a mystery, as no one team seems to have emerged past the "engaging in talks" stage, but the fact remains that the odds are greater than none that Ridnour is going to have a new team in the next few days.
Wherever he goes, he's sure to provide plenty of solid depth at guard and be a positive locker room presence.
Eric Gordon Busting Out of Big Easy?
Despite missing most of last season and the start of this season with knee injuries, Eric Gordon is still a reliable 2-guard for the New Orleans Hornets. However, even after signing a lengthy extension with them over the summer, rumor has it the man could be on a new team in the near future.
According to ESPN's Chris Broussard, GM Dell Demps has called other teams to get an idea of what they'd be willing to give up for Gordon. However, Broussard also notes that the odds of the former Hoosier being moved this season are "less than 10 percent."
This is still a rumor to watch in spite of Broussard's report. Gordon was a restricted free agent last summer and agreed to an offer sheet with the Phoenix Suns, and told Jimmy Smith of the Times-Picayune that he would be "disappointed" if the Hornets matched the offer.
Call me crazy, but it sounds like Gordon isn't a fan of playing in New Orleans and wants out. Even if he were the most talented player in the game, and I'm talking on LeBron James' level, Demps would be wise to deal him. There's no sense in paying Gordon $58 million over four years if he's not 100 percent committed to the team, so finding a suitable deal should be near the top of his priority list.
Again, the odds of Gordon being moved this season are slim to none, but the NBA is a league that's full of surprises. By this time next week, Demps could have received an offer that he couldn't refuse and traded Gordon for talent and draft picks.
The temperature may seem low on this rumor now, but definitely keep an eye on it in the coming days.
Boozer for Bargnani Back On?
It's no secret that Carlos Boozer has been a disappointment ever since signing with the Chicago Bulls back in 2010, and the Toronto Raptors are running out of reasons to keep Italian seven-footer Andrea Bargnani aboard. A few weeks ago, K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune reported that both teams were discussing a swap of both players, with Nate Robinson and John Lucas thrown in to make the money balance out.
Those talks later stalled and no deal appeared imminent. That is, until the rumor resurfaced today.
Johnson is reporting that Chicago has a deal on the table that the Raptors can look at if they feel inclined, and the Bulls could benefit greatly if the trade becomes a reality. Not only would the team acquire a decent scorer in Bargnani, but Boozer's max contract would finally be off the books.
However, this deal only makes sense under one circumstance, and that's if the Bulls use Bargnani in a bench scorer's role and insert Taj Gibson at the 4. Seeing as how Bargnani is a seven-footer who has averaged just 4.9 rebounds for his career and Gibson has posted 12.3 points, 9.5 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per 36 minutes in three-and-a-half seasons, the choice seems obvious.
And what of Nate Robinson? He has done a great job running the point as of late, posting 15.6 points and eight assists per game in the month of February.
Granted, Lucas and Robinson are basically the same player, so swapping them may not make that much of a difference, but can Lucas pick up the slack in the playmaking department and be more than just a shooter?
There are still a few days left for both sides to continue this deal and talk it over, but Chicago has a lot of thinking to do since Rose has now made it clear he has no problem sitting out this season. It'd be nice to shed Boozer's contract, but is losing the dynamic Robinson on top of that worth it?
Over the coming days, fans should definitely keep their eyes and ears open for updates on this one.