Playing Fact or Fiction with Hottest NBA Trade Chatter Ahead of 2013 Deadline

Sean HojnackiFeatured ColumnistFebruary 20, 2013

Playing Fact or Fiction with Hottest NBA Trade Chatter Ahead of 2013 Deadline

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    The NBA trade deadline is somewhat akin to junior high. 

    There are a lot of rumors, not much action, profuse sweating and it ends at 3 p.m.

    With the deadline looming on Thursday afternoon, the trade chatter has been turned up to 11. But what can be believed from it?

    Well, I'll tell you.

    It's time to play everyone's favorite guessing game: Fact or Fiction!

Marcin Gortat for Kendrick Perkins

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    Fiction

    Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic dropped a bomb on the world of NBA trade rumors early Wednesday morning with this one: The Phoenix Suns and Oklahoma City Thunder would get together to swap Marcin Gortat and P.J. Tucker for Kendrick Perkins, Jeremy Lamb and a first-round pick.

    Wow, that's a juicy one.

    Numerous outlets have picked up the rumor, but no one else is reporting any further news on it or even confirming the rumor from that source or any other.

    Gortat's name has been all over the trade rumors this month, but the only OKC player whose name has popped up has been Eric Maynor.

    The randomness and otherwise muteness on this trade rumor suggests that it's fictitious. 

Jordan Crawford

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    Fiction

    According to Ken Berger of CBSSports.com, "The Wizards have fielded calls about Jordan Crawford, but have demonstrated no appetite to take back long-term money."

    Even as bad as the Wizards are, they shouldn't be in any hurry to move Crawford. He's signed through next season to a very manageable contract, and they don't have to worry about being in the playoff hunt.

    The return of John Wall has revitalized the team, and they should just wind down the season with this roster and look to the summer to reassess. 

    And there's no way they should be taking back long-term money unless the rest of the deal is an absolute sweetheart.

    The only thing that could prompt a trade is Crawford's character issues. The Washington Examiner's Craig Stouffer noted Crawford's sulking on the bench and petulant demeanor, not to mention tossing his jersey into the stands as he left one game.

    Unless his attitude alone prompts Washington to hit the eject button, Crawford won't be going anywhere.

Andrea Bargnani

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    Fiction

    According to Ken Berger of CBSSports.com, the Toronto Raptors would love to swap Andrea Bargnani "in the right deal, but rival execs have detected no urgency from Toronto's front office."

    This jibes with what the Toronto Star's Doug Smith wrote about a source on Monday saying that it "looks like the summer" will be when the Raptors move Bargnani.

    But K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune wrote a week before the deadline that according to league sources, the Raptors could get Carlos Boozer and Nate Robinson for Bargnani and John Lucas III "whenever they wanted."

    That sounds like a pretty good deal for Toronto, especially considering that Boozer is enjoying a fine season, but he is owed a ton of money through 2015.

    There's also the report from Sam Amico of Fox Sports Ohio saying the Toronto Raptors want to give Andrea Bargnani to the Philadelphia 76ers for Spencer Hawes.

    Despite an active market for the Italian big man, it seems the Raptors are content to stand pat unless they are blown away by a deal before Thursday afternoon.

    For better or worse, look for Bargnani to get moved this summer instead.

Ben Gordon

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    Fact

    Per Ken Berger of CBSSports.com, "The Nets know a deal involving [Kris] Humphries for Charlotte's Ben Gordon will still be there at the deadline and are waiting for Atlanta to choose a destination for [Josh] Smith before proceeding with those talks."

    The only problem is that the Nets have also offered Humphries as part of a package to the Atlanta Hawks for Smith, and Atlanta knows that deal will still be there at the deadline as well.

    Essentially, the Nets and Hawks are involved in a good old fashioned standoff.

    Gordon's name has been linked to several teams, and he's an enigmatic player to try and shop. Basically, he can score (12.6 points per game, 16.2 career), but he can't rebound, pass or defend (1.9 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 0.6 steals). 

    Gordon is also owed a ton of money. If he takes his player option next year, he'll be owed $13.2 million.

    It's also believed that Charlotte is motivated to move Gordon after a confrontation with coach Mike Dunlap just a week before the deadline. Dunlap asked Gordon to stop bouncing a ball while he was talking; Gordon refused and told the coach he needed to "humble himself” (via Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports). 

    Wow. I can't believe a player doesn't like being a Charlotte Bobcat.

    But the Nets would like to add more scoring depth to their backcourt and Humphries has been on his way out of New Jersey/Brooklyn for a couple of years now. Plus, money is no object for the Nets owner.

Josh Smith

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    Fact

    Speaking of a standoff, Atlanta Hawks GM Danny Ferry has been going over his cellular plan. He's been calling, emailing, texting, facebooking and tweeting GMs around the NBA as they loudly proclaim their interest in trading Josh Smith.

    Smith has his odd tendencies, but he's an All-Star caliber player (even if he's never actually been named an All-Star). He's been stuffing the stat sheet again this year, averaging 17.4 points, 8.6 rebounds, 4.1 assists, 2.1 blocks and 1.2 steals.

    Not only is there the deal from the Brooklyn Nets (Kris Humphries and MarShon Brooks, plus a first-round pick or the rights to Bojan Bogdanovic, per Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports), but a slew of other teams have their maws open at the Hawks' trough.

    The Boston Celtics have offered Paul Pierce (per Wojnarowski). The Milwaukee Bucks have dangled Monta Ellis (via ESPN's Marc Stein). The Phoenix Suns have offered multiple packages but now appear to be out of the running (per ESPN.com). The Philadelphia 76ers and Washington Wizards are in the hunt too (per Wojnarowski).

    The New York Knicks have also emerged as surprise contenders, with Alex Kennedy of HOOPSWORLD reporting that they're offering Iman Shumpert and Amar'e Stoudemire for Smith and a player like Zaza Pachulia.

    Bottom line is that Smith is going somewhere, as he doesn't seem to fit into the Hawks' plans for the future and he's too good to let go and not get anything for him. The only sticking point is that the Hawks are struggling to find the assets they're looking for (per CBSSports' Ken Berger).

    Any trade partner would also retain his Bird rights and would be able to offer him a five-year deal as opposed to the four years every other suitor would be restricted to.

Paul Millsap

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    Fact

    Paul Millsap's name has been flying around in advance of the deadline.

    Utah's potent forward has been mentioned in trade talks for the L.A. Clippers' Eric Bledsoe (per Ramona Shelburne and Marc Stein of ESPN).

    ESPN's Bradford Doolittle observed how the trade is one of those few deals that makes sense for both teams (subscription required). Utah can't sign both Millsap and Al Jefferson in free agency, they need a point guard and the Clippers want a forward.

    Millsap's stats (15.0 points, 7.4 rebounds) are actually approaching those posted by Jefferson (17.7 points, 9.4 rebounds), but the latter will still command a higher salary.

    The Jazz need to get something instead of nothing for Millsap as he's too talented to let walk. And any team in the NBA who can afford him should pick up the phone and call Salt Lake City.

    A reunion with Deron Williams in Brooklyn could work, and it would probably only cost the Nets Kris Humphries and a draft pick.

    Fortunately, all this trade chatter doesn't faze Millsap. 

    Bill Oram of the Salt Lake Tribune quotes the seven-year veteran as saying that it's flattering to know other teams are interested in you. "I try to keep it positive. When they’re not talking about you is when you should be concerned."

J.J. Redick

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    Fact

    Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports tweeted that Orlando Magic guard J.J. Redick could be a "major target" for the Milwaukee Bucks. Of course, any trade for Redick would have to be predicated on re-signing the unrestricted free agent this offseason.

    According to Alex Kennedy of HOOPSWORLD, the New York Knicks, Chicago Bulls and Indiana Pacers have also expressed interest in Reddick (via Twitter).

    Ken Berger of CBSSports.com reported that the Bucks' Luc Mbah a Moute and a first-round pick would net them Redick.

    Orlando is over-burdened with salary through next season (thanks to Hedo Turkoglu and Al Harrington) and it would be difficult for them to re-sign Redick in the offseason.

    As Adrian Wojnarowski wrote, "The Magic are willing to re-sign Redick to a deal near the mid-level exception of $5 million per year, but sources say Redick's agent, Arn Tellem, will likely start the bidding at four years, $40 million for Redick on the free-agent market."

    If the mid-level exception won't cut it, moving him now when he's enjoying the best season of his career makes sense (15.2 points and 4.4 assists per game).

    But the Bucks would likely want to swap mercurial scorer Monta Ellis with someone before taking on Redick, as they would want him for more than a rental.

J.J. Hickson

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    Fiction

    I like the Portland Trail Blazers' ambition and willingness to trade a movable piece on a team stacked with young talent. According to Ken Berger of CBSSports.com, "The Blazers continue to try to extract a future first-round pick for J.J. Hickson."

    There is certainly a market for Hickson, a fifth-year, 6'9" banger who plays bigger than his size. He's currently averaging 12.9 points and 10.4 boards per game in just under 30 minutes.

    But a first-round pick for him? That's a bit much to swallow.

    The trade market is also not red hot for a PF/C according to league sources, especially with cheaper assets like Marreese Speights and Jermaine O'Neal available (per Ben Golliver on Twitter). 

    Furthermore, J.J. may be a bit of a knucklehead. Hickson raised some eyebrows (and made some headlines) with a series of tweets on Valentine's Day that extended well into the evening and early morning.

    Many were accompanied by the hashtag "girlbye" which were various reasons for leaving the woman you're with. My personal favorite was this: "You built like a bag a blockbuster tapes... #girlbye." 

    It's creative and light-hearted. After all, when's the last time you saw a bag full of VHS tapes, let alone watched one?

    Hickson also gave a shoutout to strippers around the world.

    When asked by Anne Peterson of the Associated Press if he understood some of the tweets could be seen as offensive, Hickson admitted, "Now that you asked me that question, yeah" (via Ben Golliver of Blazer's Edge).

    But he reassured that "it definitely was jokes." Jokes, yes, just like Portland asking for a first-round pick for him.

Luke Ridnour

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    Fiction

    If we're to believe Marc Spears of Yahoo! Sports, the Minnesota Timberwolves are not shopping Luke Ridnour.

    But he has also been linked to the New York Knicks according to several outlets, including Alex Kennedy of HOOPSWORLD.

    Ridnour sometimes gets forgotten since he plays for the T-wolves, but the point guard is averaging 12.3 points per game. He would make a great addition for a contender in need of backcourt depth.

The Rest

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    Fact

    Here are some other quick hitters who will be moved by Thursday afternoon:

    • Eric Maynor of the Oklahoma City Thunder, who will become a restricted free agent in the offseason (via Ken Berger of CBS Sports).
    • Jermaine O'Neal from the Phoenix Suns to the New York Knicks (per ESPN's Chris Broussard). Because who knows when (if ever) Marcus Camby or Rasheed Wallace will be ready to play.
    • Someone from the Golden State Warriors to reduced their payroll by at least $1.22 million so they get in under the luxury tax (per ESPN's Nick Borges).
    • The San Antonio Spurs' DeJuan Blair (per Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski).