The time for speculations has almost passed, NBA fans. By this time tomorrow, we’ll once again be talking more about basketball and less about trade rumors.
The trade deadline is at 3 p.m. ET, and as expected, the rumor mill is overheating with new information. New rumors are popping up at every corner of the league, but that doesn’t necessarily mean a whole lot is going to happen.
We’ll try to make some sense of the latest deadline buzz, including some rumors involving the Suns, 76ers and Thunder.
According to Chris Broussard of ESPN, Phoenix is in discussions to make a couple moves before the deadline, possibly involving Jermaine O’Neal:
Sources: Knicks showing strong interest in Phx's Jermaine O'Neal...Phx also talking w/Toronto about moving Sebastian Telfair— Chris Broussard (@Chris_Broussard) February 20, 2013
O’Neal isn't exactly lighting up the scoreboard, but he’s having a nice season at 34 years old. The center’s seven points and 4.7 rebounds per game may be enough to entice some teams to inquire about his services before Thursday’s deadline.
Several teams in the league need frontcourt help, but the NBA’s new luxury tax restrictions are making spending especially difficult this year. With O’Neal’s veteran minimum one-year contract (h/t ESPN), he’ll likely be an affordable option for some teams to shore up their frontcourt.
The Suns can’t expect to get a lot in return for O’Neal or Telfaire, but they aren’t likely to have much of an impact in the second half of the season. Phoenix is 18-36 with no chance of making the playoffs this year.
Here’s another case of “he said, he said,” and this time it involves the 76ers.
According to Chris Broussard of ESPN, guard Evan Turner is on the trade block:
Other players who are on trade market, sources say: Brooklyn's Humphries, Philly's E Turner, Charlotte's Ben Gordon & Gerald Henderson.....— Chris Broussard (@Chris_Broussard) February 20, 2013
However, Philly.com reports that sources indicate Turner isn’t going anywhere and that Philadelphia has no interest in shaking up its young core for short-term solutions.
Turner is having his best season as a professional, averaging 13.8 points, 6.6 rebounds and 4.4 assists in just over 36 minutes of action this season. He hasn’t quite been the player Philadelphia expected him to be when they drafted him second overall in 2010, but he’s shown significant improvement in his third season with the team.
If Turner is in fact on the market, several teams should be looking to swing a deal for the 24-year-old. If the 76ers move him, though, it will likely have to come at a steep price.
Oklahoma City Thunder
Kendrick Perkins has been a valuable asset in Oklahoma City’s frontcourt, but according to Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic, the Thunder are rumored to have been in talks with Phoenix about a deal that move Perkins, Jeremy Lamb and a first-round pick in return for Marcin Gortat and P.J. Tucker.
While it seems unlikely Oklahoma City would move a valuable frontcourt piece in the midst of another strong season, Perkins is due $17.63 million over the next two years (h/t ESPN) and adding Gortat’s expiring contract would give the Thunder a lot of financial flexibility this offseason.
This deal seems highly unlikely, but Perkins did sit out the team’s game against the Rockets on Wednesday with a “right knee injury.” While that may indicate there is more to the trade rumors than it appears, Mike Sherman of the Oklahoman reports the Thunder have refuted any connection between Perkins missing the game and the swirling trade rumors:
We’ll have to see how it all pans out, but my money is on Perkins staying in Oklahoma City for the rest of the season.
The Celtics have dominated trade rumor discussions this season, but Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett aren’t at the center of the latest banter.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, Fab Melo is potentially on the block:
In pursuit of guard help, the Celtics have made rookie center Fab Melo available in trade offers, league sources tell Y! Sports.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) February 20, 2013
The 22-year-old center has only seen eight minutes of game action this season, but he has the potential to bring back a quality veteran frontcourt player in a deadline deal. Melo has a high ceiling, but he’s a developmental big man at this point.
A lot of teams in the league are out of the playoff picture with less than 30 games to play and it makes sense that a few of those teams would be interested in Melo as a developmental piece for the future. Trading for Melo would also be a good opportunity for a team to shed some salary, which could be the focal point of many of the deals we see in the next several hours.