As the NBA embarks on the final stretch of the 2012-13 NBA regular season, the focus has shifted to the postseason picture. From contenders hitting their stride to bubble teams looking to sneak in, the drama is at a season-high.
Believe it or not, that hasn't stopped the rumor mill from running rampant. As we take a break from the postseason races, we find ourselves asking a familiar question.
What's the latest buzz from around the league?
From potential re-signings to prospective 10-day contracts, we've been hearing it all. Earlier this week, the New York Knicks signed Kenyon Martin to a 10-day deal (via Yahoo! Sports).
Since then, contenders have followed suit and players have expressed their interest in doing the same as K-Mart—competing for a title.
For starters, Alex Kennedy of HoopsWorld.com reports that Monta Ellis will be looking to join a title contender this summer. Ellis has a player option for 2013-14, but this report suggests he will decline the offer.
In their current state, the phrase "title contender" could eliminate the Milwaukee Bucks from re-signing the combo guard.
Fortunately for those in Oklahoma City, there's a different spin on the story of a sharpshooter bound to become a free agent.
Oklahoma City Thunder, Kevin Martin Update
According to Alex Kennedy of HoopsWorld.com, the Oklahoma City Thunder are looking to re-sign Kevin Martin this summer. This should come as no surprise, as Martin is averaging 14.8 points on 43.5 percent shooting from beyond the arc.
Unfortunately, the Thunder could lose Martin due to financial restrictions.
The Thunder wants to re-sign Martin this summer and have made assurances that they will do so, according to sources. However, another team could make a lucrative offer to Martin and Oklahoma City would have no choice but to let him walk for financial reasons.
This is the same issue that forced OKC to trade James Harden.
Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports reported in January that Martin wants to remain in Oklahoma City. For that reason, one is inclined to believe that he and the Thunder will be able to work out a deal.
Just don't underestimate the power of money.
Martin is one of the top shooting guards available in the upcoming period of free agency. In turn, he's certain to receive a hefty contract offer as a sharpshooting wing.
At the age of 30, one can't help but imagine that he'll want to cash in on one more significant payday before he is given the label of an "aging star."
Multiple Contenders Interested in Louis Amundson
According to Marc Stein of ESPN, the Chicago Bulls have engaged in talks to sign center Louis Amundson. The Bulls are expected to make a decision by Friday, Feb. 29.
Amundson played 23 games for the Timberwolves before he was waived on Feb. 8 in favor of Chris Johnson and Mickael Gelabale (via NBA.com).
Just going online now: ESPN sources say Bulls in talks to sign Louis Amundson. Decision on veteran power forward expected Friday— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) March 1, 2013
According to Chris Tomasson of Fox Sports Florida, the Bulls aren't the only team looking into Amundson.
Per Tomasson, the Miami Heat, Boston Celtics and New York Knicks have all expressed interest. The Heat appear to be eliminated from the conversation, as they signed center Chris Andersen.
As for the Knicks, they're waiting to see how Kenyon Martin fares. Boston could emerge as a potential suitor, as they are in dire need of depth in the frontcourt.
One way or another, it appears as if Amundson will be joining a contender.
Omri Casspi in Buyout Talks
According to Marc Stein of ESPN, the Cleveland Cavaliers are involved in talks of a buyout with Omri Casspi. Casspi received an appendectomy last weekend, but that appears to have nothing to do with the situation at hand (via USA TODAY Sports).
Per Stein, one of the teams interested in Casspi is the Houston Rockets.
Cavs and Omri Casspi indeed engaged in buyout talks, I'm told, with deal to part ways possible before March 1 deadline (which is Friday)— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) February 28, 2013
Rockets are a legit & confirmed suitor for Omri Casspi, who is recovering from emergency surgery last weekend to take out his appendix— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) February 28, 2013
The clock is ticking.
If the deal isn't executed within the next few hours, Casspi will remain with the Cavs. If it is completed, however, Houston could add welcomed depth.
The pressure is on both sides to come to an agreement while they're permitted.