With the 2013 NBA playoffs raging on and the draft just over one month away, the rumors are swirling in a furious manner. From teams considering trading down to free agents looking to sign elsewhere, there are countless reports as to what may be.
So what's the latest buzz from around the league?
Certain stories pertain to the NBA draft, as teams are targeting players and looking to adjust their position. Other players are simply hoping to find their way into a more beneficial season via free agency.
One way or another, the NBA is about to change in a major way.
NBA Draft: Teams Looking to Trade Down
According to Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer, the Charlotte Bobcats are interested in trading down if they are unable to win the draft lottery. As it presently stands, they're in position to earn the No. 5 overall selection.
Per Bonnell, they're not the only team interested in moving down.
This might be just zealous due diligence. General manager Rich Cho is meticulous to a fault, so chatting up too many draft prospects could be in his wheelhouse. But there was something that raised my radar about how curious the Bobcats seem to be about players who could be drafted 10th through 20th.
So I asked several writers covering teams with similarly high picks if they thought their general managers were receptive to trading down. “Absolutely,” I kept hearing.
This isn't something you see very often at the NBA draft, but this is one of the weakest classes in recent memory.
The talent disparity in this year's draft is rather thin once you get past the stars of the class. Perhaps most concerning of all, none of those stars appear to be the type of players that you can build your franchise around.
For that reason, trade speculation will likely be present until the draft actually transpires—and Charlotte won't be alone in that process.
J.J. Redick to Sign Elsewhere?
According to Gery Woelfel of The Journal Times, Milwaukee Bucks shooting guard J.J. Redick is expected to sign elsewhere this offseason. Redick is an unrestricted free agent, and thus holds no obligation to the franchise.
To put it simply, this should not come as a surprise.
Redick was in the midst of a career year prior to being traded, averaging 15.1 points and 4.4 assists with the Orlando Magic. Upon joining the Bucks, however, Redick's numbers dropped to 12.3 points and 2.7 assists.
More surprisingly, he shot 39.0 percent from beyond the arc with Orlando and 31.8 percent with Milwaukee.
You can fault Redick for that inconsistency, but there's a lot to say for a player's morale when their statistics decline. Not only is Redick one of the league's elite three-point shooters, but there is no reason to believe he'd shoot 31.8 percent from beyond the arc in the right situation.
Redick had shot worse than 39.0 percent in just two of his first six seasons—he posted marks of 38.8 percent and 37.4 percent in those seasons. The proof is in the numbers.
Redick has every reason to depart.
D-12 to Houston?
For more than two calendar years, the NBA community has counted down the days until Dwight Howard would make a decision about his future. This summer, that day will finally come, as Howard becomes an unrestricted free agent.
The question on everyone's mind is simple—will he re-sign with the Los Angeles Lakers or end up elsewhere?
According to Ken Berger of CBS Sports, Howard is intrigued by the prospect of playing for the Houston Rockets. This should come as no surprise, as Houston possesses the cap space and personnel necessary to pique D-12's interest.
The question is, how much more intriguing can their offer be than the Lakers'?
Houston has multiple factors working in their favor, as James Harden has emerged as a legitimate franchise player and Chandler Parsons is a postseason-caliber supporter. With Omer Asik crashing the boards and Jeremy Lin running the pick-and-roll, the personnel is in place.
Perhaps most intriguing of all is the fact that Texas has no income tax—D-12 could be headed to Houston.