The 2013 NBA draft is behind us, the free-agent superstars have signed new contracts and all but one coaching vacancy has been filled. Even still, the rumor mill has been running rampant, and the NBA remains in position for a massive overhaul.
Which of the latest rumors surrounding potential trade talks are we buying and which are we selling?
It's always difficult to determine which reports have substance and which are nothing more than rumors. Even still, it's important to attempt to understand which deals could actually get done, as trades are bound to transpire.
So who is rumored to be going where and do we believe it'll actually happen?
Detroit Pistons Pursuing Rajon Rondo, Brandon Jennings
In early July, Ken Berger of CBS Sports reported that the Detroit Pistons are interested in trading for Boston Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo. Since then, the Pistons have signed Josh Smith and the reports of Detroit's interest in Rondo have grown louder.
“At this point, I really can’t start talking about somebody else’s player. That trade rumor is not true," [Dumars said].
The Pistons did ask about the availability of Rondo, but it never reached the stage of potential players who would be involved in such a move.
This doesn't rule out the potential for a Rondo trade in the slightest, but it puts a temporary pause on it.
If Rondo becomes available for the price of Brandon Knight and Andre Drummond, it's hard to imagine any general manager would turn that opportunity down. Knight and Drummond each have upside, but when you have a chance to land a legitimate superstar entering his prime, you do it.
Unfortunately for Pistons fans desiring that type of deal, Dumars insists that the Pistons are dedicated to developing Knight with the help of Chauncey Billups.
Sean Deveney of Sporting News reports that the Pistons are interested in executing a sign-and-trade for Brandon Jennings. In Ellis' previously alluded to article, Dumars shoots that down as an unsubstantiated rumor.
At this point, the best way to describe Rondo to the Pistons is like this: James Harden wasn't traded to the Houston Rockets until October. We're only temporarily selling.
Once Detroit sees its team in the gym and realizes how potent the Rondo-Smith-Greg Monroe trio can be, this deal will grow legs.
Verdict: Temporarily Selling
Kendall Marshall on the Trade Block
Already possessing two franchise point guards, the established Goran Dragic and 2012 lottery pick Kendall Marshall, the Phoenix Suns traded for prized two-way player Eric Bledsoe. Bledsoe, showing all signs of playing the point, was the first major non-draft acquisition of new general manager Ryan McDonough.
According to Scott Howard-Cooper of NBA.com, Marshall is now on the trading block.
“He’s out there,” said a member of one personnel department, meaning Marshall is available.
“They’re trying to attach him to pretty much any deal that comes up,” another executive said here at Summer League. “If you want to talk about any of their players, they include him. He’s basically the price of admission to any trade right now.”
When asked, McDonough was unequivocal, partially denying the rumors but still using the words, "Everyone has a price."
It certainly makes sense for the Suns to trade Marshall, as they're under a new regime looking to build a contender from the ground up. With Bledsoe and first-round draft choices Alex Len and Archie Goodwin under contract, it's clear that Phoenix is committed to building with defense and athleticism.
Marshall is far from stellar in either of those areas, but still maintains enough upside to be a valuable trade piece.
Marshall is an elite facilitating prospect, possessing the size at 6'4" to run the pick-and-roll at a high level. He's also a capable three-point shooter off of the catch that could one day be a starter in the NBA.
Chances are, that opportunity will not arise in Phoenix, where Bledsoe and Dragic are better alternatives for the Suns.
DeJuan Blair Sign-and-Trade
According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, the Washington Wizards are interested in acquiring DeJuan Blair. With the Wizards strapped for cash, they're considering the possibility of a sign-and-trade with the San Antonio Spurs.
The question is whether or not the Wizards will offer enough for the Spurs to facilitate a deal.
There are two options that jump right off of the page.
Trevor Ariza is a defensive-minded player that has significantly improved his three-point shooting. He's due to make just under $7.8 million in 2013-14, but he has an expiring contract and is the long athlete that the Spurs need to complement Kawhi Leonard on defense.
Keep in mind, Ariza played a critical role during the Los Angeles Lakers' 2009 NBA championship run, but has virtually no role in Washington with the Wizards drafting Otto Porter and re-signing Martell Webster.
The other option is a package surrounding power forward Trevor Booker. The 25-year-old is similar to Blair in his build, standing at 6'8" and 240 pounds, thriving as a rebounder, and knows how to use his power down low.
Re-signing Tiago Splitter may be a significant move for San Antonio, but depth is the key down low and it could certainly improve on the boards after ranking 21st in that category in 2012-13.
If the Spurs are able to swing a deal for Ariza, it's hard to imagine they'll oppose executing this trade. If they fail to, Booker becomes an option.
With both Ariza and Booker possessing expiring contracts and the Wizards needing a fresh face down low, this deal could work if constructed properly.
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