The dog days of the long NBA summer are finally here, with almost all of the big-name free agents signed, every blockbuster trade completed and both the Orlando and Las Vegas summer leagues finished.
However, that won’t stop a steady stream of whispers from swirling around the remainder of the 2013 offseason—especially when it comes to trade talk.
Let’s take a look at the latest buzz on a few possible transactions and more in Monday’s rumor roundup.
DeJuan Blair Has Many Options, Few Desirable
The San Antonio Spurs phased center DeJuan Blair out of their lineup during the 2012-13 campaign, as the big man averaged just 5.4 points and 3.8 rebounds in 14 minutes of play—all career lows for the four-year veteran.
Fortunately for Blair, there are a number of suitors around the league that recognize his talent and are willing to give him a chance to play a larger role.
Unfortunately for the 24-year-old, there simply aren’t many that have the cap space or willingness to ink him to a long-term, big-money contract this summer.
According to Hoopsworld’s Alex Kennedy, the former Pittsburgh star is holding out hope that the Spurs can work out a sign-and-trade for his services. That would allow Blair to keep his Bird rights and possibly even aid him in obtaining a multi-year deal.
As of this juncture, the Spurs haven’t been sticking their neck out, and it doesn’t seem likely they will expend much energy helping the player they drafted with the No. 37 overall pick back in 2009.
Kennedy noted that over a dozen organizations are interested in acquiring Blair, including legitimate title contenders like the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Clippers.
If Blair—who has a concerning history of injury—takes his talents elsewhere on a one-year deal and performs exceedingly well, there is no doubt he will command a bigger salary and more guaranteed seasons in the summer of 2014.
It may not be the most appealing option, but likely the best for the big man’s career.
Blazers Have Little to Say Regarding LaMarcus Aldridge
The NBA rumor mill caught fire in mid-July, when Chris Haynes of Comcast Sportsnet Northwest reported that superstar power forward LaMarcus Aldridge and his camp approached the Portland Trail Blazer brass to discuss potential trades out of the City of Roses.
Haynes noted that general manager Neil Olshey explored the possibility of possible swaps for franchise-caliber big men like Joakim Noah, Kevin Love, Blake Griffin, Al Horford and Anthony Davis, but was rebuffed by all parties.
The Blazers will simply not accept a mediocre package of picks and spare parts for a star like Aldridge, who still has two years and $30 million left on his current deal.
While the No. 2 overall pick in the 2006 draft denied the rumors on Twitter, his coach, Terry Stotts, was a bit more shrouded in his response to the reports.
Stotts told Candace Buckner of The Columbian:
Unfortunately, there (are) a lot of rumors in the NBA. We don’t really comment on rumors.
You go with every team, there (are) a lot of rumors out there. I’m not necessarily going to comment on LaMarcus. It’s just unfortunate that things like that are out there when there hasn’t really been comment on either side.
Regardless of what happens and what is said concerning Aldridge this summer, it’s a good bet that he will be in a Blazers uniform for the entirety of the 2013-14 campaign. When his contract is expiring next summer, expect some real progress to be made and the likelihood of an exit to be much more probable.
Celtics Hard-Capped, Likely Unable to Use Trade Exception This Season
During the trade that shipped Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett—two future Hall of Famers—to the Brooklyn Nets, the Boston Celtics acquired a number of overpaid veterans and plenty of draft picks, but they also brought in a highly valuable $10.3 million trade exception.
This would normally afford the C’s—who are over the cap for the upcoming campaign—the luxury to acquire up to $10.3 million more salary than usually allowable under the collective bargaining agreement.
The downside, according to Baxter Holmes of The Boston Globe, is that it expires in one year and the team triggered a league-mandated hard cap by acquiring Keith Bogans via sign-and-trade.
Holmes explains that Boston can no longer spend more than the luxury tax apron ($75.75 million total this season) until June 30, 2014.
Barring some drastic moves to dump salary, the team will have to wait until next summer to use the trade exception.
Given the rebuilding nature of this club, it’s unlikely that any major transactions will be approved, and the Celtics will forge ahead with what they have.
Boston will have a limited window to strike—from July 10, when the moratorium is lifted, to July 12, when the exception expires—but could make a significant move in the coming offseason.