NBA Rumors: Latest Buzz Surrounding Hottest Names in the Association

Steven CookFeatured Columnist IVDecember 9, 2013

Dec 8, 2013; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks small forward Carmelo Anthony (7) looks on against the Boston Celtics during the second half at Madison Square Garden. The Celtics won the game 114-73. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

The 2013-14 NBA season hasn't gone as planned for many teams across the Association, so it's no surprise that trade rumors have already started swirling just over a month into the season.

Whether it's players unhappy in their current situations, teams trying to address a weakness on their roster or star players positioning themselves in the best setting possible to win a championship, there are plenty of reasons why rumors are flying all over the place.

It's never too early to start thinking about next season, and it's never too late (until the trade deadline passes, that is) to make a key addition or two to bolster postseason chances for this year.

Here's a look at the hottest rumors flying around and what to make of them. 


Heat Looking to Add a Guard?

Dec 7, 2013; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Miami Heat shooting guard Dwyane Wade (3) looks to get around Minnesota Timberwolves shooting guard Kevin Martin (23) in the second half at Target Center. The Heat won 103-82. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sp
Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

As if Dwyane Wade's chronic injury problems keeping him out of plenty of action over the past few seasons and inhibiting his play wasn't enough to tell you his knee is a real issue, this should do the trick.

According to ESPN's Brian Windhorst, the Miami Heat have begun sniffing around the league as they seek a backcourt addition to help the two-time defending champs' roster. This news comes in the wake of Wade missing plenty of time this season already. 

It shouldn't be a surprise that Joel Anthony is the first and only name listed as trade bait, per Windhorst. The center has gone from a perennial starter to a sparsely-used bench player, largely because of his offensive lethargy and one-dimensional level of production on the defensive side alone. 

Nov 5, 2013; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Miami Heat center Joel Anthony (50) warms up before playing against the Toronto Raptors at Air Canada Centre. The Heat beat the Raptors 104-95. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports
Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sport

There's no doubt that Wade is still one of the best shooting guards in the league when he's healthy enough to play. Even when he's not 100 percent—which I'm not convinced he has been at any point in the last few seasons—he can be the best player on the floor.

The Heat don't have any problems right now. They can stroll into the playoffs with one of the top seeds in the East rather easily as long as LeBron James stays healthy. But past that, it gets awfully tough.

Miami's front office has to be addressing this issue with last postseason (and this upcoming one) in mind. The reality is that they were one fateful Ray Allen three-pointer away from coming up short in the NBA Finals, and they were one bad fourth quarter away from losing Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals to the Pacers—a team that looks infinitely better thus far in 2013-14.

If Wade and James are clicking on all cylinders, the Heat may be impossible to beat. But if their talented shooting guard continues to be gimpy into the postseason, Miami would be wise to add a formidable scorer at the position. 


Knicks Not Trading 'Melo, No Matter the Circumstances?

Dec 8, 2013; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks small forward Carmelo Anthony (7) hold the ball during the first half against the Boston Celtics at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Knicks—one of the East's favorites heading into the season—are 5-14. The last loss was the most shocking and gruesome, a 114-73 loss to the supposed-rebuilding-project Boston Celtics.

But despite the recent troubles, Knicks owner James Dolan doesn't seem to be any more interested in starting over and rebuilding. According to another report from ESPN's Windhorst, New York has no interest in trading Anthony no matter what the superstar says.

The Knicks, sources say, have zero intention of trading Anthony no matter what he says about next summer. Not only did owner Jim Dolan personally seal the deal to bring Anthony to New York, but the front office realizes it has one of the most talented players in the league and won't be able to get fair value in return.

It's not surprising that the Knicks are unwilling to part ways with one of the best players in the Association. The fact that a trade wouldn't even be considered in any circumstance, however, is quite notable.

Dec 6, 2013; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks small forward Carmelo Anthony (7) and small forward Metta World Peace (51) celebrate against the Orlando Magic during the second half at Madison Square Garden. The Knicks won the game 121-83. Mandatory Credi
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

What if the Knicks' early-season struggles continue into midseason struggles? What if this team finishes well below .500, things get even worse (can they?) and they miss out on the postseason altogether?

Better yet, what if Anthony abandons his principle of not talking about free agency and starts showing interest in leaving town? Do you still not trade him if things get to a point where he's all but gone after the season, risking getting nothing for him at all?

Of course, in a perfect world, Dolan and the Knicks won't have to answer these questions. In a perfect world, they'll get things together and make the playoffs, convince 'Melo that there's a championship-caliber team in New York and keep their star.

But if things don't go as planned, it will get awfully interesting for the rebuild-repellant Knicks. 


Omer Asik to Sixers? 

Dec 2, 2013; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Houston Rockets center Omer Asik (3) reacts to a call during the first half against the Utah Jazz at EnergySolutions Arena. Mandatory Credit: Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports
Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

Embattled Houston Rockets center Omer Asik is the most obvious piece of trade meat on the market. He wants out, and the Rockets aren't getting much out of him for his decent value. 

Some teams are apparently high on the defensive-minded center, as ESPN's Marc Stein reports that the Philadelphia 76ers are a "viable destination" for Asik. 

As for what the Sixers could offer, Stein noted that forward Thaddeus Young would gel alongside Dwight Howard much better than Asik has. The 25-year-old Young is coming into his own with 15.8 points and 6.8 rebounds this season. 

Philadelphia's reasons for acquiring Asik aren't surprising. First, there isn't an elite center available in this upcoming draft—in which Philly will likely have a lottery pick. 

Just as well, the Sixers are giving up more than 110 points per game thus far this season—most in the Association. Adding a defensive stopper on the blocks in Asik would certainly help a bit in that category. 

One concern is that Philly still has Nerlens Noel as a long-term project after acquiring him in the 2013 draft. A Noel and Asik frontcourt, at least on paper, would struggle to put the ball in the basket even though that would be a formidable defensive duo.