The NBA trade deadline is over two months away, but that won't stop rumors from running rampant throughout the league.
With such a tantalizing draft class awaiting teams in June, now is the perfect time for general managers to start the rebuilding process. Combine that with nearly the entire Western Conference still realistically holding onto playoff hopes, and you're going to see assets being dealt all over the place.
Moreover, now that Dec. 15 has passed and teams are allowed to deal players who were signed during the summer, trade talk is only going to further heat up.
Let's take a look at the most recent gossip from around the Association.
Dion Waiters Unhappy in Cleveland; Chicago and Philly Interested?
Dion Waiters' projected sophomore breakout season has turned into a nightmare. He nearly got into a fight with Tristan Thompson in November, he was taken out of the starting lineup for rookie Matthew Dellavedova (then C.J. Miles) after just nine starts, and now he reportedly wants out of Cleveland.
The news comes from Bleacher Report's Jared Zwerling:
It's no secret that the Cleveland Cavaliers have been shopping second-year shooting guard Dion Waiters, and the latest update, according to two sources who spoke with Bleacher Report, is that the Chicago Bulls and Philadelphia 76ers have emerged as the top two suitors. And both are realistic destinations based on trade assets and financial complements.
According to a source close to Waiters, he "wants out" of Cleveland and "prefers to go to Philly because he thinks he'd be the best player on the team. That's his mindset."
To whom will Dion Waiters be traded?
Interestingly enough, the move to the bench has worked for both the Cavs and Waiters.
In 12 games off the bench, the former Big East Sixth Man of the Year has gotten nearly the same amount of playing time (28.3 minutes per game vs. 28.4 as a starter), scored more points (15.2 vs. 13.3) and shot better (.438 vs. .398) than as a starter.
Moreover, the Cavs are 5-2 since going to a Kyrie Irving, Miles, Alonzo Gee, Thompson and Andrew Bynum starting lineup.
Nevertheless, according to Zwerling's sources, Waiters came into the year with the "mentality that this was going to be his team," and that's clearly not the case.
According to the report, a deal with the 76ers would include Evan Turner, while a swap with the Bulls would center around Luol Deng, although Chicago would want a future first-round pick included.
Latest on Omer Asik Saga
The Omer Asik rumors have been flowing steadily since the Houston Rockets signed Dwight Howard in the summer, and it seems almost certain that the big Turk will be dealt. But at this point, the picture still isn't perfectly clear.
Per Zwerling, there are still several candidates:
One source familiar with the situation said the Houston Rockets could trade center Omer Asik by Thursday. The Sixers, Atlanta Hawks and New Orleans Pelicans have all been considered ongoing candidates. The latest candidate is the Celtics, but according to a source close to the team's front office, they're a long shot. Boston likes Asik, but is not willing to move forwards Jared Sullinger or Jeff Green, whom the Rockets have been after steadily for a long time.
According to USA Today's Sam Amick, though, the Pelicans aren't interested in parting ways with Ryan Anderson, who had most been mentioned in a potential Asik deal:
On Asik front, Milwaukee appears to be out of mix; Pelicans have zero interest in rumored Ryan Anderson deals - http://t.co/GxHrixsiJO— Sam Amick (@sam_amick) December 13, 2013
That leaves the Sixers, Hawks and Celtics, all teams capable of offering power forwards with the ability to stretch the floor and offer better spacing next to Howard.
Philadelphia can offer Thaddeus Young, an improved three-point shooter, while Atlanta's Paul Millsap and Boston's Brandon Bass are two of the best power forward mid-range shooters in the league.
As ESPN's Marc Stein notes, the Celtics could boast an incredible defensive trio if they make a move for Asik:
Just thinking out loud: Rajon Rondo, Avery Bradley and Omer Asik in the same starting five? Would anyone ever crack 80 against the Celts?— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) December 17, 2013
Of course, Stein pointed out in his most recent article that Daryl Morey would likely want a first-round pick from Boston, which could potentially put the kibosh on a deal with the Celtics.
With several teams still in the mix, only time is going to offer more clarity on this front.
Knicks Now Long Shots for Kyle Lowry?
Last week, it appeared as though the New York Knicks were close to landing Toronto Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry, but those talks have cooled considerably.
Per the New York Post's Marc Berman, the Knicks are now a "long shot":
According to an NBA source, “several’’ teams are in the mix for Lowry now. The Knicks are still making an attempt to find a way, but appear to be long shots at this stage. They have been unwilling to add a third pawn to a package of Felton and Metta World Peace — either Tim Hardaway Jr., Iman Shumpert or their 2018 first-round pick.
It will be compelling to see if New York's tune changes now that Pablo Prigioni is out at least two weeks with a hairline fracture of his right big toe. Newsday's Al Iannazzone believes it will:
Knicks lose Pablo Prigioni to broken big toe; could ramp up pursuit of Kyle Lowry: http://t.co/BvmOEmEfx0— Al Iannazzone (@Al_Iannazzone) December 17, 2013
The Knicks are currently just 7-17, but in a weak Eastern Conference, they are only three games behind Toronto for the No. 8 spot.