Is DeMar DeRozan on the move?
NBA teams have already been busy engaging in trade talks this season, but not all of the NBA rumors we've been hearing so far have legs to them.
In fact, the bigger story right now is about the players that aren't going to be dealt in the near future. Teams are deciding to hold onto their stars despite strong interest in them. That doesn't necessarily mean the end of trade talks, as those players can still be switching teams at some point before the Feb. 20 trade deadline.
Many teams have been active participants on the rumor mill already, and that will create an exciting atmosphere when the deadline nears.
Sources told ESPN.com's Brian Windhorst that the Chicago Bulls are determined to not trade Luol Deng. This is interesting given his impending free agency and the fact that the Bulls are currently in the midst of a season that appears to be going nowhere due to a slew of unfortunate injuries.
Windhorst provides some rationale as to why the Bulls are keeping Deng at this point, saying: "Despite failing to come to terms on a contract extension before the season, the Bulls remain optimistic they will re-sign Deng next summer."
If that's the case, then teams will have to start lining up overwhelming packages to pry Deng away from Chicago. He is a valuable talent and would be useful to many teams across the league, but Chicago's insistence to keep him a Bull will force teams to either pony up or find alternative options.
As the team's primary weapon without Derrick Rose, Deng is dropping 19.6 points per game and shooting 45.8 percent from the floor. He's also bringing down 7.0 boards and dishing out 4.1 assists per night.
The Omer Asik saga is quickly becoming one of the most confusing storylines early on this season. The Houston Rockets have gone back and forth about trading their displaced center, and now it appears as if they've jumped back to the "let's keep him" side.
Baxter Holmes and Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe report that any Asik trade talks are now "dead." Logically, Houston will likely hold onto Asik in an effort to find him more playing time.
Finding Asik more playing time won't be so easy with both Dwight Howard and Terrence Jones playing so well, but head coach Kevin McHale will work hard to find the big man minutes. He's a strong interior defender and is decent offensively, and his breakout season in 2012-13 made him a favorite among teammates and fans.
Howard's signing put Asik's role with the team in question, though, and the Rockets still haven't been able to carve out a distinct role for him.
General manager Daryl Morey could have had Brandon Bass, Courtney Lee and a first-round pick from the Boston Celtics for Asik according to Holmes and Washburn, but he instead chose to hold onto the Turkish big man—for now.
Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan
Bill Ingram of Hoopsworld.com tweets that the Toronto Raptors are shopping Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan—as well as the fact that their asking prices for the two players are very high.
Source confirms Raptors working "hard" to move DeRozan and Lowry....but the price for both is "surprisingly high."— Bill Ingram (@TheRocketGuy) December 18, 2013
Whether or not there are teams willing to offer what Toronto is asking for remains to be seen, but both Lowry and DeRozan have the talent to impact a roster in need of an upgrade at either guard position.
Lowry is averaging 14.6 points and 6.8 assists per game for the Raptors, while DeRozan is providing Toronto with 21.5 points, 4.0 rebounds and 3.4 assists per night. DeRozan is only shooting 43.0 percent from the floor, but he is a volume scorer that is more than capable of putting the ball in the basket.
Finding trade partners for each player will be difficult, especially if the asking prices are so high. There would likely be a bevy of teams interested if the asking price were lowered, but it's understandable that Toronto wants to bring back as much talent (or as many picks) as possible.
As the deadline looms closer in February, expect that asking price to go down.