A handful of trades have already occurred during the opening months of the 2013-14 NBA season, which likely means that the upcoming deadline will see a flurry of transaction activity.
While not every rumor being bandied about is going to come to fruition, there are definitely a few that seem to have more substance backing them than others. A couple of these hypothetical moves may even end up playing out in the near future, while others are pipe dreams at best.
Let’s take a look at the latest buzz surrounding possible deals around the league in Friday’s rumor roundup.
Knicks Targeting Rondo
The New York Knicks are an absolute mess right now, but adding a healthy, pass-first point guard who can play defense at a high level would certainly give this team the boost it needs to make the playoffs out of the weak Atlantic Division.
One option the club is exploring to fill that gaping hole at the 1 is Rajon Rondo, the Boston Celtics superstar who has yet to play a single minute during the current campaign as he recovers from a torn ACL.
According to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, the Knickerbockers are reportedly attempting to lure the C’s guard to the Big Apple before his contract runs up after the 2014-15 campaign. The Knicks are hoping that Rondo will force his current employer’s hand and make Boston’s brass trade him away or risk losing him for nothing.
If this sounds familiar, it is because it is much like the strategy the franchise employed to nab star swingman Carmelo Anthony from the Denver Nuggets.
It’s an optimistic line of thinking to say the least, as the Knicks are just 9-19 on the season and a complete mess of injuries, poor chemistry and questionable coaching decisions. The aging roster has little shot of competing for a championship, even if it does somehow make the postseason.
Factor in that New York has very little in the way of assets to offer the rival Celtics and you are left with a far-fetched scenario that would only work if Rondo is adamant about playing for the Knicks.
Considering he admitted he hasn’t even had a conversation with ‘Melo about this potential pairing, as per Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe, it doesn’t seem he is being heavily persuaded.
Rajon Rondo says he's had no conversations with Carmelo Anthony about joining another team. "I haven't talked to him about that." #celtics— gary washburn (@GwashburnGlobe) December 10, 2013
Barring a drastic and unforeseen change, Rondo likely isn’t going to force a trade to New York, and the Knicks will need to come up with a more realistic scenario to right the ship.
Grizzlies Looking to Shake Things Up
The Memphis Grizzlies are coming off the most successful season in franchise history, as they won 56 games and made the Western Conference Finals, but they’ve struggled out of the gate in 2013-14.
The team fired head coach Lionel Hollins and is struggling with injuries to various key players, including reigning Defensive Player of the Year Marc Gasol, issues that have led to a mediocre 12-16 start.
According to CBS Sports’ Ken Berger, there are reports that Memphis is now active in trade discussions, looking to add an athletic wing into the mix to augment its established core talent.
The team already allegedly attempted to bring in Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard Jodie Meeks to bolster the rotation, according to B/R's Ric Bucher, but the offer of Jerryd Bayless wasn’t intriguing enough to make the up-and-down Lakers pull the trigger.
What should the Griz do?
Berger notes that the front office believes that Gasol, Mike Conley, Zach Randolph and Tony Allen are the four critical pieces on the roster, with the team hoping to build in the immediacy around all of them and around Gasol and Conley in the long term.
However, this group could soon be in desperation mode. Gasol isn’t expected back until mid-January at the earliest, while Conley and Allen have also been missing time with various injuries.
Randolph may be one of the most movable pieces, and it could benefit the Griz going forward. He’s 32 years old and may have another year on his contract if he elects to exercise his player option this summer.
The veteran power forward told Berger that he understands these trade rumors are inevitable in the NBA: "It's a business and we've got new ownership, but I've still got a job. That's why I go out and play hard no matter what."
Unless Memphis can get a clean bill of health and add a serviceable wing into the mix by the deadline, trading away Randolph may be the most intriguing option.