It's a new year, which means new resolutions and, of course, new rumors.
For this week's edition of buy or sell, we'll skip around the league and see which teams are in store for some big changes heading into 2014.
What will the Cleveland Cavaliers do with suspended big man Andrew Bynum? Will anyone want him?
Could the Milwaukee Bucks look to move Larry Sanders just a few months after giving him a lucrative contract extension?
Will the Phoenix Suns try to capitalize on their scorching hot start and actually be a buyer on the trade market?
Should old acquaintances really be forgotten? These questions are burning hotter than Jason Kidd's seat, so let's get right to it.
The Rumor: According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, "The Nets had tried to be supportive of Jason Kidd, but patience is running low on the belief he can deliver the structure and organization desperately needed."
The Verdict: Buy
I'll be stunned if Jason Kidd survives this whole season.
Forget that Kidd signed a contract worth $10.5 million over four years in the offseason, because that's chump change to Brooklyn Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov. Someone is going to be held responsible if this continues, and general manager Billy King and Kidd would be the obvious choices.
Of course, there's the elephant in the room that Kidd should have never been hired to coach this team in the first place. Playing experience doesn't necessarily qualify you for a coaching position, especially if you're not willing to depend on others or devote every ounce of energy you have into the job.
It surely doesn't seem like this situation is turning around anytime soon, and there have been enough public faux pas (the firing of Lawrence Frank, the soda incident, etc.) to suggest that it would behoove Prokhorov to bring in someone who could establish a system and earn respect.
The Nets have plenty of issues outside of Kidd, but the damage has been done. At this point, it's probably time to cut their losses.
The Verdict: Sell
While I'm not ready to rule out the possibility that the Bucks are shopping Sanders, particularly after his bar fight incident earlier this season, I still believe that it would take a pretty penny to pry him out of Milwaukee.
After all, there is a reason why the Bucks extended Sanders this offseason on a four-year deal worth $44 million. He's a valuable asset, and the Bucks had to feel that they were getting a value on him below the market price, otherwise offering him an extension would make very little sense.
While it's true that the Bucks have some frontcourt talent and could easily roll with John Henson and Zaza Pachulia at the 5, it would seem foolish to move Sanders now while his stock is so low.
It was just last season that Sanders was being hailed as one of the best defenders in all of basketball, so why wouldn't Milwaukee at least let him re-establish his value before selling him off for pennies on the dollar? If his presence is that toxic, why sign him in the first place?
The Bucks could move Sanders at this point, but it's hard to imagine that he's as available as, say, Omer Asik is. It doesn't seem like there should be a big rush to deal him.
The Rumor: According to Steve Kyler of Hoopsworld, "There has been talk that would-be contenders like the Miami HEAT and the LA Clippers would consider Bynum; however sources near both situations downplay Bynum, saying they'd likely do their due diligence but assuming that either would sign Bynum immediately after being cut overlooks why he was in this situation in the first place."
The Verdict: Sell
If the Cleveland Cavaliers waive Andrew Bynum, he should get snatched up by another team in a heartbeat.
Are there concerns with signing Bynum? Absolutely. But are those issues greater than the ones the Miami Heat took on with Greg Oden, who hadn't played since the 2009-10 season because of massive injuries?
Are they greater than the concerns with Michael Beasley, who has been arrested for marijuana possession multiple times and quit on the Phoenix Suns?
Are they greater than the issues Lamar Odom is facing? The guy who dealt with reported unspecified drug problems and a DUI this offseason?
It's hard to say they are, especially when you factor in that Bynum is able to play at a relatively high level still. He's a risk to be sure, but it's hard to imagine that some team won't jump at the chance to see if it can keep Bynum motivated and engaged.
The Verdict: Buy
This is a tricky one. Deng is almost certainly going to receive much more than $7 to $8 million a season in unrestricted free agency, primarily because it's not uncommon for free agents to receive a little bit more than what they're actually worth in that setting.
That being said, I'll buy that as being the Bulls' evaluation and desired contract range for Deng. Although he's critical to what Chicago does now, there could be big changes in store for the franchise going forward, and Deng's best basketball is likely already behind him.
While Deng might not be considered a true star worth a huge deal, his teammate Taj Gibson summed up how teams likely feel about Deng's contributions:
"There are a lot of guys in this league that have that star title but don't understand a damn thing about winning and being a team player," Gibson told the Chicago Sun-Times.
Even though it's hard to put a number on Deng's contributions, it's important to remember that the Bulls are a team starved for financial flexibility, and paying Deng upward of $10 million a season wouldn't help at all in that regard. This could very well be his last season in Chicago, particularly if the Bulls don't move off that $7-8 million salary range.
The Rumor: According to Chad Ford of ESPN.com, "...the past week I keep hearing and reading the opposite, that the Suns will try to make a move or two to improve the team now."
The Verdict: Sell
The Phoenix Suns have been the biggest positive surprise in the league outside of the Portland Trail Blazers, but I'm selling on a drastic shift in direction.
Phoenix has the cap space, young personnel and draft picks to have a bright future, and one-third of a season probably doesn't have general manager Ryan McDonough thinking he has a potential championship contender on his hands.
If anything, this feels like some smart posturing from McDonough to enhance the value of a few players that may be on the trade block. If the Suns take the stance as a "buyer," perhaps there's a chance some of the low-ball offers for guys like Goran Dragic or Channing Frye will improve.
Again, Phoenix is a team that doesn't need to rush. The early-season success is promising, but it's not exactly direction-altering.