A few interesting NBA trade rumors with the potential to impact the landscape of the league surfaced over the past several days, and they are worth monitoring moving forward.
As the league shifts into 2014, teams will be looking to make improvements up and down their rosters in an effort to solidify an edge over opposing squads. Successful teams will be looking to add on even more talent and depth, while middling teams will be searching for the right combination of guys to change their luck.
The rumor mill has been defined thus far by the trades that haven't happened. There have been an excess of rumors to start the season, but hardly any have actually gone through, for one reason or another.
The NBA trading deadline isn't until Feb. 20. That being said, NBA franchises could be looking to make moves sooner rather than later judging by this latest string of rumors.
New York Knicks' Strategy to Acquire Rajon Rondo
It's no secret that the New York Knicks need help, and it's no secret that they want Boston Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo—they've been linked to his name for quite some time now.
Their newest strategy to get him, though, is a little out there.
Sources told Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com that the Knicks are hoping to convince Rondo to force a trade to New York:
It's not in free agency in 2015 but later this season or next summer when he comes back from a torn ACL. The Knicks are hoping Rondo will be interested in making a maneuver similar to what Anthony did back in 2011 and eventually try to force a trade to the Knicks, sources said.
That's certainly an interesting strategy, but would Rondo even be enough to fix the Knicks? They own the league's second-worst record at 9-21 and have looked lost for most of the season. Their beginning to the 2013-14 season has been defined more by headlines than their play on the court, making them a far cry from the competitive team that they were last season.
Rondo would help, but the Knicks need more pieces beside him. He and Anthony wouldn't be enough to carry this team, as they need defense and consistent shooting from beyond the arc.
Memphis' Plans to Contend Now and in the Future
The Memphis Grizzlies were up toward the top of the Western Conference for much of the past two seasons. They don't look to be the same contenders this season, however, as a 12-15 start has left them behind the powerhouses of the West.
Trading Rudy Gay last season was met with questioning remarks from fans and analysts, but it appears as if Memphis does have a plan.
League sources told Ken Berger of CBSSports.com just what's happening with the Grizzlies:
The plan, according to league sources, is to find ways to maximize those four [Marc Gasol, Zach Randolph, Mike Conley and Tony Allen] foundational pieces in the short term while building around Gasol and Conley in the long term.
Presumably, maximizing their four top talents in the short-term would include dishing out low-risk, short-term deals in free agency and making trades for valuable veterans with expiring contracts. This would give them the cap space available to continue to build around Gasol and Conley in the future.
Where that leaves Memphis on this year's trade market remains to be seen. Expect them to be active in an effort to get back to .500 and contend in the West, but the likelihood of them trading one of their top talents for another top player (or draft picks) doesn't look like a possibility.
Pau Gasol for Andrew Bynum?
It doesn't appear as if the Cleveland Cavaliers want anything to do with maligned center Andrew Bynum for much longer.
Sam Amico of Fox Sports Ohio tweets that the Cavs are actively shopping him:
Windhorst and Romona Shelbourne of ESPN.com are also reporting Bynum's name in trade rumors, and they're linking him with Pau Gasol and the Los Angeles Lakers. A potential deal could be struck in the near future:
No deal is believed to be imminent, but both sides are mulling it ahead of a Jan. 7 deadline when the second half of Bynum's $12.25 million salary would be guaranteed.
In 24 games (19 starts) this season, Bynum is averaging 8.4 points and 5.3 boards per game. He's shooting just 41.9 percent from the floor, a mark that is uncharacteristically low considering his career percentage of 55.7.
Windhorst and Shelbourne note that a deal for Bynum would be a salary-cap-related move. They would waive Bynum upon acquiring him, therefore shedding more than $20 million and putting them in good position to avoid luxury taxes.
With such a short window to get a deal done before more money is guaranteed for Bynum, be prepared for this to happen soon.