NBA Rumors: Latest Chatter on Jeremy Lin and More from Around the Association

Tim KeeneyContributor IJanuary 15, 2014

BOSTON, MA - JANUARY 13: Jeremy Lin #7 of the Houston Rockets drives the ball against Jordan Crawford #27 of the Boston Celtics on January 13, 2014 at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2014 NBAE  (Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images)
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We've officially hit the down period for NBA transactions. 

Removed from the first week of the year when teams are forced to make moves in order to avoid paying guaranteed money (read: Andrew Bynum and Shawne Williams), but still far enough away from the Feb. 20 trade deadline, there isn't a whole lot of movement throughout the Association. 

Conversely, though, this is a unique season. 

With about 80 percent of the league still in realistic contention for the playoffs (thank you, Eastern Conference), yet at the same time a drool-worthy 2014 rookie class awaiting those who tank, the potential reward for teams willing to make moves is high. 

As a result, even during a down period, there is plenty of gossip making its way through the league. Let's take a look at the most recent. 


Houston Rockets Staying Put?

HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 29: General Manager Daryl Morey of the Houston Rockets speaks to the media as James Harden is introduced to the media on October 29, 2012 at Toyota Center in Houston, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that,
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"Tonight, on a very special episode of My Strange Addiction, Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey can't stop trading." 

Since Morey took over his position as GM in May of 2007, no one has been more active than him. During the six trade deadlines over that time, he has never sat idly by. According to Sporting News' Sean Deveney, he has made nine deadline deals involving 39 players and 10 draft picks.

Morey and deadline deals go together like peanut butter and more peanut butter.

However, according to sources close to Deveney, Morey and Houston may fall significantly further under the radar this February:

Now, league sources have told Sporting News that it will be increasingly difficult for Houston to move Asik, who has been out since the beginning of December with a deep thigh bruise. Asik could return soon, and when he does, it is likely that he will finish out the year with Houston. The same, too, could be said of point guard Jeremy Lin.          

It's not exactly surprising. 

Omer Asik and Jeremy Lin are really solid pieces, but their poison-pill contracts will pay them each just under $15 million during the 2014-15 season, per Moving that kind of salary is not easy. 

HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 21:  Omer Asik #3 of the Houston Rockets talks with Jeremy Lin #7 of the Houston Rockets during the game against the Dallas Mavericks during a 2013 NBA pre-season game on October 21, 2013 at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas. NOTE
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Even so, outside of Morey's addiction, the Rockets don't really need to make a move. Despite injuries to Asik and Patrick Beverley, two of the better defenders in the league at their respective positions, they sit at 25-14 and in fifth place in the West.

When healthy, the Rockets have one of the deepest rosters in the league. For a while, there was a belief they could use a stretch 4, but Terrence Jones has brought an impressive amount of energy and versatility to the power forward position. 


Latest on Luol Deng's Future with Cleveland

SALT LAKE CITY, UT - JANUARY 10:  Luol Deng #9 of the Cleveland Cavaliers stretches out before his first game with the Cavaliers, against the Utah Jazz before at EnergySolutions Arena on January 10, 2014 in Salt Lake City, Utah. NOTE TO USER: User express
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When the Cleveland Cavaliers traded for Luol Deng, it was seen mostly as a short-term move to get the team to the playoffs. 

The 28-year-old small forward is the type of consummate professional and difference-maker on both ends of the court who could theoretically act as the glue to hold the rest of Cleveland's talented-yet-inconsistent young players together.

More and more, though, it's beginning to look like it will remain only a short-term move. 

According to sources close to Deng, via Bob Finnan of The News-Herald & The Morning Journal, the veteran, who becomes a free agent this summer, will look to be paid more than Josh Smith, who received a four-year, $54 million deal with the Detroit Pistons last July. 

Finnan also reports that if Deng doesn't sign an extension with Cleveland and hits free agency on July 1, sources believe "his chances of signing with the Cavs drop considerably."

As Yahoo! Sports' Marc J. Spears added, Cleveland is indeed interested in signing Deng but knows there is plenty of time to evaluate him before beginning talks. 

Don't expect this one to be resolved anytime soon. 


Interest in Andrew Bynum Shrinking?

CLEVELAND, OH - DECEMBER 26:  Andrew Bynum #21 of the Cleveland Cavaliers looks on during the game against the Atlanta Hawks at Quicken Loans Arena on December 26, 2013 in Cleveland, Ohio.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by dow
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According to ESPN's Marc Stein, teams aren't exactly falling over themselves to land free agent Andrew Bynum:

The 26-year-old became a free agent Thursday night after clearing waivers, but the latest rumblings on the league's personnel grapevine suggest that more teams are backing away from the idea as opposed to gambling on the talented but undependable 7-footer.

Stein notes that the Clippers, once presumed to be front-runners, are cooling their interest, while the Brooklyn Nets, Atlanta Hawks and Oklahoma City Thunder are also reportedly likely out of the running. 

Bynum is an enigma in every sense of the word. 

Despite shooting an anemic 41.9 percent from the field with the Cavs this season, he showed glimpses of his undoubted talent, averaging 9.5 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per 36 minutes.

Even at his worst, you'd think a contender could find a role for him as a big man coming off the bench. 

On the other hand, though, the oft-injured center's work ethic and desire to play basketball has been continually questioned, and as a result, it's not shocking that teams are shy about rolling the dice with him.