With just 16 days until the NBA trade deadline, rumors are beginning to heat up across the league. Some of the usual suspects are being featured in the latest scuttlebutt, but there are also some new names and teams powering the rumor mill.
Here's the latest news on potential deals before the deadline arrives.
Heavy Interest in Philadelphia's Evan Turner
With per game averages of 17.9 points and six rebounds, Philadelphia 76ers swingman Evan Turner is having the best season of his four-year career. Because of his on-court success, Turner has become a hot name on the NBA trade rumor mill.
He will be a restricted free agent at the end of the season, so that only adds to his appeal.
Per Sean Deveney of Sporting News, the 76ers are serious about moving Turner to further their ongoing rebuilding efforts. Deveney writes:
The Sixers, deep into a rebuilding project that kicked off last June on draft night with the trade of All-Star point guard Jrue Holiday, have been stepping up their efforts to make a move before the trade deadline, and swingman Evan Turner has been at the forefront of those discussions, sources told Sporting News.
The Sixers are eager to net a draft pick for Turner—they've also shopped free-agent-to-be center Spencer Hawes and forward Thaddeus Young—and that has been a hang-up in their efforts to find a trade.
Eliot Shorr-Parks of NJ.com reports several teams are interested in Turner, based on information from a variety of sources.
Turner has to know the rumors are out there, but he told Tom Moore of Bucks County Courier Times he doesn't focus on them. Turner said:
I never really worried about it. If it’s something that needed to be discussed, (agent David Falk would) let me know. Other than that, just go with the flow and go about your business. Whatever happens, happens.
The Latest Pau Gasol Trade Rumor
At this point, Pau Gasol should get t-shirts made that say: "Pull the trigger, Mitch." Los Angeles Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak has seemingly entertained thoughts of trading Gasol numerous times over the last three seasons. He actually did trade him to the Houston Rockets in a three-team deal that would have landed the Lakers Chris Paul before David Stern vetoed it in 2011.
This latest rumor might actually spell an end to the Gasol Era in Los Angeles. Then again, we've thought that time had arrived before.
Humor us nonetheless.
Per Marc Stein of ESPN.com, the surprising Phoenix Suns are interested in acquiring Gasol. It would seem the only player the Suns could offer in return is Emeka Okafor. He has an expiring contract of $14.5 million.
The Lakers could save $4.8 million with this deal and move closer to getting out of luxury-tax territory. The team is desperate to clear as much cap room as possible in a lost season. All eyes are focused on the Lakers coming back strong and reloaded in the 2014-15 season.
This deal makes a lot of sense for the Lakers.
For Phoenix, Gasol could give the team a veteran low-post presence and a wealth of experience in the playoffs. Surprisingly enough, that's exactly where this bunch is headed thanks to an otherworldly coaching job by Jeff Hornacek.
Phoenix has won five games in a row, and is 29-18 overall. That's a heck of an accomplishment considering the team doesn't have one player who has ever made an All-Star team. Adding Gasol to this mix could make Phoenix an even tougher nut to crack in the postseason.
Orlando Magic's Trade Chips
ESPN.com's Chad Ford (subscription required) predicts an epic trade deadline, and the Orlando Magic could have three interesting trade chips for suitors. Ford writes:
Still, the Magic will be looking for ways to shop a few veterans in an attempt to pick up more young assets. Arron Afflalo will garner the most interest, but Jameer Nelson and Glen Davis are also available. Nelson's partially guaranteed deal (only $2 million) next season makes him a particularly interesting chip.
Afflalo is certainly worth a look for teams looking to add a consistent veteran scorer and defender at the 2-guard spot.
The 28-year-old actually has a legitimate beef about not making the Eastern Conference All-Star squad. He's averaging 20 points 3.6 rebounds and 4.2 assists per game this season. It could be argued he's playing better than the Brooklyn Nets' Joe Johnson.
The Nets swingman is averaging 15.6 points, 2.8 assists and 3.3 rebounds. It's hard to imagine how those numbers validate Johnson being chosen over Afflalo.
Considering how well he's playing, and his modest $7.5 million salary this season and the next, Afflalo is even more attractive to teams. With a wealth of talented players potentially available over the next two weeks, this could be the most active trade deadline in history.
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