The NBA season is approximately halfway over, which means the contenders are starting to separate themselves from the rest of the pack.
As it becomes clearer which teams are legitimate threats to win the title in the immediate future or at least contend for a playoff seed, rumors regarding various players and potential destinations pop up with more regularity.
The trade deadline comes on Feb. 20, so expect even more news and whispers in the near future.
With that in mind, let’s dig into some rumors regarding Evan Turner’s future with the Philadelphia 76ers, the Los Angeles Lakers’ interest in keeping Steve Blake and a possible trade of Jared Dudley.
Evan Turner is beginning to show teams across the league why the 76ers used the No. 2 pick on him in the 2010 draft.
He is posting nightly averages of 17.9 points, six rebounds and 3.8 assists while shooting 43 percent from the field and 82.5 percent from the free-throw line. With Philadelphia so far out of contention, trade rumors have sprouted up.
The rumors don’t come as a surprise to the former Ohio State Buckeye, as he told Sean Deveney of Sporting News:
I never expected to get a contract extension, especially when we switched GMs, you know? I always said, Mr. Hinkie is going to do what he wants to do, and he has his own vision and everything like that. So when you trade an All-Star like Jrue, I mean, what occurs next isn’t going to surprise me. I was just trying my best to keep focused, keep helping the team win and getting better.
As for a possible destination, Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN tweeted that there has been no change in the Minnesota Timberwolves’ potential interest in the swingman:
The Timberwolves could certainly use Turner alongside Kevin Love, but Flip Saunders does not want to possibly mortgage the future by giving up a first-round pick to land Turner. Considering the fact that Minnesota really isn't a title contender this year, that may be the smart move.
Los Angeles Lakers
It has been a season to forget for the Los Angeles Lakers, and shedding salary is arguably the best strategy going forward for a team looking to the future.
After all, the Lakers will presumably have a favorable draft pick in the upcoming draft to pair with Kobe Bryant next year, so having available assets in the hopes of building a contender quickly would be ideal.
However, Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders says the Lakers would like to keep Steve Blake beyond the end of this season:
Whether that means Los Angeles will look to unload someone such as Jordan Hill or Chris Kaman instead remains to be seen, but for now, expect Blake to be back in a Lakers uniform next year.
Los Angeles Clippers
The other Los Angeles team has had a much better go of things than the Lakers this season, but with so many talented players, there may not be enough room for Dudley in the Clippers rotation.
ESPN’s Marc Stein reported the following:
The Clippers are loaded across the board with viable options at the small forward and shooting guard spots, including J.J. Redick, Jamal Crawford and Matt Barnes, which may very well leave Dudley as the odd man out.
Dudley is still a talented player who is averaging eight points a game, so perhaps the Clippers can receive some form of future asset if they were to unload him to a contender looking for depth.
At the very least, they could shed some salary with the right deal.
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