With the 2013-14 NBA season more than halfway over and the trade deadline fast approaching, the rumors around the Association regarding some key players are starting to pick up steam.
The NBA trade deadline this season is February 20, which means NBA teams have about a week to prepare to make some potentially big trades to either prepare for a playoff push or begin rebuilding for the future. There were a number of moves at the deadline last season, including the Milwaukee Bucks trading for J.J. Redick, who is now thriving with the Los Angeles Clippers.
Let's take a look at some of the latest rumors around the NBA.
Pelicans Looking to Shop Austin Rivers
In two NBA seasons, former Duke Blue Devil Austin Rivers hasn't exactly been a star player. However, there's a chance he could get a better opportunity to thrive and make a more positive impact on a different team.
According to Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders, the New Orleans Pelicans are shopping Rivers:
The Pelicans look like they are going to trade guard Austin Rivers at the deadline, sources close to the situation believe there has been agreement in place all season to move him if playing time and opportunity did not become available. Rivers has seen his minutes increase over the last 14 games, which might be showcasing him for a deal.
This season, Rivers has been averaging just 15.9 minutes per game. He's putting up 6.1 points, 1.7 assists and 1.0 rebounds per game and shooting just 38.4 percent from the field and 35.6 percent from behind the arc. Those numbers obviously aren't flattering, but given what we saw from him at Duke, the potential for Rivers to become a strong shooter is there.
A team looking to add an immediate impact player off the bench might not be interested in Rivers, but a team that has a deep roster and is looking for a player to develop into a possible scorer off of the bench may take a long look at the 21-year-old shooting guard.
Warriors Looking to Make a Splash
The Golden State Warriors are having a good season at 31-22 through 53 games. However, since they're playing in the tough Western Conference, that record is only good enough for the No. 8 seed. The Memphis Grizzlies are close behind and looking to take the Warriors' spot.
At this point, it looks like the Warriors want to make a splash before the trade deadline by adding another piece to make a late-season surge. Sam Amick from USA Today had this to say about the situation: "According to a person with knowledge of the Warriors' situation, Golden State is on the lookout for bench help and is hoping to use its trade exceptions as a way to facilitate such a deal that would likely need to involve three teams."
For the most part, the Warriors appear to be willing to trade just about anyone, with the exceptions of Step Curry and Andrew Bogut. While it isn't necessarily likely, Amick also notes that the Warriors would be willing to trade away Harrison Barnes:
...rival executives told USA Today Sports last week that anyone outside of point guard Stephen Curry and center Andrew Bogut is, to varying degrees, up for discussion. That includes second-year small forward Harrison Barnes, the Warriors reserve who is known to have sparked serious interest from a long list of suitors but who is unlikely to be traded unless it was part of a package for a big-name player.
If the Warriors are looking for a big-name player, other teams may be interested in bringing in Barnes. He's shown a lot of potential in his second year, averaging 10.3 points and 4.1 rebounds per game while shooting 41.5 percent from the floor and 40.2 percent from behind the arc.
The fact that the Warriors are willing to trade almost any of their players means they're serious about bringing in help. The Warriors were hoping to be more comfortably in the playoff picture, but with the recent rough patch over the past 11 games—going just 5-6—Golden State may be smart to bring in a fresh face.
Kyle Lowry Reportedly Staying Put
After trading away Rudy Gay to the Sacramento Kings, the Toronto Raptors have been involved in several trade rumors, specifically for players such as DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry.
Lowry has had a season worthy of an All-Star selection, and the Raptors no longer seem interested in trading away their emerging star. According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, it doesn't look likely Lowry will go to a new team:
The Toronto Raptors are showing significant resistance to trading point guard Kyle Lowry and appear determined to keep him as they pursue a postseason berth, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
"We've heard it from [Toronto] that he won't be moved," a rival front office executive told Yahoo Sports.
Lowry was considered by many to be the biggest All-Star snub out of the East, especially considering Brooklyn Nets guard Joe Johnson was selected over him. According to Basketball Reference, Lowry is currently sixth in the NBA with 7.9 win shares.
This season, Lowry has averaged 16.7 points, 7.5 assists and 4.4 rebounds per game while shooting 43.2 percent and posting a 20.03 player efficiency rating.
Currently in the No. 3 spot in the East, the Raptors have had a surprisingly solid season. Many expected them to tank after trading Gay. With the emergence of Lowry as a star player, the Raptors are smart to keep him, especially if they're looking to build a team to possibly compete with the Indiana Pacers or Miami Heat in the East.