If the NBA trade market is going to heat up, then it had better get started soon.
With the All-Star Game in the rearview mirror, time's ticking for Thursday's Feb. 20 trade deadline, and the rumor mill is eerily quiet with days remaining.
Ken Berger of CBS Sports elaborates:
Trade talk at All-Star weekend has been 'as slow as it's been in a long time,' said one executive who has not received a single phone call. A lot of teams have made it known which players they are open to moving, but the problem is finding trade partners. Very few teams are willing to part with premium draft picks or take on future salary, which are the two key drivers for trades.
However, that doesn't mean there aren't a few precious scraps of rumor floating around. Here's a look at the latest buzz heading down the home stretch.
Championship Contender Searching for That Final Piece to the Puzzle
The Oklahoma City Thunder have been agonizingly close to winning an NBA championship the past few years, but ultimately, the franchise has fallen short of that goal.
As good as Kevin Durant has been since Michael Westbrook's injury, he's not going to be able to do it all by himself once the playoffs roll around. Teams can really focus on game-planning once the postseason arrives, which makes life difficult for stars without proper support.
For this reason, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reports the Thunder are looking to add a shooter before the deadline:
Armed with trade exceptions, OKC has been active in search for a shooter to fortify them for title run, league sources tell Yahoo.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) February 13, 2014
One player that makes plenty of sense for the Thunder is Chicago Bulls forward Mike Dunleavy, who is more of a perimeter shooter offensively than a guy who operates inside. He's averaging 11.1 points per game this season and has a history of shooting well behind the arc.
Potential Playoff Contender Dreams of Evan Turner
The Charlotte Bobcats are currently hanging on to the No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference with a record of 23-30, but it's by a mere thread. The Detroit Pistons are just one-half game behind, and the New York Knicks are 2.5 games behind.
Charlotte has never before made it into the postseason, so it's not surprising that the team is reportedly interested in acquiring a key addition to assist its playoff push, per Berger:
The Charlotte Bobcats, clinging to the eighth playoff spot in the East, will be aggressive buyers at the deadline, league sources say. The team's interest in Sixers guard Evan Turner is real. Philadelphia GM Sam Hinkie wants a first-round pick for Turner (and the same for Spencer Hawes). The Bobcats can offer their Detroit pick if they're serious about making a push.
This is a deal Philadelphia would love to make, as Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer recently reported, "The 76ers' focus in the days leading up to Thursday's NBA trade deadline is acquiring draft picks, according to an Eastern Conference executive."
The second overall pick of the 2010 NBA draft, Evans has been slow to develop, but he's having his finest campaign as a pro in his fourth season. He's averaging 17.5 points, 5.9 rebounds, 3.6 assists and one steal per contest.
Adding a player of his caliber to Charlotte's roster would significantly improve the team's chances of finally breaking through with a playoff appearance.
Conflicting Reports on Veteran Guard Andre Miller and the Denver Nuggets
Andre Miller hasn't played for the Denver Nuggets since Dec. 30, 2013, when he got into an argument with coach Brian Shaw, but there's a rumor that the team could bring him back.
Berger has the scoop:
Facing a difficult trade market and a glaring hole at the point guard position, Nuggets officials worked out the banished Andre Miller this week and are considering bringing him back, league sources told CBSSports.com.
Shaw appears ready to bury the hatchet.
"I've always said I can coach any player who is willing to play and do what's best for the team overall," Shaw said, via Terry Frei of The Denver Post. "So if he's willing to do what's best for the team overall, I'm willing to coach him."
'The vibe is delusional,' the source said. 'It's a burned bridge. No reconciliation. He's waiting by the door with his bag already packed. The relationship is irreparable. Under no circumstances does he want to come back to Denver.'
Denver would be better off...
Fractured relationships are never easy to deal with, and it seems this one is turning into a complicated mess. In this situation, it appears Miller holds the advantage. Per Berger, he's lost 12 pounds since late December and looks to be in terrific shape.
Rather than try to sign a player who doesn't want to play, the Nuggets might be better off looking elsewhere for their point guard help.
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