The NBA trade deadline is fast approaching, and the rumors continue to spread and gain steam around the Association.
The deadline for teams to finalize trades is on Thursday at 3 p.m. ET, and trade talks will continue up until that very minute. In one of the more wild trade deadline stories in some time back in 2011, the Indiana Pacers had reportedly struck a deal for O.J. Mayo, who was then on the Memphis Grizzlies, according to ESPN.com. Unfortunately, the trade came in after the deadline, preventing the Pacers from getting Mayo.
Hopefully nothing like that will happen this year.
With that being said, let's take a look at the latest trade rumors as we approach the trade deadline.
Luol Deng on the Move Again?
Cleveland Cavaliers small forward Luol Deng has been with the team for barely over a month, but it looks like there's a chance he may be on his way out once again in another trade.
Cleveland will explore a Luol Deng trade, but the fact that he can't be packaged with another Cavs player complicates things.
Alex Kennedy from Basketball Insiders reported that the Cavaliers were attempting to find a potential trade for the 28-year-old from Duke:
Cleveland will explore a Luol Deng trade, but the fact that he can't be packaged with another Cavs player complicates things.— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) February 20, 2014
It's not hard to see why a team may be interested in a player like Deng. He's an efficient and productive scorer that can fill a stat sheet, averaging 17.1 points, 6.0 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game while shooting 43.7 percent from the field. Those numbers may have dipped a bit since going to Cleveland, but that's likely due to the lack of talent around him.
As Kennedy notes in his tweet, the issue with trading Deng is that he's the only player that the Cavaliers can offer, as he won't come in a package deal. That could limit the types of offers teams can work with in order to acquire Deng and limit the chances a deal actually gets done, especially since teams could be giving up assets to the Cavs with the chance Deng walks as a free agent at the end of the season.
If a deal can't get done, it looks like Deng is going to have to try and finish the year out in Cleveland before testing the waters in free agency.
Kings Shopping Isaiah Thomas
Perhaps one of the most underrated point guards in the league this season has been Isaiah Thomas of the Sacramento Kings, as he's having the best year of his short career.
With the very real possibility that Thomas could be gone after this season anyway, the Kings could cut ties now and add some key pieces in the process. ESPN's Marc Stein tweeted that Thomas was reportedly available while also pointing out the issues with restricted free agency:
Most intriguing Sacramento-based deadline story is increasingly loud buzz out there that Isaiah Thomas is available in midst of career year— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) February 18, 2014
Kings in tough spot w/IT headed to restricted free agency. Of course ... anyone trading for his big stat line/low salary faces same issues— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) February 18, 2014
Thomas has been quietly putting up great numbers in Sacramento this season. In 53 games, he's been averaging 20.2 points, 6.3 assists and 2.7 rebounds while shooting a solid 44.4 percent and 85.9 percent from the free-throw line.
At just 25 years old, Thomas is beginning to prove that he has a chance to be one of the best point guards in the league with a stronger team, and fringe playoff teams could see him as a potential impact point guard to help make them a legitimate playoff contender.
Clippers Talks for Iman Shumpert Fall Apart
After the Los Angeles Clippers were reportedly interested in trading for New York Knicks guard Iman Shumpert, it appears that a deal likely won't get done.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski from Yahoo! Sports, the trade talks have collapsed with the Knicks and Clippers, saying:
After several rounds of negotiations, the Los Angeles Clippers and New York Knicks have abandoned discussions on a proposed trade centered on guard Iman Shumpert, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
The Knicks had interest in bringing back Clippers point guard Darren Collison and rookie Reggie Bullock as part of a package, but wanted Los Angeles to accept Raymond Felton in the deal, sources said. The Clippers resisted the Felton element of the deal, and were reluctant to part with Bullock or any draft picks in talks, sources said.
As if the timing couldn't be worse for the Knicks or Shumpert, the 23-year-old reportedly sprained his MCL, according to Wojnarowski:
Knicks Iman Shumpert has a sprained MCL in his left knee, league source tells Yahoo. As reported, he's on way back to New York for MRI.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) February 20, 2014
While Shumpert had shown promise in his first two seasons in the league, he hasn't been the same player this year, shooting just 38.1 percent from the floor and posting a player efficiency rating of just 9.82.
For the Knicks, they're now stuck with an injured shooting guard that's struggling to blossom instead of a reliable point guard like Darren Collison.