Some of the biggest names in the Association could be on the move this summer, as the latest NBA trade rumors indicate that multiple stars are already involved in trade talks.
Rumors obviously aren't guarantees, but players continuously involved in talks are almost always dealt. Of course, some players avoid being dealt despite constant talks. Rajon Rondo has escaped a trade for what seems like years now, but he's an exception to the general rule.
Will we see big stars change area codes this offseason? If the rumors below are any indication of how the summer is going to go, then we should expect many players to be on the move.
Carmelo Anthony/James Harden
Carmelo Anthony is one of the most coveted free agents on the market right now, but he has also been involved in trade rumors recently. Chris Broussard of ESPN.com (subscription required) reported he could be a part of a sign-and-trade:
In any event, assuming the [Houston] Rockets obtain the cap room to sign [LeBron] James or Anthony, the next step would be to give up star guard James Harden in a sign-and-trade for whichever superstar (James or Anthony) they don't sign as a free agent. Faced with the prospect of losing their superstars, both New York and Miami would be open to accepting Harden in a sign-and-trade.
The Rockets are one of the teams that could potentially be a landing spot for Melo, but it's interesting to hear that dealing Harden might be in the cards. Harden has been a rising star for Houston for the past two seasons, averaging 24.2 points per game in that span.
Last season, Dwight Howard was brought in to give Harden a star partner with which to bring a championship back to Houston. The thought of giving up on that pairing so soon into Howard's contract is puzzling.
Anthony is essentially the same type of player as Harden, except he plays a different position. Both players are volume scorers that take a ton of shots.
The offense runs through Harden just as it runs through Anthony—sometimes to a fault.
Harden is a better fit in New York than Anthony is in Houston, in my opinion. The triangle offense in New York caters to shooting guards, so Harden would certainly thrive in a system that Phil Jackson will influence.
Keep your eyes on this moving forward.
The Rockets will need to clear more cap room to lure in multiple big free agents. Omer Asik already fell victim to the situation, as he was traded to the New Orleans Pelicans.
As Bleacher Report's Howard Beck reports, Jeremy Lin might be next:
Rival exec tells me Rockets already have a Jeremy Lin deal lined up and ready to execute if they need the cap room to sign Melo or LBJ.— Howard Beck (@HowardBeck) June 26, 2014
As far as which team it is that the Rockets have a deal with, we currently have no idea.
Of course, it could be Lin's former team. Marcus Thompson of the San Jose Mercury News reports that the Golden State Warriors might be interested in a reunion:
The Warriors, per a league source, have informed the Houston they would consider acquiring Lin from the Rockets via trade. Houston is reportedly shopping Lin in case they need to create cap space for Carmelo Anthony or LeBron James.
The Warriors have a $9.8 million trade exception leftover from the trade that sent Andris Biedrins and Richard Jefferson’s expiring contract to Utah. Though Lin is scheduled to make $14.9 million, only $8.37 will count against the salary cap. That means the Warriors can absorb Lin’s contract without giving up any players.
Lin wasn't a big name back when he played in Golden State. "Linsanity" had yet to be born, and Lin was nothing but a reserve off the bench playing just 9.8 minutes per game.
Trading Lin would open up the door for Patrick Beverley to be the featured point guard, but it would also allow Isaiah Canaan to see more minutes. He got into just 22 games during his rookie year last season.
The Warriors would then utilize Lin as a dynamic bench guard. He clearly won't start because of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, but he would fit in well as a high-energy guard off the bench.
Now with Shabazz Napier in the fold, the Miami Heat may no longer need point guard Norris Cole. Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders reports that the Heat have made him available:
Executives continue to say that Miami is making Norris Cole available. If they can move him, they could have even more money to spend.— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) June 29, 2014
Cole was far from impressive this past season. He averaged just 6.4 points and 3.0 assists per game in the regular season before seeing those numbers fall to 4.6 and 1.8, respectively, in the playoffs.
With better numbers this season, Cole would have been a candidate for a decent return to Miami. Now, who knows what the team will get in return?
With that said, there's sure to be interest. He is just 25 years old with only three years of NBA experience under his belt. While it's unlikely he'll turn into a full-time starter at the NBA level, Cole has shown the potential to be a useful guard off the bench.
While his success often comes in spurts, Cole has shown the ability to play well when everything is going right. The Heat likely won't get much in return, but the cap space they'll inevitably receive should be good enough.
Follow Kenny DeJohn on Twitter: @KennyDeJohn_BR