Let's be honest: there are two big names powering the rumor mill right now in the NBA.
This is the summer of big free-agent signings and no one can seem to get by without minute-to-minute updates on the lives of LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony.
For all the talk about trying to land a big fish like James or Anthony on the open market, it seems that there isn't enough focus on the other surefire way to make or break a team: trades.
Yes, sometimes it hurts to give up certain players or assets, but not every team can splash the cash on a big-name target and call it a day. And let's not forget the trades that open up the opportunities to lure a star player to town; those are the ones where general managers really earn their paycheck.
Let's take a look at the latest trade rumors that are surfacing around the league.
Are the Pacers Shopping Roy Hibbert?
According to source for Sean Deveney of Sporting News, the Indiana Pacers are looking to unload their All-Star center, Roy Hibbert.
“I would say they’ve been doing that, but quietly,” one front-office source said, per Deveney.
This move could be a ploy to make sure they can offer Lance Stephenson as much money as his heart desires (and the salary cap allows). Hibbert's current deal has two years and roughly $30 million dollars left on it; this should make things quite tough for the Pacers.
Very few teams are financially capable of taking on that contract, especially when the player in question looked positively anemic at the end of the previous season.
|Roy Hibbert, 2013-14 Late-Season Statistics|
Hibbert's traditional numbers looked bad, although he was still great at deterring players at the rim last season. The 7'2" behemoth held opponents to 41.4 percent shooting at the rim last season, good enough for fourth among all players with at least 60 games played, as per NBA.com.
The market for Hibbert could pick up once the bigger free agents start making decisions and teams that saved cap room might be willing to spend it on defensive prowess.
Pistons Open to a Sign-And-Trade for Isaiah Thomas
Isaiah Thomas is a trendy name as an impact point guard right now, and the Detroit Pistons might be looking to secure his services in a sign-and-trade, per Bleacher Report's Jared Zwerling:
This situation could be a complicated one, although it's probably the Sacramento Kings best shot at getting something in return for the restricted free-agent Thomas without watching him walk away for a big money offer the team is unwilling or unable to match.
A person with knowledge of Collison's situation not only confirmed the agreement but said the 26-year-old who was Chris Paul's backup with the Los Angeles Clippers last season is heading for Sacramento with the understanding that he will be the starter.
Thomas is coming off a season where he averaged 20.3 points and 6.3 assists per game, so it's doubtful he will take a backseat to Collison or the Pistons' current floor general, Brandon Jennings.
For Detroit to pull off a sign-and-trade, they would likely need to unload Jennings to a third party as part of a deal with the Kings or in a wholly separate deal. The Pistons could also be looking to this as an opportunity to offload Josh Smith's four-year, $54 million deal.
Thomas is the kind of efficient, pass-first point guard that would benefit the likes of Andre Drummond and (if he stays) Greg Monroe.
This could be an intriguing situation to monitor, as the fate of several starting-caliber guards hangs in the balance.
Cavaliers Looking to Engineer a Jarrett Jack Trade
According to sources for Yahoo Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski, the Cleveland Cavaliers are looking to clear cap space to offer LeBron James a maximum contract.
To pull this miraculous feat off and bring home the prodigal son, the Cavaliers need to offload the contract of Jarrett Jack, and they might have some teams in play, per Wojnarowski:
The biggest obstacle remains unloading the contract of Jarrett Jack. The Cavaliers have found a landing spot for Jack and his $6.2 million annual salary in the Brooklyn Nets, but only if the Cavs can find a third team to take on Brooklyn's Marcus Thornton, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
Cleveland is offering Thornton and future draft considerations as incentive to absorb his $8.7 million expiring contract, sources said. The Cavaliers need to unload more contracts and have made 2013 first-round pick Sergey Karasev, among others, available in deals, sources said.
The players involved in the potential trade are rather unspectacular, but the league could feel the ripple effect for years to come. Jack averaged 9.5 points and 4.1 assists per game last season, making him a very solid backup for Deron Williams in Brooklyn.
Marcus Thornton averaged 12.3 points and shot 38.0 percent from three-point range last season, but isn't quite worth the $8.5 million he is due next season.
According to CBS Sports' Ken Berger, the Cavaliers have engaged the Atlanta Hawks regarding Thornton:
(Note: Berger's tweet refers to Luol Deng a Bulls free agent; he actually last played for the Cleveland Cavaliers.)
Thornton would fit in well with the Hawks' three-point-heavy offense, but the contract would ruin Atlanta's chances of getting their own top-tier free agent.
The Cavaliers should keep searching, because pulling off this contract would be all for the greatest good. James is the one player in the league who can truly swing championships in his free-agent decision. A return to the Cavaliers would be one of the more compelling storylines in NBA history.
All contract and salary cap information courtesy of Spotrac.com.
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