The NBA trade deadline is Feb. 18, and with the league descended upon Toronto for the All-Star Game, the rumors of potential deals have swirled even more.
There have been multiple reports linking some of the game’s biggest stars to deals that would shift the competitive landscape with just two months until the playoffs.
Some teams may be on the hunt for outlying pieces as they prepare for hopeful playoff runs, while others may be looking to rid hefty salary obligations before the cap jumps a whopping 32.6 percent due to the league’s new TV deal.
Here is a look at the latest buzz.
Could Carmelo Anthony Join LeBron James In Cleveland?
Carmelo Anthony’s name has been linked to a possible three-team trade between the New York Knicks, Cleveland Cavaliers and Boston Celtics that would send Anthony to join pal LeBron James and the reigning Eastern Conference champs, according to Frank Isola of the New York Daily News.
Per Isola, the Knicks in that deal would receive draft picks and Timofey Mozgov, who was included in the Anthony deal in 2011 between the Knicks and Denver Nuggets.
Anthony, who would have to waive his no-trade clause for such a deal to manifest, shot down those rumors on Saturday and reaffirmed his commitment to the Knicks.
"There's always some trade s--t going [on]," Anthony said on Sirius XM NBA Radio (h/t Ian Begley of ESPN.com). "I'm not going anywhere.”
Anthony maintains his commitment to New York, but he also asserted his primary objective is to compete for titles.
"I want to win a championship," Antony said. "At this point in my career, that's the only thing that I really care about. But I'm not, I mean, there's nothing out there for me right now. ... I'm not even entertaining no trade talk right now."
Anthony reached the playoffs in each of his first 10 seasons—including seven with the Nuggets—but is currently in a two-year playoff drought. With the Knicks in 12th place in the East standings at 23-32, their chances of reaching the playoffs seem slim. They have the ninth-worst odds to win this year’s title at 150-1, per Odds Shark.
Kevin Love Linked To Boston Celtics Trade Discussions
The trade that would send Anthony to Cleveland would be “centered” around Kevin Love, who would be sent to the Boston Celtics in that scenario, per Isola.
Love could be an ideal fit for the Celtics as they continue to develop into a contender in the East under third-year coach Brad Stevens, currently in third place in the conference standings.
The three-time All-Star Love has averaged a double-double in his season-and-a-half with the Cavs, but he hasn’t been the best fit in Cleveland, as Tim Bontemps of the Washington Post outlined:
"The problem for the Cavaliers as a whole, and for Love specifically, is that he’s caught in the middle of a pair of logjams on the roster. … He's relegated to third in the pecking order, lagging behind both James and [Kyrie] Irving,” Bontemps wrote.
James said Saturday the rumors of a Love trade were “false,” per Chris Haynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, but Adam Himmelsbach of the Boston Globe reported the Cavs are indeed shopping the seventh-year forward:
However, any move in this potential scenario would hinge on Anthony and whether he’d be willing to waive his no-trade clause.
Dwight Howard Unlikely To Be Traded, Expected To Hit Free Agency
The Houston Rockets this week began contacting teams about a possible trade involving Dwight Howard, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical, but multiple league executives indicated those discussions were more “exploratory” than anything, per Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle.
“One [executive] said the chances of a deal have a 'low probability,'" Feigen wrote.
Howard is expected to opt out of his contract this summer and become an unrestricted free agent for the second time in four years and will seek a max deal, per Wojnarowski.
The Rockets have stumbled to a 27-28 record while slipping to ninth in the West, just a year after playing in the conference finals. Houston fired head coach Kevin McHale after a 4-7 start.
Sam Amick of USA Today outlined why the Rockets may be smart to deal Howard now and get a return before losing him altogether in free agency:
If there’s a silver lining here for Howard, it’s that he’s not the driving force behind the drama for once. The Rockets’ outbound inquiries with teams about a possible trade, coupled with the obvious reality that Houston’s three-point heavy system and the ball-dominant Harden are an imperfect fit for his talents, are to blame there.
Howard, 30, is in his 12th season and has been plagued by injuries in recent years. He’s a three-time Defensive Player of the Year, but he's missing his second straight All-Star Game this weekend.
Any team that takes a chance on him—via trade or free agency—will be taking on a big financial and health risk.