Happy Woj season, everybody.
We’ve finally reached that time of winter when the most reliable source of warmth is tweets from The Vertical’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
As this year's Feb. 18 trade deadline creeps closer, there are rumors surrounding some big fish—Dwight Howard and Kevin Love are the most notable. In addition, sound players like Ricky Rubio are also the subject of much discussion.
Let’s hop right in.
On Tuesday, ESPN.com’s Marc Stein reported that while the Cleveland Cavaliers “have been adamant for weeks” that Kevin Love will not be on the move, there’s still a way to acquire the three-time All-Star.
With a bona fide stud.
But league sources say that the Cavs have made it clear to interested teams -- starting, of course, with the Love-hungry Boston Celtics -- that they'd covet a star in return if or when they do reach the point of letting Love go ... and not a package of draft picks and role players like the Celtics are offering.
The Boston Celtics don’t have a genuine superstar. Isaiah Thomas just participated in his first All-Star Game on Sunday, but he’s playing with one of the most team-friendly contracts in the league. Plus, Cleveland already has a score-first point guard in Kyrie Irving.
Still, if the Celtics were to offer the Brooklyn Nets’ first-round pick, which is a near lock to land in the lottery, would Cleveland turn it down?
While a proven threat on offensive, Love is a defensive liability. According to NBA.com, opposing players’ shooting percentages go up 4.3 percent when they’re guarded by the 27-year-old veteran.
Cleveland signed him to a five-year, $110 million deal last summer. His marksmanship from the perimeter makes him an ideal complement to LeBron James, but he’s not worth keeping around when a potential franchise player like Ben Simmons could be taken with the pick.
The James Harden-Dwight Howard tandem has been a letdown.
Sure, both Houston Rockets stars have put up strong individual numbers over the past three years. Many even felt that the Beard deserved the regular-season MVP award last season.
But what do they have to show for it all? Two playoff series victories.
“I have not asked the Rockets to trade me,” D12 said. “Nor have I talked about right trades. I want to win. I want this situation to work. I chose this team. And I'm not running because we have been faced with some adversity.”
With Thursday’s deadline approaching, there are several rumors swirling around the big man.
Here’s Stein’s take:
ESPN sources say Hornets and Rockets have discussed a potential Dwight Howard-to-Charlotte trade but have not managed to find workable deal— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) February 16, 2016
New York Daily News reporter Frank Isola noted the possibility of the Miami Heat trying to deal shot-blocking, headache-inducing center Hassan Whiteside:
Dwight Howard could be moved by Thursday's trade deadline. Miami is talking with Houston about a deal that would include Hassan Whiteside.— Frank Isola (@FisolaNYDN) February 15, 2016
Adam Spolane of Sports Radio 610 reported that the Atlanta Hawks could hop into a Howard-Whiteside blockbuster:
I'm told Rockets, Heat, Hawks discussing 3-way. Howard to ATL, Horford and Teague to Mia, Dragic and Whteside, Anderson to Hou.— Adam Spolane (@AdamSpolane) February 15, 2016
With Chris Bosh’s health up in the air, swapping Howard for Whiteside would be a monumental win for Pat Riley and Co.
While writing about point guard options for the New York Knicks on Sunday, Isola reported that the Minnesota Timberwolves had placed 25-year-old point guard Ricky Rubio on the market:
Incumbent Ricky Rubio is readily available and the feeling is that the Spanish guard could be moved prior to Thursday's NBA trade deadline.
Phil Jackson is in the market for a point guard but it's hard to envision the Knicks having the assets to acquire the 25-year-old Rubio, whose season average in points (9.7), assists (8.6) and minutes (30.3) are down this year.
A day later, however, Woj dumped a bucket of cold water on Isola’s report:
Minnesota has no ongoing trade talks for guard Ricky Rubio now, league sources tell @TheVertical. That may change in the summer, though.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojVerticalNBA) February 16, 2016
With Karl-Anthony Towns, Andrew Wiggins and Zach LaVine looking like the foundation of the future, it isn’t a bad move for the Wolves to keep a pass-first guard like Rubio around. The Spanish floor general is only 25, so he’s not some old guy holding the young fellas back.
For now, Minnesota needs time—in two years, this should be a playoff team.
Drastically shaking things up doesn’t make much sense.