NBA Rumors: Latest on Potential Knicks Trade and More

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistDecember 8, 2017

New York Knicks guard Courtney Lee reacts during the second quarter of an NBA basketball game against the Phoenix Suns Friday, Nov. 3, 2017, at Madison Square Garden in New York. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)
Bill Kostroun/Associated Press

The NBA trade deadline isn't until February, but that didn't stop the wheels of change turning Thursday, when the Philadelphia 76ers announced they had traded big man Jahlil Okafor, guard Nik Stauskas and a second-round draft pick to the Brooklyn Nets for forward Trevor Booker.

There are naturally other rumors making waves in NBA circles even though fans may have to wait until closer to the deadline for additional marquee moves such as Thursday's.

With that in mind, here is a look at some of the latest buzz around the Association.


Trade Winds Circulating Around the Knicks?

Ian Begley of ESPN.com shared a rumor about the New York Knicks Thursday, as well as speculation following Tim Hardaway's injury.

According to Begley, "teams continue to show interest" in guard Courtney Lee.

The interest comes when the Knicks will be without Hardaway for some time. Begley noted he suffered a stress ailment in his left shin and will miss at least two weeks before further evaluation on Dec. 19—when it could be determined he will be out even longer.

Begley suggested how the Knicks perform when Hardaway is out will help make up the minds of general manager Scott Perry and president Steve Mills before the trade deadline. A successful stretch could encourage them to improve the roster with trades, but a lackluster showing may force them to turn toward the future and unload a piece or two.

The rumor surrounding Lee is notable when juxtaposed against Begley's speculation considering he will be tasked with shouldering much of the load on the wing while Hardaway is out. How he plays and whether he helps the team win could directly affect where he is suiting up by the trade deadline.

Through 24 games, Lee is averaging 13.1 points, 3.6 rebounds and 2.9 assists a night behind 49.8 percent shooting from the field and 46.5 percent shooting from three-point range. The head-turning clip from downtown would mark a career-high total and is important as opposing teams continue to focus on Kristaps Porzingis, which will create a number of openings for the shooter.

New York was a game behind the Washington Wizards for the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference at the start of the league's Thursday slate and has an early opportunity to make up ground without Hardaway with a Saturday contest against the 3-20 Chicago Bulls.


NBA Eyeing Mexico for the G League

The Toronto Raptors are the only NBA team outside of the United States, but the league reportedly has an eye on Mexico for the G League.

Marc Stein of the New York Times cited sources who said the NBA will "move quickly" to put a team in Mexico City. He also noted sources said the team could start playing "as early as next season."

Stein provided additional details in his full story, noting the sourced rumor "would be the latest serious step by the NBA in its efforts to gain a foothold in Mexico."

The Brooklyn Nets played Thursday's game against the Oklahoma City Thunder at Mexico City Arena and have another scheduled there for Saturday against the Miami Heat.

Expanding into international markets makes sense for the NBA, especially since Colin Ward-Henninger of CBSSports.com noted there were 108 international players hailing from 42 countries on rosters during the opening night of the 2017-18 campaign, with every team having at least one member from outside the United States.

Mexico City would also be a natural market in terms of travel because there would not be as much time and logistics involved as there would be with a team in Europe or China.