Players, teams to watch as trade deadline approaches
Posted: Wednesday February 20, 2008 2:02PM; Updated: Wednesday February 20, 2008 6:50PM
While Vince Carter, Ron Artest, Jermaine O'Neal and Andre Miller are among the bigger names still available, there are other players who could be on the move before Thursday's trade deadline. Here's a look at some of them, in addition to other deadline notes:
The Bulls remain among the most active teams looking to deal, according to multiple sources. General manager John Paxson has been trying to unload Ben Wallace, but it's unlikely he'll find a taker. There is a lot of doubt around the league about whether the 33-year-old center has enough left in the tank to warrant taking on the last two years and $28.5 million on his contract.
A rumored deal for Andrei Kirilenko makes some sense in that Utah could shed Kirilenko's remaining contract (three more years, $49.3 million) while picking up another big man to battle the likes of Shaquille O'Neal and Pau Gasol in the Western Conference. But the Jazz might be scared off by Big Ben's lackluster play this season, while the Bulls might be reluctant to take on more payroll for a player who plays the same position as Luol Deng and Andres Nocioni.
The Bulls are also said to be gauging interest in Ben Gordon. The 6-foot-2 shooting guard turned down a $50 million contract extension before the season, and Chicago might decide it can't keep both Gordon and Deng (also a restricted free agent this summer) long term. It's possible that Chicago could use Gordon to try to pick up a big man with a reasonable contract, someone like Seattle's Nick Collison, but a blockbuster at this point appears unlikely for the Bulls.
LeBron James has made no secret that he would welcome more help. He was clearly disappointed that the Cavaliers didn't land Jason Kidd. He had to be doubly frustrated to learn that Atlanta got Mike Bibby without giving up much in return.
According to multiple league sources, the Cavs were close to a deal that would have sent Bibby to Cleveland for Drew Gooden (one more year, $7.2 million) and two players with expiring contracts in Ira Newble and Shannon Brown. A deal for Bibby had been discussed in various forms since last year, but was back on the table again recently. But according to a Cavs source, the Kings changed their focus to acquiring all expiring contracts.
Sacramento then made a deal with the Hawks, getting back three expiring deals in Tyronn Lue, Anthony Johnson and Lorenzen Wright, along with Shelden Williams, the No. 5 pick in the 2006 draft.
Cavs GM Danny Ferry would not comment. He did say Tuesday that he is continuing to explore opportunities, but that nothing was close.
The Nets and Nuggets have discussed a deal that would send veteran power forward NenÍ to New Jersey for a package that includes the expiring contracts of Jamaal Magloire and Bostjan Nachbar, according to a league source.
While the Sonics reportedly are set to trade Kurt Thomas to the Spurs, word is that Seattle's Delonte West, in the last year of his contract, also is available.
The Raptors and Warriors have discussed a deal that would center on Mickael Pietrus going to Toronto for Juan Dixon and Joey Graham, according to a league source.
Wizards GM Ernie Grunfeld called reports that the club was considering a Caron Butler-for-Lamar Odom swap "totally bogus and erroneous."