This week proved to be the most active in NBA trade circles so far this season, with lots of contenders and rebuilding squads aiming for a quick fix ahead of February’s deadline.
Few bigger teams could be more ready to make a move than the Los Angeles Lakers and New York Knicks. The Lakers just brought Kobe Bryant back into the fold, but with the Western Conference loaded with playoff hopefuls, and a number of injuries to the backcourt, a deal might be imminent for L.A.
According to a report from ESPN, Steve Blake’s injury already adds to L.A.’s backcourt woes of the hurt Steve Nash and Jordan Farmar, so the Lakers are reportedly interested in the very available Knicks guard Iman Shumpert.
One of the Lakers expiring contracts also includes forward Pau Gasol, and they are apparently mulling a move that would send the Spaniard to the Knicks for injured center Tyson Chandler, a California native who attended Dominguez High School in Compton. However, the struggling Knicks apparently aren’t interested in moving their most prize big man.
If the Lakers are looking for more size, and they aren’t too bitter with the Houston Rockets for stealing away Dwight Howard, maybe they can land disgruntled center Omer Asik.
Originally the Rockets were reportedly asking way too much for Asik, stalling a trade that most of the league believes will happen before the Feb. 20 deadline. NBA.com reporter David Aldridge tweeted that a move will come sooner than expected, like this coming Wednesday or Thursday.
ICYMI: Rockets will trade Asik next Wednesday or Thursday. And do not discount Cleveland/Varejao. Would be perfect fit next to Howard.
â€” David Aldridge (@daldridgetnt) December 13, 2013
The addition of Cleveland’s Anderson Varejao could certainly sweeten the deal for the Rockets, pairing the low maintenance, defensive-minded forward with the high-volume offensive Howard.
The Brazilian Varejo could also be considered an expiring contract, with the final year of his deal a $9.8 million team option.
Another report was floated by ESPN’s Marc Stein, who said the Rockets may be holding out for the Atlanta Hawks Paul Millsap. The versatile and highly valuable forward became available for trade on Sunday, after signing a two-year $19 million with Atlanta.
Considering Millsap’s ability and willingness to do all the dirty work on the boards, as well as being a solid help defender, he could be a far stronger fit alongside Howard in Houston’s front court.
Houston may also be considering a move that sends point guard Jeremy Lin out of town. Citing discussions with NBA GMs, ESPN Radio and MSG Network analyst Alan Hahn stated on the air that if the Rockets can find a taker for the final year of his contract, an estimated $14 million next season, they might pull the trigger.
In other news, a report suggesting the New Orleans Pelicans had offered up sharpshooting forward Ryan Anderson to the Memphis Grizzlies for burly power forward Zach Randolph, was shot down by USA Today.
Randolph, a double-double machine who revamped his image and career with Memphis, has been a huge fan favorite and a big reason why they’ve made deep postseason runs the last two years. But the 32-year-old with career averages of 17.1 points and 9.3 rebounds, holds a $16.5 million player option for next season.
The Grizzlies may be more proactive than wait for Randolph to opt-out, find a move competitive long-term deal, and be forced to match it.