There's only a couple of weeks separating us from the NBA's trade deadline, and there's surprisingly very little chatter at this point regarding a number of players who are on the verge of being dealt.
The same names continue to circulate the air, so let's examine the latest news on some of the more popular rumors we keep hearing about.
Kevin Garnett Wants to Remain a Celtic
Told Kevin Garnett will not waive no trade unless Pierce is dealt, and then only to LA. Lives in Malibu.— Shaun Powell (@Powell2daPeople) February 4, 2013
Kevin Garnett has to be aware that the Celtics could potentially be a sinking ship, but regardless of that, he seems to want to die a Celtic. Kevin Garnett still has a couple of years left on his contract, but GMs around the league may be hesitant to deal for his services with the real possibility that he just hangs it up once he's traded.
"I bleed green, I'll die green," Garnett said. He added, though, that "it's a business...trades are a part of this league..." So Garnett leaves the door open there that if Danny Ainge felt a deal were in the C's' best interest and KG didn't mind parting ways, it would happen.
There was news this week that the L.A. Clippers were interested in the Big Ticket's services, but later reports came out to say there was no validity to the initial rumors, as Sporting News reported.
Josh Smith to Suns?
Alex Kennedy of HoopsWorld reported that the Phoenix Suns are interested in acquiring combo forward Josh Smith from the Atlanta Hawks. Kennedy said the Suns were interested in obtaining Rudy Gay, but were bested by the Toronto Raptors when bidding for Gay's services. Acquiring Smith would give the Suns a dynamic and exciting scoring option, and a nice piece to structure their rebuilding effort around.
Kennedy reports the main chip the Suns would likely use to acquire Smith is Marcin Gortat, who voiced his displeasure earlier this season with his lack of involvement in Alvin Gentry's offense.
Mark Bradley of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, however, feels that Smith may remain a Hawk for "many years more." Bradley says the Hawks have already dumped enough salary to be fixtures in the free-agent market and that getting rid of Smith's expiring contract really isn't even a necessity.
The real crux of the matter is whether Atlanta can stomach losing Smith as a free agent and getting nothing for him in return this summer. Nick Borges of ESPN (subscription required) reports that the Dallas Mavericks, Charlotte Bobcats and Houston Rockets may all make a run at the 27-year-old this summer.
Nikola Pekovic to Portland?
Nikola Pekovic may be another Wolf on the move, and Pekovic seems honored that the Portland Trail Blazers are interested in him.
"That's really nice when you hear that other teams like Portland want to bring you in. That means that I'm doing a good job...that's something nice," Pekovic told CSNNW.com.
Nick Borges of ESPN (subscription required) says that the Blazers will likely match any offer made to Pekovic this summer, and Pekovic himself said his "first option is to stay." But the Blazers do have the cap room to sign him this summer, and he's having another great season.
Along with Kevin Love, Pekovic was the driving force behind the Timberwolves' league-leading 47.0 points in the paint per game in 2011-12 (per HoopsStats.com), and this season, the Montenegrin is averaging an even 16 points in addition to almost nine rebounds a game.
There are a lot of teams that could use that kind of production, but the Wolves aren't going to let Pekovic go as a free agent, so teams will have to come with good offers if they want him.
Andrea Bargnani on Display
Andrea Bargnani returned from his elbow injury Wednesday night, and the Raptors immediately inserted him into the rotation as a means of showcasing him for a trade. They have two weeks to hope that Bargnani shows enough of the mojo he once had to net something decent in a trade.
Bargnani is owed $22.25 million over two seasons beyond this one, and that will make dealing him a little difficult, since his production in no way warrants that salary.
Bargnani has proved to be a good shooter, but his defense and rebounding make him a liability to teams seeking to start the seven-foot Italian center.
There's certainly a niche and place for Bargnani in the league, but few teams are going to want to shell out $11 million a season to a guy whose talents are basically limited to spotting up for threes.
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