We're nearly one week away from the NBA trade deadline, and the rumors just keep piling up. This year's big day could set off a record amount of fireworks, and mostly from fans' heads exploding in excitement and/or shock.
There's a new development on Utah Jazz forward Paul Millsap, who has drawn the interest of one team in particular. However, he is not their primary target. A trade for him could happen, but isn't necessarily the top priority on that team's list.
As we head to the Midwest, the Milwaukee Bucks may be in the running to make a big move of their own. Point guard Brandon Jennings is on the trading block, and growing tension between himself and the front office make it likely that a deal will happen. His talent is undeniable, but any team interested in him must consider how much of a headache his attitude can be, not to mention his impending restricted free agency.
Oh, and did I mention that the Knicks have their eye on a certain player?
There's a great deal in Rumorville that needs to be covered, so it's time to buckle up and get ready for one hell of a ride.
Knicks Eye Luke Ridnour, But Why?
If the Knicks are to make any move at the trade deadline this year, it needs to be for strong perimeter defense. That makes the team's interest in guard Luke Ridnour all the more puzzling.
According to Alex Kennedy of Hoopsworld, the team has engaged in talks with the Minnesota Timberwolves over the guard's services. This season, Ridnour has posted 12.2 points per game while shooting a less-than-average 32 percent from downtown.
Alex Kennedy @AlexKennedyNBA
The New York Knicks have expressed interest in Minnesota Timberwolves point guard Luke Ridnour, according to source.2/13/2013, 7:31:43 PM
Granted, acquiring Ridnour would allow the Knicks the opportunity to give 39-year-old Jason Kidd a rest, but they would have to give up way too much to land the former Oregon Duck. Ridnour is making $4 million this year and is due $4.3 million next season, and the only way to really make the money work without giving away too much is to include second-year guard Iman Shumpert.
Since Shumpert is New York's best on-ball defender, this deal makes absolutely zero sense. Just the same, GM Glen Grunwald is interested in Ridnour for a reason.
This deal could potentially work, but only if the Knicks are careful to not give up too much talent. Otherwise, it's another classic front-office blunder.
Paul Millsap Brooklyn-Bound?
The Brooklyn Nets like Atlanta Hawks star forward Josh Smith, but it doesn't look like GM Billy King will be able to swing a trade for him. As a result, he has shifted his interest towards Paul Millsap.
According to Mitch Lawrence and Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News, the Nets have set their sights on Millsap and other power forwards now that talks with Atlanta have cooled off. Given the team's glaring need at the 4, Millsap would be a near-perfect fit.
Nothing against Reggie Evans and Kris Humphries, but neither man has really gotten the job done this season. Evans has been a solid rebounder, but that's about it.
Millsap gives the Nets someone who can both work the low post while also utilizing a jump shot every so often. He does not have much size for the 4 at 6'8", 253 pounds, but plays with the focus of someone bigger. This season, he has averaged 14.9 points and 7.4 rebounds per game.
Per 36 minutes, that adds up to 17.7 points and 8.8 rebounds per contest. He isn't the most conventional fit for Brooklyn's system, but still puts in a great effort night after night. Seeing as how the Nets need defense and King is in the final year of his contract, this deal could be enough for owner Mikhail Prokhorov to keep him around for a little while longer.
Brandon Jennings "Frustrated," Dallas Interested
We all knew that Brandon Jennings was "doing homework" on big market teams (h/t Chris Broussard of ESPN), but nobody could have seen his potential exit from the Milwaukee Bucks exposing so much bad blood in the process.
According to ESPN's Chad Ford, Jennings has become frustrated with the team's direction and would prefer to play in a larger market. The scrappy point guard has averaged 18.5 points, 6.1 assists and 1.9 steals per game, but has shot just 39.5 percent from the field due to having a score-first mentality and shooting too impulsively.
Despite those key flaws, one team appears to be interested in Jennings. According to a tweet by ESPN's Marc Stein, the Dallas Mavericks expect to be in the running if Milwaukee makes Jennings available.
Marc Stein @ESPNSteinLine
Mavs, I'm told, do have interest in Brandon Jennings and will be in mix for him if Bucks opt to make RFA-to-be available b4 Feb. 21 deadline2/13/2013, 5:07:22 AM
Believe it or not, Dallas would be a great fit for Jennings. Not only would he get his wish of playing in a larger market, but he would be on a team that actually has a plan and isn't constantly rebuilding.
It also helps that Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle's system is fast-paced and a good fit for Jennings' approach and skill set. The opportunity to play with Dirk Nowitzki would also help to make the dynamic point guard a better player in that he would have a viable go-to guy.
There's no telling when this deal will be done, if at all. Just the same, the Bucks owe it to themselves to listen to any and all offers.
Jennings clearly isn't happy in Milwaukee, and it'd be better for the Bucks to deal him rather than keep him around and risk him becoming a clubhouse cancer. Yes, his impending restricted free agency would allow the team to match any offer sheet he agreed to, per the Gilbert Arenas Rule, but it's better for GM John Hammond to cut his losses and see just how much he can get in return for his point guard.