NBA Rumors: Latest Buzz on Ben Gordon, Andrea Bargnani and More Hardwood Stars

Josh BenjaminCorrespondent IFebruary 14, 2013

CHARLOTTE, NC - FEBRUARY 11:  Ben Gordon #8 of the Charlotte Bobcats during their game at Time Warner Cable Arena on February 11, 2013 in Charlotte, North Carolina. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

It's another big day in Rumorville, with the NBA trade deadline just a week away. Believe it or not, it's not the big names who are getting a lot of attention this afternoon.

In Charlotte, the Bobcats are once again trying their damndest to unload guard Ben Gordon's contract. The man is little more than a shooter, so finding a team willing to take on the $12.4 million he is due this season and, potentially, the $13.2 million he can earn in 2013-14.

Then we head north of the border, where Toronto Raptors GM Bryan Colangelo could once again be looking for a buyer for forward Andrea Bargnani. The Italian seven-footer has proven to be nothing but a scorer with little regard for defense, and his time in head coach Dwane Casey's system could soon be up.

Oh, and let's not forget about the New York Knicks being on the verge of a giant roster mistake.

There's a lot of ground to cover, so let's jump right in and get to the latest word around the league.


Knicks Dangling Shumpert Again?

The New York Knicks may rank No. 2 in the Eastern Conference, but that does not take away from the fact that they badly need help on defense. Thus, if what Steve Kyler of Hoopsworld reports is true, the team could be on the verge of making an Isiah Thomas-like mistake. 

According to Kyler, the Knicks are looking to acquire a proven veteran who can help get them as far as possible in the playoffs and are willing to trade second-year guard Iman Shumpert to land that type of piece. However, Shumpert just happens to be the Knicks' best perimeter defender.

Since the Knicks are looking at Jared Dudley of the Phoenix Suns and Luke Ridnour of the Minnesota Timberwolves, dealing their best defender in Shumpert for a glorified shooter makes zero sense.

The fact of the matter is that if the Knicks are destined to trade Shumpert, they can get a lot more for him than just Dudley or Ridnour. He is an excellent defensive 2-guard with a developing jump shot, and New York GM Glen Grunwald should be asking for better talent in return.

Moreover, Shumpert should not be dealt period. He's slowly getting his legs back, and once he is back at the level he was last season, he's going to become an even greater asset for the Knicks to have on the roster.


Raptors Seeking Bargnani Buyer

The Toronto Raptors played the New York Knicks on February 13, but Frank Isola of the New York Daily News made an interesting observation. Prior to the game, he saw Raptors GM Bryan Colangelo speaking with Leon Rose, the agent of forward Andrea Bargani.

In 25 games this season (he missed six weeks with an elbow injury), Bargnani has averaged 14.8 points and 3.9 rebounds per game.

This isn't the first time Bargnani's name has come up in trade talks. On February 8, ESPN's Marc Stein reported that Toronto had reached out to the Chicago Bulls about swapping Bargnani in exchange for Carlos Boozer, though nothing came of that deal.

Fast forward to today, and ESPN's Chad Ford reports that Toronto now wants to trade Bargnani for a backup point guard.

No matter how you look at it, trading Bargnani and the $22.2 million remaining on his contract is easier said than done. He has size at 7'0", 256 pounds, but his career marks of 15.4 points and 4.9 rebounds per game show little regard for defense.

The sad truth is that if Toronto does move Bargnani, it will likely be at a tremendous loss in terms of what the team receives in return.


Bobcats Accelerate Efforts to Trade Ben Gordon

Charlotte has spent the past couple of weeks trying to deal shooter Ben Gordon, but the efforts have stepped up this week.

According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports, Gordon and head coach Mike Dunlap got into an exchange at a Monday shootaround. Wojnarowski's source reports that Gordon was "beyond disrespectful."

Gordon may be averaging 12.6 points per game and shooting 41 percent from downtown this season, but team management is going to have a much harder time trading him now that news of this incident has gone public. As talented as Gordon may be from beyond the arc, teams will not seek to acquire him if he is going to be a constantly disruptive presence.

All in all, this is a rumor to view with a wait-and-see attitude. The Bobcats may very well still trade Gordon, but no conclusions can be drawn until one team establishes itself as a frontrunner for his services.

With just a week remaining until the deadline, GM Rich Cho had better start working the phones.