The NBA’s Feb. 18 trade deadline is less than a month away and the hot stove is beginning to warm up. Here’s some of the latest buzz from around the league.
Celtics, Raptors working on a deal?
The Skinny: Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders reports that the Boston Celtics are looking to move power forward David Lee. The Toronto Raptors have allegedly been a team that has surfaced as a potential landing spot for the big man.
Analysis: Coming off an NBA championship with the Golden State Warriors, Lee was looking for a situation where he could build up his value and maximize potential earnings heading into free agency this summer.
That has not been the case in Boston as Lee is averaging around 15 minutes per game with his new team. The Celtics simply don’t have space for him in the rotation at the moment due to their plethora of big men. Lee’s $15.4-million contract would be tough to work out for Toronto as it would likely mean Terrence Ross and Patrick Patterson would be heading the other way. Alternatively, a third team could get involved to help work out any cap issues.
It's an intriguing rumour, but the Raptors already have Luis Scola in the type of role they would likely use Lee in and would be better off holding on to their assets until a more impactful trade opportunity comes along.
Rockets pondering fire sale?
The Skinny: ESPN's Calvin Watkins suggests that despite an improved record, the Houston Rockets are contemplating making wholesale changes to their roster, with names including Dwight Howard, Corey Brewer, Terrence Jones, and Ty Lawson.
Analysis: After an abysmal start to the 2015-16 season and the firing of Kevin McHale, the Rockets have managed to turn it around and now sit seventh in the Western Conference. With the Warriors and San Antonio Spurs looking like locks to meet in the conference final, it wouldn't be a bad idea for Houston to sell and look to the future.
The Lawson experiment has been a disaster but a change of scenery could do wonders for the disgruntled point guard. His value is at an all-time low, but the Rockets could likely still fetch something useful in return. Howard would have no shortage of suitors as he remains one of the most dominant centres in the league.
Brewer and Jones are interesting names for different reasons. Brewer is struggling this year, but remains an athletic wing player who plays solid defence. Jones has dealt with a number of injuries during his short career, but the potential could be too tantalizing for a team to pass up.
Timberwolves shopping Martin?
Analysis: Rebuilding around the likes of Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns, Martin is not part of the long-term plan in Minnesota. The two parties have already agreed that he will play a lesser role while trades are explored.
There are allegedly teams that are interested in renting Martin for a playoff run this year, but are not keen on the 32-year-old exercising his $7.37-million player option for 2016-17. On the other side of the coin, teams that may actually want Martin moving forward have no guarantee he won't opt out. As a result, the shooting guard may have to decide on his option before being traded.
Just one year removed from his sixth career 20-point-per-game season, Martin is a one-dimensional player but can still put up points in bunches and knock down the three-point shot.
Nets prioritizing front office?
Analysis: The Nets' franchise is in complete disarray. Not only do they have the losing combination of an aging, overpaid roster and a lack of draft picks in the near future, they now have chaos in the front office and coaching staff. The Nets reportedly have not completely closed shop on the trade front, but are not expected to be overly active.
Joe Johnson is the name that comes up most often in trade talks involving Brooklyn, but his albatross of a contract would be difficult to move. He would be a nice addition to a contending team based on his versatile offensive game and history of knocking down big shots, but the over $12 million owed to him the rest of the season is tough to swallow. If no deal is reached, a buyout would still be possible.