Five guys most likely to be moved at trade deadline (but don’t be shocked if few are)


I think only two things feel certain at the trade deadline:

1) Somebody we didn’t expect will get moved (not likely a big name, but a solid player). It happens every year.

2) It’s going to be a bit of a slow deadline, and not all the guys on the list below will get moved. It’s possible none of them get moved. It is far more likely that none of them get moved than a majority of them.

But with less than 24 hours to go before the Feb. 19 NBA trade deadline (the cutoff time is 3 ET), here are the five guys most being talked about around the league.

1) Goran Dragic, Phoenix Suns. Last weekend the feeling around the league was that Phoenix would keep Dragic and trade Isaiah Thomas in an effort to balance their roster. Then Dragic’s agents went in told the Suns’ management that the free agent to be will not re-sign with them. That changed the game, the Suns need to move him or risk getting nothing in return — but it also set up another game altogether. Dragic wants to go to a big market where he will have freedom to create in the system — his agents gave the Suns a list that included the Lakers, Knicks, and Heat. However, if they are going to trade him all the Suns care about is getting as much back as possible, they have no concerns for where Dragic wants to go. The Lakers and Knicks don’t have assets anyone wants (no Lakers’ fans, nobody wants Jordan Hill and Steve Nash) while Miami’s offers have not wowed the Suns. Instead, Phoenix is talking in depth with the Celtics, Rockets, and Kings. Those three teams are willing to gamble that if they get Dragic in for half a season they can sell him on their cities and teams, then offer him a five-year contract (other teams will only be able to offer four) and that will be enough to retain him. The Suns could decide they don’t like any trade offers and just keep him and dare him to walk away from the extra contract year (we’re talking more than $20 million guaranteed). But more likely they trade him somewhere he didn’t want to be, which sets up another showdown.

2) Wilson Chandler, Denver Nuggets. No team may be more active at the deadline than the Nuggets, and no player is drawing more interest than Wilson Chandler. Teams that could use wing help have their eye on him, as he brings 14 points and 6 rebounds a game, plus quality defense. Portland may have the most attractive package: Thomas Robinson, Will Barton, and a future first round pick. The Clippers want to get in the dance and are toying with trading Jamal Crawford for a future first round pick, which would be flipped for Chandler (along with other players). That has not been near enough to move the needle on a deal so far for Denver, will they take the best offer at the deadline or just hold on to him?

3) Reggie Jackson, Oklahoma City Thunder. He has wanted to run his own team for a while, and when OKC went out and got Dion Waiters to steal some of Jackson’s minutes the drive to get out of town grew stronger. Jackson’s agent has requested the player be traded. The Thunder likely want to make a deal, if they can shed a couple million they can get below the luxury tax line (and they should try to do so since they are close). The problem for OKC is everybody knows Jackson wants out, and they know he’ll be a restricted free agent this summer, so why offer much of anything to get him now? The Thunder likely have to take far less than equal value to get a deal done, but they may well live with that.

4) Arron Afflalo, Denver Nuggets. With the Nuggets asking a lot to get in the Chandler sweepstakes, this may be the more likely solid wing player on the move. The Kings are the team most interested and aggressive right now, offering Nik Stauskas as the centerpiece, reports Ken Berger of

5) Enes Kanter, Utah Jazz. With Utah more and more seeing the Rudy Gobert/Derrick Favors combo as the front line of the future, Kanter is the odd big out — and he wants out, having his agent request a trade. Kanter will be a restricted free agent this summer, but that is not motivating the Jazz, who have requested a lot back in return for a deal (a quality young player and a pick). That said, there are several teams interested including the Bucks.

Report: Suns will try to trade Goran Dragic, Celtics and Kings show interest


Goran Dragic made it clear to the Suns he wants out of Phoenix.

But because they have him under contract the rest of this, they don’t have to accommodate him. They could keep him the remainder of the season, maybe trade Isaiah Thomas and dare Dragic to pass up more money.

Here’s how much Dragic projects to make if he re-signs (orange) or signs elsewhere (purple):


Season Re-sign Sign elsewhere
2016 $19,027,800 $19,027,800
2017 $20,454,885 $19,884,051
2018 $21,881,970 $20,740,302
2019 $23,309,055 $21,596,553
2020 $24,736,140
Total $109,409,850 $81,248,706

It seems the Suns won’t try to prove Dragic is bluffing, though.

Marc Stein of ESPN:

The Phoenix Suns will try to move star guard Goran Dragic before Thursday’s 3 p.m. ET trade deadline

Sources told that the Suns are resigned to try to strike a deal before the deadline with a team Dragic is prepared to re-sign with in order to avoid losing their All-NBA point guard in July without compensation.

Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports:

The Celtics are loaded with draft picks, and this is a more realistic target than DeMarcus Cousins. The Kings are always looking to make splash. And the Rockets have been linked to Dragic, too.

None of those teams are among Dragic’s preferred destinations – the Lakers, Knicks and Heat – but they want Dragic’s Bird Rights and the inside track at re-signing him. No matter which team Dragic plays for after 3 p.m. tomorrow, that team – and only that team – will can offer him five years and about $110 million. Every other team will be limited to four years and about $80 million. (Exact amounts will be determined once the salary cap is set in July.)

Obviously, teams will want to gauge Dragic’s interest in re-signing before trading for him. So, surely Boston’s, Sacramento’s and Houston’s willingness to surrender assets is conditional.

Dragic took away a lot the Suns leverage by stating of his plan to leave. But Phoenix still holds some leverage with his Bird Rights. If the Suns won’t use them to offer Dragic a bigger contract than he could get elsewhere, Phoenix will find the team that will.

Rumor: Celtics interested in DeMarcus Cousins


The Celtics could have 11 first-round picks in next four drafts.

Although a couple of those will likely turn into second rounders and another probably won’t be conveyed until later, Boston is stacked with draft picks.

Celtics general manager Danny Ainge has said he values those picks because he can trade them, and he’s made no secret he’d rather deal them for an established player rather than using them all.

It’s just a matter of the right veteran becoming available – like DeMarcus Cousins?

Sam Smith of

Another Celtics’ big man rumor floating around during All-Star weekend has been their pursuit of All-Star DeMarcus Cousins.

The Kings didn’t just hire George Karl to trade Cousins now, but there’s a chance those two don’t click, especially if Cousins has voices in his ear working against the new coach.

The Celtics aren’t prying loose Cousins, who just made his first All-Star game, now. But they probably want to make sure Sacramento knows they have the resources to make a deal work if Cousins ever becomes disgruntled.

Report: Jason Thompson’s camp hopes Kings trade him


The Kings traded for Rudy Gay and Derrick Williams last season, and they put Jason Thompson on the trade block.

Gay and Williams are still in Sacramento.

And so is Thompson.

Marc Spears of Yahoo Sports:

The camp for Jason Thompson, the longest-tenured Kings player, would prefer that he is traded before the deadline, a source said.

Thompson is pretty expendable in Sacramento, but where would he be more central to a team’s core? The 28-year-old big man has steadily declined in nearly all facets the last few years. At least he starts for the Kings.

The discussion is probably moot, anyway. It’s hard to see a team trading for Thompson, who is owed $6,431,250 next season, has $2.65 million of his $6,825,000 salary guaranteed next season and has a five percent trade kicker.

Thompson might want a change of scenery, but the Kings should just ride out his contract rather than relinquishing a sweetener – a draft pick or younger player – to dump him. At best, maybe Sacramento can swap him for another player on a bad contract.

Too much Russell Westbrook lifts West to 163-158 All-Star Game win


NEW YORK — If the East had beaten the ridiculously deep Western Conference this season, somehow it would have felt wrong.

Russell Westbrook was not going to let that happen. The Thunder guard put up 41 points — just one shy of Wilt Chamberlain’s All-Star record, one more than Jordan’s 40 — with five of those coming in a late push to help the West hold off the East 163-159.

“It’s definitely and honor to be grouped with those two guys, especially in an All-Star Game,” Westbrook said of Chamberlain and Jordan.

While the atmosphere in New York was electric (and frigid) all weekend, the game on the court Sunday night resembled a lot of other All-Star Games — a defense-free pick-up game for three-and-a-half quarters, followed by a few minutes of real-ish basketball.

The game saw a lot of records almost fall.

The West’s 163 ties the record for most points in an All-Star Game by a team, tying the number the East put up last year to win the event.

LeBron James put up 30 points in a losing effort, leaving him just two points shy of passing Kobe Bryant for the most All-Star Game points ever.

“LeBron really impressed me with his seriousness tonight, how he approached the game, how he was just mentally and physically getting ready for the game,” Atlanta’s Kyle Korver said. “I know he had a packed weekend, but just the way he approached the game I was really impressed by him.”

Korver almost made history himself. The Atlanta Hawks sharpshooter made seven three-pointers (on 12 attempts), one shy of the All-Star Game record of eight.

“Sometimes the wide open ones are the hardest ones,” Korver said of playing in this kind of defense-free exhibition. “I left a couple of them from the corner short, I wish I had them back.”

The first half started off as the West show. James Harden put up a quick 11 points on 4-of-5 shooting to push the West to 28-18 lead. Then Westbrook came in and started gunning threes, knocking down a few quick ones and suddenly he was on his way to the best first half in NBA All-Star Game history with 27 points.

All that had the West up by 20 at one point, but no lead is safe when no defense is being played. The East made a run in the final five minutes of the first half, in part behind LeBron who came out hot (4-of-5 shooting to open game) and had 22 first half points. The East closed the gap, and it was 83-82 West at the half.

The East took a 115-114 lead with 2:51 left in the third quarter after coach Mike Budenholzer went with a lineup of four Hawks — Jeff Teague, Kyle Korver, Paul Millsap, Al Horford — plus LeBron. It was tied 122-122 entering the fourth.

The fourth quarter saw Chris Paul put up 10 points and DeMarcus Cousins put up nine. That proved to be too much for the East to overcome, despite eight points in the fourth from Kyrie Irving.

James Harden finished with 29 points for the West while LaMarcus Aldridge — named a starter on Saturday to replace Anthony Davis — finished with 18. John Wall had 19 points and seven assists for the East.