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02-17-2003, 06:58 PM
Weekend Trade Talk
by Chad Ford
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NBA Rumors: Sonics, Payton not ready to break up

Trade talk started to heat up this weekend as GMs locked themselves in quiet rooms, had their cell phones surgically implanted in their ears and finally got down to some serious trade talk. Listen to Pat Riley's take on the increased volume of trade talk over the weekend.

"Everybody's phone is being used," Riley told the Miami Herald. "[General manager Randy Pfund] and I are on the phone every day just discussing different things. Something might happen for somebody, because there a lot of teams that want to make some changes, and there are some teams that want to fortify themselves for playoff positioning. So, there are some teams that are really thinking, but also they know they have to take on some extra money.

"Usually it goes right down to the last day, and then somebody will say, 'Yes. Let's go,' " Riley said. "Forget about the consequences and ramifications, it's just, 'Let's do it now.' It's instant gratification." Of course, that includes the Heat. "My phone doesn't ring. Randy's rings," Riley said. "It's $5,000 a month, his cell phone [bill]. It's ridiculous. When I go through his expense account it's ridiculous. I check all his phone calls. He's got laryngitis right now he's talking so much."

With the trade deadline just three days away, here's the latest trade talk from this weekend ...


Eastern Conference Trade Talk

We'll start in Miami, since Pat Riley and Randy Pfund are logging 5,000 minutes worth of air time on their cell phones. The team is still trying hard to move either Brian Grant or Eddie Jones. Trading Alonzo Mourning is a last resort. The problem is there are still no serious suitors for either player. Talk of Dallas, Philly or Chicago having any serious interest seems far-fetched at the moment. One report, that the Blazers may be willing to swap Scottie Pippen for both Grant and Jones, also seems a bit far-fetched. While the Blazers have a history of overloading their roster, this borders on the ridiculous. The move would give them three shooting guards -- Jones, Derek Anderson and Bonzi Wells -- along with three power forwards -- Grant, Dale Davis and Rasheed Wallace.

The 76ers are still burning up the phone lines. The Keith Van Horn-for-Latrell Sprewell rumors continue to boil. The Knicks are looking for the Sixers to throw something else in the mix or take something off the Knicks' hands. The latest has the Knicks also asking for rookie John Salmons. That may be too high a price for the Sixers, who feel Salmons is their point guard of the future..The Sixers continue to talk to the Hawks about a Theo Ratliff-for-Derrick Coleman swap, but talks have cooled of late, league sources tell Insider. More likely to happen is a Danny Fortson-and-Adonal Foyle-for-Coleman swap. The Warriors need to cut cap room in the worst way in order to make a run at Gilbert Arenas. While this move won't get them all the way there, it would be a start. Of course, the Warriors would immediately waive Coleman, making him a free agent once he cleared waivers.

One more juicy Coleman rumor ... the Chicago Tribune's Sam Smith is reporting that the Sixers and Sonics are talking about a Brent Barry-and-Vitaly Potapenko-for-Coleman trade. The Sonics are working hard to clear cap space, and moving Barry and Potapenko would put them at around $17 million under the cap this summer. The move makes less sense for the Sixers. While Potapenko can be serviceable in the middle, where do you play Barry? Allen Iverson, Aaron McKie, Greg Buckner, and, if the other trade goes down, Latrell Sprewell, all play the same position.

Terry McGuirk, CEO of Turner Sports Teams, said the Hawks were still doing everything in their power to make something happen before the deadline. "It's hard to say why the chemistry hasn't worked," McGuirk told the Atlanta Journal Constitution. "The pieces are greater than the whole. ... It is the inconsistency and mercurial nature of the team that are bewildering. ... There is no greater goal [Kasten] has than figuring this thing out. I can just promise you we will not rest until this gets fixed. Given where we've been and what we're going through, I can see very little we wouldn't do to fix it. We're going to fix it."

Good luck. If the Sixers drop out of the Ratliff bidding, there aren't any other serious suitors. The Lakers may have some interest in Nazr Mohammed, but trading Mohammed for a few expiring contracts doesn't even put a dent in the Hawks' problems. It looks like the Hawks are having a tough time convincing someone to take Alan Henderson along with Jason Terry, and if none of the above can happen, it makes little sense to move Shareef Abdur-Rahim for cap space. Trading only Rahim for some expiring contracts would get them out of luxury-tax land, but it wouldn't give them any cap flexibility to sign free agents.

It looks like Jamal Crawford will be stuck in Chicago, at least for the rest of the season. GM Jerry Krause is asking for a lottery pick, or a top young stud in return for Crawford and at the moment, few teams are interested. The Wizards, Sonics, Magic and Hawks have shown the most interest in Crawford. However, right now none is willing to pay the high price Krause is asking.

Instead, the Bulls may be targeting yet another pseudo point guard, just to make things a little messier. The Tribune's Smith reported today that Bulls and Blazers have discussed a deal that would send Antonio Daniels to Chicago for the Bulls' No. 1 pick -- protected in case it's in the top two -- Fred Hoiberg, Trenton Hassell, Roger Mason and Dalibor Bagaric. That's a pretty high price for the Bulls to pay when you consider the Blazers got Daniels last summer for basically nothing. The Bulls' lottery pick, plus Hassell, may be more than the Bulls can stomach. Also, considering that Daniels becomes an unrestricted free agent this summer, will the Bulls have a real chance at re-signing him?

In New York, writers turned their attention to the most realistic trade target on the roster, Charlie Ward. Ward has a $2 million buyout on his contract this summer, which makes him attractive to a team trying to cut payroll. "Everybody wants toughness," Knicks coach Don Chaney told the New York Times. "Everybody wants a guy who, when things get tough, steps up. And if you look at Charlie's year, he's had a pretty good year. And his contract is pretty decent, too. All those things make him attractive." So who's interested? The Warriors have been trying to acquire Ward for a while and could potentially offer Mike Dunleavy and Chris Mills in return. The Times reports the Sixers have shown interest in Ward, as well as the Mavs, if they end up moving Nick Van Exel by the trade deadline.

Western Conference Trade Talk

We'll start out with Jerry West, who admitted (sort of) this weekend that Orlando's Mike Miller was the apple of his eye."The right phone call," West told the Memphis Commercial Appeal, "could precipitate something we'd do. It's very evident that we'd like to do something to improve the quality of our team. Are we satisfied? No." The deal West wants to get done? The same one Insider reported two weeks ago. Stromile Swift and Gordan Giricek for Mike Miller and Andrew DeClercq.

The Grizzlies have been trying to pull off this trade, in one form or another, since the start of the summer. Just recently they added Giricek into the mix to sweeten the deal. West said the Magic still aren't budging."There's been nothing productive," West said. "I've had no fruitful [trade] discussions. I've talked to a number of teams. Some teams I've talked to several times." The problem, according to the Commercial Appeal, is a disagreement between GM John Gabriel (who isn't a Swift fan) and coach Doc Rivers (who's desperate for an athletic four who can block shots and rebound.)

Swift is just tired of the constant trade rumors. "I'm sick of hearing about it. If they're going to do it, make a move," Swift said. "If not, I'd just have to stay here and try to work harder. I've been hearing about that trade a lot. They've been talking about it all [season] and all [last] summer. I'm to the point where I won't believe it until I see it." Of course, that's not the only thing up West's sleeve. Rumors of a Drew Gooden-for-Mike Dunleavy swap have been gaining momentum again. It's pretty clear, after a few months, that the Warriors have no room for Dunleavy. Gooden, on the other hand, would be a great fit in the post alongside Troy Murphy.

And what about trading Pau Gasol? There are really only three candidates -- the Heat, Blazers and Pistons. If the Heat want to offer Alonzo Mourning, or if the Blazers want to give up Scottie Pippen, and their $20 million in expiring salaries, they can get Gasol and a host of the Grizzlies' bad contracts, including Lorenzen Wright, Jason Williams and Wesley Person's.

The Pistons may have a little more leverage, they own the Grizzlies first round pick this year as long as it's not the No. 1 overall pick in the draft. West reportedly wants it back. Given the number of expiring contracts the Pistons have this year, would a Clifford Robinson, Jon Barry, Don Reid, Pepe Sanchez and the Grizzlies first round pick for Gasol, Wright and Williams satisfy both teams? The Pistons would get a top flight young stud in Gasol, a great back-up big man in Wright and another point guard to share duties with Chauncey Billups. The Grizzlies, on the other hand, would clear two major contracts off the books next summer and would give West something to work with in the draft. Just a thought . . .

Speaking of the Warriors, they may want to think twice about shipping Adonal Foyle to Philly. Despite the Warriors' winning ways of late, it sounds like center Erick Dampier wants out of Oakland in the worst way.
After Sunday night's loss to the T-Wolves, Dampier ripped into coach Eric Musselman. Dampier loudly referred to his coach as "Mussel-head" in the locker room after the game and then challenged Musselman's coaching strategies.

"It was a f -- up game plan," Dampier told the San Francisco Chronicle. Dampier has been upset that Musselman has been using Foyle in the fourth quarters recently. "I thought I'd be sitting on the bench six minutes into the first quarter. . . . The usual rotation is I come in, pick up two fouls and go to the bench. [In the second half], I pick up another foul or two, then I'm over there counting the attendance. That's all I can do the whole fourth quarter."

The Warriors would love to move Dampier, but his contract is much tougher than Foyle's to dump. Dampier makes $6.9 million this season and has three years and over $24 million remaining on his contract. While the Pacers would love to get Dampier back, the deal probably wouldn't make sense for the Warriors, who would have to take on Austin Croshere's salary in return. The Sixers could also be a potential fit for Dampier, but again, they'd have to offer an expiring contract in return.

Right now, everyone in the organization is focused on trying to find a way to clear enough cap space to re-sign Gilbert Arenas this summer. You can pretty much forget about Damon Stoudamire finding a new home this month. A few weeks ago, Stoudamire mentioned that he may be willing to rework his contract in order to facilitate a trade.

Well, forget about it. Stoudamire told the Oregonian this weekend that he wouldn't accept a pay cut as part of any renegotiation. Given his $13.5 million salary this season, that should scare away the few remaining teams that had any interest. "I would never renegotiate my contract," said Stoudamire. "I mean, that would be dumb. If it's meant for me to ride out my contract and stay here in Portland for the next 21/2 years and not play a minute, then that's what it was meant to be.

"Regardless of what happens here, I've got to stay professional because I'm still getting paid. "I'm still getting checks. And that's not going to change whether I'm playing or sitting the bench." Meanwhile, Blazers president Bob Whitsitt said he is "very happy with our team, and we're not looking to do anything. If we felt there was something that we wanted to do, we would have tried doing it long before this."

Timberwolves fans take heart. Team vice president Kevin McHale sounded this weekend like he may have something brewing, "Are there maybe some things that maybe make some sense right now? Are we exploring some stuff?" McHale told the St. Paul Pioneer Press. "Yeah." Said owner Glen Taylor: "There are a couple of interesting things out there, but I don't know if the teams have the guts to [do it]. Right now, I think it's general manager talking to general manager."

Most of the talk centers on Terrell Brandon. If Brandon were to retire (a very good possibility), a team would be able to dump his contract from its payroll next February. Teams have also inquired about Anthony Peeler, who doesn't have a guaranteed contract after this season. The good news is that Taylor said he'd be willing to fork over the cash for a player with several years left on his deal if the player could really help the team. McHale told the Pioneer Press he's looking to add a slashing, defensive-minded shooting guard to the roster. Can anyone say Eddie Jones?

"We've got a lot of people trying to dump stuff on us," Taylor said. "In other words, people are calling up and saying, 'We'll take [Peeler] because he's at the end,' but they want to give us somebody we can't use... . But if they came to us and it was really a quality guy, then I'm going to say we're going to look at it. I'm not saying to Kevin, 'You can't make a last-second deal for a long-term contract for a quality guy.' "

One rumor that seems like it's picking up some steam . . . the Spurs and Hornets continue to talk about a deal that would send Elden Campbell to San Antonio for Steve Smith. Both players are in the last year of their contracts so there are no long-term ramifications. However, the Spurs aren't sure how much longer David Robinson can hold out and would love to have a veteran backup in the middle. The Hornets, on the other hand, aren't sure when Baron Davis will be ready to go. With Courtney Alexander also hobbling around, adding Smith to the team would be nice insurance.

Wishful thinking . . .

Of course, for every possible trade that's out there, there are 10 more that probably will never happen. I hate to shatter dreams with so much time left before the deadline, but here are a few deals that look like they just aren't going to get done. . .For those of you itching to get your hands on Elton Brand, Andre Miller, Lamar Odom or Corey Maggette . . . forget about it. Several NBA GMs told Insider over the past few days that the Clippers weren't doing anything.

"They're not having serious talks with anyone," one Eastern Conference GM told Insider. "They believe that come this summer, the market will allow them to re-sign most of their players for cheap. I don't think that is going to happen, but Donald [Sterling] is always the optimist."
The problem for the Clippers is that they don't really have anything to lose at this point by waiting. They don't need to clear cap room, everyone but Michael Olowokandi (who's untradeable) is a restricted free agent and it isn't like they're getting offers for better players in return. The Clipps are still in the driver's seat for about five more months.

Still, you get the feeling that Sterling's also about five months away from driving the team right off a cliff. A source inside the Sonics told Insider this weekend that it's highly unlikely that the team will move point guard Gary Payton by the deadline. "We really haven't heard an offer that comes even close," the source said. While some inside the Sonics' front office have been pushing for the team to get something now in return for Payton before he bolts this summer, others think he isn't going anywhere.

"I think Gary wants to stay in Seattle, bottom line," the source told Insider. "We could probably work out some sort of trade with his cooperation, but he sounds like a guy who, when all is said and done, will retire here. I don't think that's a bad thing if we can make a few other moves to shore up our future."

ESPN's David Aldridge reported this weekend that the Sixers and Magic were talking about a Keith Van Horn-for-Grant Hill swap. However, Aldridge said that the deal was unlikely to go down due to insurance issues concerning Hill's contract. The Hill-for-Van Horn rumors have been churning for several weeks. The Philadelphia Inquirer first reported the story in January. However, Magic GM John Gabriel told the Orlando Sentinel that there isn't any truth to the rumors.

"I can see where people would think there would be an interest in Grant. But I don't know where that [the story] would come from. It doesn't make sense," Gabriel said.

With Shaq and Kobe hurting, will the Lakers make a deal?

Shaquille O'Neal's toe is hurting. So is his knee for that matter. Kobe Bryant had to be helped off the court Sunday night after his "jumper's knee" -- the same thing that has grounded Vince Carter the last two seasons -- flared up again. The Lakers, who once looked like they were on the verge of destroying everyone in the West again, suddenly look very human. "I'm hurt," Bryant told the L.A. Times. "And I'm getting old." "I exploded on a pull-up jump shot and sprained it and was pretty much dragging it for the rest of the game," he added. "I had tendinitis in both knees, so you have to constantly stay on top of it. The good thing about it is that I recovered pretty well and I respond pretty quickly.... A couple days of rest and I will feel just fine."

O'Neal is also struggling with the pain, though coach Phil Jackson expected Shaq, who missed Sunday's game versus the Knicks, back on Tuesday. "I'm doing bad. I'm hurting," O'Neal had said Saturday. "I can't play like this. I'm going to have to get back on the medicine. I just hope it doesn't mess me up on the inside. ... I just need to get that step back. I'll have it back. It's still there."

So with the Lakers looking as fragile as ever, will the team make a move or two for some insurance? Lorenzen Wright and Stromile Swift are still on the block in Memphis. Nazr Mohammed is available in Atlanta. And given the recent turn of events in Golden State, would Erick Dampier be a good fit in L.A.?

Peep Show

Cleveland Cavaliers: Darius Miles isn't happy in Cleveland, and the Cavs can't be too happy with his play. "It's like I don't even want to play anymore," he told the Morning Journal. "Sometimes when you're down 20, you're just ready for the game to be over real quick. It's something I have to deal with. I've never felt like that. I'm just wishing the game would be over faster."

Utah Jazz: Nobody has seriously approached the Jazz with an offer, GM Kevin O'Connor said Sunday. But the Jazz are ready to make a deal. "Maybe we can climb a couple of [playoff] slots with a good run here, so we would look at some of those things that could make that happen," he told the Salt Lake Tribune. "If something came alive that made a whole lot of sense, we'd say yeah."

Boston Celtics: GM Chris Wallace said it's unlikely the Celtics will get anything done before the deadline. "I hate to say nothing will happen, but I wouldn't put it in the `likely' category that we'll get anything done," Wallace told the Boston Globe. "Trades are hard to pull off in the league these days. With the luxury tax and salary cap issues, there's gridlock. We do not feel compelled to make a deal. It's not like we're sitting around here and have got the shakes to do something."

Phoenix Suns: The Suns are also standing pat. "It's unlikely we make any moves as we approach this deadline, but prior to next season, we'll be attempting -- as will every team in the league at the [tax] threshold -- to reduce that salary amount," Suns president Bryan Colangelo told the Arizona Republic. "The fact the team has done as well as it has and the fact we are going to get much-needed relief when Penny [Hardaway], Tom [Gugliotta] and Jake [Tsakalidis] return makes us want to see where this team could take us as it is. We're seen around the league as one of the more entertaining young teams out there."

grbh
02-17-2003, 07:13 PM
Nice article, thanks for posting

jayC
02-17-2003, 08:33 PM
i like miles, if we could get BigZ and miles that would be great.

Hitman
02-17-2003, 09:15 PM
Did he really say the Knicks can get Mike Dunleavy for Charlie Ward?

Fidel
02-18-2003, 04:34 AM
Thanks for posting OP.