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NBA trade deadline buzz: Feb. 6, 2018

The NBA trade deadline is just two days away. Already this season, a handful of deals have taken place (which you can keep track of here). As we close in on the official trade deadline (Feb. 8, 3 p.m. ET), talks of other deals will be bandied about.

Keep up with the latest rumblings around the NBA — and the latest deals that have been agreed to — as deadline day approaches.

And, if you missed it, here’s what happened in trade talks on Monday.

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Report: Wizards engaged in Gortat talks

As All-Star point guard John Wall mends from his knee surgery, his Washington Wizards are more than holding down the fort in his absence. They have won five in a row (every game Wall has missed) and are creeping up on the Cleveland Cavaliers for the No. 3 spot in the Eastern Conference.

The Wizards have been mentioned in trade talks involving LA Clippers center DeAndre Jordan and they may be looking to move center Marcin Gortat to land him. ESPN’s Brian Windhorst has more on the Wizards’ trade chatter:

The Washington Wizards have been engaged in trade talks involving center Marcin Gortat, multiple sources told ESPN.

Several teams have shown interest, but the Wizards are looking to improve their team now while not taking on additional long-term money, sources said.

Washington has expressed interest in LA Clippers center DeAndre Jordan, ESPN’s Zach Lowe reported. Gortat has one year and $13.5 million left on his contract. Jordan can opt to be a free agent this summer.

— 1:52 p.m. ET

Report: Cavs seek Hill; Hawks, Magic willing to deal

The Cleveland Cavaliers had been linked to trade talks involving veteran Sacramento Kings guard George Hill in mid-January. The Kings, for their part, aren’t in a big rush to trade Hill anywhere. And, of course, there is the issue of Cleveland trying to make a trade despite having not much that other teams want (save for that 2018 Brooklyn Nets pick).

Chris Mannix of Yahoo Sports digs through a rich smattering of trade chatter from around the league, including the Cavs-Hill talk, which teams are looking to sell (Atlanta Hawks and Orlando Magic) and which teams could be wild cards:

The Cavaliers continue to engage Sacramento on George Hill, sources told Yahoo Sports, and the Kings have quietly been looking for a third team to involve. The Cavs — who have little interest in taking on the $19 million Hill is owed next season — have pushed for J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert to be part of the package, a source said, which the Kings have no interest in. Cleveland has shown a willingness to part with its own first-round pick in other deals, but thus far trading the coveted unprotected Brooklyn Nets pick has not been seriously considered.

The Nuggets are a team to watch. Denver could have cap problems next season, so there is some momentum there to make a deal now. Emmanuel Mudiay is available, and Denver would love to get out of the final year of Wilson Chandler’s contract.

The Thunder — who never had any intention of trading Paul George — have canvassed the league in search of bench help. The need for a wing defender increased in the wake of Andre Roberson’s season-ending knee injury, and OKC has indeed done due diligence on Avery Bradley, Jonathan Simmons and any other wing defender it believes could be on the market. But with limited assets, the Thunder will likely wait and see if the asking price for that type of player comes down closer to the deadline, or wait and try to land someone on what could be a robust buyout market.

Marco Belinelli and Ersan Ilyasova, veteran, floor-spacing players, have generated interest, as has second-year swingman Taurean Prince. Dennis Schroder is available, but the three-years and $46.5 million remaining on Schroder’s deal coupled with a string of maturity issues have made interest minimal.

Like Atlanta, the Magic are open for business. Jonathan Isaac is considered untouchable, while it would take a significant offer to pry Aaron Gordon loose. Orlando’s new management doesn’t seem interested in bringing back Elfrid Payton …

The Blazers have shopped their bad contracts — Maurice Harkless and Meyers Leonard are there for the taking. But would Portland break up its star backcourt? The Blazers have serious cap issues, and the underwhelming play of Jusuf Nurkic has made the magic the team discovered at the end of last season elusive.

— 1:26 p.m. ET

Report: Three frontrunners emerge in pursuit of Evans

Tyreke Evans of the Memphis Grizzlies has not suited up since Feb. 1 while the team hashes out potential trade destinations for him. Evans’ averages of 19.5 points, five rebounds and five assists per game are some of the best in years and he is drawing trade overtures from a handful of teams.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports that three teams — the Boston Celtics, Denver Nuggets and Philadelphia 76ers — are leading the charge for Evans’ services (with another squad close behind).

Here’s what Wojnarowski wrote on Twitter:

Three frontrunners (Boston, Denver and Philadelphia) and a fourth team (Miami) staying engaged on Memphis’ Tyreke Evans, league sources tell ESPN.

— 12:42 p.m. ET

Report: LeBron won’t drop no-trade clause

Whatever roster makeover or trade the Cleveland Cavaliers can perhaps pull off between now and Thursday’s deadline are thought to be done with making LeBron James happy going forward. And for James, the notion of him seeking a trade for the Cavs is, perhaps, an option as well.

But Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports reports that James will not drop his no-trade clause and is determined to see the season through in Cleveland. James can opt out of his contract this summer and enter free agency, moves that are expected by some to happen come the July free agency period.

Here’s what Charania wrote on Twitter:

Sources: As NBA teams do due diligence on his no-trade clause and potential of him dropping it, LeBron James is determined to see year through in Cleveland, focused on season and will not waive the clause.

— 12:21 p.m. ET

Aldridge: Wizards’ interest in Jordan predicated on opt-in

DeAndre Jordan is one of the best rim-protecting big men in the game and a former All-Star as well. His name has been tossed about in trade rumors as his LA Clippers are fighting to keep in the race for the No. 8 spot in the Western Conference.

If Jordan is moved, however, the thinking is that teams would do so with the knowledge he will opt in for the 2018-19 season, reports TNT analyst David Aldridge. However, Jordan does not seem to be open to opting in, reports Aldridge. And, given the agent change Jordan made last year, the chances of Jordan opting in look even less likely.

Here’s what Aldridge wrote on Twitter:

Wizards’ interest in @DeAndre, like almost every other team—maybe not the Cavs—would be predicated on him opting in for 2018-19 ($24.1M) rather than opting out to become UFA. From what I’ve heard thus far, Jordan has given no indication to anyone that he’d be willing to do that.

Jordan hired Jeff Schwartz—perhaps the most powerful agent in the NBA—last year. You generally don’t do that if you’re just going to opt in next summer rather than opt out and seek a max/near max contract.

Again, Cleveland—maybe—might be willing to talk about that kind of deal for Jordan after this year, if it placated LeBron & Cavs didn’t have to surrender Brooklyn pick as part of a deal with the Clippers. But so far, they’ve been unwilling to include the Nets’ pick.

— 12:15 p.m. ET

Report: Celtics chasing extra first-round pick

As mentioned below, the Boston Celtics are reportedly not looking to trade Marcus Smart because of his on-court production or any other issue. Rather, the kind of contract Smart — an unrestricted free agent this summer — could get on the open market may make it tough for Boston to keep him in a number of ways.

Marc Stein of The New York Times reports that the Celtics are looking to swap Smart for an extra first-round pick in hopes of using it for a trade that would net either the LA Clippers’ Lou Williams or the Memphis Grizzlies’ Tyreke Evans.

Here’s what Stein wrote on Twitter:

The Celtics are chasing that extra first-round pick in Marcus Smart trade talks in hopes of flipping it in a deal for either Lou Williams or Tyreke Evans, league sources say

— 12:02 p.m. ET

Report: Thunder expected to make move

A season-ending injury to Andre Roberson has caused more than a few defensive issues for the Oklahoma City Thunder of late. His replacement in the starting lineup, 19-year-old rookie Terrance Ferguson, has not been effective on either side of the ball so far for the Thunder.

As such, OKC is perhaps looking to make a deal as the deadline nears, writes Royce Young of ESPN. They have been linked to swingmen Rodney Hood of the Utah Jazz and Tony Allen of the Chicago Bulls, but may have some hurdles to overcome in any potential trade situation:

Still, the Thunder have been active engaging on the trade market, according to league sources, checking for wing additions.

There are reports of talks with the Utah Jazz about Rodney Hood and with the Chicago Bulls for Tony Allen, but the Thunder are asset strapped (they can’t trade a first-rounder until 2022).

OKC would prefer to not deal Ferguson — a player they’re very high on — for a veteran rental, and regardless of what lever they pull, they aren’t replacing Roberson’s skillset or fit. The growing expectation is the Thunder make a move by Thursday’s deadline, because there’s just too much riding on this season to not.

— 11:57 a.m. ET

Red-hot Jazz facing tough trade call

Winning six games in a row will always do a lot to help team chemistry in the NBA. Doing that in the midst of the trade deadline with several key players mentioned in trade talks? That’s where the Utah Jazz find themselves this morning.

The Jazz romped past the New Orleans Pelicans on the road last night, pulling Utah within three games of those Pelicans for the No. 8 spot in the Western Conference. Tony Jones of The Salt Lake Tribune has more on the quandary the Jazz find themselves and whether or not key players mentioned in trade talks (Rodney Hood, Derrick Favors, Alec Burks) will be dealt:

What once looked like an easy decision to shake up the roster now looks complicated. There’s an argument to be made that the Jazz are playing too well to make a trade.

The Jazz may rethink their strategy a bit with the current hot streak, The Tribune has learned.

And the market simply may not be there for Favors. He’s thought of as a center in the new-age NBA, and that’s a dying breed. Teams may not want to hand assets to the Jazz for Favors, who will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season. …

For the Jazz, it means Hood has emerged as their most tradable piece. According to sources, they are seeking a first-round pick in return and multiple teams have showed interest in the shooting guard. If anyone changes teams in the next few days, Hood is the best bet. He’s a scoring wing, which are in high demand around the league. He will be a restricted free agent this summer, which means if he is traded, that team will control his rights. He is talented, as his 30-point showing against New Orleans showed.

The Jazz expect activity to ramp up in the 24 hours before the deadline, which means teams will begin to get serious about potential offers. But if the past two weeks have shown anything, it’s that Utah has a new dynamic to consider.

— 11:22 a.m. ET

Report: Smart’s contract future may be driving trade talk

Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart had his name floated in trade talks yesterday involving the Denver Nuggets and guard Emmanuel Mudiay. Today, he remains a topic of a potential trade for Boston — but not because of any shortcomings in his game or off-the-court incidents.

Smart is averaging 10.1 points, 3.6 rebounds and 4.4 assists per game for Boston in 46 games, logging 10 starts. He suffered a cut to his hand on Jan. 26 and has been out of the lineup due to that injury. According to Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald, Smart is being shopped because the Celtics may be worried about what it will take to re-sign him this summer:

The Celtics are still very open to discussing Smart in trades, but one general manager who’s been in on some of those talks isn’t optimistic that something will get done.

“It’s not like they’re trying to give him away,” he said. “They want something back. Smart still has a lot of value for that team.”

According to another league source, the root of the Celtics’ willingness to make Smart available has virtually nothing to do with a temper that also led to him punching a hole in a dressing room wall in Washington last year. The issue is the uncertainty over how things will play out when Smart becomes a free agent this summer.

The guard currently makes $4,538,020 in the final year of his rookie contract, and the Celts could retain the right to match any offer he gets by making him the $6,053,719 qualifying offer. As it stands now in the market, teams are pulling back financially as salary structures begin to get squeezed from the effects of the gold rush after the new television contracts kicked in and the cap went from around $70 million to more than $94 million.

Smart could end up being offered no more than the mid-level exception of some $8.5 million (for non tax-paying teams), and he may choose to play for the qualifying offer for one year to become an unrestricted free agent in 2019. But all it takes is one team willing to pay Smart beyond that.

— 9:27 a.m. ET

Report: ’50-50 at best’ Lakers make meaningful deadline deal

January was a month of progress of sorts for the Los Angeles Lakers. They were 8-7 — their lone winning month so far this season — and scored wins against the playoff-bound Indiana Pacers and Boston Celtics during that stretch.

While that may lead to some reasons for optimism about the Lakers, they are still decidedly in a rebuilding phase as they parse through their young talent on the roster. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Ramona Shelburne report the front office is shifting its free agency focus from the summer of 2018 to 2019. With that in mind, players who had been mentioned in trade talks (like Julius Randle and Jordan Clarkson) are perhaps not as likely to be dealt now:

While the team’s midseason surge isn’t the main reason for the Lakers’ new line of thinking on free agency, it has played a part, as two of the players most often mentioned in trade discussions, former lottery pick Julius Randle and reserve guard Jordan Clarkson, have played key roles of late.

Both had their best months of the season in January, with Clarkson averaging 15.9 points on 46 percent shooting from the field, while Randle averaged 15.3 points and nine rebounds after moving back into the starting lineup.

Randle will be a restricted free agent at the end of the season. Clarkson is owed $25.9 million over the next two seasons.

The Lakers have listened to offers or explored trades for both players that included first- or second-round picks, but sources indicate that none of those deals would save significant cap space for the future, thereby negating the initial reason for exploring trades for those players.

While the Lakers could still move either or both players before Thursday’s trade deadline, one league source put the chances of a meaningful trade at “50-50 at best.”

— 9:08 a.m. ET

Report: Sixers interested in Evans, Williams

Four losses in five games — coupled with a win streak by another team — has the Philadelphia 76ers’ playoff positioning a little dicey as of this morning. The Sixers are still holding down No. 8 in the Eastern Conference standings, but Detroit’s recent four-game win streak has the Pistons at .500 just like Philly.

Might the Sixers be looking to add some scoring punch before Thursday’s trade deadline, then, to keep teams like the Pistons at bay? According to Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Sixers are still interested in Memphis Grizzlies guard Tyreke Evans and may be in pursuit of LA Clippers guard Lou Williams, too:

However, Tuesday’s matchup against the Washington Wizards could be the last time fans see this particular Sixers unit intact.

That’s because, with Markelle Fultz sidelined, the Sixers (25-25) don’t have a guard who can create his own shot and provide instant offense.

There are two on the market: Tyreke Evans of the Memphis Grizzlies and Lou Williams of the Los Angeles Clippers.

The Grizzlies want to receive a first-round pick as part of any package for Evans. A league source has confirmed that the Sixers have expressed interest in the Chester native. There’s also a report that they’ve inquired about Williams, who broke in with the Sixers.

— 8:35 a.m. ET

Clippers, Rivers mindful of looming deadline

DeAndre Jordan and Lou Williams of the LA Clippers are in the midst of solid seasons. Their team, however, is struggling to stay in the Western Conference playoff chase and after last week’s trade of Blake Griffin to the Detroit Pistons, it seems a rebuild may soon be afoot for the Clippers.

As our David Aldridge pointed out in his Morning Tip yesterday, the Clippers are staking a lot of their future on what they got back in that Griffin trade. If more moves are afoot and players like Jordan and Williams (and others) are dealt, they know it can happen anytime now. Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times got a sense of how Clippers coach Doc Rivers is helping his players deal with the chatter:

Rivers said he has talked to his players to see what their mood is, but he didn’t mention any names.

But Rivers didn’t really have to, because the names mentioned in the rumors the most to be moved have been DeAndre Jordan, Lou Williams and Avery Bradley.

“It’s the worst time of the year, obviously every year,” he said. “Sometimes some years are worse than others. Some years aren’t bad at all because you know you’re not making any moves, or even in the discussions.

“This year there’s been so much talk, I think there’s a lot of angst right now. From a coaching standpoint, you remove the other part that you do, you’re just trying to see if you can mentally get to this game and win the game, because it’s hard. It’s hard to keep your focus when all this stuff, clutter is going on. And we have a lot clutter right now because of it.”

— 8:23 a.m. ET

Whom Cavs acquire may say much about James’ future

Struggling and stumbling have marked the Cleveland Cavaliers of late, with Saturday’s 48-point loss to the Houston Rockets on ABC serving as the latest difficulty. The Cavs have been in a variety of trade talks for weeks now, with their names being linked to the likes of DeAndre Jordan, George Hill and some other fairly big names.

With LeBron James’ free agency/opt out looming this summer, the Cavs are considered by many to be players at the trade deadline. Joe Vardon of points out that if (or when) the Cavs make a move, who they acquire and the contract that player (or players) has will say much about where the team may be headed next.

In short, owner Dan Gilbert — per — does not want to pay the luxury tax in 2018-19 if James has left the team in free agency.

James wants to see the commitment to winning now from Gilbert. He wants to see players brought in via trade this week who will help the Cavs win this season, get back to the Finals, and challenge the Warriors (or, heck, the Rockets) for a title. He cares not their future contract situations.

In the coming days when (if) the Cavs make a move or two, pay close attention to the players they sound, those they receive in return, and their contracts. It will tell a great deal about where Gilbert sees his franchise going, and in turn will dictate how James interprets Gilbert’s desire to keep him.

Gilbert can argue, correctly, that he has paid through the nose since James returned. He spent $54 million in tax penalties the year the Cavs won it all in 2016, and last year paid another $45 million in taxes. No owner has spent more on player salaries and taxes than Gilbert the last three seasons.

If James walks as a free agent, the Cavs would go from $122 million in committed salaries for next season to about $87 million. The salary cap for next year will likely be $101 million.

Kevin Love, who will make $24.1 million next year, has a $25.6 million option for 2019-20. League sources believe the Cavs would try to move Love without James here, but no team sources have confirmed it.

— 7:57 a.m. ET

Bulls’ Lopez not only player who might be moved

The Chicago Bulls have already parted ways with Nikola Mirotic, doing so with last week’s trade of him to the New Orleans Pelicans. Another big man on the Bulls’ roster, veteran center Robin Lopez, has seen his name in trade rumors the last few days (although he has not yet been linked to any team in particular).

Lopez got ejected in last night’s 104-98 road loss to the Sacramento Kings after getting two technical fouls in the first half. After the defeat, Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said he has spoken a bit with Lopez about the trade chatter surrounding him, writes K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune:

Lopez had some time to contemplate trade rumors after getting ejected with 4 minutes, 21 seconds left in the first half for drawing consecutive technicals. Upset for several possessions after getting whistled for a questionable foul, Lopez finally completely lost it and had to be restrained by assistant coaches so he didn’t rush officials. He then threw a chair in the players’ tunnel on his way to the locker room.

Hoiberg said he had a conversation about rumors with Lopez on Monday.

“He understands. He has been in this business a long time. He has been a part of a lot of different rumors. That’s generally what most of these are,” Hoiberg said. “Robin is a pro. He’s going to play hard for us. I know that. He’ll be a great mentor for our team and be a leader. That’s who he is and who he’ll continue to be.”

Additionally, Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times reports the Bulls are willing to move just about anyone not named Kris Dunn, Zach LaVine or Lauri Markkanen:

Besides Markkanen, LaVine and Dunn, Paxson is willing to package anyone if it means receiving a young player or draft asset in return. If that means taking back an expiring contract or a bad contract the Bulls can get out from under in a couple of years, such as center Omer Asik’s, so be it. That’s what a rebuild entails.

‘‘Again, if you can get a young player that you feel fits the direction that the team is heading, then you obviously have to look at that, as well,’’ Hoiberg said. ‘‘But to acquire a [protected] first-round pick in the trade for Niko I think fits the direction this team is heading. Obviously, we’re going to have our pick, which will be a very high pick, and then we’ll see what happens with that New Orleans pick.’’

So whom do the Bulls have left to offer in a trade? Besides the expiring contracts of swingman Tony Allen and guard Jameer Nelson, whom they acquired with Asik in the Mirotic trade, they could look to deal center Robin Lopez, swingman Justin Holiday or guard Jerian Grant.

— 7:46 a.m. ET

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