Friday, November 26, 2004

Scouring the Rumor Mill

November 26, 2004
By Paul Benedict

Every person enjoys exploring the unknown, the unlikely, and the unthinkable--it's just in our nature as mankind to revel in the vast array of possibilities to change and to improve. That's why the NBA rumor mill is appealing to so many of us; who doesn't like to contemplate the thought of acquiring Joe Superstar and seeing how far he can carry your team? Who doesn't love to hear about the gossip surrounding Joe Artest and his storied violent history? Who doesn't get a kick out of hearing the outlandish rumors that Joe Jefferson's sexuality is rather uncommon? I certainly do and so starting now, throughout the season I'm going to make like that ridiculously inane E! Gossip show and pick apart each and every rumor thats raising eyebrows in the NBA's underworld...

Rumor: Vince Carter will be traded by the Toronto Raptors in due time
Gossip: Toronto GM Rob Babcock was about to pull the trigger on a deal that would have sent Vinsanity to Portland, but supposedly received a few last-second phone calls that led him to believe that Carter could garner more on the trade market than Portland was offering (Carter, Rose, Moiso, Palacio for Abdur-Rahim, Anderson, Stepania). Those rumored to have made such calls were the Knicks, Pistons, Bulls, Grizzlies, Sonics, Heat, and Mavericks. Chad Ford of ESPN reports that the Portland deal was never actually discussed, just used as a ploy to draw the stakes higher for his frustrated star. Of the teams interested, the Knicks, Bulls and Grizzlies appear to make the most sense. The Knicks would be willing to give up Tim Thomas and Mike Sweetney, the Bulls could offer Curry/Chandler and draft picks, and the Grizzlies would likely include Bonzi Wells and Mike Miller.
What Will Happen: Carter will be traded soon and it will almost certainly be to one of the above-mentioned teams. I still believe the Portland deal, whether it was a myth or not, makes the most sense for both teams. My hunch is that Babcock will continue to field offers for a little while longer and then actually have serious discussions with Portland GM John Nash and ultimatly come to a deal. I would not be surprised if Isiah Thomas comes up with something, maybe a 3-way deal, that could net him Carter--keep an eye on that.

Rumor: Chicago GM Jon Paxson is looking to deal Tyson Chandler and Eddy Curry.
Gossip: The Eddy Curry rumors have been floating around since the beginning of the season and the underachieving center seems destined to be on another team by the February trade deadline. There's been speculation that a 3-way deal is in place which would see Curry end up with the Warriors, Dunleavy being shipped to the Clippers to play under his father, and Chris Wilcox landing on the Bulls. Despite Chris Kaman returning last night for the Clips, Chris Wilcox just seems to be too valuable to the team to give up in exchange for Dunleavy, a 3 who would fight for minutes with Maggette, Simmons, and Kittles. I've also heard that Jerry West is very fond of Curry's abilities and might be willing to throw some offers the Bulls way. And of course, Isiah Thomas is in the mix, trying to get the Bulls to take on Nazr Mohammed and Tim Thomas, but unwilling to part with Mike Sweetney, the guy Paxson would probably take. Chandler seems less likely to be traded, but a swap for Denver's Nene has been reported. However, the Nuggets desperately need a sharpshooting 2 guard, and would likely pull the trigger on a Nene deal if they could find equal value at SG in return.
What Will Happen: Curry will be traded, but I doubt it happens until the February trade deadline, and I highly anticipate it being a deal that hasn't surfaced just yet. With Scott Skiles demoting both Curry and Chandler to the bench, it takes away from their trade value right now. Chandler I firmly believe will not be traded; he's got a good attitude, excellent work ethic, and wants to stay in Chicago. I think he'll prove before the end of the season that he's worth the Bulls' money, and Paxson will sign him long-term during the summer.

Rumor: Karl Malone will return to the NBA this year.
Gossip: It's hard to imagine the Mailman going out the way he did this summer, quietly having knee surgery after the embarassing Finals loss and then calling it a career. He's reportedly back to full strength, but would likely wait till around January to make his return (probably to ensure his body would last through the end of the season). While some people have discussed him ending up with the depleted Pacers, there's just no way Malone switches over to the Eastern Conference and plays with guys he's unfamiliar with. Other teams admittedly having interest are the Timberwolves, Spurs, Jazz, and Heat and while moves to all 4 teams appear to make sense from the teams' standpoint, they don't as much for Malone. It seems likely that Malone returns to the Lakers, a team that could definitely use him and the team that he seems most closely in contact with.
What Will Happen: Malone will come back and join the Lakers sometime in January and instantly make them one of the more exciting teams in the league. Imagine if the Lakers were able to land Jason Kidd, wouldn't the Lakers be the greatest passing team ever? Kidd, Kobe, Odom, Malone, and Divac---WOW.

Rumor: Keon Clark has disappeared.
Gossip: Keon was reportedly contacted by numerous teams this summer in an effort to give him either the veteran's minimum salary or part of their mid-level. However, no phone calls were returned by Clark and no calls were placed by the agent-less power forward. Clark participated in just 2 games a season ago with the Jazz and ended up a part of the Phoenix Suns roster, but with his contract up at the end of last season, is now free to play with any team he pleases. A move to Indiana to play for the Pacers make some sense, but can anybody find this guy?
What Will Happen: I seriously doubt Larry Bird will even attempt to reach the seemingly-odd Keon Clark, given that his roster has enough issues to deal with. Seriously though, what in the hell could Keon Clark be doing? Why would a guy who was just beginning to come into his own walk away from millions? My guess is that Keon is either still battling injury problems or just not interested in playing basketball anytime soon. The prospect of a few million dollars will eventually lure him back to the game, perhaps to play for his hometown Bulls, but even if he does come back, don't expect too much from a guy who hasn't played in a game in over a year.

Rumor: Glenn Robinson will end up with another team at some point.
Gossip: After the Big Dog was told by Jim O'Brien and Billy King that he wasn't going to start for the Sixers this season, and wasn't going to be a major part of the club this season or ever, Robinson told management that he would like to be traded. He then volunteered to go on the injured list and has stayed there the entire season. Robinson has $12 million left on the final year of his contract, so teams looking to free up cap space should at least have some interest. He's also a guy that has averaged over 20 a game throughout his 11-year career, so there has to be someone willing to bring him aboard. Right now the Sixers are being patient, and despite Glenn's urgence to be moved, are probably making the right move. By waiting until the trade deadline, more teams will have given up on their seasons and be looking for cap room, and more might be looking for an experienced scorer to help out during the stretch run. GM Billy King knows that a buyout gains the team nothing, so look for the Sixers to wait for a respectable offer.
What Will Happen: Robinson will be traded, and it will be to a team looking for cap room, not another scorer. His attitude has always been a subject of scrutiny, so don't expect a playoff team to mess with their chemistry just to land an over-the-hill scorer. New Orleans, Chicago, Charlotte, and Golden State all have tradeable assets to offer the Sixers and all are already out of the playoff picture--expect Big Dog to end up with one of these teams.


At 12:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

good article but you should of commented on all the rumors about Wally


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