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Trade buzz grows as Feb. 18 deadline nears

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Who could get moved before NBA trade deadline? (1:29)

Marc Stein breaks down which players could be traded before the deadline and if a blockbuster trade is in the works. (1:29)

February is almost here. The NBA's annual trade deadline is less than three weeks away.

Perfect timing, in other words, for an assemblage of the latest chatter from the personnel grapevine, culled from a number of well-placed insiders (executives, coaches, agents and players) around the league.

To the trade buzz ...

• The Chicago Bulls' frontcourt logjam has been unjammed by injuries.

First Joakim Noah was lost to a potentially season-ending shoulder separation. Now Nikola Mirotic is out until after the All-Star break thanks to emergency surgery this week to remove his appendix.

‎Those injuries, sources say, have greatly increased the likelihood that Taj Gibson will be staying put now, because Chicago suddenly doesn't need to make a trade to create more playing time for promising rookie Bobby Portis.

The reality is that rival executives have maintained for some time that the Bulls preferred to deal Noah, in the name of making sure they didn’t lose their longtime emotional spark without compensation as he completes the final year of his contract, rather than parting with Gibson.

As for Pau Gasol, sources say that the Bulls hope to re-sign their Gasol brother this offseason when Pau joins Noah in free agency. Questions about how Gasol fits in first-year coach Fred Hoiberg's offense have occasionally made the rounds lately because of the Bulls' up-and-down play, generating curiosity about whether the Spaniard might be made available, but he also happens to be the first player in league history at age 35 (or older) to be averaging at least 16 points, 10 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 blocks.

Gasol, of course, missed a starting spot in the All-Star Game by the infinitesimal margin of 360 votes ... and ranks as the biggest snub in the East after the reserves were announced Thursday night.


• The Detroit Pistons, as our own Zach Lowe noted in a recent podcast, are huge fans of Pelicans forward Ryan Anderson.

Which should come as a complete non-surprise when you remember that Pistons coach/team president Stan Van Gundy so successfully unleashed Anderson as a stretch-4 in Orlando flanking Dwight Howard.

So why don't the Pistons make a run at Anderson before the Feb. 18 trade deadline?

Sources say they're waiting for free agency, when they'll have a clear path to pursue an SVG/Anderson reunion without surrendering any of their current assets.


• ‎The Sacramento Kings are indeed willing to trade Rudy Gay, sources say, after fairly frequent speculation on that topic in recent weeks.

However ...

It's conditional willingness.

Sacramento is said to be seeking a quality young player in return if it parts with Gay. Or a player they like with at least one year left on his contract after this season, which would give the Kings some insulation against the unpleasant prospect of trading for someone in February who turns around and leaves town in July. (Gay, 29, is scheduled to earn $13.3 million from the Kings next season before he's forced to decide on a $14.3 million player option in 2017-18.)

In short: Sacramento isn't outright trying to move Gay but would be willing to do so in the proverbial "right deal."

Sacramento, for example, rejected New Orleans' recent offer of Eric Gordon and Alonzo Gee for Gay before Gordon suffered a fractured finger that will keep him out until after the deadline. They don't want to move him just for the sake of it.


• Much like the Atlanta Hawks are doing with point guards Jeff Teague and Dennis Schroder, Memphis is doing the same with free agents-to-be Jeff Green and Courtney Lee.

Which is to say: Not flat-out shopping them, but taking the temperature of the market for both players, because that's what you're supposed to do with players like Green and Lee, who can leave Memphis without compensation in a matter of months.

What the Grizzlies aren't looking to do, sources say, is break up what they like to call Mount Grizzmore. All of the latest signals suggest they have no interest in parting with either Zach Randolph or Tony Allen before the deadline, planning instead to keep them right where they are alongside fellow locals legends Marc Gasol and Mike Conley, despite the calls in various corners for Memphis to launch into a more aggressive overhaul around Big Spain and its gritty little point guard.


• Most rival executives believe it remains a matter of when, not if, Phoenix trades disgruntled swingman Markieff Morris. The Suns, though, stubbornly continue to hold out for stronger offers, which might not be forthcoming given the relatively dim view about Morris' rep at the moment. It’s a dip in stock stemming not only from the tension he’s caused in the desert dating to last summer but also the uncertainty of Morris' potential legal trouble involving a felony aggravated assault charge levied in spring 2015. . . .

Minnesota's Kevin Martin likewise remains high on the list of players most likely to be traded, but the Wolves continue to seek more than a mere salary dump for the 32-year-old proven scorer. ... Denver is making no secret of veteran forward JJ Hickson's availability. Ditto for the Los Angeles Lakers and a number of veterans on their roster: Roy Hibbert, Brandon Bass, Nick Young and Lou Williams. We should note, however, that Hibbert possesses the only expiring contract in that quartet. Bass holds a $3.1 million player option for next season. . . .

Boston has been quietly aggressive, with its well-chronicled array of assets, in search of the splashy move we all know team president Danny Ainge would love to make. But with Sacramento thoroughly unwilling to entertain offers for DeMarcus Cousins, and Cavaliers general manager David Griffin likewise emphatically shooting down the notion earlier this week of making Kevin Love available, there isn't a starry trade target for Ainge to chase. At least not yet.


CHATTER BOX

Marc Stein joins The Sedano Show to visit with host Jorge Sedano about the two biggest stories going in today's NBA: LeBron James' role in David Blatt's ouster in Cleveland and all the fallout flowing from Blake Griffin's broken hand in Clipperland. Listen Listen


THE LIST

The Warriors have gone a full calendar year without losing a game at Oracle Arena in the regular season. Their last home defeat was inflicted by the Chicago Bulls -- in overtime -- on Jan. 27, 2015.

How long ago was it really?

Consider:

• It occurred five days before New England and Seattle met in Super Bowl XLIX.

LeBron James' Cleveland Cavaliers, at the time, were fifth in the East with a record of 26-20.

• Kentucky was 19-0 in college basketball en route to a 38-0 start.

• Jordan Spieth was only the world's ninth-ranked golfer.

As for the 40 wins since that defeat ...

• Only twice in those 40 games -- April 2 vs. Phoenix and Nov. 14 vs. Brooklyn -- have the Warriors trailed in the final minute of the fourth quarter.

• The Warriors have trailed in the fourth quarter only nine times in those 40 games.

Steph Curry has managed to sit out the entire fourth quarter in 14 of those 40 wins.