- Chris Broussard, NBA analyst
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While we may not see many trades occur before the week of the March 15 deadline, discussions are taking place in front offices throughout the league.
Here's some of the scuttlebutt I've heard:
The Lakers' front office knows Kobe Bryant is looking for it to improve the roster, and GM Mitch Kupchak has been working the phones. He's spoken to Minnesota about Michael Beasley, and sources say the Lakers are intrigued by the Timberwolves' small forward. The Lakers were actually in discussions with Minnesota about a potential trade for Beasley before the season started. If they would have been able to pull off the deal for Chris Paul, there is a good chance that a trade for Beasley would have followed.
It's not clear what the Lakers would give Minnesota for Beasley (if indeed the talks get that far), but the Lakers could absorb Beasley into their $8.9 million trade exception while giving up a draft pick or cash. I'm told the teams have not spoken about Pau Gasol since the preseason. Minnesota is looking to move Beasley, who they feel has matured very little (if at all) since he's been there, according to sources. The Lakers believe they can handle a player like Beasley because of their winning culture and the leadership of Bryant.
Of course, the Lakers need a point guard even more than a small forward. While they worked out Gilbert Arenas last week, they have not come to a decision on him. They want to see if they can get another point guard, such as Cleveland's Ramon Sessions, before making a play for Arenas. There's a good chance they can get Sessions for a first-round draft pick before the deadline, sources say. If they don't get Sessions or someone else, they may bring Arenas aboard.
There are a few other PGs who could be available. While the Lakers would love to get Houston's Kyle Lowry, the Rockets plan to build around their vastly-improved point guard. But either of their two backups, Goran Dragic or Jonny Flynn, would be an improvement over what they currently have.
Lots of teams are calling Toronto about Jose Calderon and Andrea Bargnani. The Raptors aren't likely to part with Bargnani, and if they move Calderon, they'll need to get a point guard in return. That would seem to make a trade for Calderon unlikely.
Sources say Dallas is about ready to move on from the Roddy Beaubois experiment. The Mavericks have thought for years that the talented young Frenchman could be another Tony Parker, but he has not been able to master the move from shooting guard to point guard. Nor has he been able to fill the void left by J.J. Barea. If they don't move him before this year's deadline, he could be gone over the summer.
The feeling among some in Atlanta is that the Hawks' rotation was thrown out of whack by the return of Kirk Hinrich. The Hawks started the season 13-5 but have gone just 6-8 since Hinrich returned from shoulder surgery. Though he's struggled this season, one would think Hinrich could help a club if made available.
Frustration abounds in Atlanta right now, and sources say Marvin Williams wants out because he wants to play somewhere where he'll have an increased role offensively. Williams is averaging just 9.6 points per game, his lowest since his rookie season.
They're frustrated in Portland too, and Raymond Felton said as much in a report last week. But Felton, who's averaging a career-low 10 points on 36 percent shooting, knows he's at least partly to blame as well. He recently had talks with the Blazers' coaching staff and the idea of bringing him off the bench to stir things up was broached. Felton would be amenable to that, but only as a short-term solution.
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