Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Updated: February 19, 10:43 PM ET
Trade-talk roundup: What we're hearing
The deadline has passed, but check here for additional news and analysis.
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POSTED: Feb. 19 -- 8:58 p.m. ET
Chad Ford: Lots of people are wondering what the Kings were up to today.
The answer: Their deals were more about the salary cap and the luxury tax than about talent and winning now.
When Wednesday afternoon came, the Kings had 2009-10 payroll commitments of $66 million, which is a lot for a lottery team. About 24 hours later, their committed payroll for next season was down to $45.1 million. So they dropped a remarkable $21 million from their '09-10 books in a day's time. That means the Kings went from potential luxury-tax payers next year to being roughly $12.5 million under the projected cap.
Part of the story is the assist they got from the NBA when the league granted Shareef Abdur-Rahim a medical retirement, allowing the Kings -- for whom Abdur-Rahim is now an assistant coach -- to remove his $6.2 million player's salary from their books.
What will the Kings do with their cap money? A good-size portion of it, as much as $5 million, will be used on their first-round pick, with Sacto currently first in line among lottery contenders for the No. 1 pick. But the Kings could use the rest to sign a free agent
or maybe just to give the Maloof family some breathing room in a tough financial market.
POSTED: Feb. 19 -- 4:39 p.m. ET
Chris Sheridan: In a three-way trade, Sacramento gets Will Solomon from Toronto ... Toronto gets Patrick O'Bryant from Boston ... and Boston gets a heavily protected, conditional second-round pick from Sacramento.
On a related note, one very, very interesting thing to watch for is a possible bidding war for Mikki Moore, who Marc Stein is reporting will be waived by the Kings to clear room for Will Solomon in the three-way deal. Cleveland has a big slice of its midlevel exception, and the Cavs would be willing to throw a sizable chunk of it at Joe Smith if he is bought out by Oklahoma City. Whether or not they like Mikki Moore, well, I expect a reading on that from Brian Windhorst within the hour.
UPDATE (6:50 p.m. ET): In the potential bidding war for Moore, Cleveland has $5.135 million of its midlevel exception left, and Boston has $2.392 million of its midlevel remaining. I'm told the Cavs, like ESPN's Ric Bucher, are of the belief that Moore is going to wind up in Boston.
The Rockets also could get in the hunt for an extra big man, or for a veteran point guard now that they've handed the keys to Aaron Brooks and Kyle Lowry. They have $1.568 million of their midlevel remaining, but I need to get full details to see how close they stand to the luxury-tax threshold after today's three-way trade with Memphis and Orlando. Portland also has its full midlevel exception ($5.585 million) and San Antonio has $2.085 million of its midlevel.
POSTED: Feb. 19 -- 4:11 p.m. ET
Marc Stein: Chicago's Thabo Sefolosha is headed to Oklahoma City for one of the Thunder's five stockpiled first-round picks in the next two drafts.
• I'm also told that Sacramento will be releasing Mikki Moore after the Kings were unable to include him in any trades before the deadline. Given the leaguewide need for big men, there figures to be a fair bit of interest in Moore once he clears waivers. Expectation is high that he will wind up in Boston, reports ESPN The Magazine's Ric Bucher.
POSTED: Feb. 19 -- 4 p.m. ET
Marc Stein: The Knicks are not trading Nate Robinson to Sacramento.
Now we know that for sure.
After hearing from a couple of rival executives at the trade-deadline buzzer that the Kings did manage to convince the Knicks to part with their backcourt dynamo, we were just told by one source close to the process that Sacramento definitely was not able to land Robinson.
The Kings offered Kenny Thomas to New York in exchange for Robinson and Jared Jeffries, banking on the idea that New York couldn't resist the opportunity to remove Jeffries' salary from its payroll, which would have cleared another $6.8 million off the books for the summer of 2010.
But the Knicks, we're told, couldn't bear to part with the popular Krypto-Nate, who just dethroned Dwight Howard in this past weekend's dunk contest.
I'm told Robinson is representing the Knicks as we speak ... taping an appearance with David Letterman that will air tonight.
POSTED: Feb. 19 -- 3:05 p.m. ET
Marc Stein: Looks like we have a fairly significant three-way deal that was submitted to the league just before the trade deadline.
NBA front-office sources tell ESPN.com that Orlando is acquiring Rafer Alston from Houston to fill the void at point guard created by Jameer Nelson's shoulder injury.
The Rockets will receive Memphis guard Kyle Lowry, Orlando forward Brian Cook and perhaps two other minimum-salaried players to make the finances work.
The Grizzlies will receive a first-round pick from Orlando.
POSTED: Feb. 19 -- 2:47 p.m. ET
J.A. Adande: I've been told Shaq isn't going anywhere.
POSTED: Feb. 19 -- 2:44 p.m. ET
Chad Ford: Just got word from a Bucks source that the team is highly unlikely to do a deal involving Richard Jefferson or anyone else on the roster.
"We're going to stand pat, I think," the source told me.
The Bucks had discussed several Jefferson trade scenarios with the Blazers and Cavs, but talks cooled this morning and haven't picked up with just less than 20 minutes to go before the trade deadline.
POSTED: Feb. 19 -- 2:32 p.m. ET
Marc Stein: One of the most intriguing deals discussed on deadline day has to be Andres Nocioni winding up with the defending champs.
It's unclear, as the final half-hour before the trade buzzer ticks away, which team actually halted these discussions. We've heard conflicting claims from both teams on who withdrew first.
Yet we do have agreement that the Celtics and Kings talked seriously Thursday about sending Nocioni to Boston, which seemingly would have been a huge coup for that team, given the hole created by James Posey's departure in the offseason. Nocioni is a rugged, versatile, 2-position forward who does a lot of the same stuff Posey did.
The deal likely would have required Boston to part with at least four players from its oft-criticized bench: Glen Davis, Brian Scalabrine, Patrick O'Bryant and the injured Tony Allen. Sacramento can only move Nocioni on his own after acquiring him Wednesday in the Brad Miller-John Salmons deal with Chicago, since players can't be packaged in subsequent deals until 60 days have passed from the originial trade.
It would figure the length and cost of Nocioni's contract are what gave the Celtics pause, since Nocioni has three guaranteed years worth more than $20 million left on his deal after this season. That's more money in the same span than Posey will earn from the Hornets, who were able to sign Posey because the Celtics deemed a four-year guaranteed contract too rich to match.
But it must have been tough for the Celts to resist -- if they indeed balked first -- because Nocioni could have filled such a big need.
POSTED: Feb. 19 -- 2:25 p.m. ET
Chad Ford: Spies in New Jersey say it looks like Vince Carter will finish the season as a Net. With just 45 minutes to go before the trade deadline, talks with Carter stalled. It's not impossible that things will heat up right toward the end, but right now, the odds are strongly in favor of Carter remaining in New Jersey, unless Nets owner Bruce Ratner goes back to management and tells them to dump him at any cost.
POSTED: Feb. 19 -- 2:25 p.m. ET
Chad Ford: Could the Knicks make three deals today? Sources say the Kings have offered Kenny Thomas for Nate Robinson and Jared Jeffries. If the Knicks can move Jeffries, it will clear another $6.8 million in the summer of 2010.
The Knicks would have to give up the talented Robinson and eat Thomas' $8.7 million salary next season ... but it's probably worth it to the Knicks. Especially now that they have shored up their offense with the deals for Larry Hughes and Chris Wilcox.
UPDATE (2:36 p.m. ET): Just got word that the Knicks turned down the Kings again. Sounds like they're not as motivated to move Jeffries as so many of us thought.
POSTED: Feb. 19 -- 1:57 p.m. ET
Marc Stein: Hopefully you've seen all the clarifications on New York's moves.
The Knicks have swung two deals.
No. 1: Tim Thomas, Jerome James and Anthony Roberson to Chicago for Larry Hughes
(View the deal in our Trade Machine)
No. 2: Malik Rose and cash to Oklahoma City for Chris Wilcox
(View the deal in our Trade Machine)
Just more than an hour to go before the trade buzzer sounds ...
POSTED: Feb. 19 -- 1:37 p.m. ET
Chad Ford: The Chicago Bulls made their second big trade in two days on Thursday, agreeing to send Larry Hughes to the Knicks for Jerome James and Tim Thomas, two league sources told ESPN.com.
POSTED: Feb. 19 -- 1:17 p.m. ET
Marc Stein: Word is coming in that the Knicks are closing in on some new players.
It is not immediately clear if this would be two separate trades or a three-way exchange, but I'm hearing that Oklahoma City's Chris Wilcox -- who went back to the Thunder on Wednesday night when the Tyson Chandler trade was rescinded -- and Chicago's Larry Hughes are New York-bound.
To complete the transaction(s), Oklahoma City would get Malik Rose and Chicago would receive Tim Thomas and Jerome James.
Trying to nail it all down for you.
POSTED: Feb. 19 -- 12:55 p.m. ET
J.A. Adande: The salary cap is expected to drop next season, with a league memo suggesting a hypothetical number of $57.3 million, according to two team executives. Again, that is only hypothetical; the actual figure won't be finalized until this summer. The salary cap is determined by taking 51 percent of the league's basketball related income and dividing it among the 30 teams. The salary cap for the 2008-09 season is $58.68 million.
A smaller cap could affect the teams in position to make bids for free agents this year -- most notably Detroit, Oklahoma City and Memphis -- and if the number stays the same or drops again in 2010 it will impact the free agent class that is expected to include LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and Amare Stoudemire.
POSTED: Feb. 19 -- 12:03 p.m. ET
Marc Stein: Shaquille O'Neal and LeBron James?
ESPN.com contributor Brian Windhorst of the Cleveland Plain Dealer is reporting that the Cavs have offered Ben Wallace and Sasha Pavlovic to the Phoenix Suns for O'Neal.
And sources close to the process have confirmed to ESPN.com that the teams are indeed in talks involving O'Neal, which would offer the Suns some of the payroll relief they've been seeking. Because only $1.5 million of Pavlovic's contract is guaranteed next season, Phoenix would slice $5.5 million off of its 2009-10 payroll if it agreed to send Shaq to the Cavs.
It's believed, though, that the Suns are resistant to taking back Wallace and are thus trying to convince Cleveland to part with Wally Szczerbiak's $13.8 million expiring contract instead, which would turn this into a huge financial windfall for Phoenix.
UPDATE (12:29 p.m. ET): Multiple sources with knowledge of the talks between Cleveland and Phoenix today are saying as of noon that a deal actually coming together to team Shaquille O'Neal and LeBron James is very unlikely.
No one is denying that the teams have talked, but we're getting strong hints now that this deal is in no way close.
UPDATE (1:11 p.m. ET): Sources say a Shaq-to-Cavs deal is unlikely by today's deadline. Read the full story »
• Insider: For even more trade-deadline chatter, click here