Things continued to escalate on Wednesday, with a pair of deals finally going through and many more rumors picking up steam. Here's where things stand around the league:
- Marcus Thornton was the highest-profile player to change teams yesterday. He's headed to Brooklyn in exchange for Jason Terry and Reggie Evans.
- Steve Blake will get his chance at filling the Warriors' bench guard role after Golden State acquired him from the Lakers in exchange for MarShon Brooks and Kent Bazemore.
- Cleveland is reportedly exploring the market for the recently-acquired Luol Deng, but Deng's pending free-agency appears to be depressing his value.
- Add the Rockets to the list of teams supposedly chasing Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo. Note that all teams on that list are also automatically added to the list of teams that don't have the assets to acquire him.
- There was talk of a deal between the Clippers and Knicks centered around Darren Collison and Iman Shumpert, but now that appears to be dead. Trading Shumpert got much, much tougher when he reportedly sprained the MCL in his left knee during New York's 98-91 victory over New Orleans.
- The Pelicans want to trade everybody, and the Bobcats want to trade for everybody.
And now the latest on the Milwaukee Bucks:
Ersan unlikely to be traded?
Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders reports that while the Bucks have received numerous calls regarding forward Ersan Ilyasova, the team is unlikely to trade him unless they get a generous return. Sources pin the reluctance to part with Ilyasova on owner Herb Kohl's strong support for him. Kohl apparently believe Ilyasova can be a "star player" in the league and is putting pressure on the front office to keep him.
Bucks fans are familiar enough with the interplay between ownership and management to not just brush away a rumor like this, but it's also a bit hard to believe John Hammond is utterly powerless to ship out Ersan if he thinks it's the right move for the franchise. If, on the other hand, Hammond has been underwhelmed by the offers he's seen because he has a higher opinion of Ersan's value, that's something that will need to be re-evaluated down the road.
Gary Neal, the Hottest of the Commodities
League sources say Phoenix, Charlotte, OKC, Minnesota and Sac have Bucks guard Gary Neal on their radar.— Gery Woelfel (@GeryWoelfel) February 19, 2014
The Milwaukee Bucks have progressed with several teams on trade of Gary Neal but await someone to pull trigger, league source tells RealGM.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) February 19, 2014
Hearing Bobcats continue to press for Bucks G Gary Neal and trying before deadline in 7+ hours to sell MILW on Ramon Sessions-for-Neal deal— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) February 20, 2014
Certainly sounds like the Bucks could trade Gary Neal right this minute, but one side is waiting until closer to the deadline to make things official. All signs still point to him getting shipped out before the cutoff.
Sessions has an expiring $5 million deal this season, so don't get too nostalgic about the one-time Buck having a future in Milwaukee. Financially it'd be more attractive to ship Neal to a team that can use a trade exception to absorb his contract rather than ship salary back (Golden State, OKC fit the bill here), though bringing back Sessions would also give the Bucks the kind of short-term guard depth that might embolden them to deal Luke Ridnour (more on that below).
Bucks possibly interested in Steve's favorite player
According to Chad Ford, writing in his ESPN.com chat on Wednesday, New Orleans may be open to moving future superstar Austin Rivers, though their primary focus is dumping their other high-priced guards. The Bucks are apparently among the teams interested. Rivers has definitely improved this season, cutting his turnover rate while increasing his assist and free-throw rates, but he remains woefully inefficient (46.3 TS%) despite decent 3PT shooting (35.6%). With two more reasonably-priced seasons left on his rookie contract and RFA after that, he'd be an interesting player to take a flyer on, but probably not one worth giving up any more than a middling asset for.
Ridnour has suitors, but might stay put?
As teams look for PG depth, worth watching Milwaukee's Luke Ridnour. Washington, I'm told, among interested teams. Bucks may not move him.— Sam Amick (@sam_amick) February 19, 2014
In light of this report, Frank has nominated Luke Ridnour for the First Annual Sam Dalembert Memorial Guy That The Bucks Don't Trade When All Logic Suggests They Can And Should Award. Looks like a shoo-in for the SDMGTTBDTWALSTCASA right now.