The NBA trading deadline is a little more than a week away, and you know what that means. It means NBA general managers are working the phones like Brad Pitt in “Moneyball.” That means GMs are concocting deals, calling their peers, settling on something — and then sometimes calling someone else and starting anew. On and on it goes, with most trades taking shape three or four days before the Feb. 21 deadline. Some are actually executed. Others fall apart. Either way, most decisions aren’t final until the last minute. So keeping in mind that things could change, here is what league sources are hearing today: • Perhaps no name is spinning on the rumor mill more than that of Josh Smith of Atlanta. Everyone from San Antonio to Brooklyn to Charlotte supposedly has a strong interest. Smith is one of six expiring contracts on the Hawks’ roster, and when you consider the power forward’s overall talent (17.1 ppg, 8.6 rpg), landing Smith would be like hitting the lottery’s daily double. • The Nets would really like to move forward Kris Humphries, who has struggled mightily in the season after landing a new deal (two years at a reported $24 million). It is believed the Nets would like to get a third team involved, making a deal involving Smith and Humphries easier. • Cleveland GM Chris Grant admittedly likes making trades, and already pulled off a doozy by landing Marreese Speights, Wayne Ellington, Josh Selby and a protected first-round pick from Memphis. The price? A really good D-League prospect named Jon Leuer. But with an abundance of cap space and a few expiring deals of his own, Grant likely isn’t done. • Grant and Hawks GM Danny Ferry are tight (Grant was Ferry’s assistant when Ferry was GM in Cleveland), as are Ferry and Nets GM Billy King. That has led to speculation the Cavs could become that third team in a Hawks-Nets deal. Grant also supposedly spent some time on the phone with King last week. • The Cavs are seeking (more) draft picks. In order to land one, they’ll supposedly take on a player whose contract expires at the end of next season (such as Humphries). But if anyone in the league plays the role of Brad Pitt playing Billy Beane, it’s Grant. In other words, Grant is known for changing terms of a deal if he thinks he can do better — or backing out altogether at the 11th hour.
NBA trade rumors begin serious swirl
Fox Sports Ohio | Feb 13