1) The Arizona Republic's Paul Coro suggests trade talks between the Suns and Cavaliers surrounding Shaquille O'Neal have heated up again.
From what I had heard, Cleveland would ship Ben Wallace and Sasha Pavlovic to Phoenix for the Big Cactus. Had Danny Ferry pull the trigger on this deal at the trade deadline, we could be talking about Lebron James winning his first title right now. It gives them a legit scorer in the middle, and a big man who can defend Dwight Howard. And think about all of the fascinating storylines that would have developed from this. Superman Vs. Superman in the Eastern Conference Finals. And than a dream reunion of Kobe and Shaq in the Finals. All 3 players are only signed through the summer of 2010 so its a low risk move for Cleveland. Phoenix meanwhile saves some coin in this trade if Ben Wallace retires and they buy-out Pavlovic. And they make Amare happy, who now becomes the focal point of their offense.
2) Carlos Boozer is expected to opt out of his contract with the Jazz and could be pursued by the Pistons or Cavaliers.
There are a couple big names players who will be opting out of their contracts this summer, but Boozer has the best shot at changing teams. Utah seems more concerned about resigning Millsap and playing him at the PF spot than retaining Boozer. Also if Okur opts out of his contract, they will have to worry about resigning him to a long-term deal as well. They won't have enough money to sign all of these players. With that said, I doubt that Boozer returns to Cleveland given their bad history. But a move to Detriot sounds possible. Detriot will have a ton of cap space due to the expiring contracts of Rasheed Wallace and Allen Iverson, and they can offer Boozer whatever he wants. Detriot is desperate for a big man who can score some points as they haven't had any luck filling the PF spot with young guns like Amir Johnson, Kwame Brown or Jason Maxiell. The question is whether Detriot wants to spend money now or hold off until next summer.
3) One trade possibility has Tracy McGrady landing in New York in exchange for Larry Hughes and Cuttino Mobley's expiring contract.
Considering Houston's postseason success without McGrady and his history of injuries, I think they are willing to depart with their superstar. It's one of those addition by subtraction moves. All players involved have expiring contracts. Even though McGrady is scheduled to miss the first month of the regular season (and perhaps longer), the Knicks can afford to take a gamble on McGrady. He, by far, is the greater talent and he'll help fill some seats at Madison Square Garden. And on paper, he has the necessary skill set to be flourish in D'Antoni's system. McGrady could be a nice rental for the upcoming season. And if he's willing to take a paycut the following year, he could be an enticing partner for a future summer of 2010 signee. And besides, it's not like Hughes was in their long-term plans anyways. For Houston, it's more about freeing up playing time for their other players and getting rid of a distraction from the locker room. Hughes is a decent player. He can create his own shot and gives Houston some size in the backcourt. He's good for some steals and is a good slasher/penetrator; differing from the rest of this jump shot happy team. Mobley is retired; but it would be nice to see him back in Houston. Now if only they could sign Francis...
4) Sam Smith of Bulls.com is reporting that the agent for Ben Gordon says the Pistons have guaranteed the unrestricted free agent an offer of $11 million this summer.
I think this report is just BS. There's no way that any team would make a guarantee to Ben Gordon for $11 million per year. He's just a one dimensional scorer and is not deserving of top dollar. And why would Detriot even be interested in Gordon? Sure they have the cap space, but they already have a backcourt of Hamilton and Stuckey. Stuckey is their future PG, and Hamilton was recently given a contract extension. It doesn't make any sense. I wonder if it's a rumor created by the agent to increase the perceived value of Gordon. Also Gordon is an undersized SG, who doesn't play defense or know how to pass the ball. He would not fit in on this Detriot team. He's a streaky jump shooter that can get hot on occasion. He would be a nice 6th man for a playoff bound team, but is not a star. I don't see any team offering him a big deal. Not even a desperate team. He should not have rejected the $10 million per season deal that Chicago offered him last summer.
5) An NBA source confirmed that a potential trade of Al Jefferson and the No. 6 pick for the Suns' Amare Stoudemire is no longer on the table.
Let me first start off by saying that there is little to no chance of this trade actually going down. Zee and I debated on which side of this trade gets the better deal. I'm siding with Phoenix because Al Jefferson is locked up to a long-term deal and plays some defense. Meanwhile, Stoudemire can opt out of his current contract during the summer of 2010. There is a lot of risk in trading for Amare. And throwing in a #6 draft pick also? Why would Minnesota make this deal for? Neither player's skill sets match the teams that they would be traded to. Al Jefferson is not an athletic big who can run with the Phoenix team, and Stoudemire can not score effectively in the half-court. Jefferson and Shaq in the middle would be an absolute mess. True, Jefferson just came off of knee surgery. But he's a young player, and I expect him to bounce back and make it first all-star game sooner than later.