The Suns and Lakers are "expected to resume talks" about a potential Pau Gasol to Phoenix trade even though Gasol is expected to miss the next 10 days with a groin injury, according to Mitch Lawrence of the NY Daily News.
Lawrence notes that Phoenix could be getting first round draft picks from Minnesota and Washington this summer and that the Lakers "are seeking one of those prime assets."
Phoenix didn't expect to be in playoff contention this season, instead choosing to collect assets in order to lay a foundation for the future. But here we are in February and Phoenix is in sixth place in the loaded Western Conference.
The Suns/Gasol rumors are nothing new. There have been reports that Gasol emerged as a potential trade target for Phoenix. The veteran big man is averaging 17 points and 10.2 on 46.9 percent shooting, numbers that have all increased since last season.
Teams are reluctant to trade picks away
Wolves president of basketball operations Flip Saunders told Andy Greder of Wolves Now that he "has talked with representatives of teams to gauge interest" but that nothing is imminent. Saunders went on to say that there is a reluctance around the NBA to deal because of the perception of the incoming draft class.
"Either everyone wants to keep their picks or if you want to trade players, people are trying to get your pick and people aren’t as apt to do something like that — not only this year, but next year, too," Saunders said. "I think it might be a good draft the next couple of years."
Minnesota's 2014 first rounder is protected through the first 13 picks. If it's the 14th overall selection or lower, then it will go to the Suns.
Chauncey Billups' trade value
In his Sunday basketball notes column, Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe suggests that "perhaps Billups has something left to offer a contending team and could be moved before the trade deadline."
The veteran point guard was signed to a two-year, $5 million contract with a team option for next season, but has only played 19 games this season due to various knee injuries.
Billups, 37, is averaging just four points and two assists on 30 percent shooting this season, his 17th season in the NBA. In 2012-13, he scored over eight points a night, but the season before that he netted 15 points per contest as the secondary guard for the Clippers.