The Oklahoma City Thunder will try to add a shooter before the Feb. 20 trade deadline, according to Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski:
Armed with trade exceptions, OKC has been active in search for a shooter to fortify them for title run, league sources tell Yahoo.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) February 13, 2014
The Thunder have a $6.5 million trade exception from the deal that sent shooting guard Kevin Martin to the Minnesota Timberwolves last offseason and a $2.3 million exception from the trade that sent Eric Maynor to the Portland Trail Blazers at last year's deadline, the latter of which expires if not used in the next week. Oklahoma City is about $2.3 million under the luxury tax.
Pau's preference is to stay in Los Angeles
Los Angeles Lakers big man Pau Gasol, subject of trade rumors for what feels like the 20th trade deadline in a row, reiterated on Thursday that, if it was up to him, he'd stay in Los Angeles, via Janis Carr of the Orange County Register:
Gasol said his preference is to stay in LA. "I feel this is my team, this is my city " But he knows there needs to be change on the team— janis carr (@janiscarr) February 13, 2014
The Lakers have lost 21 of their last 26 games and are 18-34 on the season. After losing by 17 to the lowly Utah Jazz on Tuesday, they are just half a game ahead of the Sacramento Kings at the bottom of the West. Gasol has a $19.2 million expiring contract, and the Phoenix Suns were reportedly interested in acquiring him in a deal that would involve injured center Emeka Okafor, whose contract for this season is mostly insured.
Phoenix is reportedly reluctant to give up the first-round pick Los Angeles is asking for in such a deal, via Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times:
Gasol: "Things are kind of quiet right now." But talks with PHX could reopen. Suns won't give up high 1st-rounders they own from MIN + WASH— Mike Bresnahan (@Mike_Bresnahan) February 13, 2014
Suns and Bobcats "teams to watch"
The Charlotte Bobcats are in a similar position to the Suns, trying to solidify their playoff position. While Phoenix is seventh in the West, the Bobcats are eighth in the East, with only a half-game lead on the ninth-place Detroit Pistons. Both teams are willing to trade assets in order to get better now, according to Marc Stein of ESPN:
One week away from trade deadline keep hearing execs say Suns/Bobcats are teams to watch. Since both armed w/assets they seem willing to use— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) February 13, 2014
It is no secret that the Suns would like to trade Okafor's contract and do not intend to use all of their first-round picks in the upcoming draft -- they could have four of them. Charlotte could have two first-round picks, likely Portland's and Detroit's, but it is not yet clear what the Bobcats are offering up. They also have a $13.2 million expiring contract belonging to Ben Gordon and a $5 million expiring contract belonging to Ramon Sessions.
Paxson: Bulls unlikely to make deadline deal
"You have to put yourself in the other team's position,'' Paxson said. "People just don't give up great players. We obviously talk and keep our eyes and ears open. But to anticipate something is going to happen, I don't think that's likely, to be honest with you.''
The Bulls already traded beloved forward Luol Deng to the Cleveland Cavaliers this season, so there's no reason to believe they need to make more noise before the trade deadline. Improbably, Chicago is fourth in the East right now, but don't expect the club to do anything drastic for the sake of a playoff push.
Afflalo unaware of potential trades
Orlando Magic guard Arron Afflalo is in the midst of a career season, but has found his name floated in trade rumors. This is because the Magic have their shooting guard of the future in Victor Oladipo, and the 28-year-old Afflalo might be more valuable to a winning team.
If he's going to be traded, though, Afflalo hasn't heard about it, via Evan Dunlap of Orlando Pinstriped Post:
"Obviously, now that it's approaching, management hasn't approached me with anything in particular," Afflalo said.
Afflalo is averaging 19.4 points, 4.1 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game this season.