Working the Wire
By Charlie Zegers
RotoWire Hoops Editor
The most active NBA trade rumors of the last week center on three teams: Miami, Sacramento and Toronto.
The Heat are currently sixth in the Eastern Conference, but they're within a couple of games of the fourth seed and a home playoff series -- this despite the fact that they're giving significant minutes to the likes of Yakhouba Diawara, Joel Anthony and Mark Blount. Since Alonzo Morning isn't coming through that door, they'd love to add a big man.
The primary targets seem to be Sacramento's Brad Miller and Toronto's Jermaine O'Neal. But there are catches. To get Miller, they may have to take back the overpriced-and-underused Kenny Thomas. Miami reportedly also wants to include their own overpriced underused player, Marcus Banks, in any deal.
Miami's other option is Toronto's Jermaine O'Neal. O'Neal was supposed to be the big man that would take some heat off Chris Bosh in the Toronto frontcourt, but injuries - and Andrea Bargnani's solid play - have led Raptors management to reconsider that plan.
Marion owners have to like the Toronto rumor better - that trade would put "the Matrix" with a Steve Nash-lite point guard in Jose Calderon and a four/five in Chris Bosh who does a pretty solid Amar'e Stoudemire impression. Wire watchers should keep an eye on Spencer Hawes - of all the players who could be affected by one of these trades, Hawes has the biggest upside and is the most available (48% owned). Other names to consider: Daequan Cook (19% owned), and Jamario Moon (61% owned, could be headed to Miami).
Mickael Pietrus (ORL) - Pietrus (broken wrist) returned with a vengeance Tuesday night, leading the Magic with 27 points and 10 boards off the bench in a blowout win over Indiana. He's just 30 percent owned right now - but that number is sure to rise now that he's back.
Darius Songaila (WAS) - Andray Blatche could be out for a month after knocking knees with Shaquille O'Neal. The last time Blatche was held out of the lineup, Songaila got the start. This time, he could get an extended look.
Ronald Murray (ATL) - Flip is thriving as the primary (only) scorer on Atlanta's bench - he's scored at least 16 points in five straight games, and added four steals in Monday's loss to Miami.
Charlie Bell (MIL) - Like Sessions, Bell is in line to get extra playing time due to Michael Redd's injury. Like Armstrong, he's been hampered by injury himself, so he may not produce at the level you'd expect.
JaVale McGee (WAS) - The Blatche injury could also give the Wizards a chance to get an extended look at rookie McGee - which probably makes more sense for a last-place team than burning minutes on a journeyman like Songaila.
DeAndre Jordan (LAC) - A raw-but-gifted rookie, Jordan has been pressed into service due to all the injuries in the Clippers' frontcourt. He exploded for 23 points, 12 boards and four blocks against the Lakers on January 21, and had a 20-board game against the Clippers on the 25th, but six-to-eight points, seven-to-ten boards and a block or two are far more realistic expectations - and Marcus Camby should be back soon.
Julian Wright (NOR) - Wright will get extra playing time for the next week-plus while David West is hampered by a back injury. Wright has tons of potential, but he hasn't turned his talent into numbers just yet - keep an eye on his progress.