With the entire offseason compressed into a two-plus week span, things are moving pretty fast. But not fast enough for Chris Paul or Dwight Howard.
Last Wednesday, it seemed Paul was headed to Golden State. On Thursday, the Lakers became his most likely destination, before David Stern stepped in and nixed the deal. By Friday, the Clippers had emerged as Paul's most ardent suitor, but the Paul-to-the-Clippers talks have apparently cooled off significantly. It's not clear if the Clippers are unwilling to include both Eric Gordon and Minnesota's unprotected first-rounder, or if Paul is unwilling to sign an extension with Team Sterling, or if the league office is meddling, or all of the above.
Meanwhile, Dwight Howard is reportedly willing to sign an extension with one of four teams: the Nets, Mavericks, Lakers, or… the Magic. Of course, he doesn't need to be traded to re-sign with Orlando. The fact that he's even willing to discuss the possibility of staying put decreases the possibility of a trade significantly. I expect Orlando to pull out all the stops and attempt to rebuild the team more to Howard's liking. Yes, that's a tall order… but "rebuilding around Brook Lopez" would be even tougher, wouldn't it?
At this point, my guess is both Howard and Paul will be staying put for the time being. But bear in mind, there's still time to make deals, especially when you consider the fact that the trade deadline for this season is being pushed back to March. (Ordinarily, the deadline is right around Presidents Day in mid-February.)
Other moves of note:
There are still several teams in the hunt for Jamal Crawford, but the most lucrative offer for his services seems to be Indiana's. That's also a spot where his numbers would get a nice boost, as he'd likely be the starter. He'd probably put up very good numbers with the Knicks as well, but New York is only able to offer about half what Indiana can. Minnesota and Portland are also in the mix; the Blazers seem like the worst fit for fantasy purposes, due to their deliberate pace of play and the presence of Wes Matthews.
The Nets seem to have inside position towards landing Nene, with Houston and Denver still in the mix. Interesting move for the Nets… "Hey Deron Williams, sorry we couldn't get you Dwight Howard. Here's the next best thing!" Moves like that are what drove LeBron James to South Beach.
Rudy Fernandez might have been a nice fit in Rick Carlisle's system, but he's reportedly getting traded - again - now that the Mavs have signed Vince Carter and Delonte West. Fernandez and Corey Brewer are headed to Denver in exchange for a future second-rounder (read: nothing). The deal makes sense on both sides; it clears playing time and cap room in Dallas and gives Denver a couple of desperately-needed warm bodies. Don't be surprised if both players get significant run in Denver, especially if the Nuggets are unable to retain Arron Afflalo.
Speaking of the Mavs, I'm very interested to see how they fit Lamar Odom into their system. I've already seem rumors that Dirk Nowitzki could get more time as a nominal center this season,
The longer the Knicks go without adding another point guard, the higher I'll be on Toney Douglas' fantasy outlook. Also worth noting - Mike D'Antoni has been raving about rookie Iman Shumpert. With Carmelo Anthony sidelined (day-to-day, hyperextended knee), Shumpert moved into the starting lineup for scrimmages, with Landry Fields shifting to 'Melo's small forward position.
Sounds like the Bulls may finally land a scorer at the two spot in ex-Piston Rip Hamilton. Hamilton strikes me as a good, not great fit - he doesn't really have the range out to three, so his presence on the floor may cause spacing issues for Derrick Rose and Carlos Boozer. But he's certainly a bigger scoring threat than anyone the Bulls used at that spot last year.
The Warriors seem to be serious about playing defense this year. After missing out on DeAndre Jordan - the Clippers matched Golden State's offer - they went out and signed Kwame Brown. Brown's not a scorer, but he's a very solid defensive presence in the post and should be a good complement to David Lee. Of course, this newfound commitment to defense means the Monta Ellis/Stephen Curry backcourt makes even less sense. Can't help but wonder if the long-rumored Ellis/Andre Iguodala talks will resume now.
Speaking of Iguodala, the Sixers have been awfully quiet, haven't they? Aside from re-signing Thaddeus Young, it's hard to point to a move they've made of any real significance.
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