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Here's the latest breakdown of which teams might be hoping to make moves before the deadline at 3 p.m. ET Thursday.
New York Knicks
Isiah Thomas continues to say it's unlikely the Knicks will do anything significant before the trade deadline, but chatter around the league suggests otherwise. Multiple sources say that Miami has interest in Eddy Curry. The Heat can offer Jason Williams' expiring contract in a straight-up deal. Or, if the Knicks want players back, they could try to work in a third team like New Jersey, which is trying to find a new home for Vince Carter.
If New York does decide to break up the Zach Randolph-Curry tandem, which direction will it go in? If the Knicks were to erase Curry's deal from the books, they'd be staring at roughly $15 million to $20 million in cap room in summer 2010 -- when LeBron James & Co. become free agents. If they trade for Carter, they lose that cap flexibility but immediately get a player who could help them make a late playoff push in the East.
If the Nets could work out this deal, and essentially erase Carter from their books, they'd be staring at about $15 million to $20 million in cap room this summer. It's a slam dunk for them. As for Miami, Curry isn't a great rebounder or defender, but he can score in the paint and, at 25, still might have some upside. If Pat Riley can't get anything out of him … then no one can.
Also of note, it appears that a few teams also have broached the possibility of acquiring Stephon Marbury if the Knicks are willing to take back a long-term deal. Marbury's contract expires after next season, and a few GMs say it's possible that a team might be willing to pawn off a bad long-term contract (that of the Nuggets' Nene or Kenyon Martin, for example) in return for Marbury.
They're still trying desperately to upgrade the team. One league source told ESPN.com that the Cavs are making one last push to try to acquire Mike Miller and Kyle Lowry from the Grizzlies. They don't have much to offer, so to sweeten the pot, they are willing to take back Brian Cardinal as part of a deal. Memphis has been trying to push him in a deal for a while, but hasn't found any takers on the remaining $13 million left on his contract after this season.
The deal, as described to me by a player agent, would send Miller, Cardinal and Lowry to the Cavaliers for Ira Newble, Donyell Marshall, Shannon Brown, Cedric Simmons and Dwayne Jones along with cash and at least one first-round pick from Cleveland. If the Cavs can pull that off, it would be an immediate upgrade of their roster. But they face stiff competition from a number of teams for the services of Miller and Lowry.
Los Angeles Lakers
Recent speculation that the Lakers might be shopping Lamar Odom appear to be bogus. Multiple sources said that the plan -- for right now -- is to keep Odom until this summer. For one, the Lakers are worried that, without Andrew Bynum, they can't afford to lose Odom's rebounding. Two, they want to give this group some time to see whether it can jell. Odom is such an unselfish player, the thinking is that he can become more of a facilitator in the Lakers' offense.
The Nuggets appear to be the team most likely to make a big trade this week.
Last season, their big move was to acquire Allen Iverson, with the hope that the combo of Iverson, Carmelo Anthony and Marcus Camby would be enough to make them competitive for the Western Conference crown. Now they're fighting just to make the playoffs in the ultracompetitive West.
The Nuggets have been widely rumored to be zeroing in on a Ron Artest deal and have also been looking for a point guard. The names Andre Miller, Delonte West and Kyle Lowry have come up, among others.
The Nuggets' tradable assets include roughly $8 million in expiring contracts, a first-round pick and Linas Kleiza, a young prospect who appeals to a number of teams. While the team would prefer to move Nene or Kenyon Martin as part of a big trade, their contracts look to be deal-killers.
Someone said it right, expiring contracts are such a valuable thing when it comes to the trade market, and we don't have any of significance. We may not be able to do anything with this roster until the offseason. Not so good!