NBA Rumor Round Up For Friday, February 12:
Houston Rockets: Lots of Dwight Howard trade speculation on Thursday. A report claimed the Rockets and agent Dan Fegan have looked at their options, however Fegan denied this item. "I'm not privy to what the Rockets are doing or not doing with respect to Dwight Howard. What I can say, with 100 percent certainty, is that Dwight has not and has never asked the Rockets for a trade. And neither have I," Fegan wrote to ESPN.com's Marc Stein. For his part, Howard backed Fegan's comments. "Dan's statement is true. I have not asked the Rockets to trade me, nor have I talked about right trades." ... Howard is planning to decline his option for next season, so he can become a free agent in July. Howard can leave for nothing at that time and he might receive a few offers that will tempt him to not re-sign with the Rockets. ... Interim head coach J.B. Bickerstaff called the Rockets "broken" after Wednesday's loss in Portland. If the Rockets decide to make a big trade, the player they should look to move is James Harden. From ESPN.com Insider Kevin Pelton: "As preposterous as it sounds, trading Harden might be the only way to fix a broken team."
Milwaukee Bucks: Even though the Bucks have under-performed this season, head coach Jason Kidd doesn't believe the team will make a trade by Thursday's deadline. "I don't know if we have any action going on, so there shouldn't be anybody worried about the rumors if it entails the Milwaukee Bucks," Kidd tells the Journal Sentinel. "This is our team. As a professional athlete, the small print says there could be a trade at some point in your career. Sometimes expected, sometimes not. You have to be able to handle that. "But right now, this is our team. There's no one coming in and there's no one leaving."
Atlanta Hawks: Jeff Teague has been linked with several teams with the 2016 trade deadline coming up. According to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Hawks are not shopping their starting point guard, however they will listen to offers. For his part, Teague is just ignoring the speculation. “Just playing ball,” Teague said. Teague will enter free agency in 2017.
Indiana Pacers: Head coach Frank Vogel likes his team and he hopes everyone is still on the roster after Thursday's trade deadline. “It’s part of this business,” Vogel told Conrad Brunner. “Every player goes through it every year. I haven’t had any conversations about it so I’m assuming we’re coming back with the same team that we have right now. I’m hopeful we come back with the same team we have right now." ... Jeff Teague has been mentioned as a possible trade target, but nothing has come of it. ... In other news, Monta Ellis called a players-only meeting after Wednesday's loss to the Hornets. “It falls on us,” a source told The Indianapolis Star regarding Ellis’ rant to his teammates. “We’re not doing what we’re supposed to do.”
Toronto Raptors: Shooting guard DeMar DeRozan will opt to join the free agent market in July and right now he prefers to re-sign with the Raptors. "My whole mindset has always been this is home for me," DeRozan said. "I never think otherwise unless it's brought up to me, or you see things, or people ask you about certain things." ... Regarding possible trade options ahead of Thursday's deadline, ESPN.com's Marc Stein writes: "The Raptors, sources say, have had exploratory discussions to gauge the possibility of acquiring Denver's Kenneth Faried, Brooklyn's Thaddeus Young and the Phoenix duo of Markieff Morris and P.J. Tucker."
Brooklyn Nets: The Nets are expected to be down to their finalists for the GM position in the next few days. According to ESPN The Magazine's Chris Broussard, the top candidates are likely Denver assistant GM Arturas Karnisovas, San Antonio assistant GM Sean Marks and Bryan Colangelo.
Minnesota Timberwolves: During a local radio interview, ESPN.com's Brian Windhorst spoke about the potential of Tom Thibodeau becoming the next head coach. "I think the people in the Wolves' organization are already looking at Tom Thibodeau. In fact, sources are telling me there's already been some cursory contact between the Wolves and Thibodeau," said Windhorst. "The Timberwolves job is a great job. It will be low expectations. They have two guys who look like bonafide future annual All-Stars in Wiggins and Towns." ... Thibodeau is the best available head coach and he will likely be a candidate for many of the vacancies around the NBA. ... Speaking of the Wolves head coach position, Darren Wolfson of 1500ESPN.com writes: "Look for Warren LeGarie, who reps Sam Mitchell, to reach out to (Wolves owner Glen) Taylor in the coming days. Any sort of clarity on the future sought."
Denver Nuggets: The team has some quality players on the roster and they should get a lot of offers all the way up to Thursday's trade deadline. Will the Nuggets made a trade? Christopher Dempsey of The Denver Post writes: "I don't expect much at the trade deadline. The Nuggets are in a unique situation. This isn't what we'd all view as a regular trade deadline for them because they are at the beginning of their lifecycle with this bunch." One player who could be traded or eventually bought out by Mar. 1 is JJ Hickson since head coach Michael Malone doesn't have any time for the veteran forward.
Miami Heat: The team my try to open up a roster spot, which could reduce their tax bull. According to The Miami Herald, the Heat would like to get back a future second round pick for Jarnell Stokes. Stokes, a one-year NBA veteran, has played in just seven games this season and he's averaging 2.6 minutes, 1.0 points and 0.6 rebounds. Stokes is signed through 2016-17 with his deal that offers no salary protection next season. ... The Heat will make a huge dent in their 2016 tax bill if they can move Chris Andersen or Josh McRoberts off the roster by Thursday's deadline.
Portland Trail Blazers: The Blazers were expected to be a lottery team this season after they lost four out of their five starters from 2014-15. Well, they enter the All-Star break as the No. 7 seed in the Western Conference. There is some talk that management might try to swing some deals to help keep them in the playoff hunt for the rest of the regular season. When asked, the players hope management keeps the current group together. "Why (make a trade)?" Ed Davis asked The Oregonian. "We were projected to be last in the West. Right? We're seventh, we're playing well, why would you make a move?" ... "I would like to come back in this locker room and see my same guys," Damian Lillard said. ... "I think we're at a good place," CJ McCollum said. ... Portland currently has $20.6 million of room under the salary cap and there is a chance GM Neil Olshey will get rid of a player at the end of the bench to upgrade the talent or gain assets from teams looking to reduce their 2016 tax bill.
Utah Jazz: The second 10-day contract signed by guard Erick Green expires on Sunday. He has played well with the Jazz, however the team may let him go until at least next Thursday as an open roster spot could be needed to complete a trade by the deadline on Feb. 18. ... Regrading possible trades, ESPN.com Insider Kevin Pelton writes: "Yet Utah's front office has its eyes on bigger goals than merely making the playoffs, so don't expect the Jazz to look for a rental player in order to win now."
New Orleans Pelicans: The second 10-day contract signed by guard Bryce Dejean-Jones expired on Wednesday. According to The Times-Picayune, the Pelicans are talking with his agent about a multi-year contract and a deal could be struck after the All-Star break. During his 20 days with the Pelicans, Dejean-Jones started eight games and averaged 6.3 points, 3.5 rebounds and 1.1 assists.