In world of trade talk, chatter rarely lives up to hype

I hate trade columns.

Weeks of speculation that almost never pan out and aren’t anchored by
any kind of reality. If it’s not an agent looking to place his
client(s) somewhere else, it’s a GM, on orders of his silent owner,
looking to create a market for a player he wants to to ditch. Even the
"truth" of something, like Team A is shopping a player, is normally
calculated by Team A for its own self-interest. Plus, almost everyone
is lying this time of year; the teams that are really looking to do
something deny it even when they’re caught red-handed.

Hate them.

But you love them, and I get that. Nothing beats bar talk (How good
would the Cavs be with Jamison?), and it’s fun when it’s not your job
to check out every rancid, ridiculous rumor. But we are within two
weeks of the Feb. 18 trade deadline, so I guess spending a few minutes
dipping into the water isn’t going to kill me.

So … by this time next week, it’s almost a certainty that Caron Butler will be gone from Washington, and highly likely that Tyrus Thomas will no longer be a Bull. By the 18th, Indiana’s Troy Murphy and Philly’s Andre Iguodala are certain to have new addresses as well, though those teams may well go right up until the 3 p.m. deadline to max out their suitors’ offers.

Amar’e Stoudemire? For all the talk that a trade is a done deal, two people who should know swore to me Sunday that it’s much more likely the Suns hold onto STAT than make a trade.
Is Phoenix the next stop for Andre Iguodala?
Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images

Stoudemire’s declaration to Yahoo! Sports that he might well not opt out of his deal after this season and play the final season at $17.68 million next year, though, would seem to make him more likely to be traded than not; teams will be much more willing to take on one year of salary before a new Collective Bargaining Agreement is worked out than try to sign a free agent like Stoudemire not knowing what the new rules would be on new contracts.

Would Philly bite the bullet anyway, and make a deal, sending Iguodala out West? Not without some certainty that Stoudemire wouldn’t opt out after next season, and the Sixers still believe he will, meaning they’d get probably wind up with nothing, as they certainly aren’t going to be in a position to give him the $60 million for three years that he’s been seeking. That’s a non-starter for Philly.

Would Chicago mind if Stoudemire opted out? Probably not. He’s not their target next summer; I remain convinced Dwyane Wade and/or Chris Bosh are. So if the Bulls deal for Stoudemire and he walks, that’s just $17 million more in cap room for them.

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