NBA News and Rumors – Wednesday June 25, 2009

Talk of Grizzlies trades refuses to die: teams discuss possible deals

Rockets draw overtures about trade for T-Mac

New York Post rumor tidbits
Talk of Grizzlies trades refuses to die: teams discuss possible deals

Ronald Tillery – Memphis Commercial Appeal

Just because the Grizzlies are thinking big on the eve of this year’s NBA draft doesn’t mean they’ve settled on using the No. 2 overall pick to select 7-3 center Hasheem Thabeet.

Or any player, for that matter.

The Griz are just as likely to trade the pick — and it appears that is their preference.

Exercising the second pick — almost certainly on Thabeet — in Thursday’s draft will be Plan B, given how much the team’s decision-makers have focused on trade scenarios involving up to five teams.

"The water still is a little muddy," general manager Chris Wallace said. "There are a lot of contingencies to go over before the draft."

It is no secret that the Griz have held trade discussions, some on a cursory level, with such teams as Sacramento, Houston, Minnesota, Boston, New York and New Jersey.

The Grizzlies’ goal has been twofold: acquire a proven NBA player or two and move down in the draft with former University of Memphis guard Tyreke Evans, Davidson’s Stephen Curry or Arizona State’s James Harden as targets.

Memphis believes it can best maximize this high lottery position by coming away with multiple players who are ready to contribute.

Rockets draw overtures about trade for T-Mac

JONATHAN FEIGEN – Houston Chronicle

While the Rockets spent the days leading up to tonight’s NBA draft trying to acquire the selection they lack, other teams have been interested in something the Rockets already have.

Rockets general manager Daryl Morey described other teams’ pursuit of Tracy McGrady and the final season of his contract as “very aggressive.”

Morey seemed more interested in finding a way into the draft. But unlike last year, when he considered McGrady untouchable and even had him in Rockets owner Leslie Alexander’s office on draft night, Morey said he would consider offers.

“We’re getting a lot of interest on Tracy, and I do have to listen,” Morey said. “It’s my job to make this team as ready to win the title as possible. I think the reason we are going to have a pretty high bar on moving him is because he still provides exactly what coach (Rick Adelman) and I thought we were missing, which was a guy who can get a high-quality shot at the end of the game.

“That said, we want to position ourselves for the playoffs, it looks like it’s going to be hard for Tracy to be here for a good chunk of the year, so if we can get a talented player who helps us all season, I think we have to look at it.”

Morey said that there is a chance McGrady could be back earlier than originally expected but that there can be no timetable before he has begun any on-court rehabilitation.

With McGrady heading into the final year of his contract and the Rockets willing to accept a longer contract in return for the right player, teams could be eager to acquire McGrady to help clear cap space heading into the highly anticipated 2010 free-agency season. With a portion of McGrady’s contract insured, teams could also save money during the time McGrady is out rehabilitating in the wake of microfracture knee surgery.

New York Post rumor tidbits

Peter Vecsey – New York Post

Who do the Suns find a taker for first, Shaquille O’Neal or Amare Stoudemire? While The Big Aristotle is focused on finding someone to carry him to a fifth title — Steve Nash couldn’t do it, so now it’s up to LeBron James to pick up where Kobe Bryant and Dwyane Wade left off — Phoenix is talking to Houston about Stoudemire after being turned down by Washington (unsure) and Minnesota (even up for Richard Jefferson).

According to the same source that disclosed Terry Porter was about to be fired as Suns coach, the Rockets are leaning toward swapping Tracy McGrady’s expiring $22M contract, Carl Landry and Aaron Brooks for Leandro Barbosa and Stoudemire, who owns an escape clause after next season and is demanding an extension this summer to waive it.

A report making the rounds late yesterday had Oklahoma City drafting Rubio and then sending him to New York during the offseason in a sign-and-trade involving David Lee. If true, it’d mean the Knicks, Thunder and Lee’s Chicago-based agent Mark Bartelstein would’ve already had to negotiate an appropriate contract figure.

Any such talk between prospective free agents and teams, of course, is strictly prohibited, though rarely (if ever?) enforced, until July 1.

A quick fact-finding mission resulted in being informed the report is bogus.

If Danny Ainge had the nerve to propose Rajon Rondo and Ray Allen in exchange for Rip Hamilton, Tayshaun Prince and Rodney Stuckey, as a report insisted, he didn’t have the guts to deal directly with Joe Dumars.

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