This week's installment of Marc Stein's Weekend Dime is up at ESPN.com, so let's dive in and check out Stein's latest rumors….
- Amidst talk of a quiet trade deadline, Stein says similar pessimism has preceded flurries of deals in the past. However, there's a league-wide expectation that Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol, and Rajon Rondo will stay put.
- The Magic continue to pursue non-Howard deals, bringing up Hedo Turkoglu's name frequently. One front office source tells Stein that a team would have to received at least two future first-round picks to take on Turkoglu's contract.
- Meanwhile, a Western Conference exec says he doesn't expect Orlando to even consider shopping Howard until deadline day. While that may seem a little too last-minute, the Magic are already aware of most of their trade options, meaning a deal could be worked out quickly, a source tells Stein.
- Teams around the league seem to be valuing first-round picks more than ever, particularly 2012 selections, since this year's draft class is expected to be a deep one. A club with cap space like the Pacers could acquire players without sending out any salaries, but Indiana is extremely reluctant to part with its future first-rounders in any such deal.
- It still appears that David Stern and the NBA-owned Hornets have no interest in buying out Chris Kaman's contract if the big man isn't traded. If Kaman was bought out and signed with a team like the Heat, he could impact the NBA Finals and further deplete the Chris Paul haul for the Hornets, neither of which would look great for the league.
- There has been speculation that the Mavericks could be interested in Kaman in a deal involving Lamar Odom, but Stein says not to expect such a move, noting that Mark Cuban is committed to riding out the season with Odom.
- As I speculated earlier, the Wizards are considering moving JaVale McGee on the condition that Andray Blatche is included in the deal as well. While both players have a ton of upside, the pair wouldn't exactly improve any team's chemistry.