ESPN.com's Marc Stein has published his Weekend Dime, and leads off the jam-packed column with a look at a handful of players that are candidates to be dealt before February 21st's trade deadline. Here are the highlights on those guys, and from the rest of Stein's piece:
- The Lakers continue to recognize that they're unlikely to get fair value for Pau Gasol, given his health, salary, and performance, and would prefer to avoid another major shakeup anyway. So for now, they're still not seriously considering a Pau trade.
- Multiple front-office sources view the Raptors as the team most motivated to make a move. The team would like to make Andrea Bargnani and Jose Calderon in tandem, but Bargnani's elbow injury may force Toronto to deal Calderon on his own. The Lakers and Mavericks have interest, though neither team is an obvious match for Calderon's $10.5MM+ salary.
- NBA teams believe Anderson Varejao is "highly available," but are skeptical he'll be dealt, since the Cavaliers' high asking price is only increasing. Cleveland is seeking multiple young assets for Varejao, according to Stern, who says the Thunder, a potential match, have exhibited little interest.
- Teams around the league aren't sure whether the Jazz would be more inclined to trade Paul Millsap or Al Jefferson, but the general consensus suggests one of the two will be dealt by the deadline for a front-line point guard.
- Stein lists a few other names that come up repeatedly in talks with sources as trade candidates: Monta Ellis, Brandon Jennings, Derrick Williams, Luke Ridnour, J.J. Barea, Michael Beasley, Courtney Lee, and D.J. Augustin.
- Former Grizzlies owner Michael Heisley may already be interested in buying another team, with the Bucks as a potential target, according to Stein.
- Robert Sarver's assurances that Alvin Gentry will keep his job as Suns head coach shouldn't be viewed as a "dreaded" vote of confidence. Sources tell Stein that Sarver likes Gentry "too much personally to make an in-season change."