Sam Amick of USA Today covers topics from around the league in his A-to-Z column, and with next week's trade deadline looming, it's no surprise the latest edition is full of intriguing tidbits. The Nets and Grizzlies figure prominently, as well as Josh Smith. We'll round it all up here:
- The Nets' efforts to land Smith aren't as aggressive as recent rumors make it seem, but Amick wonders just how much owner Mikhail Prokhorov is willing to spend. Despite the billionaire's deep pockets, the team's front office is under instructions not to add more costly contracts unless they significantly improve the team's title hopes.
- Brooklyn was interested in Rudy Gay before he went to the Raptors, but the Grizzlies rejected their offer because it included Kris Humphries.
- The Grizzlies, meanwhile, were "thrilled" to acquire Ed Davis. Amick refers to him as a fourth-year player, but he's only in his third season. Nonetheless, Davis will be up for an extension this summer, and Amick notes that Memphis views him as a part of the team's future.
- Smith's representatives have reached out to other teams and given them indication that he's unlikely to re-sign with the Hawks this summer, but many front offices don't share Smith's view that he's a maximum-salary player. One such team appears to be the Mavs, who have abandoned discussions with Atlanta about trading for Smith.
- While noting the Bucks' future salary flexibility, Amick speculates that Ekpe Udoh could draw attention from other clubs as "the sort of young, defensive-minded talent on a rookie contract that teams crave."
- Raptors GM Bryan Colangelo is still anxious to trade Andrea Bargnani, but there hasn't been a lot of interest from other teams.