Updated: Feb. 22, 2007, 11:32 AM ET

Trade talk: the final hours

The latest dose of trade chatter dribbling in to Stein Line HQ as of 2 a.m. ET on Thursday morning, just over 12 hours away from NBA's Thursday 3 p.m. ET trade deadline:

The marquee player most likely to move entering the final hours of trade season is the same guy who held that designation in this cyberspace Tuesday night: Sacramento's Mike Bibby.

Yet there were no indications in the wee hours of Thursday morning that a Bibby-to-Cleveland deal was close, either.

The Cavs remain seriously interested in putting Bibby between LeBron James and Larry Hughes and, according to NBA front-office sources, have been scouring the NBA map to find a third team to help facilitate a deal. Minnesota, Toronto and Phoenix are among the teams that Cleveland has reached out to in hopes of furnishing Sacramento with more cap-friendly contracts it can offer on its own.

However ...

A three-team scenario in which Cavs power forward Drew Gooden and Minnesota's Mike James would land in Sacramento no longer appears to be an option. It appears that Cleveland and Sacramento will keep trying to strike a deal before the trade buzzer.

Sources said Sacramento's offer of Bibby to the Dallas Mavericks for young speedster Devin Harris and Austin Croshere's expiring contract was quickly rejected by the Mavs, who won't consider moving anyone in their main rotation. Dallas believes Harris could be the top defensive point guard in the West, if he's not there already.


The slumping Lakers suffered their sixth straight loss Wednesday night while conceding that their dream of trading for New Jersey's Jason Kidd was all but dead. The issues haven't changed: New Jersey wants Lakers center Andrew Bynum in any Kidd deal and the Lakers won't budge from their stance that the 7-footer, just 19, is untouchable.

The likelihood of New Jersey parting with Vince Carter is equally slim, according to NBA front-office sources. Carter's ability to become a free agent at season's end is discouraging potential bidders, who fear trading for Carter and losing him in the offseason.


You haven't heard much about Scottie Pippen's proposed comeback since All-Star Weekend ... for a reason. Interested teams, sources say, are waiting until after the trading deadline to see where they are and then decide if they want to give the 41-year-old a meaningful look.

The Lakers, for example, are expected to give Pippen first crack at winning a slot in their backcourt rotation -- over potential 10-day contract candidates -- once Kidd is officially unavailable to them.

Cleveland and San Antonio are among the teams that could also decide to give Pippen an audition, given Pip's championship experience and his proven ability to handle the ball and play three or four positions. But the phrase I've heard most in connection to the six-ringed free agent is "due diligence."

Teams are generally skeptical about Pippen making a comeback as a 40-something, but even contenders who have already ruled out the possibility (like Miami and Dallas) felt obligated to investigate the idea because of Pippen's résumé.


The Wolves, conceding now that signing James was a mistake after drafting Randy Foye, are working hard to move him before the deadline -- with the Houston Rockets emerging Wednesday as a plausible destination.

James played on Detroit's 2004 championship team and the Pistons have interest in reacquiring him. The latest signals, however, suggest that the Pistons won't be making a deadline deal.

Houston has also previously employed James and still likes him, according to club insiders, despite James' decision to spurn the Rockets in free agency last summer when Minnesota agreed to include an 8 percent trade kicker in his four-year contract.

To trade for James now almost certainly would affect the Rockets' future spending and probably would force them to part with the virtually expiring contract of injured guard Bob Sura, who can be bought out next season for $1 million. But I get the feeling they're going to go for it.


All signs from Clipperland still point to Corey Maggette remaining a Clipper come Thursday afternoon. I have yet to hear or see tangible evidence that L.A. is interested in Kidd or Carter, as widely speculated. ...

Indications are even stronger out of Seattle that Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis continue to be totally unavailable. Ditto for injured center Robert Swift. ...

The Bulls continue to be linked to Sacramento's Shareef Abdur-Rahim in their search for a low-post scorer because Chicago's well-chronicled talks with Memphis to acquire Pau Gasol, according to one well-placed source, "aren't even on life support at this point."

Marc Stein is the senior NBA writer for ESPN.com. To e-mail him, click here.

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Going Wild
Anderson Varejao
NBAE/Getty Images
Varejao! The Cav known as "The Wild Thing" went over Chris Bosh to stuff this rebound with 16 seconds to play and win the game for Cleveland in Toronto, 86-85, in a battle of East contenders.


Trade Dish
Dish

Chris Sheridan tells Chad Ford what he's hearing on Jason Kidd, Mike Bibby and several other players at the trade deadline.

Daily Dish: Ford and Sheridan



Trade Chatter Heats Up
Here are some of the smaller trades that have been discussed, according to Chris Sheridan's report late on Wednesday. For the full report on Mike Bibby, Jason Kidd, Vince Carter, and more, click here.

• The Houston Rockets were discussing at least two moves involving Bonzi Wells, including a trade with Chicago for Michael Sweetney. Another option was believed to be a swap of Wells and a second player to Detroit for Dale Davis and Flip Murray, though Pistons president Joe Dumars was first trying to find a taker for Nazr Mohammed before he committed to a Davis trade.

• Dallas was interested in acquiring P.J. Brown from the Bulls, but Chicago was still waiting to hear whether Jerry West would lower his asking price on Pau Gasol and drop his insistence on receiving Luol Deng in return. Also, the Mavericks were looking to move only Austin Croshere in a trade for Brown, and Chicago does not want Croshere. The only possibility for that trade to happen would be if a third team was willing to take Croshere and give away what the Bulls were looking for -- an effective low-post scorer. Wells proved to be just that in the playoffs for the Kings last season, and the Bulls appeared closer to getting him -- and keeping Brown -- than they were to getting Gasol.

• Another player being shopped was Toronto's Fred Jones, who still stood of a chance of being sent to Portland for Juan Dixon. Philadelphia was another possible destination for Jones, though the 76ers were not willing to give up the one player the Raptors and several other teams coveted: Kyle Korver.

See Chris Sheridan's complete trade talk update


Records At A Glance



Riley Return Marred By Injury

Heat lose to Rockets, lose D-Wade



The Movement You Need Is On Your Shoulder
Dwyane Wade
AP Photo/Pat Sullivan
Defending champs, down the tubes. That's how it looks if Dwyane Wade's shoulder dislocation, suffered in the fourth quarter Wednesday in Houston, keeps him out for an extended period for the eighth-place Heat.



Extreme Behavior
Manu Ginobili

Wednesday's Best
Spurs guard Manu Ginobili: The Argentine whirlwind scored 24 consecutive points in less than five minutes and finished with 40 points, eight boards, four assists, a steal and a block in the Spurs' win over the Hawks.

Brian Cook

Wednesday's Worst
Lakers forward Brian Cook: With Luke Walton and Vladimir Radmanovic out, L.A. needs Cook's shooting touch more than ever. That's why his 3-for-13 stinker -- with two rebounds and no assists -- in a home loss to Portland was so painful.

Quote of the Day
"You have to give Anderson [Varejao] credit, he just kicked our butt. We didn't put a body on him and he just beat us out."
-- Raptors coach Sam Mitchell. See Box 2 for more on Varejao's winning slam.

See how all 221 who played stacked up
Playoff matchups if season ended now

-- Royce Webb



Trade Deadline Facts
The NBA trade deadline is at 3 p.m. ET today, although some trades may be announced later in the day.

There has been at least one trade made on the deadline day every year in the last 20 years.

On five occasions since 1987, there has been only one trade on the day of the deadline.

There have been at least four trades made on the deadline day in eight of the last 11 years.

The most players dealt on one trading deadline day in the last 20 years was two years ago, when 29 players changed teams.

-- ESPN Research




Machine Fun
Hundreds of thousands of fans -- and maybe a few NBA general managers -- have been wearing out the Trade Machine this week.

Here are the 25 "most traded" players between midnight ET Tuesday and noon ET Wednesday.

Jason Kidd

1. Jason Kidd, 68,650 trades
2. Kwame Brown, 38,514
3. Kevin Garnett, 38,376
4. Chris Mihm, 31,546
5. Vince Carter, 22,663

6. Aaron McKie, 20,819
7. Vladimir Radmanovic, 19,089
8. Pau Gasol, 19,050
9. Shammond Williams, 17,328
10. Jordan Farmar, 15,534

11. Smush Parker, 14,976
12. P.J. Brown, 14,115
13. Lamar Odom, 11,843
14. Mike Bibby, 11,059
15. Jamaal Magloire, 10,108

16. Jason Collins, 9,589
17. Larry Hughes, 8,991
18. Drew Gooden, 8,476
19. Andrew Bynum, 7,813
20. Luol Deng, 7,761

21. Tyrus Thomas, 7,664
22. Brian Cook, 7,655
23. Ben Gordon, 7,454
24. Andres Nocioni, 7,414
25. Luke Walton, 7,413

Try the Trade Machine




The Doctor Is Born
A very special delivery and a big trade involving Tim Hardaway highlight "This Day in History."

February 22, 1950
Julius Erving is born in Roosevelt, New York.

February 22, 1994
The Schick Rookie Game, showcasing first-year NBA players, was introduced in Minneapolis, replacing the Schick Legends Game.

February 22, 1996
In one of the most active trading deadline days ever, six trades involving 19 players took place. Miami's roster underwent the biggest change, as the Heat acquired Tim Hardaway and Chris Gatling from Golden State, Walt Williams and Tyrone Corbin from Sacramento and Tony Smith from Phoenix.

-- NBA.com

 

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