It's t-minus nine days until the NBA's Feb. 18 trade deadline, and we'll keep this conversation going because the fan appetite for information is certainly strong this time of year.
That being said, it's admittedly quite the challenge to separate truth from fiction when it comes to the rumor mill. As one Eastern Conference executive told me today, "half of what I read today (on hoopshype.com) is total bull****." It's not just the media folks trying to sift through it all, though, as front office types often fight the same struggle from a different vantage point.
Now as for the latest that I'm hearing from sources around the league...
TROY MURPHY A KING? POSSIBLY
As of my last trade blog post, I hadn't been told that the notion of Indiana-forward-Troy Murphy-to-the-Kings was legit. That has changed, however, as sources close to the Pacers say there is significant Kings interest in the 29-year-old forward.
And while I had alluded to a possible three-team deal sending Kevin Martin to Dallas, Josh Howard and his $10.8 million expiring contract to Indiana and Murphy to Sacramento, I've been told that the Kings are pursuing a straight up deal centered around the expiring contract of Kenny Thomas ($8.5 million).
The Pacers reportedly want to shed themselves of Murphy's salary, and Thomas would almost do it on his own. He makes $11 million this season and nearly $12 million next season (the final one on his deal). Indiana would surely push to include at least one of the Kings' young prospects (Donte' Greene?) but the Kings may ask that they take on point guard Beno Udrih and his contract that runs through 2013 (player option in final season) and has a combined $21.7 million remaining after this season.
If the Kings could get Murphy without giving up Martin, they would obviously push their payroll to a much higher number but would have a chance to look at that mix for a while. If it doesn't work, you still having the ability to make big changes in the summer. Intriguing idea, to be sure.
THOMAS A KING? DON'T THINK SO
I haven't been able to confirm the fact that the Kings indeed inquired about Chicago's Tyrus Thomas, recently but they'd certainly be doing their due diligence by doing so. I was privy to talks from a few months ago, but this may be a cold trail.
Thomas is a young, athletic, talented big who could help their frontcourt in ways the current crop doesn't (defending the rim, finishing with authority on a consistent basis). But he's also an unpredictable young player with a few character questions who will be a free agent this summer (qualifying offer of $6.2 million for next season). And considering the Bulls aren't looking to take on any additional money, there's no added incentive of them taking back an Andres Nocioni (of whom they think highly as a person, but I'm told don't want that contract back after he was traded to Sacramento last February) type.
I'll keep sharing what I'm hearing, but I'd better run off to the airport lest I miss my flight to Dallas for All-Star weekend. - Sam Amick