NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The rumor mill is swirling again for the Brooklyn Nets as the February 21 trade deadline nears.
Brooklyn has been linked to Hawks forward Josh Smith and Bobcats shooting guard Ben Gordon over the past week, and now general manager Billy King is shifting his focus to Jazz power forward Paul Millsap, according to the New York Daily News.
The sixth-year player is averaging 14.9 points, 7.4 rebounds and 1.0 block in 30.3 minutes per game for Utah this season. He’s started in each of the team’s 53 games and is shooting a shade under 49 percent from the field.
King, in the final year of his contract, needs to add some offensive punch to his team as point guard Deron Williams — who has been disappointing this season — is hurting with synovitis, which is inflammation of the ankle joint linings.
“Are we going to make a trade? We may, we may not,” King said, according to the New York Daily News. “I’m not going to make a trade just to make a trade. Do I believe this group can regroup and play well? Yes.”
The newspaper reported that Brooklyn offered the Hawks Kris Humphries and MarShon Brooks for Smith, but Atlanta wanted a more attractive package. It’s doubtful that Jazz general manager Dennis Lindsey would accept that duo for Millsap, so King might have to get creative.
“I think we’ve had our peaks and valleys, our ebbs and flows, and right now we’re definitely in an ebb,” King said. “Can we correct it? Yes. Do I believe this group can regroup and play well? Yes.”
Brooklyn defeated the Pacers in overtime on Monday, but prior to that the team had dropped six of nine games. Heading into the final game of the first half on Wednesday night against the Nuggets, the Nets are 30-22 and 3 1/2 games back of the Atlantic Division-leading Knicks. They have the fifth-best record in the Eastern Conference and sit a half-game behind the Bulls.
“You get in the playoffs, you’ve got a chance,” King said. “I look at the Boston Celtics last year. They were buried and they got to the conference final. We played well in January and November. The goal for us is to get back to playing good basketball. We did it before.”
Do the Nets have the pieces — without giving up the obvious players — to land Millsap? What should Billy King offer the Jazz? Sound off with your thoughts and comments below…