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Rumor season is heating up around the NBA

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Getting smokey in here.

Cleveland Cavaliers v New York Knicks Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

Football is over and the NBA trade season is starting to smolder. The twigs are piled up, the logs are in place, and all we need is a spark or two to get some good smoke going.

Most of the time the deadline heats up the most right around the All Star break when all those GMs, agents, media, and “sources close to the situation” are all gathered in one place. However, sometimes things get going even sooner.

We already had a yawn inducing trade of centers between Charlotte and Milwaukee. Now it sounds like another deal could be close. Word from several sources indicates that the Sixers and Pelicans are in “serious” discussions about a trade that would send Jahlil Okafor to New Orleans for backup center Alexis Ajinca and a future 1st rounder (perhaps protected).

That seems like low value for a guy that was once the 3rd overall pick, but Philly has a log jam and Okafor seems like the guy that makes the most sense to move. The Pels need scoring help and (in theory) he could pair well next to Anthony Davis. It is worth noting that several reports also have the Pelicans looking all around the league for different scenarios (including perhaps Brook Lopez from the Nets).

In much juicer news (Syracuse pun), it seems the Carmelo Anthony rumors will not die until he’s either on another team or the trade deadline has passed. The latest rumbling is that LeBron James is apparently pushing the Cavs to trade for Melo, even if it means giving up Kevin Love.

That seems absurd to just about everyone, but since there’s a long standing bond between James and Anthony, it can’t be completely ruled out either. Could the Celtics get involved in a 3 team trade? I suppose they could if it benefitted them (and hey, if you can help the Cavs make a bone-headed move in the process, who are we to say no?). Still, it seems a bit far fetched and I prefer to wait another 24 to 48 hours to hear what the next twist in the saga is before getting too worked up about it.

Finally, one name that appears to be exiting the trade rumor roundup is DeMarcus Cousins. Apparently GM Vlade Divac has told ESPN “We are not trading DeMarcus.” The plan there is to sign him to a massive contract extension this summer and build around him. So basically business as usual and we’ll revisit this drama about this time next year.

Rumors around the Celtics have been a bit quiet lately, but that’s likely because everyone knows what Ainge is looking for and what he has to offer. I get the feeling that if any deal gets done for an impact player it is going to go down to the wire at the deadline when teams might be more willing to put their best offers on the table.

Then again, you never know what could happen if one or two dominoes start to fall and teams give up on their plan A’s and plan B’s. I expect that we’ll hear a number of rumors flying around in the next few weeks but will there be any blockbuster moves? We’ll see.

Seems like there’s a little trickle of smoke starting to rise. Let’s see if this fire starts to really catch.