You’d struggle to find a single team with a representative at the Showcase that believes Atlanta has permanently pulled All-Star forward Paul Millsap from the trade market.
The skepticism has been so loud that it leads one to imagine Millsap might still prove to be the biggest name in play between now and Feb. 23, assuming Dragic indeed can’t be had and with Sacramento’s Rudy Gay suddenly out for the season.
The Kings naturally became a popular topic in the wake of Gay’s torn Achilles suffered Wednesday night.
The Kings, though, just went 1-6 on a crucial homestand to fall to 10th in the West at 16-25 and Friday begin an eight-game road trip (yes, eight) in Memphis.
Given Gay’s long-term unavailability and Sacramento’s well-known hopes of convincing DeMarcus Cousins to sign for the long term, ?two wings have emerged as the most likely Kings to be dealt:
The bulk of the external trade interest Gay attracted came in the offseason?, most notably from Oklahoma City, Miami and Portland, but sources say Sacramento has had opportunities to move Gay since the season began and chose to hold off, presumably in hopes of giving itself the best chance of snagging the West’s No. 8 seed and thus bringing a halt to the league’s second-longest playoff drought (10 seasons and counting).
Things have stagnated a bit in Charlotte, but I love this heads-up play from Kemba Walker and Nicolas Batum:
The little switch Portland tries, with Moe Harkless sliding from Batum to Cody Zeller, has become a classic end-of-quarter tactic: When the defense knows a pick-and-roll is coming under a time crunch, they swap a wing onto the screener and take their big man plodder out of the central action. I nicknamed it “The Brook Lopez Switch” a few years ago, when the Nets yanked Lopez out of the pick-and-roll every chance they got.
Walker sees it coming and slings the ball to Batum during that teensy window in which the Blazers are still mid-switch. That gives Batum a head start, and he takes advantage.