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News » Trade rumors starting to swirl

Trade rumors starting to swirl

Trade rumors starting to swirl
The rumor began with a simple question posed to Thunder forward Joe Smith last week about whether he'd be open to playing for Cleveland again.

When Smith expressed a general interest in rejoining the Cavs, the following day's internet headlines boldly declared Smith wanted out of Oklahoma City and hoped to be dealt or have his contract bought out so that he could return to the Cavs.

What went untold is the impact the report had on Smith and his family.

Smith's wife, Yolanda, immediately contacted her husband via e-mail after a friend informed her of the report. She asked Joe if he did indeed say he desired to be traded.

"She knows I never talk like that," Smith said. "She knows I'm not ever going to put myself in a position where I can be judged negatively. So that's what she didn't appreciate, and that's what I didn't appreciate.

"That's what people have to realize, it doesn't just affect us as players, it affects our families as well when we hear whatever's said or whatever's written."

It's a problem NBA players grow accustomed to, but one Thunder players must battle over the next seven weeks as the Feb. 19 trading deadline nears and rumors heat up.

More than half of the Thunder's roster is likely to hear their names mentioned in trade winds from now until February. Denver, Toronto, Miami and Orlando are also reportedly interested in Smith, whose veteran savvy and skills, along with his expiring contract, have made him a hot commodity.

Nick Collison, Desmond Mason, Damien Wilkins, Earl Watson and Chris Wilcox have also been at the heart of speculation.

Some of it's legit. Most of it is not.

But Thunder players, already toiling through a dreadful 3-28 season, are now faced with the task of staying focused on Basketball while trying to block out the inevitable business end.

"I've been around guys who have been mentioned quite a bit," said Mason, who has been traded three times in his career and is another valued player because of his hustle and expiring contract. "I think it weighs on your mind after a while.

"I'd always rather somebody let me know so I can be prepared for it rather than it being spur of the moment."

Collison, who has never been traded, said he does his best to avoid paying attention to the rumors.

"I know a lot of times it comes from nowhere," Collison said. "It's probably nothing coming from a team but just speculation on what might happen."

Said Smith: "I just learned through the years to deal with the situation at hand. Whatever team you're on, you're still going to war with those guys. Whatever happens, happens."


↑ Kevin Durant

Continues to thrill with December averages of 25.6 points, 7.4 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1.6 steals and 1.3 blocks.

↓ Damien


Banished to the bench after blowing his chance as a starter with averages of only 6.2 points, 1.9 rebounds and 1.6 assists in those 13 games.

↑ Kyle Weaver

The rookie guard is proving he's ready for reserve minutes by making smart plays and limiting his mistakes.

Robert Swift

Assuming Nenad Krstic joins the Thunder, somebody will get squeezed out of the rotation. Swift is the most likely candidate.

Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website:
Added: December 31, 2008


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