NBA Rumor Round Up For Thursday, February 4:
Boston Celtics: Forward David Lee is not happy with his role with the Celtics and as a result he will likely be traded by the Feb. 18 deadline, or moved off the roster via a buyout by Mar. 1, reports Howard Beck of Bleacher Report . ... In other news, after playing well on Tuesday, Tyler Zeller was very happy. Zeller's role has diminished this season as he is only averaging 9.5 minutes, 4.8 points and 2.6 rebounds. “That’s what we all want; to play,” Zeller told CSNNE.com. “All the work the pasts two or three months, just trying to get in the rotation and stay in the rotation. Every time I go out there, I try to show I belong there. That’s what I’ve been focused on; just do as much as I can.” ... Zeller will be a restricted free agent in July if the Celtics tender him a qualifying offer by June 30.
Houston Rockets: While there might be some Dwight Howard rumors being reported, the Rockets have no intention of dealing their starting center. ESPN.com's Calvin Watkins and Marc Stein write: "Sources told ESPN.com on Wednesday that the Rockets, despite recent speculation to the contrary, are not looking to trade Howard before the Feb. 18 deadline even though he has the right to become a free agent July 1 and could thus leave the team this summer without receiving anything in return. ... Sources said Howard, for his part, does not want to be traded and hopes he can indeed finish the season in Houston before entering into his own negotiations with the Rockets."
Phoenix Suns: According to ESPN.com's Marc Stein, the Raptors have interest in Phoenix's P.J. Tucker and Markieff Morris. Stein writes: "ESPN sources say Toronto is among the teams expressing trade interest in Suns swingman P.J. Tucker in advance of the Feb. 18 trade deadline. Given Suns have continued to hold out for quality pick or player for disgruntled Markieff Morris, expect them to seek nice pick for Tucker. Toronto, I'm told, also showing interest in Suns' Markieff Morris; PHX widely seen as a LOCK to do at least one deal before Feb. 18 deadline." ... A report from ArizonaSports.com backs up the rumors coming out of Phoenix that the Suns are indeed still shopping Morris. ... In injury news, there is a chance point guard Ronnie Price (toe) will play next week, according to The Arizona Republic. Brandon Knight (groin strain) is expected to be sidelined up to the All-Star break.
Denver Nuggets: There have been rumors claiming Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge is a big admirer of forward Danilo Gallinari. Well, Gallinari is staying put. "They're not trading him. They're building around him," a source tells the Boston Herald.
Oklahoma City Thunder: The rumors will continue to come around until Kevin Durant signs his next contract. For his part, all the speculation doesn't bother or distract him. "Nah, nobody talks about it here," Durant said Wednesday, per ESPN.com's Royce Young. "We don't even talk about basketball outside the court, much less free agency chatter. We don't talk about that stuff. As soon as we walk off this court it's friendships and brotherhood. It makes it easier when you have a group of guys where that's not always turned on talking about basketball."
Atlanta Hawks: Center Al Horford was asked about the recent trade rumors. “I haven’t heard anything from the organization,” Horford told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “For me, my priority is to focus on the team. My task is in front of me.” ... Horford's name is coming up as he can leave for nothing in July as a free agent. "I don’t really read any of the stuff. I’m sure there is a lot of speculation going on but I learned, early in the league since I got here, to leave all the media outlets alone," said Horford. "Even if it’s good or bad, usually, I tend not to look at things."
New Orleans Pelicans: Is it time to trade Tyreke Evans? John Reid of The Times-Picayune writes: "Pelicans general manager Dell Demps continues to listen to offers, sources say. The Pelicans are no longer relunctant about trading ... Evans. Though he is talented, capable of beating any defender to the basket, he doesn't appear to be the right fit at point guard."
Brooklyn Nets: According to the New York Post, the Nets have asked the Washington Wizards for permission to speak with senior vice president of basketball operations Tommy Sheppard regarding their general manager vacancy. Others linked with interest from the Nets include Denver's Arturas Karnisovas, Houston's Gersson Rosas and Byran Colangelo.
New York Knicks: Should Carmelo Anthony ask for a trade? Frank Isola of the New York Daily News writes: "Phil Jackson’s plan conflicts with Anthony’s win-now plan. It always did. Kristaps Porzingis, the future of the franchise, is 20. Carmelo is 31 with 12 seasons under his belt and nearly 32,000 minutes on his legs. ... Anthony has given no indication that he intends to uproot his career. But Anthony also has a lot of pride and his ego has taken a hit the past few seasons." ... Anthony controls his future as he has a no-trade clause in his contract. Anthony is signed through 2018-19 and is owed $78.7 million over the final three years of his contract.
Los Angeles Clippers: According to The Orange County Register, the Clippers have interest in Sacramento forward Rudy Gay. Unless Blake Griffin is moved, the Clippers don't have enough to make a big trade. Chris Paul and DeAndre Jordan are likely regarded as untouchables by Doc Rivers. Rivers probably feels the same way with Griffin at this time. “You kind of know what you have, and if you think that’s what you need, you stay. And if you don’t, you make a move,” Rivers said. “You would’ve loved everybody to be healthy so you can evaluate better.”
Chicago Bulls: According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports, small forward Mike Dunleavy is expected to return to the active roster on Saturday. Dunleavy has not played this season due to an ongoing issue with his back.
Philadelphia 76ers: Point guard Ish Smith is set to become a free agent on July 1. Smith wants to re-sign with the Sixers, but will they offer him a contract? "You look at not only the  free agents, but '17, '18, and '19, and when do you really pull the trigger," chairman of basketball operations Jerry Colangelo told The Philadelphia Inquirer. "When is it the right timing? So you just have to continually raise the boat. Lift the boat on all levels, and then make those decisions when it comes down to it." ... With the way Smith fits in Brett Brown's system, it seems re-signing him would be a lock.
Golden State Warriors: Backup center Festus Ezeli has missed the last four games due to a sore left knee. As of Wednesday, the team would say what is causing the soreness. "We’ll probably talk to the doctors (Thursday) when we get back, or the next day, and see where they are," head coach Steve Kerr told CSN Bay Area.
Memphis Grizzlies: SG Vince Carter is playing in his 18th season in the NBA and he wants to reach 20 like Kobe Bryant. "For sure," Carter told The Commercial-Appeal. "Did I say I was retiring? I'm very thankful for (the recognition on the road). Don't get me wrong. But I plan on coming back. I just go year to year at this point. I don't put a timetable on it. I don't want to say two years and then everybody says 'Well this is it, right?' But 20 years would be cool." ... Carter's contract with Memphis runs through 2016-17, although it can be bought out for $2 million of the $4.26 million next season. Carter is currently averaging just 12.9 minutes, 4.0 points and 1.6 rebounds.