Will Sonics trade Ray?

Rumor mongers, start your engines.

With Thursday's trade deadline looming, the rumors were trickling in Tuesday night as teams talked and talked and talked about making deals.

The big question on everyone's mind, though, is whether there actually will be a big trade (or any trades at all, for that matter)?

There's a lot of small talk right now about cap positioning, draft picks and minor players, but it pales in comparison to last year. The 2004 trading season saw big names like Stephon Marbury, Rasheed Wallace, Shareef Abdur-Rahim, Ricky Davis, Bonzi Wells, Keith Van Horn, Tim Thomas, Theo Ratliff and Penny Hardaway traded.

Here's what we we're hearing as of Wednesday afternoon . . .

  • Talks between the Sonics and Ray Allen have broken down with sources claiming it's highly unlikely they'll reach any sort of contract extension before the trade deadline.

    That means the Sonics are now looking to see if there's an Allen trade out there that makes sense.

    The primary target is the Celtics' Paul Pierce, multiple sources told Insider. The Sonics would like to ship Allen to Boston for Pierce and Tom Gugliotta. But will the Celtics take the bait?

    Right now, the answer appears to be no.

    One league source claims the Celtics are rebuffing all offers for Pierce at the moment, and have made it clear to Pierce that he won't be traded.

    However, what if the Sonics sweetened the pot? If the Sonics added either rookie Robert Swift or an impending free agent like Vladimir Radmanovic, Antonio Daniels or even Flip Murray – the Celtics might reconsider. Or, if they agreed to swap Vitaly Potapenko's expiring contract for Mark Blount as part of the deal, that also might get them to reconsider.

    Currently, neither seems likely on the Sonics end. Not unless they got another piece back as well, something like Jiri Welsch.

    Allen, for his part, would like to return to the East, especially Boston which is close to his old stomping grounds at UConn.

    Why would the Celtics consider the deal? The trade would give the Celtics lots of cap flexibility this summer. The Celtics would be at least $10 million under the cap next season if they made the trade. It would allow them to re-sign Allen if he played well, or it would give them $10 million in cap room to make a run at another free agent who might be a better fit – maybe an athletic shot blocker like Stromile Swift or Samuel Dalembert.

    The other team out East that could an interesting deal together for Allen is the Sixers. The Sixers could send Glenn Robinson, Andre Iguodala and Dalembert to Seattle for Allen and Radmanovic.

    The Sixers would have to give up two young prospects for two proven ones that would fit great into coach Jim O'Brien's system.

    Why would the Sonics consider either trade given the amount of success they've had this year? With eight players hitting free agency this summer and an ownership mandate to get spending under control, the Sonics will be hard-pressed to keep the team together at the end of the season. They can either make hard choices now, or hard choices later.

    For now, slot this in the interesting trade talk that probably won't happen.

  • The hottest rumor gaining steam today has the Bucks sending Michael Redd and Keith Van Horn to the Blazers for Shareef Abdur Rahim, a pick and a prospect (either Sergey Monya or Travis Outlaw depending on who you ask).

    Insider readers first read about this as a hypothetical possibility on Monday in our Michael Redd column.

    From what Insider can gather, it's still hypothetical at this point. A league source told Insider on Wednesday afternoon that there hasn't been a formal trade proposal made by the Blazers. While they may have hinted at something during the All-Star break, they haven't put anything official on the table – yet.

    Here's what we're hearing as of Wednesday morning:

    Sonics shopping Radmanovic

    Sonics GM Rick Sund has been a busy man. In addition to intense, ongoing negotiations with Ray Allen on a contract extension, the Sonics also have been trying to gauge the trade value of forward Vladimir Radmanovic.