The Hornets remain one of the most aggressive teams on the trade market, according to league sources. New Orleans would like to add scoring and size ahead of next week’s trade deadline.
Despite the lack of a long-term agreement with David West, general manager Dell Demps will not part with the forward, according to sources.
The Hornets have targeted Denver’s J.R. Smith and Cleveland’s Antawn Jamison and they are expected to pursue Troy Murphy if he receives an expected buyout from New Jersey.
Another player the Nuggets will likely move is J.R. Smith, who has drawn interest from the Chicago Bulls.
Smith is making $6 million in the final year of his contract, and would love to end up with the Bulls, sources said. So far, Denver has resisted Chicago’s overtures on Smith because they may need to include him in a larger deal with Carmelo Anthony.
Bulls GM Gar Forman has been calling league personnel to do more research on the temperamental Smith, sources said.
J.R. Smith is losing minutes to Gary Forbes, thanks in some part to Forbes — and some to George Karl.
Karl wants better play and more professionalism from Smith. Smith wants the chance to show it on the court. Karl, however, is the gatekeeper, and he is not letting Smith on the court if he does not start doing what the coach wants.
Monday night at Phoenix, Karl benched Smith because he was late to a shootaround. His one minute Tuesday in the Nuggets’ victory against the Knicks smacked of further punishment, but was due more to rookie Gary Forbes playing well.
“With his millions you would think he can afford a watch,” a fan said.
The Carmelo Anthony saga moved to the next phase Tuesday, with the Nets trying to provide more cap relief to the Nuggets by finding a new home for Kenyon Martin and J.R. Smith, according to sources.
Martin, whose $16.5 million expiring contract would be a valuable asset at the trade deadline.
Smith, who has a $6.8 million expiring deal and controversy wherever he goes, could be the final pieces that eventually compel the Nuggets to sign off on a divorce with Anthony.
J.R. Smith photographed Carmelo Anthony standing in the Nuggets’ locker room on Monday.
It was not known whether Anthony, who has requested a trade, would report to Denver’s media day.
J.R. Smith was allegedly involved in an altercation at Denver’s practice facility on Aug. 13. Police arrived after a player not associated with the Nuggets claimed to have been attacked by Smith.
“We did have a report of an altercation that took place at the Denver Nuggets’ practice facility,” Detective John White of the Denver Police Department told FanHouse by phone.
Numerous players were taking part in drills when members of the Nuggets’ coaching staff told the player who later called police to be physical with Smith.
“They were just wanting the guy to be physical with J.R., telling the other guys, ‘Hey, body up on the guys and really make them work,’” the source said. “J.R. just lost it. He tried to choke the kid, and the kid called the cops.”
The news is not surprising considering J.R. Smith has lost his biggest supporter with the Denver Nuggets.
A source close to the situation said the Nuggets are looking to trade the erratic Smith, who is entering the final year of a contract that will pay the shooting guard $6.03 million.
There have been trade rumors before about Smith since he joined the Nuggets in 2006, but they have lacked validity since Mark Warkentien, once Denver’s vice president of basketball operations, was adamant about not trading Smith. But Warkentien’s contract was not renewed earlier this month and Smith’s biggest supporter was gone.