– According to MLB.com, a source close to OF Ken Griffey Jr. is confirming that the future Hall of Famer has opted to sign with the Mariners instead of the Braves. Griffey is expected to sign a one-year/$2M deal that could earn him $4M in incentives. Meanwhile, the Braves lose out on yet another free agent bid after it appeared that Griffey joining Atlanta was a done deal earlier this week. Griffey is expected to join Mariners camp in time to potentially take part in workouts this weekend.
– Don’t forget to join the VoV Forums! Click here to check out what’s happening. The NBA trade deadline is tomorrow @ 3pm EST. In all likelihood, I will be doing live coverage here at VoV.com.
– According to sources, the Bucks are very close to trading F Richard Jefferson to the Blazers for a package that includes F Travis Outlaw and F Raef LaFrentz. The deal is expected to be finalized before tomorrow’s deadline.
– As reported here FIRST by VoV.com, the Kings have traded F Brad Miller and G John Salmons to the Bulls for F Drew Gooden, F Michael Ruffin, F Cedric Simmons and F Andres Nocioni.
I can now confirm that prior to the deal, the Nets also talked to the Kings about a deal that would send Miller and Salmons to the Nets for F Ryan Anderson, F Stromile Swift, F Eduardo Najera and F Trenton Hassell, but the deal fell through.
According to Yahoo! Sports, the Mavericks offered F Jerry Stackhouse for Salmons, and the Spurs were willing to part with F Bruce Bowen and F Ime Ukoda for Salmons as well. Both Stackhouse and Bowen have partial guarantees for next season – $2M each – that are cost prohibitive to Sacramento. At the end of the day, the Kings preferred a straight expiring deal.
– The Cavs are pushing hard for Wizards’ F Antawn Jamison. The Cavs are said to be offering F Wally Szczebiak, as his contract, $13M, expires. The Wiz would need to add another player, likely F Etan Thomas. At the moment, Washington doesn’t appear to be interested in parting with Jamison, but as always, things can change. The Cavs are also still looking into Suns’ F Amare Stoudemire, but a deal appears very unlikely right now.
– According to Yahoo! Sports, the Bulls and T’Wolves have been discussing a deal that could see Chicago send G Kirk Hinrich and F Thabo Sefolosha to Minnesota for F Jason Collins and F Brian Cardinal. The Wolves want someone to compliment G Randy Foye, while the Bulls are looking for expiring contracts (Cardinal and Collins) and draft picks.
– The Bulls have contacted the Clippers in regards to F Chris Kaman. A deal seems unlikely.
– The Pistons are pushing hard for Jazz’ F Carlos Boozer. The team wants to put in an offer once he hits the free agent market at season’s end. The Pistons expect to have nearly $23M available to spend this summer on free agents — especially if F Rasheed Wallace does not return — and Boozer has said he will likely opt out of his contract with the Jazz this summer. Boozer was originally believed to be going to the Heat, but that is off the cards now that the Heat acquired F Jermaine O’Neal.
– The Celtics are talking to the Bobcats about G Raja Bell.
– The Spurs’ delay to release any specific information about G Manu Ginobili’s right ankle injury has led speculation that the injury could be serious. Delaying the announcement until after the Thursday trade deadline would help keep the Spurs from losing any leverage in their ongoing talks, so from their perspective, it makes sense to pull a JP-Ricciardi and lie/not tell anyone. Stay tuned, because it looks like the Spurs might be active tomorrow.
– Knicks’ F David Lee is not going to be traded tomorrow, guaranteed.
– According to the Sacramento Bee, after receiving F Michael Ruffin in the John Salmons, Brad Miller trade with Chicago, the Kings will flip him to Portland in exchange for F Ike Diogu and approximately $1M in cash.
– According to the Dallas Morning News, Mavs’ G Jason Terry is out until late March with a broken hand. The three-to-six week timeframe appears to be set towards him being out the entire six-week period.
– According to sources, F Alex Kovalev has played his last game as a Montreal Canadien. GM Bob Gainey is said to be heavily shopping him. Kovalev does, however, have a full no-trade clause in his contract. His contract expires July 1st, so if he does waive his NTC, he will likely be a rental player and not re-sign with that team.
The Penguins have shown interest in Kovalev. Montreal is asking for Pittsburgh’s 1st round pick, which Pittsburgh is unwilling to include. The Penguins are said to be reserving the pick for names such as F Ilya Kovalchuk or F Marian Gaborik, and it’s believed that Kovalev isn’t considered “elite” like the former two names.
Kovalev has already said that he won’t waive his NTC unless he goes to a contender. Logically, Gainey wouldn’t want to move Kovalev to the East, as Montreal is in the playoffs and wouldn’t want to face him in the second round of the playoffs. That said, Montreal will likely only deal with Western Conference teams.
The Canucks have also expressed interest in Kovalev. The deal could include draft picks and a defenceman headed back as the return price. The Wild, Stars and Blackhawks have also reportedly expressed interest.
The Habs and Kovalev are not on good terms. Gainey suggested that Kovalev skip their two-game road trip because his play hasn’t been helping the team. Suffice to say, the two sides are not on the best of terms. The Habs have lost 10 of their last 13 games, and Kovalev has only one goal and five assists in that span. Kovalev did not accompany the team for games Wednesday night in Washington and Thursday night in Pittsburgh. His status for a home game Saturday afternoon against Ottawa and even beyond that is also uncertain. Gainey said that Kovalev was not suspended and would still be paid.
Expect something to be done sooner rather than later. The last things the Habs need down the playoff stretch is a distraction involving arguably their most skilled player.
According to a source, the Habs and Bolts were discussing a deal, but it fell apart – the Bolts wanted D Mike Komisarek and D Andrei Markov, a price too steep for the Canadiens. With the Habs talking to the Canucks, and with the recent acquisiton of D Mathieu Schneider, the team suddenly has the potential to deal a top-four defenceman and not be in trouble. Could this lead to more discussion with Tampa for F Vincent Lecavalier?
Montreal is celebrating its 100th season anniversary. It’s not unreasonable to think that they may want to make a splash.
– The current plan is for Stone Cold Steve Austin to referee the RKO/Triple H match at WrestleMania 25. He’s also set to be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame.
– NFL.com‘s Adam Schefter reports that the Colts will release WR Marvin Harrison “in the coming days.”
Harrison’s been a Colt for 13 seasons, but his play of late hasn’t been worth the $13.4M cap number. The move will save $7M under the cap, allowing Indianapolis to franchise tag free agent Kelvin Hayden. The deadline to franchise players is Thursday.