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Trade Speculation Abounds as Deadline Draws Closer

Tuesday, February 22, 2005; Page D02

The Timberwolves, Kings, Raptors, Pacers, Grizzlies, Trail Blazers, Celtics, Knicks and Lakers all are favorites to make something happen before the league's trading deadline passes Thursday afternoon.

Sacramento's Chris Webber, New York's Kurt Thomas, Toronto's Jalen Rose and Donyell Marshall, Indiana's suspended Ron Artest, Memphis' Bonzi Wells, Portland's Damon Stoudamire, Nick Van Exel and Ruben Patterson, Miami's Eddie Jones and the Lakers' Lamar Odom were among the names being bandied about in trade rumors over the weekend.

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"I think every year there's so much speculation, but we always say nobody wants to pull that trigger," Seattle's Ray Allen said.

• CLIPPERS SIGN BAKER: The Clippers signed G Maurice Baker to a 10-day contract and placed G Shaun Livingston on the disabled list with torn cartilage in his right shoulder. Livingston is expected to miss three weeks.

• OKAFOR ON THE MEND: Bobcats rookie C-F Emeka Okafor (left ankle) is expected to return to the lineup tonight against the Bucks, the team said.

Okafor was hurt Jan. 30 against the Lakers and spent five games on the injured list. He re-injured the ankle against the Heat and missed the last three games.

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