West teams continue to look for ways to load up

Four days left before the NBA’s trade deadline, and three star-studded deals are already complete with another blockbuster sitting on the docket. It’ll be a wonder if there’s anyone left to move once Thursday comes and goes.

If the Dallas Mavericks complete their trade for Jason Kidd, Sacramento Kings forward Ron Artest becomes the NBA’s next big target of interest. Two league sources said Sunday that the Denver Nuggets were in “full pursuit” of Artest and discussing a package involving Linas Kleiza, Eduardo Najera and a first-round pick.

“Denver is the team that needs to do something,” said one West executive. “With everyone loading up, they’re going to have a tough time getting out of the first round.”

Here’s what else Y! Sports was hearing as the All-Star break ended:

• The Los Angeles Clippers are trying to pry Mike Miller out of Memphis with an offer of expiring contracts that includes a package of Sam Cassell and Aaron Williams. The Grizzlies want the Clippers first-round pick in 2008, and so far, the Clippers are balking.

• After sending a scout to see him in Memphis last week, the Denver Nuggets are talking with the Grizzlies about acquiring guard Kyle Lowry for Von Wafer and a first-round draft pick.

• The Cleveland Cavaliers value Philadelphia’s Andre Miller more than they did Mike Bibby, but the Sixers haven’t shown much inclination to move their point guard, maybe even less now that they’ve experienced some success. And if Philadelphia opted to trade Andre Miller? It’s hard to imagine Cleveland being able to put together a worthy package.

The Cavaliers also have had talks regarding Mike Miller and two other point guards: Lowry and Portland’s Jarrett Jack.

• With an understanding that they’ll need to re-sign restricted free agent guard Jose Calderon and Carlos Delfino this summer, the Raptors are fielding offers for Jason Kapono. It’s unlikely they’ll get many considering the three years and nearly $19 million left on Kapono’s contract.

• The Orlando Magic have continued to shop for frontline help with Pat Garrity’s expiring contract as bait.

• The San Antonio Spurs are most interested in getting Tony Parker back in the lineup and seeing what their roster looks like at full strength. But with a couple of expiring contracts of their own, most notably that of Brent Barry, they’ve also actively looked for additional help. The Spurs were in the Kyle Korver talks with Philadelphia, but didn’t want to give up a first-round pick. They also talked to the Atlanta Hawks about Josh Childress, but were quickly rebuffed.

With Shaquille O’Neal now in Phoenix and Yao Ming’s Houston Rockets coming on strong, the Spurs also might be in the market for more size.

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Updated Monday, Feb 18, 2008