NBA Trade Rumors: Players That Shouldn't Be on the Chopping Block

Dan Favale@@danfavaleFeatured ColumnistDecember 29, 2011

NBA Trade Rumors: Players That Shouldn't Be on the Chopping Block

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    Trade rumors are an exciting part of the NBA, as many love to speculate about key players switching teams, but aside from entertaining us, there are a few names out there that have no business being on the chopping block.

    There are certain players that have appeared in the rumor mill that have the potential to help their team in the long run. Whether their presence is justified by a fallout with the organization, or they are simply being dangled in pursuit of a future goal is irrelevant.

    Certain teams are better off just holding onto their most valuable trade assets.

Paul Millsap of Utah Jazz

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    Ever since Chris Broussard of ESPN reported that the Utah Jazz were shopping Paul Millsap, trade chatter surrounding the power forward has quieted. However, now that Derrick Favors is starting ahead of Millsap, he seems more available than ever. 

    The Jazz may be in the early stages of a rebuilding period, but Millsap can play an integral part in their future. He is only 26 and excels on both ends of the floor. He can play either the 4 or 5 positions and has never played in less than 76 games in his career.

    Utah wants to build a core of young players, but Millsap keeps them competitive now and gives them options for the future. Favors is not guaranteed to cross the threshold into superstardom, so Millsap provides a great insurance policy should he flop.

    If Favors ever develops into the type of player that many expect him to be, then dealing Millsap makes sense. As it stands though, he has a long way to go.

    It would be wise of the Jazz to hold onto Millsap until they know for sure what they have in Favors.

Kevin Martin of Houston Rockets

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    Kevin Martin didn't take his involvement in the failed Chris Paul trade well, and for good reason, as he should have never been put on the chopping block anyway.

    Pau Gasol is a great player, and Martin has drawn criticisms for being one-dimensional, yet he is the heart and soul of the Houston Rockets offense. He can score from anywhere on the court and up until the start of this season, his production was guaranteed.

    Martin's recent struggles are a large part of why he should have never been placed on the chopping block. He needs to know that the team is behind him; their offense is lackluster when he isn't at the top of his game.

    Houston took a shot at shaking up their roster by making Martin available, but the price outweighed the return when you factor in that a first-round pick as well as Luis Scola would have left town as well. Gasol is a game-changer, but he hasn't had to be the leader of a franchise in years. The price for him was simply too high.

    The potential return was not worth the Rockets disrupting the offensive flow of their most talented scorer.

Amar'e Stoudemire of New York Knicks

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    According to Peter Vecsey of the New York Post, the New York Knicks offered up Amar'e Stoudemire in exchange for Chris Paul earlier this month, a proposal that was rejected by the New Orleans Hornets.

    The fact that the Knicks entertained dealing Stoudemire is somewhat disturbing, and in this case laughable, given that it was widely known the Hornets were looking for youth. Even if New Orleans had been interested though, dealing Stoudemire would have been a grave mistake.

    Stoudemire helped revive a lost Knicks franchise, and he is the pillar of energy while on the basketball court. Sure, his knees are a question mark, but so are Carmelo Anthony's elbow and knee as well, and so would have been Paul's knee.

    At this point, Stoudemire is New York. He is the reason that stars Anthony and Tyson Chandler wanted to come to the Big Apple. With the help of Donnie Walsh, he transformed the Knicks from the laughing stock of the NBA into a feared opponent.

    The Knicks' willingness to deal Stoudemire, as far-fetched as the idea may seem, is uncomfortably telling. Paul is now with the Los Angeles Clippers, which means Stoudemire should be safe. However, with the Orlando Magic looking for veterans to help them stay competitive in exchange for Dwight Howard, the possibility of New York dangling him once again is always there.

    Howard may be the most dominant big man in the game, but Stoudemire, especially with Chandler on the docket, is a price not worth paying.

Josh Smith of Atlanta Hawks

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    Josh Smith wants out of Atlanta, and the Hawks gauged his trade interest prior to the lockout, but while both sides are clamoring for a split, the forward's name needs to disappear from the rumor-mill.

    Atlanta has had some success early on, but they haven't played against any of the elite teams yet, so it is a bit premature to say the organization could withstand the loss of Smith.

    Joe Johnson is a question mark. He had a subpar performance in the team's first game, and a stellar one in the second. His production is no longer guaranteed, while Smith consistently remains a threat on both ends of the floor.

    That being said, if you are of the party that believes the Hawks can do great things based off their performance early on, then why mess with a good thing?

    With Marvin Williams and Al Horford, in addition to Smith, the Hawks have one of the most productive front-lines in the league. Splitting them up would be detrimental to the team's progress moving forward.

    Atlanta needs to remove themselves from the Dwight Howard sweepstakes, because he does not seem inclined to sign an extension there, and Smith alone is too high a price to pay for a rental.

Rajon Rondo of Boston Celtics

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    It is hard to chastise the Boston Celtics for their original pursuit of Chris Paul, but continuing their quest after publicly stating that Rajon Rondo wasn't being shopped was a mistake.

    Rondo's ability to lead a team void of superstars has been questioned, but he has gotten off to an incredible start, averaging 26.5 points, 6.5 rebounds and 12.5 assists per game. His free-throw percentage has even improved a great deal.

    While we are in the early stages of the season, Rondo is on an undeniable tear. In addition to his offensive production, he has established himself as one of the best rebounding point guards in the league, and his defense has never been better. What's even more impressive though, is him getting off to such a hot start despite such rumors existing.

    Paul may be a member of the Los Angeles Clippers, but the fact that Boston was willing to part with Rondo remains an issue. With Paul Pierce on the sidelines, and Kevin Garnett struggling, Rondo has stepped up.

    It's time that Danny Ainge came out once again and proclaime the franchise's loyalty to their star point guard. Only this time, he should actually mean it.

    You can follow Dan Favale on Twitter here @Dan_Favale.