Every year, without fail, numerous key players switch teams just before the NBA trade deadline. While intricacy and sacrifice are the prevailing themes in many of these trades, some acquisitions can be had at a bargain price, if a deal is struck at the right time.
Trades of a substantial magnitude normally consist of a little give and take from all parties involved, yet depending upon the situation, one side can often make out like a bandit.
There are a number of players already dominating the rumor-mill headlines, many of whom can be an integral part of any team's rotation.
Although some of these names are likely to cost interested teams a fair number of assets, others may wind up being snagged at fire sale like prices.
When the Houston Rockets nearly shipped out Luis Scola and Kevin Martin for Pau Gasol, they seemed poised to allow Courtney Lee to take over the starting shooting guard duties. Once the deal fell through, though, Lee remained a backup, which is arguably a waste of his potential.
Last season, numerous teams contacted the Rockets about Lee's availability and the same thing is likely to happen this year as well. While Lee has the ability to put up points in bunches, his inconsistent role as rendered him still unproven.
Houston is aware that Lee would be best served as a starter, which is why he could be dealt, yet it is limited in its asking price because of his fluctuating production. The most the team can hope to hold out for is a backup big man and perhaps a second-round draft pick.
Should the Rockets opt to ship Lee elsewhere, his new team is likely to have paid the price of backup role player for what will become their starting shooting guard or even small forward.
Michael Beasley doesn't have the best of public relations track records and is off to a rough start to the season, but when utilized properly, he is a source of instant offense.
The Minnesota Timberwolves have an alarming number of forwards on the docket and Beasley seems to be the odd man out. Minnesota attempted to move him over the offseason and it has now reached the point where head coach Rick Adelman is considering using the small forward off the bench when he returns from injury.
Attitude deficiencies aside, Beasley could provide a much needed scoring punch to any number of contending teams. He has endless range and has even shown he can come off the bench and make an impact if that's what the situation calls for.
Most importantly, though, given the Timberwolves' indifference to his presence, Beasley will be able to get picked up at fraction of what his production is actually worth.
The Memphis Grizzlies are yet again discussing the possibility of dealing shooting guard O.J. Mayo, this time to the New Jersey Nets.
After handing out a few large contracts over the past couple of years, the Grizzlies are in the market to save a few bucks. The two scenarios being discussed have the Nets sending either shooting guard Anthony Morrow or point guard Jordan Farmar, a draft pick and cash to Memphis in exchange for Mayo.
Both packages save the Grizzlies money as well give the team another outside threat in return. What's most notable about either deal, though, is the bargain price New Jersey would be paying.
Mayo not only boasts a strong inside out game, but he awards the Nets the financial flexibility to make a strong push for Dwight Howard in the offseason. Considering Howard has the potential to convince Deron Williams to re-sign with the organization long term, Mayo's impact on the Nets' future is limitless.
That being said, New Jersey's recent involvement provides the rest of the league with a measuring stick as to how little it may take to pry Mayo out of Memphis.
The Grizzlies seem most interested in cap relief, meaning a fair exchange of talent may not be necessary.
Williams can make a two-way impact off the bench, but is also equipped to handle the starting point guard duties for any number of interested organizations. His most recent outburst against the Dallas Mavericks was a true testament to the complete player he has become.
Williams is likely to hold substantial value on the trade market, but the penny-pinching Donald Sterling could be interested in a salary dump. The Clippers handed DeAndre Jordan a monster pay-day prior to the start of this season and have to be prepared to offer even more lucrative ones to Blake Griffin and Chris Paul in the near future. Caron Butler's three-year, $24 million deal is no chump change either.
The one time amnesty candidate is due $17 million through 2012-13 and, should an interested team dangle an expiring contract or trade exception, Williams may find himself in a new home for the second straight year.
How does a player of Deron Williams' caliber have the potential to be a deadline day steal? The key word here is "potential" as it is far from a guarantee the New Jersey Nets opt to deal the superstar.
New Jersey is prepared to deal Williams should Dwight Howard land with the Los Angeles Lakers before the deadline is up. Missing out on Howard almost guarantees Williams will walk on the Nets next summer, so this blueprint makes a wealth of sense. Better to deal Williams and extract some value out of his departure than to watch him leave over the summer and receive nothing in return.
There is only one problem with New Jersey's plan.
If the Orlando Magic opt to move their star center, it will not be until just before the trade deadline. Orlando team is going to want to milk every last possible win out of Howard before shipping him elsewhere, which leaves the Nets minimal time to find a sufficient suitor for Williams.
Additionally, Williams is not having the best of seasons, and while this is most likely the result of circumstantial struggles, it can be used to drive his price down.
Should the Nets be forced to deal the point guard, they will have their choice of team. That being said, suitors are likely to capitalize off of the severity of the situation, potentially picking Williams up at a steep discount.