NBA Trade Rumors: 10 Expiring Contracts GMs Are Eyeing
It's that time of year again, ladies and gentlemen. The 2012 NBA All-Star game in Orlando draws near, and along with it, the trade deadline.
Contenders will be looking to add to their rosters, and losers will be searching for young talent, draft picks or cap space.
As the NBA trade rumor mill starts to churn, here are 10 free agents-to-be who will potentially be wearing different uniforms come March 15.
Boris Diaw, F Charlotte Bobcats
Silas snapped Diaw's 236 consecutive games started for the Bobcats earlier this season in favor of Tyrus Thomas and Byron Mullens.
Diaw's $9 million expiring deal hit makes him a viable target for a team wanting to dump an unfavorable contract and to free up cap space in exchange for a draft pick.
Michael Beasley, F Minnesota Timberwolves
Off-court character issues and inconsistent production have plagued the former No. 2 overall pick from the 2008 NBA draft.
Michael Beasley revitalized his career last season in Minnesota after the trade from Miami, but with the Wolves selecting Derrick Williams second overall in this year's draft, Beasley and his $6 million contract are expendable.
Beasley's upside should make him a hot commodity for any team that is willing to take a risk.
Ray Allen, SG Boston Celtics
Boston Celtics GM Danny Ainge is known for making bold moves, and this season might be the year he pulls the plug on the Boston Three-Party.
The league's all-time leading three-point man, Ray Allen, has seen his scoring drop to just 14.4 per contest this season.
At age 36, Ainge must wonder how much Ray-Ray has left in the tank and should consider building for the team's future success.
With the Celtics floundering at 15-13, Allen might find himself in another uniform before the deadline.
Chris Kaman, C New Orleans Hornets
The Hornets benched Chris Kaman for seven games while trying to find a trade partner for the former All-Star center, but they have since returned him to the starting lineup.
Kaman is playing solid basketball in Monty Williams' rotation, but with Carl Landry and Emeka Okafor creating a big man logjam in New Orleans, it's helpful to the Hornets' rebuilding process if they send Kaman away for draft picks or young talent—especially considering he is unlikely to extend his one-year deal.
Houston has expressed the most interest in Kaman, along with Cleveland, Indiana and Golden State.
D.J. Augustin, PG Charlotte Bobcats
Augustin has had a solid season for the Bobcats, but Kemba Walker is clearly the team's long-term answer at point guard, making Augustin a worthy trade chip.
His 13.4 points and 6.4 assists per game could help out a team in need of a starting point guard or sixth man like the Los Angeles Lakers.
He's making just $3 million in the final year of his rookie contract, which could intrigue teams with meager cap space to make a move.
Brook Lopez, C New Jersey Nets
Though he has just one year remaining, Lopez will be a restricted free agent in the summer, so the Magic or whoever else acquires him should be able to lock him up long-term.
He put up 20 points and six rebounds per game in 2010-2011, and at age 23, there is still plenty of room to get better.
He stands seven feet tall, so if he can improve his rebounding numbers from 6.0 a game, he could grow into a dominant center in the future.
O.J. Mayo, SG Memphis Grizzles
O.J. Mayo was the subject of much trade talk a year ago at the deadline, but with an expiring contract, this season might be different.
Mayo has looked sharp off the bench this season, averaging 11.7 points and providing a nice spark subbing for the defensive-minded Tony Allen. More importantly, he looks as if he has finally embraced his sixth-man role in Memphis.
He will be a restricted free agent at the season's close, and while Memphis reportedly has no interest in trading him at this time, a team like Chicago could make an offer that the Grizzles will have trouble refusing.
Steve Nash, PG Phoenix Suns
Steve Nash's numbers were good enough to earn himself his eighth All-Star selection this season, but the fact remains that the Suns don't have the pieces to contend at this time, and Steve Nash is at the tail end of his career at age 38.
The two-time NBA MVP has yet to win a championship, and should get the opportunity to take his 14.6 points and 10.7 assists per game to a contender.
It was rumored Nash might be shipped to Orlando to persuade Dwight Howard into staying put, but the Lakers and Heat (if a third team were to get involved in a trade) could be a possibility.
Deron Williams, PG New Jersey Nets
The New Jersey Nets have been abysmal this season, and if things don't shape up soon for the All-Star point guard and his club, he could choose to exercise the opt-out clause in his contract to test the waters of free agency.
If the Nets are unable to land, say, Dwight Howard before the trade deadline, they could consider dealing Williams for something in return rather than watch him walk.
The Lakers are seeking a point guard, and it's rumored the Mavs are highly interested in D-Will's services should he enter free agency.
Dwight Howard, C Orlando Magic
Dwight Howard tops this list as the most desirable free agent-to-be.
He's a complete package at the center position with his defensive prowess, shot-blocking proficiency and rebounding ability. Plus, he can put points on the board like Shaq in his prime.
However, Howard wants to win a championship and doesn't feel like Orlando will give him the best opportunity to reach the Finals again.
Dwight's agent has permission to speak with Dallas, New Jersey, New York and the Los Angeles Lakers.
While Magic GM Otis Smith is reluctant to trade Howard, he might end up forced to send his prized superstar packing.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!