NBA Trade Rumors: 4 Players Who Must Be Dealt by Deadline

Justin KeithCorrespondent IFebruary 17, 2012

ORLANDO, FL - DECEMBER 21: Dwight Howard #12 of the Orlando Magic argues a call during a preseason game against the Miami Heat at Amway Center on December 21, 2011 in Orlando, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
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As the NBA trade deadline approaches, teams will be looking to improve upon a championship roster or to start the rebuilding process, by shipping out veteran helping other teams get over the hump.

This season, not only are medium-tier talent players available but there are multiple superstars that could find themselves playing for a new team.

In this day and age of social media, rumors are constantly swirling around the NBA and it's hard for stories not to leak. This can lead to resentment from players and them attempting to force their way out of town.

This year has been no different.

Lamar Odom was nearly dealt to the New Orleans Hornets in the Chris Paul deal before the league shut it down, and the fences could not be mended between he and the Lakers. He was consequently shipped out of town days later, to Dallas.

From a team's perspective, unloading talent before their impending free agency is a smart move. If they are out of title contention, it is important that they get a nice return instead of the disappointment of losing talent in the offseason for nothing.

Let's take a look at some players that must be dealt before the March 15th deadline:

Stephen Jackson

LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 26:  Pau Gasol #16 of the Los Angeles Lakers reacts in the third quarter while taking on the New Orleans Hornets in Game Five of the Western Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs on April 26, 2011 at Staples Center in L
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Jackson looks like a "given" to be traded according to Gery Woefel of the Racine Journal Times.

That won't be easy, though. Jackson is being paid $9.2 million this season  and is guaranteed $10 million next season.

That's a lot of money for a  33-year-old reserve player. Yet, there are some NBA officials who believe Jackson could be traded if he was part of a package, perhaps with talented, young forward Irsan Ilyasova or with point guard Brandon Jennings.

Chris Kaman

Kaman was removed from the Hornets a couple weeks ago, missing six games, but has since been re-inserted in the lineup and been impressive in his return. This has sparked some interest around the league according to John Reid of the New Orleans Times-Picayune.

Reid notes that there is speculation that the Miami Heat will be looking to acquire a big man, and Kaman is high on their list.

Pau Gasol

Gasol was nearly traded to the Houston Rockets before season began, in the Chris Paul deal that never was.

We saw the Lakers trade away Odom because of animosity from the forward after nearly being dealt, and we could see the same with Gasol. Rumors have been swirling lately about the Laker big man, the latest involving the Minnesota Timberwolves.

ChrisTomasson of Fox Sports is reporting that T'Wolves are offering a package of Derrick Williams and draft picks for the the seven-foot center. He also reports that the only untouchables on the Timberwovles are Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio, so the Lakers could come up with a counter offer.

Dwight Howard

Howard will be the prize of the 2012 free agent class, which is exactly why the Orlando Magic need to trade him before the deadline.

Although trade rumors have calmed down as of late, Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel is reporting that the Magic will start to look into trades March 1st, citing that they know Howard will still be in high demand come the deadline.

Ultimately, the Magic hope Howard will consider staying, but they must trade him to get some sort of return instead of risking losing it all come free agency. Howard has previously made a list of teams he wants to be traded to. The list includes the Lakers, Clippers, Nets and Mavericks.