There are several big names being thrown around in NBA rumor mills at the moment, and this is only going to escalate as the March 15 deadline approaches.
While some of the names have been the talk of NBA analysts and fans for months, even years, others have only recently surfaced amid the chaos that is the current, shortened NBA season.
In an effort to separate fact from fiction, the following players and potential trades, are presented and critiqued, with an eye on the main limitations to these players moving to newer pastures, or simply staying where they are.
Rajon Rondo is playing at a high level right now with the Boston Celtic, coming off his third All-Star appearance in as many years. With the way he is leading the team, it should be a safe assumption that Boston is looking to build around him for another run at a title, but there are conflicting messages being reported about his future with the team.
In a recent interview with the Boston Herald, Danny Ainge recently denounced rumors that Rondo is on the trading block, going so far as to say, “I anticipate him being here for a long time.”
The exact duration of “long time” is always slippery when NBA executives are talking about players, and Ainge may just be buying time with the media to look for potential suitors.
Recent reports point to Rondo being actively waived around as trade-bait, according to ESPN’s Chris Broussard. This apparently stems from off-court issues, though perhaps Rondo’s recent monster 18 point, 20 assist and 17 rebound performance against the New York Knicks may quell the possibility of a trade happening this year.
The jury is still out, but Celtics fans should expect to see Rondo in the green and white for many years to come. Point guards that can put up triple-doubles like Rondo did recently are rare, and Boston should be building with Rondo, not through him.
One of the hottest topics in NBA trade talk circles is the movement, or lack thereof, of the Orlando Magic’s Dwight Howard. Otis Smith, the Magic’s general manager, recently told the Orlando Sentinel that there were “six to eight teams” actively looking at trading for Howard.
With the recent injury to the New Jersey Nets’ Brook Lopez, a centerpiece of a potential trade between the two franchises, the possibility of seeing a D12-Deron Williams pairing in Brooklyn seems to have faded a bit. It is not completely off the table, but with the longevity of Lopez now in question, the potential for this trade has taken a serious hit.
The Dallas Mavericks are another team that Howard has expressed interest being traded to, and with Mark Cuban’s decision not to keep their championship roster from last season intact, a trade between Orlando and the defending NBA champions is a possibility.
The dream trade scenario for Mavericks fans would be a combination of Dwight Howard and Deron Williams coming to town (a sentiment expressed by the New Jersey Nets’ faithful as well), but that seems like a mighty tall order to fill.
The Golden State Warriors are also seeking the attention of Dwight Howard, though without any real commitment from Howard to stay beyond the end of this season, this seems like a lot of hoopla for little reward coming out of Oakland.
Of course, Howard may decide to stay in Orlando, but the risk of losing Howard without getting anything in return should prompt Otis Smith to move him before the March 15 trade deadline.
The possibility of moving Pau Gasol before the trade deadline is still an option for the Los Angeles Lakers, though there are not any solid offers that would benefit both teams in a deal at this point.
With the Houston Rockets expressing interest before this season, and with the Minnesota Timberwolves’ general manager David Kahn expressing interest in Gasol in exchange for rookie sensation Derrick Williams and draft picks, the Lakers have some options.
The main sticking point to making a trade with Houston is the Lakers’ primary interest in a quality point guard, and one that can shoot three-pointers accurately—one reason Rajon Rondo would be a bad choice.
With Houston’s understandably tight grip on Kyle Lowry, at the moment, other realistic options are not in the works between these two teams, meaning this trade scenario is essentially a dead one.
Los Angeles’ recent successes, namely a 93-83 victory over the Miami Heat, combined with the lack of a viable trading partner may have solidified Gasol’s future in Kobe Bryant’s frontcourt for the time being.
With Deron Williams' contract set to expire at the end of the season, the New Jersey Nets need to evaluate potential trades so they are not “LeBron'd” this summer. The Utah Jazz dealt Williams to New Jersey last season to avoid this exact scenario, now the Nets’ gamble may blow up in their face if nothing happens before March 15.
Peter May of ESPN Boston argued that a deal involving a swap of Deron Williams and Rajon Rondo of the Boston Celtics would benefit both teams, and may be the most realistic scenario for the Nets at this point.
With Rondo potentially on the trade market, there is a possibility that both teams come to an agreement here, though Boston would likely need to make additional moves to keep the three-time All-Star from walking this summer.
With the Nets uncertain they can keep Williams around long enough to ensure signing a marquee big man, such as Dwight Howard, the team is in a bind. Without Howard’s full commitment to signing with New Jersey this summer, the Nets need to make sure they get something out of Williams while they can.
Whether or not that means swapping point guards with Boston (unlikely) or working Williams into a multi-team trade is not clear, but chances are Williams will not be in a Nets uniform come 2012-13.
Lamar Odom was recently called out by Dallas Maverick’s head coach Rick Carlisle for missing several games due to family issues, though the issue has already been addressed by Odom when he returned to the lineup against the Oklahoma City Thunder and things seem back to normal.
Just how long things will remain stable is unknown.
While Odom and Carlisle seem to have an understanding, being questioned by your coach has to bother a player of Odom’s caliber this late in his career.
A potential move between Dallas and the Phoenix Suns, a trade mentioned by Dallas beat writer Dwain Price on Twitter, is an interesting one. It would include Odom moving closer to his home in Los Angeles and Steve Nash taking over the reins for Mark Cuban.
Though not ideal for Odom after having been recently shipped from Los Angeles in exchange for the Maverick’s first-round pick in the 2012 Amateur Draft, this move would immediately help Dallas and would give Odom the opportunity to start anew under Suns' head coach Alvin Gentry.
This seems unlikely since it would leave Phoenix without a quality starting point guard unless more pieces were sent along with Odom, but if Mark Cuban does not land Dwight Howard or Deron Williams, it may be another option worth considering.