NBA Trade Deadline 2012: Pau Gasol and Stars Destined to Be Dealt

Ben ShapiroAnalyst IIIMarch 14, 2012

NBA Trade Deadline 2012: Pau Gasol and Stars Destined to Be Dealt

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    Last night NBA fans saw two stars and a number of their teammates change teams when the Golden State Warriors and Milwaukee Bucks executed a five player deal

    The trade was centered around the former number one overall pick of the 2005 NBA Draft Andrew Bogut and one of the more dynamic scorers in the league, Monta Ellis.

    There are still more than 24 hours until the actual deadline and there are still some big-name NBA players who seem likely to be changing teams as well.

    Who are the biggest names with the highest likelihood of being dealt?  

Dwight Howard

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    Okay, so now Dwight Howard wants to stay in Orlando? 

    There's famous song by the Rolling Stones titled "You Can't Always Get What You Want", and that might be where Dwight Howard finds himself as the deadline approaches. 

    That's because the mere fact that Howard wants to stay in Orlando doesn't mean he's going to. Howard has a basketball career to pursue and the ownership of the Orlando Magic have a team to run. 

    If those two paths can intersect for the good of both parties then Howard will stay in put.

    However, businesses tend to not like "risk", so excuse the Magic for hesitating when Dwight Howard says something such as this:

     "I told them I want to finish this season out and give our team, give our fans some hope for the future. But I feel they have to roll the dice. It might be tough, but I feel we've got a great opportunity. But they've got to roll it." -ESPN.com 3/14/12

    Howard has already acknowledged that there's risk in allowing him to play out this season. Orlando Magic fans and management probably are well aware of that already. Let Howard play out the season and he can still refuse an extension, become a free agent and sign with another team this offseason. 

    If he were to do that, Orlando would lose its most valuable asset without receiving anything more than a lot of free salary cap space in exchange. 

    When the Magic understand the amount of risk they would be taking on by not dealing Howard, they may decide it's better to pull the trigger on a deal. If that happens, it appears New Jersey is still the favorite to land him. 

Pau Gasol

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    Pau Gasol has been on three Lakers teams that have made the NBA Finals and two that ended up earning rings.

    The Lakers currently have the third best record in the Western Conference and with Gasol have arguably the best three players in any starting five in the NBA. Yet the team seems to have more than just a tepid interest in breaking up the trio of Andrew Bynum, Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol.

    The Lakers already included Gasol as the centerpiece of a deal that was vetoed in the preseason that would have sent the Spaniard to the Rockets and brought Chris Paul to the Lakers. That trade was famously quashed by David Stern but it hasn't changed the Lakers' willingness to deal Pau Gasol

    Where is Gasol most likely headed?

    The Chicago Bulls seem to be the team with the most overt interest in the veteran power forward. That makes sense since Gasol is a more polished and versatile offensive player than either Joakim Noah or Carlos Boozer, and Gasol brings a wealth of postseason experience to a Chicago team that seems to have almost all the ingredients for a championship aside from experience.

Rajon Rondo

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    Rajon Rondo, how about destined to not be dealt. 

    For a player who has been discussed endlessly over the past several weeks, most evidence suggests that the only place Rajon Rondo is headed is to Oakland to play the Warriors tonight and then to Sacramento to play the Kings on Friday. 

    While one can only rely so much on the honesty of NBA General Managers at trade deadline time it's rare that you hear a declaration as cut-and-dry as this. 

    "Rondo's not being traded," Danny Ainge, Boston's president of basketball operations, told CSNNE.com prior to the Celtics facing the Los Angeles Clippers. "I don't know how many times I have to say it. Rondo's not being traded." - NBC Sports Pro Basketball Talk 3/12/12

    There's just not a lot of ambiguity in that statement. 

Ray Allen

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    The Celtics may not be willing to part with Rajon Rondo but that doesn't mean they're content to stand pat at the deadline. 

    According to Celtics insider A.Sherrod Blakely Ray Allen is the most frequently asked about big-name Celtic but Celtics' General Manager Danny Ainge appears to have a very high asking price for the future hall of fame shooting guard. 

    When former Celtics great and current Indiana Pacers Executive Larry Bird inquired about Ray Allen's availability, Ainge's demands were not to Bird's liking.

    "When Danny and I talked about trading for Ray, he wanted Tyler Hansbrough and a first-round pick. If that's the value he's putting on Ray Allen, he ain't getting it. - Larry Bird to ESPN.com 3/10/12

    That type of high demand could change as the deadline grows nearer and the reality that the existing Celtics roster is not good enough to win an NBA Title this year could create a sense of urgency in Boston's front office.