The NBA offseason is over and finally the rumors, speculation and predictions will all go out the window. Oh wait, that isn’t true at all. There’s still the issue of the NBA trade deadline in February that will continue to fuel the fire of rumors throughout the season.
You know, when a player has a bad game or says some negative about his team or situation, he’s on the trade block!
Still, there are some credible situations brewing right now around that league that may end in some big names being moved this season.
Take a look at the latest on potential trades involving some of the biggest stars rumored to be available.
Josh Smith, F, Atlanta Hawks
As reported by Alex Kennedy of Hoopsworld.com, the Hawks big man has made his intentions to test free agency following the 2012-13 season crystal clear. Joe Johnson is gone now, and the Hawks appear to be entering a rebuilding phase.
Last season Atlanta sent their top scorer to the Brooklyn Nets in exchange for several expiring contracts: Jordan Farmer, Johan Petro, Anthony Morrow, Jordan Williams and DeShawn Stevenson. They also received a lottery-protected 2013 first-round pick (from Houston) in the deal.
Smith could be next if the Hawks choose to get something back in return before he likely jets this summer.
Monta Ellis, SG, Milwaukee Bucks
Ellis has reportedly made it known that he will sacrifice $11 million in order to exercise an early-termination option in his contract to become a free agent and seek out a contending team after the 2012-13 season, according to Kennedy.
If Ellis is already planning to leave, the Bucks need to test out how the season is going as it progresses. If they aren’t looking like contenders halfway to the trade deadline, it would be smart to start looking for potential sign-and-trade partners for the sharpshooting Ellis.
Milwaukee must not end up empty-handed if Ellis leaves after giving up Andrew Bogut in order to bring him in. They also need to consider that they’ll be allocating money toward restricted free agent Brandon Jennings and will be hard-pressed to do very much of anything in free agency this summer.
Trading him before the deadline makes the most sense.
Anderson Varejao, C/F, Cleveland Cavaliers
Cleveland’s drafted low-post help during the past two drafts with the picks of Tristan Thompson and Tyler Zeller. That’s given them plenty of flexibility when it comes time to re-up Varejao’s contract in 2014.
But, according to Kennedy, they may not wait that long to part ways with the Brazilian big man.
Varejao started out 2012 with a bang, recording 23 boards and chipping in nine points and nine assists. If he can keep up the intensity and stay healthy, there’s no telling what the Cavs would be able to get in return if they choose to deal the 30-year-old and complete their youth transformation.
Varejao also has a pretty favorable contract considering what he brings to the table. He’s under contract until the end of the 2013-14 season and will make $9.1 million. He also has a $9.8 million team option in 2014-15.
Bob Finnan of the News-Herald in Ohio said sources around the league think he will be dealt before the deadline.
Rudy Gay, SF, Memphis Grizzlies
The Grizz would be foolish to let Gay slip away, but the economics of the situation simply don’t jibe.
According to Kennedy, sources have said that Gay would be open to a trade and that there was a lot of chatter throughout the summer about the Grizzlies forward.
A team would have to be cap-friendly and be absolutely sold on his ability to both play at a high level and stay healthy for them to commit to a deal for the Gay. Gay’s currently locked into a huge contract worth an average of about $18 million per season over the next three years.
He’ll likely be traded only if a contender, with cap space or willing to create it, is desperate enough near the trade deadline.