NBA Trade Rumors: Available Players Who Could Put Contenders over the Top

Richard LangfordCorrespondent IJanuary 22, 2013

HOUSTON, TX - DECEMBER 22:  Rudy Gay #22 of the Memphis Grizzlies looks to shoot over Chandler Parsons #25 of the Houston Rockets at the Toyota Center on December 22, 2012 in Houston, Texas. 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 Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
Scott Halleran/Getty Images

There are some nice pieces dangling as trade bait for teams looking for the last piece to solidify their title chances. 

Obviously, teams aren't just going to give these guys away. So, any team looking to land a boost before the Feb. 21 trade deadline has to do a delicate balancing act to ensure they aren't giving up more than they are taking on. 

This will almost certainly have to come by mortgaging the future, but those are the chances you have to take to make a run at a championship. 

Rudy Gay

Grizzlies' leading scorer Rudy Gay is likely on his way out of Memphis. If it is not this season, then it will be after the season.

The Grizzlies have not given up on it being this season.

Fox's Sam Amico expands:

...League sources say the Grizzlies will take another stab at moving him before the trading deadline.

Teams reportedly having the deepest discussions with the Grizzlies include Charlotte, Minnesota, Phoenix and, more recently, Atlanta.

Gay is not going to be a cheap add for any team. He is playing on a max deal, and the Grizzlies are going to want some serious value in return for Gay. However, if a team can keep its main players intact and add Gay, it will be a huge coup. 

The 26-year-old knows how to score. He is a great finisher and excellent close to the basket. He is 6'8" and has solid athleticism, which leads to him being a solid rebounder and shot-blocker. 

Taking on Gay is not without risks. His jumper is sporadic, and his stroke is getting worse. He is shooting just 30.4 percent from behind the arc this season. 

Still, Gay is a matchup nightmare and would offer a team valuable versatility. 

Paul Millsap

The Utah Jazz's frontcourt depth has left them in a favorable position. They are free to wheel and deal before the trade deadline.

Back in mid-December, ESPN's Marc Stein stated:

It's a working assumption in front offices all over the league that the Jazz will trade Jefferson or Millsap for a front-line point guard at some point in the next 10 weeks. 

The 27-year-old Millsap is playing on the last year of his contract. This will lessen the amount of value a team will have to ship out to land him, and Millsap can definitely make an impact. 

Millsap is a tough matchup for any power forward, as he is a nice mix of size and athleticism. He is also solid on the boards and on defense. 

He doesn't need a lot of plays run for him to produce, and he is a player that could slide right into a lineup without ruining chemistry.