The 2012-13 NBA season is more than halfway over, and while a handful of teams are still alive in the playoff mix, some others are already eyeing lottery picks in the coming 2013 NBA draft.
But until the Feb. 21 deadline, the potential to improve via trade keeps hope alive for many fringe teams that may be playoff-bound, but not championship caliber.
Here we'll track the latest trade buzz surrounding some of the league's top potential movers.
Josh Smith Pondering Future
Atlanta Hawks star Josh Smith's future is far from certain this winter, and ESPN NBA insider Chris Broussard reports via Twitter that the big man is expected to meet with general manager Danny Ferry to discuss his next move sometime this week:
And then there's this from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Jeff Schultz:
Smith has lived with trade rumors for more than two years. But there's a greater sense of urgency to them now because his contract is expiring and Ferry, in the middle of a rebuilding project, might not want to over-commit to one player.
When at his best, the 27-year-old forward is among the most talented players in the league without question, averaging 16.8 points and 8.3 rebounds per game in 2012-13. But he will become a free agent in July.
That fact has sparked constant trade rumors involving Smith, since the Hawks risk losing him for nothing this summer if they opt not to pay him the max money he covets (via Schultz).
Atlanta is in the playoff hunt in the Eastern Conference, but they aren't close to challenging the defending champion Miami Heat. With Ferry knowing just as well as everyone else that the Hawks aren't likely to win a championship in 2013, perhaps he'll look to cut ties with Smith via a trade and acquire some solid pieces in return.
Rodney Stuckey's Time Running Out?
Detroit Pistons point guard Rodney Stuckey was placed on the inactive list by head coach Lawrence Frank on Sunday, and that move has many wondering about the veteran's future in the Motor City as the NBA trade deadline approaches.
Frank certainly didn't help defuse the situation with these comments after Detroit's win over Orlando on Sunday (via The Detroit News' Vincent Goodwill):
It's just a coach's decision. You're going to probe and do your job and I'm sorry I'm not giving you the answer you want, but we keep that in the locker room.
The 26-year-old floor general is struggling to perform in Frank's system this season, averaging just 11.4 points and four assists per game.
Detroit Pistons president of basketball operations Joe Dumars shot down trade rumors on Sunday night, but with plenty of moves sure to be made over the next three weeks in lead-up to the Feb. 21 deadline, plans could certainly change.
Is J.J. Redick Available?
The Boston Celtics have interest in veteran sharpshooter J.J. Redick, according to ESPN NBA insider Marc Stein via Twitter:
The question is, will Redick be available before the Feb. 21 trade deadline?
The Orlando Magic are way behind in the Eastern Conference playoff race, but Redick has shown promise in recent seasons and is currently the team's fourth-leading scorer this season, averaging 15 points per game on 45 percent shooting from the field and 40 percent shooting from beyond the arc.
Regardless of whether three weeks from now the Magic would be willing to deal their best shooter, one thing is for sure, the Celtics are in dire need of making a move this winter having lost six of their last seven games overall and point guard Rajon Rondo for the rest of the season to a torn ACL.
Boston ranks 20th in the league in scoring offense (95.1 PPG) and could benefit immensely by acquiring a perimeter scorer of Redick's caliber.
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