As the NBA's February trade deadline approaches, more and more names are beginning to crop up in the rumor mill.
With only three weeks left for teams to dump hefty contracts and/or acquire more talent, time is starting to run out, meaning fans should brace themselves for a flurry of moves this winter.
Here we'll track the latest NBA trade buzz and help make some sense of it.
Where Do the Suns Stand on Josh Smith?
The Atlanta Hawks are running out of time to decide on Josh Smith's future. They can either trade him before the deadline and acquire some pieces in return, or they can go forward with him the rest of the way and risk losing him for nothing in free agency this summer.
At least one potential landing spot this winter has reportedly closed, as 620 KTAR sports radio host John Gambadoro says the Phoenix Suns have no interest in the veteran superstar:
The stories about the Suns being interested in Josh Smith are ridiculous, there is zero interest there -ZERO!— John Gambadoro (@Gambo620) February 1, 2013
However, Hoopsworld's Alex Kennedy believes the Suns are looking at a guy like Smith to come in and fill the superstar void, a spot that's been vacant since Steve Nash left this past summer:
The Suns are very interested in Smith and have had exploratory talks with the Atlanta Hawks about the 27-year-old forward. Phoenix views Smith as a franchise player who can be one of the cornerstones of the team for years to come.
The small forward is averaging 16.9 points and 8.5 rebounds per game this season but shooting just 45.1 percent from the field, his worst field-goal percentage since the 2006-07 season.
Clippers Eyeing Kevin Garnett?
According to Sporting News NBA writer Sean Denevey, the Clippers have reached out to the Celtics about acquiring veteran power forward Kevin Garnett:
As Denevey mentions, L.A. could potentially package Eric Bledsoe and Caron Butler in a deal with Boston. Both players are averaging around nine points per game this season, but the Clippers' depth make this trade possible without impacting their title chances.
Garnett, 36, would provide a solid boost to L.A.'s frontcourt.
He's averaging a respectable 14.9 points and 7.3 rebounds per game this season with Boston, but he wouldn't be under nearly as much pressure to score with the Clippers.
And while this rumored deal would help the Clippers in the short term, it wouldn't be bad for the Celtics either, who would pick up a pair of scorers, which they desperately need following Rajon Rondo's season-ending ACL injury.
Could Pau Gasol Join Rudy Gay in Toronto?
The Toronto Raptors have made the first big splash this NBA trade season, acquiring scoring machine Rudy Gay from the Memphis Grizzlies in a three-team deal that also sent Jose Calderon to Detroit.
On Friday, ESPN NBA insider Marc Stein reported the latest on the Raptors and an L.A. big that can't seem to keep his name out of the rumor mill this season:
Raptors president Bryan Colangelo, in the wake of the Gay trade, is now openly acknowledging that he's shopping former No. 1 overall pick Andrea Bargnani. The Lakers' interest in Bargnani remains a matter of debate in the midst of the Italian's worst-ever season by far, but the not-for-public-consumption message that continues to emanate from Canada is that Toronto remains intent on pursuing Gasol even after trading for Gay.
At a news conference Friday, Colangelo acknowledged that the Raptors are prepared to stray into luxury-tax territory in the "right transaction." One source close to the situation says Gasol is a guy who fits those parameters, depending on the rest of potential trade principals besides Bargnani.
Gasol's struggles this season have been well-documented. The 32-year-old, 7'0" power forward has missed a plethora of game this season because of nagging lower-body injuries, and is averaging a career-worst 13 points per game on 45 percent shooting from the field.
The Spaniard would bring considerable star power to Toronto, but as far as effectiveness goes, the Raptors would certainly not be getting the Gasol that helped the Lakers win back-to-back titles in 2009 and 2010.
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