The 2013 NBA trade deadline is less than three weeks away, and the rumors about which big-name stars could be traded are the talk of the sport.
Megastars like Josh Smith and Pau Gasol could find themselves in a new city before the Feb. 21 deadline, and a deal of that magnitude could shake up the landscape of the NBA.
Injuries and poor play have made a few perennial powerhouses suffer, and when the best aren’t playing well enough, organizations start making moves.
It’s going to be a wild three weeks.
Jason Terry, Boston Celtics
After losing star point guard Rajon Rondo to a season-ending knee injury and watching rookie power forward Jared Sullinger go down for the year with back surgery, the Boston Celtics are reportedly ready to dump salary by moving veteran shooting guard Jason Terry.
According to CBS Sports NBA Insider Ken Berger, the injuries and luxury tax issues may force Boston’s hand when it comes to dealing Terry:
With injuries mounting, teams have begun inquiring whether Boston is willing to trade Jason Terry to get under luxury tax, sources say.— Ken Berger (@KBergCBS) February 1, 2013
There are plenty of teams fighting for a playoff spot that would love the outside shooting of Terry, but the inconsistencies in the veteran's play this year will not make a deal easy.
Add in the three-year deal worth $15.6 million Terry is currently signed to, and a team trying to make a deal must have a low payroll already or not be worried about the luxury tax.
Pau Gasol, Los Angeles Lakers
The Los Angeles Lakers have started to turn their season around on offense and defense, but the schematic issues between veteran power forward Pau Gasol and head coach Mike D’Antoni may be irreconcilable when center Dwight Howard returns to the starting lineup.
Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today reports that it could be the Boston Celtics that make a move to acquire Gasol if he has an issue with being a bench player:
But don't rule out Pau Gasol. Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak knows how to execute a big deal, and the season-ending back injury to Celtics rookie forward Jared Sullinger makes Boston even more active in trade talks.
While it would be hard for the Lakers to get the most value for Gasol from a veteran-laden Celtics team, the possibility that L.A. could get a shooting guard like Jason Terry in the deal and another bench presence would be a short-term solution for both teams.
If the Lakers continue to play well, though, Los Angeles will not make a major move at the trade deadline.
Josh Smith, Atlanta Hawks
The biggest name on the trade market right now is Atlanta Hawks power forward Josh Smith, and while his recent troubles with the team (h/t ESPN) should have franchises cautious, this young man is too talented to not get a second chance somewhere besides Atlanta.
Hoopsworld NBA insider Alex Kennedy reports about which teams are at least interested in hearing what it would take to acquire Smith:
I was told that three teams - the Phoenix Suns, Houston Rockets and Charlotte Bobcats - had exploratory talks with the Atlanta Hawks.— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) February 2, 2013
Despite a lack of elite talent around him—something that has plagued the Hawks for years—Smith is averaging 16.9 points, 8.5 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game. Any team looking to contend this postseason or even build around Smith going forward should be kicking the tires on the veteran.
Of all the teams reportedly interested in the forward, the idea of the Houston Rockets (more than enough assets to make a deal happen) adding Smith to an already strong core of young players would be the best long-term coup possible for all parties involved.