There are a plethora of NBA players on the trade block this February, but only a few stars on the VIP list.
With this season's trade deadline fast approaching (Feb. 21), teams are analyzing their options and deciding on what directions to take. While some are looking to dump hefty contracts, others are willing to bring them on if it means improving their rosters.
Let's highlight a trio of stars who find themselves available this winter.
Andrea Bargnani, Toronto Raptors, C
The Toronto Raptors made the first big trade splash this winter, bringing in Rudy Gay from the Memphis Grizzlies. But the Raptors may not be done dealing just yet.
This was the team's president and general manager Bryan Colangelo earlier this past week (via Toronto Sun's Ryan Wolstat):
Andrea is a player that has definitely garnered interest. Unfortunately when he gets hurt that takes him off the market. That’s not to say we’re going to trade Andrea…He’s a unique talent, but sometimes a change of address is not bad. I’m not saying he’s asked for a trade, but he would certainly not fight or resist a situation if it was the right situation.
As of right now, Bargnani's future in Toronto is in doubt as he continues to miss games with an elbow injury.
What He Offers
When healthy, Bargnani is a 20-point per game scorer. Unfortunately, he's not the most efficient scorer around. For his career, Bargnani is just a 43.8 percent shooter from the field. However, he is solid from downtown and at the free-throw line, where he is at 36.2 and 86.4 percent respectively for his NBA career.
Defensively, Bargnani isn't going to shut anyone down, but at 7'0", he can certainly get in the way and occupy space.
A team in need of a scorer should pursue Bargnani. When he returns to 100 percent, his shooting numbers will improve and he'll be able to make much more of an impact on the offensive end of the floor. Plus, he's only 27.
Josh Smith, Atlanta Hawks, SF
According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Jeff Schultz, Hawks small forward Josh Smith may not be long for Atlanta:
This is all that matters right now about Smith, specifically regarding his tenuous future with the Hawks: His contract is expiring and his asking price for a new one is going to be high. It's going to hit the ceiling. It's why his days in Atlanta may be numbered.
More recently, HOOPSWORLD's Alex Kennedy reported that the Phoenix Suns were interested in acquiring the 27-year-old Smith:
The Suns are pursuing Josh Smith, according to multiple league sources. Phoenix will try to acquire Smith before the deadline or, if that fails, through a sign-and-trade deal next offseason.
John Gambadoro, a radio host for 620 KTAR in Phoenix, has since shot down Kennedy's report. But we do know Smith is on the block and the Suns need help.
What He Offers
I'm not sure that Josh Smith possesses the consistency to build a franchise around, even if he has all of the athletic talent in the world. He's 6'9", 225 pounds, can shoot the ball, leap, defend and bring the ball up the court when called upon to do so.
Smith will get you 16 points and eight rebounds most nights, but the spectacular performances are too few and far between.
The biggest plus with Smith is that he boasts a unique blend of youth and experience. He's been around for nine seasons and still has at least five strong years left in him.
Tyreke Evans, Sacramento Kings, PG
The Sacramento Kings franchise has a lot on its plate right now, and with the team preparing for big chances soon, superstar guard Tyreke Evans may be one of the players let go before the Feb. 21 deadline.
This from ESPN NBA insider Marc Stein:
A couple of teams consulted have volunteered the notion that Kings GM Geoff Petrie is ready to move Evans, but you have to wonder how much shot-calling Petrie can do at the minute.
Evans offered up the following response to CSNPhilly.com's Jabari Young as to whether he'd like to be traded:
Not really, I’m good. I like playing for the Kings. I’d love to be here.
Kings head coach Keith Smart has moved Evans around a lot this season, trying him at different spots in different rotations. It hasn't produced ideal results, but Evans has certainly remained an impact player for the struggling franchise.
What He Offers
At age 23, there should be no shortage of NBA teams looking to bring on Tyreke Evans.
Although the major concern with him is that he doesn't fit the prototypical point or shooting guard mold, he is still a fantastic NBA-caliber basketball player.
Evans has yet to find the success he achieved in his rookie season back in 2009-10, but can still go out and score 15 points on a given night. His assist numbers have never been great, but he's not a selfish player by any stretch.
With Evans, the talent and the potential are there, it's just a matter of harnessing them and maximizing on them.
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