But what’s real and what’s not as teams jockey for position to make a run at the NBA championship?
Titles aren’t won and lost in February, but sometimes a team can add an understated but vital piece to its championship puzzle that can send them over the top.
Let’s take a look at some of these deals. These potential trades might not have the biggest exposure, but they are the most likely to actually happen.
Josh Smith to the Houston Rockets
After trading Joe Johnson, the Atlanta Hawks have surprisingly remained a competitive team in the Eastern Conference. Dealing Josh Smith may have deeper consequences for the perennial playoff Hawks.
But getting the most out of Smith, who will test free agency this summer, seems like the best option for the team now.
The Hawks aren’t exactly getting better as the season has progressed, either. The have won just five of their past 10 games and are sixth in the standings with a 26-21 record.
A mid-January report from CBS Sports displayed Smith’s frustration with the team. Despite those frustrations, Wallace Prather, Smith’s agent, did not come out and request a trade from Atlanta for his client. That report also indicated the Hawks had already participated in trade talks with several teams concerning Smith.
Houston, Dallas and Memphis were the teams named that “appeal” to Smith. Sam Amico of Fox Sports Ohio also mentioned that Houston could land Smith this week.
Paul Millsap to the Brooklyn Nets
Like Smith, Utah Jazz big man Paul Millsap is in the final year of his contract and is likely to be moved before the deadline.
Fox Sports’ Sam Amico listed Brooklyn, Milwaukee and Denver as potential destinations for the power forward but noted that they would likely require a sign-and-trade scenario in order to bring him to the Barclays Center.
The emergence of Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter has made Millsap and teammate Al Jefferson expendable, so there really is no downside to dealing him.
The Nets have reduced Kris Humphries' role and are reportedly planning to ship backup center Andray Blatche out of town, according to Amico.
With changes coming in the Nets’ frontcourt, there may very well be some truth to the rumors about their interest in Millsap.
J.J. Redick to the Chicago Bulls
The Chicago Bulls have played admirably while dealing with injuries and the absence of star point guard Derrick Rose for the entire season. Sitting at the third spot in the Eastern Conference standings is a true accomplishment for a team that’s had to fight through all of that adversity.
While the team is certainly playing excellent basketball, it wouldn’t hurt if it could add a precise-shooting rotational player before the deadline.
Alex Kennedy of HOOPSWORLD suggested the Bulls are linked to Orlando’s J.J. Redick. Adding Redick would immediately improve their long-range bench shooting and could help them keep pace with teams like Miami in the scoring department this postseason.
Chicago proposed Redick with a three-year, $19 million offer sheet back in 2010.
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