The NBA trading deadline is exactly two weeks away.
With teams jostling for playoff position, several general managers are faced with the task of trying to decide whether to sit tight or swing a deal.
And yet, it would behoove some teams to hold onto their assets. While the allure of a trade may entice them or logic may dictate it is time to sell off some of the farm and try to re-stock, the grass is not always greener on the other side.
For the purpose of this exercise, the following players are all guys who have been involved in rumors this season. There is currently interest in them from other teams and there exists the possibility of them being moved in the next couple weeks.
But, all of them are worth more to their current teams than what they could receive in return for them in a trade.
Kevin Garnett is the identity of the Boston Celtics.
Since his arrival (along with Ray Allen's) in Boston in 2007, KG has brought in a new era of success in Beantown.
With Allen having departed for South Beach last summer and Garnett and Paul Pierce aging, the Celtics were relying on Rajon Rondo to carry the torch as he enters his prime.
That all changed on Jan. 27 when it was announced Rondo tore his ACL and would miss the rest of the season. Boston's playoff hopes seemed to be collapsing.
Raise your hand if you thought the Celtics would have won their first five games without their All-Star point guard? No, really...put your hand down. You know you didn't.
Doc Rivers has rallied the troops once again and everybody is picking up the slack. The bench has stepped up to provide more offense. The whole team is sharing the ball. The star players, Garnett and Pierce, have shouldered more of the load themselves.
Garnett scored a season-high 27 points Wednesday night against the Toronto Raptors. After the game, he wrapped up the essence of what he brings to the Celtics:
"We're fighters," Garnett said. "We're a team that's going to compete for 48 minutes. It's not always pretty. We're not perfect. We're human beings. But we play hard, we do our best to go out and try to perfect the game plan."
Whether he rubs you the wrong way or not, Garnett embodies the attitude that Rivers and the Celtics want to exude. Also, he possesses a no-trade clause that he can use to block any trade. So he is in control of the situation.
But he's getting long in the tooth and, realistically, the Celtics' chances of competing for a championship without Rondo are not great.
Hello, Danny Ainge. Meet rock and hard place.
Rumors have linked the Celtics and Los Angeles Clippers as possible trade partners for Garnett, with Eric Bledsoe and Caron Butler going to Boston. Another rumor has suggested the Clippers would be agreeable to replacing Butler with DeAndre Jordan in their trade proposal.
Bledsoe is a good get, a guy who has the potential to be a star even though he plays the same position as Rondo.
But is trading away the heart and soul of the team worth the chase for the next star?
We will find out how Ainge feels about that question in the next couple of weeks.
Pau Gasol's foot has certainly thrown a wrench into any trade plans. But that may be a blessing in disguise for the Los Angeles Lakers.
Gasol's name has been in trade rumors for years. Uniforms of different teams have seemingly been photoshopped on Gasol's body over and over in anticipation of a rumored trade.
But Gasol has stood entrenched in Los Angeles to this day.
He's not doing much standing these days, though. A torn plantar fascia in his right foot has sidelined him for at least four weeks.
Gasol is far more valuable to the Lakers than, perhaps, even the Lakers know.
First off, he's having the worst season of his career. After battling foot problems for a couple months, he is averaging just 13 points and eight rebounds per game. The past three years, he has been more of an 18-point, 10-rebound guy. So, his trade value has taken a big hit this season.
But in the two games right before he suffered his injury, Gasol was back to his old self with Howard out of the lineup. He averaged 22.5 points and 11 rebounds against Minnesota and Detroit and was back to being the highly-skilled big man we had grown accustomed to seeing. The comfort level that Kobe Bryant shares with Gasol is not to be discounted, either.
That illustrates the next point. Howard is a free agent this summer. With the struggles the Lakers have had trying to balance the needs and skills of Howard, Gasol, Kobe and Steve Nash, there is no guarantee that the Lakers want him back or that Howard wants to return.
If L.A. was to trade Gasol and then lose Howard in the offseason, they would be without both of their big men and back to the drawing board.
So now that Gasol is on the shelf, other teams may not be as interested in acquiring him. That may be best in the long run for the Lakers.
The Houston Rockets are in need of an upgrade at the power forward position. If they look to fill that need at the trade deadline, the most valuable trading chip they have is Chandler Parsons.
That is where general manager Daryl Morey should hang up the phone.
Don't. Trade. Parsons.
Parsons is one of the best values in the whole league. He's young (24 years old). Earning less than $3 million through the 2014-15 season, he's extremely cheap. He is already one of the best players on the Rockets and his skill set allows him to do a little bit of everything.
With all that in mind, it's tough to envision the Rockets getting back anything that is more valuable than what they already have in Parsons between his current production and his upside in the future.
If the Rockets are going to bring in another power forward before the deadline, it would be wise to do so without including Parsons in the trade.
There is far too much to hold onto with him to risk letting go.
All the things said about Kevin Garnett being the heart and soul of the Celtics?
Just spill that on over to Paul Pierce, too.
The life-long Celtic is in his 15th season in Beantown. He has been through the bad and the good. He has worked his way into the conversation of who is among the greatest Celtics of all-time.
What Pierce means to the franchise and the city of Boston cannot be replaced. There is significant intrinsic value in that that will be lost if he is traded.
Just like with Garnett, rumors have surfaced placing Pierce back in his hometown of Los Angeles with the Clippers.
And just like Gasol, Pierce is having a down year statistically. At 35-years-old, he is a step slower than the man who garnered the nickname "The Truth." He is averaging 18.5 points and his 41 percent shooting is the lowest since the 2003-04 season.
If Danny Ainge is going to trade away either Pierce or Garnett, he will do so with the intent to bring back the pieces to what he hopes will start the next Celtics dynasty.
Can an aging Pierce bring those pieces back or are the Celtics better off holding onto him for what he brings to Doc Rivers' club?
One thing's for sure: Pierce is not in the mood to rebuild once again.
When the Memphis Grizzlies sent Marreese Speights, Josh Selby and Wayne Ellington to the Cleveland Cavaliers last month, it looked liked they had solved their salary cap troubles by saving more than $6 million in salaries.
That was going to make it feasible for Memphis to keep both Rudy Gay and Zach Randolph in Grizzlies uniforms for the foreseeable future.
Then Gay got dealt to Toronto just a week later.
The Grizzlies were expected to compete for the Western Conference crown and they up and got rid of their leading scorer in Gay. With Tayshaun Prince, Austin Daye and Ed Davis joining the Grizzlies in the trade, Memphis may have a bit more depth. But it was done in the name of ridding the team of a premium talent.
Is this a team still trying to contend this year or a team under new ownership looking to cut costs and re-tool for the future?
Getting rid of Randolph would be getting rid of the team's most popular player and completely put a sour taste in the mouths of Memphis fans. Unless the new owners do not fear a backlash from the people paying for tickets, they should figure out a way to keep Randolph and build around him, Marc Gasol and Mike Conley.