NBA Trade Rumors: Latest Buzz on Josh Smith, DeJuan Blair and Paul Millsap
With a little over a week until the NBA trade deadline, teams are hustling to bring in or send out talent in order to shape their roster for the regular season's final stretch.
While some are aiming to improve their rotation for a deep playoff run in 2013, others will be looking to part ways with coveted talents in order to cut costs and rebuild for the future.
Here we'll recap some of the latest trade buzz floating around this February.
Spurs Interested in Josh Smith?
The San Antonio Spurs are the first NBA team to 40 wins this season, but that doesn't mean the Western Conference powerhouse is content to head into the year's final stretch without making a blockbuster move.
Yahoo! Sports' Marc J. Spears included the following in his power rankings on Tuesday:
The Spurs are among the teams with interest in Hawks forward Josh Smith, a source told Yahoo! Sports. Keep in mind, Hawks general manager Danny Ferry was previously with the Spurs.
If San Antonio has weaknesses anywhere, it's that it is vulnerable on the boards and lacks the right mix of youth and experience to contend with the Oklahoma City Thunder in a seven-game playoff series.
Acquiring Smith, who will become a free agent this summer, would help the Spurs move up from 25th in rebounds per game, and also give them an explosive scorer to pair with Tim Duncan in the front court. The 27-year-old Smith is averaging 17.1 points and 8.6 rebounds per game this season for Atlanta.
Paul Millsap Odd Man Out in Utah?
It's looking more and more likely that the Utah Jazz will make a trade before the Feb. 21 deadline this winter, and it now looks as if Paul Millsap is the favorite to be moved.
Comcast NBA analyst Ric Bucher reported the following on Monday:
Latest word on Utah Jazz and who they'll keep vs. deal between Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap: Jefferson is the likeliest to stay right now, according to several opposing team executives. Consensus is the Jazz can't afford to keep both with Gordon Hayward soon to be eligible for an extension and the belief that Hayward is in the team's long-term plans.
The Jazz are in the mix in the Western Conference playoff race, but must try to get something in return for either one of its two big men as both will become free agents at season's end.
Jefferson and Millsap are Utah's two leading scorers and rebounders this season, so parting ways with either one is certainly going to hurt the Jazz's chances of making a deep playoff run in the loaded Western Conference.
DeJuan Blair Being Shopped?
San Antonio Spurs role player DeJuan Blair has seen a tremendous decline in minutes this season, averaging just 13.7 per night after averaging a little over 21 per game from 2010 to 2012.
ESPN's Chris Broussard tweeted the following on Monday regarding Blair and the Spurs:
Will SA finally part with DeJuan Blair? Word is he could be gone before 2/21. SA talked with Toronto wks ago but nothing brewing now.— Chris Broussard (@Chris_Broussard) February 12, 2013
SA offered D Blair to Detroit but nothing. Hear Boston, Miami, Portland could have interest.— Chris Broussard (@Chris_Broussard) February 12, 2013
Blair, who will become a free agent at the end of the season, is shooting a career-worst 49 percent from the field this season, and averaging a career-low 5.2 points and 3.9 rebounds per game as well.
Still, the relentless reserve is only 23 years old, and can offer a lot to a team in need of an interior presence to bring off the bench. Blair has four seasons of NBA experience under his belt and is one of the more fundamentally-sound rebounders in basketball.
It also doesn't hurt that Blair's been coached by one of the all-time greats, Gregg Popovich since being drafted by the Spurs in 2009.
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