With NBA executives maintaining persistent dialogue at this time of the season, trade rumors leading up to the February 21 trade deadline are always swirling.
Contenders are looking to get better and teams out of contention plan to rebuild for the future. Fifty or more games have now created a pretty clear picture for those teams and the time to act is closing in.
With salary cap concerns, matching contracts and hefty luxury tax penalties, making deals in the NBA is not a simple venture. Everything has to match up perfectly, which is why so many rumored deals fall through the cracks this time of year.
Still, there is often some substance behind trade rumors. We’ll take a look at some of the most recent trade talk from around the NBA.
There is a new rumor involving Josh Smith around every turn. The 27-year-old forward is having a terrific season, and while Atlanta is currently sixth in the Eastern Conference standings at 28-22, it’s unlikely the Hawks will make a deep run should they make the playoffs this year.
It seems like Atlanta is intent on at least exploring all options for Smith on the trade market and Legion Sports reports the Hawks have gotten at least one substantial offer:
Brooklyn has been very active in the trade market recently, and according to Chris Broussard of ESPN, the Nets consider landing Smith a high priority.
Smith will be a free agent at the end of the season and it makes sense for Atlanta to shop him. If they can find a suitable package as compensation, the Hawks can avoid losing the star forward without getting anything in return.
Brooklyn has plenty of competition, though, including the San Antonio Spurs, as reported by NBARumors:
The Spurs have the potential to be a dangerous team in the trade market in the coming weeks. They have an incredibly deep roster with plenty of quality trade pieces.
San Antonio’s rumored pursuit of Smith makes sense. It currently possesses the best record in the NBA (41-12) and adding another quality scoring threat to a roster that already includes Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker would make San Antonio an even stronger favorite to represent the West in the NBA finals.
As the earlier Legion Sports tweet suggests, the Nets have reportedly made an offer for Milwaukee forward Ersan Ilyasova:
While it seems unlikely the Bucks just got together a package and started flaunting it about the league to multiple teams, there is likely some truth to this rumor. Back in mid-December, Kurt Helin of Pro Basketball Talk reported that the Nets had serious interest in Ilyasova, even after losing out on the stretch 4 over the summer.
The Nets overspent on Humphries (two years, $24 million) and managing to dump his contract in exchange for a valuable player with Ilyasova’s talent would be an exceptional turn of events.
Still, the Bucks would have to be interested in the package and Brooklyn’s first-round pick would be a nice bonus for a team that may miss the playoffs this season.
As I said before, the Spurs are incredibly deep and they have a ton of valuable trade assets. Enter DeJuan Blair.
He hasn’t been a major contributor for San Antonio this season, and according to Chris Broussard, he is on the trading block:
The Spurs probably don’t see Blair in their long-term plans, so making an attempt to move him before the deadline makes sense. His value will be as high right now as it is going to be all season. With plenty of potential suitors, moving Blair seems like a good possibility.