We're zooming toward the February 21 NBA trade deadline in a flurry of chatter. The Lakers still dominate much of the coverage, but they insist that they're keeping their powder dry this trade season.
Right now, several teams would be well advised to take a swing at the fences. It's hard to compete for a title in the NBA. The list of plausible championship contenders is quite thin after Miami and Oklahoma City.
Sometimes, a huge risk must be taken to vault a team into relevance. Some of the rumors swirling around would qualify as that: The league is aflutter with "big risk, big reward" water testing.
Marc Spears of Yahoo! Sports created a bit of a stir in his Power Rankings when he mentioned that San Antonio was interested in Josh Smith. The athletic Hawks power forward is the kind of player fans don't want until they find out that the Spurs are interested.
Why? Because San Antonio has a penchant for making players better. Kawhi Leonard came to the organization without a working jumper.
Now, Leonard's a career .388 three-point shooter. If the Spurs can elevate Smith's jumper to similar efficiency, they've got a real find. Smoove and Timmy would be a majestic defensive frontcourt also.
KG for Bledsoe/DeAndre is a fascinating trade rumor. I can tell you 2 teams that don't want that trade to happen: OKC and Miami.— Bill Simmons (@BillSimmons) February 4, 2013
Eric Bledsoe and DeAndre Jordan is too much a price for someone who turns 37 in May. If you can reduce that package down to Bledsoe and Caron Butler, it's feasible.
Kevin Garnett would space the floor alongside Blake Griffin, acting as a taller version of David West on offense. Chris Paul loved to work out of the pick-and-pop with West, but has lacked a big-man shooter in Los Angeles. KG would fix that issue while providing stellar defense for at least a season.
While I could see Millsap helping Brooklyn, it's hard to envision what they could possibly trade for the rugged, undersized power forward. I like Millsap better as a fit on the Houston Rockets.
Houston employs a three-point-heavy strategy, and Millsap can hit that shot. Unlike Houston's other "stretch 4" options, Millsap can actually rebound too.
Andrea Bargnani is on the trading block again (per USA Today's Sam Amick), mere months after completing his reclamation season. It would seem that Bargs' defensive competence under coach Dwane Casey was merely a mirage.
Or, Tom Thibodeau and the Bulls could make it work. For all Bargnani's defensive failings, he's tall and long-limbed.
Carlos Boozer is not. A Boozer-Bargs swap might help Chicago spread the floor on offense, and they might even gain something defensively. Don't laugh this option off.
So many teams are calling about J.J. Redick (per Orlando Sentinel's Josh Robbins). It's because mobile shooters are rare commodities, and because Orlando already has a shooting guard in Arron Afflalo.
ESPN.com's Tom Haberstroh mentioned that the Grizzlies need three-point shooting, so Redick makes sense as a target. J.J. has already demonstrated that he won't derail a top defense, and he could give Memphis some sorely needed spacing.
The issue is whether Orlando wants to part with their asset. Just because teams crave J.J. doesn't mean Orlando wants to deal him.
Carmelo Anthony is against trading Iman Shumpert (per New York Post's Marc Berman), but it might make sense for the Knicks. Shumpert, for all his fans, has yet to prove an above-average NBA player. He's only in his second season, so that's not a damning statement. It's just that, New York's window might close by the time Shump gets there.
Right now, he's a poor offensive player and a gamble-prone defensive player. His defensive potential is immense, but he's yet to harness it.
Jared Dudley, on the other hand, is an above-average NBA player. He's also a three-point sniper and a guy who can switch onto multiple positions. For New York's short-term purposes, Dudley fits.