It's that time of the season when the rumor mill is churning in the NBA.
With the Feb. 21 trade deadline about a week away, trade talk is beginning to heat up throughout the Association.
Several big names have been tossed around, from the stars to the time-tested veterans. Some younger players with untapped potential also find rumors circling over their heads.
Here's a look at the latest trade buzz causing electricity throughout the NBA.
Interest in Bucks' Ersan Ilyasova?
The Toronto Raptors and Brooklyn Nets have inquired about Milwaukee Bucks forward Ersan Ilyasova, according to Steve Kyler of HoopsWorld.com.
It's unclear whether the Bucks would seriously consider trading the fifth-year forward, but his inconsistency this season after a big contract in the offseason does have Milwaukee disappointed.
Ilyasova does have plenty of potential, though. Dating back to the 1979-1980 season (when the three-point line was added), Ilyasova is the only player to shoot 48 percent or better from the floor, 44 percent or better from long distance and grab at least 16 percent of available rebounds when on the court in a single season, according to BehindTheBuckPass.com. That season just happened to be the 2011-2012 campaign.
Ilyasova hasn't been as good a rebounder this season, but he's still shooting 44 percent from downtown.
To me, Toronto would make a lot of sense. Swing DeMar DeRozan over for him and the Raptors have a frontcourt piece to complement their new-and-improved backcourt.
Timberwolves' Luke Ridnour to the Knicks?
According to Alex Kennedy of HoopsWorld.com, the New York Knicks are interested in Minnesota Timberwolves point guard Luke Ridnour.
Ridnour is expendable in Minnesota, but he would provide nice depth alongside the likes of Raymond Felton, Jason Kidd, J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert in New York. He would also be yet another veteran who could be valuable come playoff time.
I wouldn't expect the Knicks to give up much for him, though. They certainly won't give up Shumpert, so you are probably looking at a second-round pick (or picks) if Ridnour lands in New York.
Hawks' Josh Smith to the Spurs Not Likely?
After rumors spread like wildfire that the San Antonio Spurs were interested in Atlanta Hawks forward Josh Smith, beat writer Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News was quick to dismiss any thoughts of a deal going down.
McDonald gave three reasons:
1) The Hawks are primarily interested in acquiring picks. Lottery picks.
2) The Spurs have little to no interest in adding big payroll after this season.
3) (Kawhi) Leonard is borderline untouchable at this point.
McDonald makes very sound points.
The Spurs currently have the best record in the NBA, so the No. 30 pick in the draft isn't exactly a coup for the Hawks if they give up Smith.
Also, second-year forward Kawhi Leonard is held in high esteem by the Spurs. He's grown at an incredible rate in their system (evidenced by his 26 points in Monday's 103-89 victory over the Chicago Bulls) and he does all the little things right.
Why would the Spurs give him up for a rental in Smith who has clearly said he'll be seeking a maximum contract moving forward?
Jazz Forward Paul Millsap to the Nets?
Utah Jazz big man Paul Millsap has been a hot name lately, given he will be a free agent after this season is up and would likely leave Utah.
According to Mitch Lawrence of the New York Daily News, the Brooklyn Nets are interested in Millsap after talks cooled for Atlanta's Josh Smith and Charlotte's Ben Gordon.
While the Jazz probably aren't that interested in MarShon Brooks or Kris Humphries (whom the Nets have reportedly been dangling), Lawrence notes that if a third team entered the mix perhaps a deal could get done.
Millsap offers scoring and rebounding and he can be disruptive on defense. He wouldn't be a bad player for the Nets to add.
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