NBA Trade Rumors: Latest Speculation Entering All-Star Break

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NBA Trade Rumors: Latest Speculation Entering All-Star Break
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No time in the NBA season is quite like the trade deadline. Players who have been on the block all year are suddenly being sought after by every club in the league, and names you never anticipated seeing on the market are suddenly popping up in articles left and right.

The 2012-13 season has been as memorable as any in recent league history, and that includes the pre-All-Star trade speculation. The Memphis Grizzlies' decision to trade Rudy Gay has set off a whole new wave of potential deals as teams have been talking about moving not only role players and spot starters, but outright star talent.

Players like Josh Smith and Al Jefferson are no strangers to the trading block, but you might be surprised to read about the futures of budding young guards like Brandon Jennings and Evan Turner.

As we enter the only extended break of the brutal NBA season, let's take stock of the current crop of trade rumors and assess what could happen come February 21.

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Brandon Jennings

The Milwaukee Bucks remain in the hunt for an Eastern Conference playoff seed, but star point guard Brandon Jennings' future with the team has been in serious question. 

Jennings, who is posting 18.5 points, 3.3 rebounds and 6.1 assists per game, but shooting just 39.5 percent from the floor, will be a restricted free agent in the 2013 offseason.

With Monta Ellis on the roster and Jennings not showing the growth many expected in the point guard's fourth season, it is highly possible the Bucks' front office will look to deal him this midseason.

According to ESPN's Marc Stein, the Dallas Mavericks are one team that could be in the mix for Jennings. Darren Collison has been inconsistent. While a backcourt of Jennings and O.J. Mayo would be mercurial to say the least, it would be something the Mavs could build around once Dirk Nowitzki departs.

Do not pencil a Jennings deal in as a guarantee though, as Chris Broussard, also of ESPN, tweeted a quote from Jennings saying he is not discontent with the Bucks' organization.

Offers will be undoubtedly floated around for the talented scorer, but do not expect him to be moved in February.

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Evan Turner

One of the more surprising trade rumors in 2012-13 has been that the Philadelphia 76ers are willing to part with promising young swingman Evan Turner. The report came from Marc Stein, who said that the team is willing to make a move to aid blossoming point guard Jrue Holiday while they await the return of All-Star center Andrew Bynum.

Although his shooting has been streaky, Turner is averaging 13.6 points, 6.6 rebounds and 4.5 assists per night while logging time at shooting guard, small forward and even point guard for brief stints.

Turner came into his own during the 2012 playoffs and started the 2012-13 campaign well before, like his team, he began to struggle in the new year.

With Jason Richardson set to miss the remainder of the season due to a knee injury, it would be surprising to see Philadelphia deal their best wing player. Turner himself has attempted to ignore the rumors and focus on helping the Sixers attempt to earn a third consecutive postseason berth.

Plenty of teams could use a versatile athlete like Turner, but no concrete details have emerged, and it would be shocking to see him don another jersey before the start of the 2013-14 campaign, after which his rookie contract expires.

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Josh Smith

Easily one of the most sought-after players on the trading block, the Atlanta Hawks' Josh Smith has seen his name constantly in the midst of rumors yet again. Smith is an incredible talent and a truly multi-dimensional player, but his tenure with Atlanta has at times been rocky, and there are plenty of teams that would love to acquire the combo-forward.

One rumor, per Chris Broussard, has the Brooklyn Nets pursuing Smith, who is posting 17.1 points, 8.6 boards and four dimes per game while blocking 2.1 shots. The Nets' Kris Humphries has not lived up to expectations since signing a lucrative contract in the 2012 offseason, and Smith would give them a young athlete to run the floor alongside Deron Williams.

Another possible suitor has emerged in the San Antonio Spurs, according to Yahoo! Sports' Marc J. Spears. Though San Antonio is once again planted at the top of the Western Conference, the team has had their hearts broken in the playoffs for two straight seasons.

Smith would give this veteran-laden team a nice explosive frontcourt threat who, alongside Tim Duncan, would make it nearly impossible for opponents to get to the rim. Smith would also be capable of playing small forward in big lineups and would give Gregg Popovich plenty of intriguing lineup options.

It is certainly possible Atlanta holds on to Smith since they are in the playoff hunt themselves, but with rumors persisting, Smith could end up as the biggest name dealt before February 21.

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Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett

When Rajon Rondo went down with a torn ACL, Boston Celtics fans and insiders immediately began to debate whether the team would deal their two veteran leaders and fully enter the rebuilding process.

Rumors about Kevin Garnett being shipped to the Los Angeles Clippers were quashed, as the combination of Garnett's no-trade clause and Los Angeles' fairly underwhelming offer of Caron Butler and Eric Bledsoe simply would not have been enough return for Boston giving up their emotional leader.

Marc Stein discussed the possibility of Paul Pierce, an L.A. native, returning to the Clippers, but no proof of talks for Pierce emerged.

Garnett is averaging 15.2 points, 7.6 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game while Pierce, who has taken on more of a facilitator role, is posting 18.7 points, 6.4 boards and 4.4 assists per game, albeit on 41.9 percent shooting from the field.

With Leandro Barbosa missing the remainder of the 2012-13 season with an ACL tear of his own, it behooves Boston to stand pat and look to either make a minor deal or add pieces through free agency and the D-League.

Even with the injuries piling up the Celtics have captured some momentum, going 8-1 without Rondo, and it would be foolish to deal their most important players midway through the year.

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Iman Shumpert

Per ESPN New York's Jared Zwerling, the New York Knicks will not be dealing defensive-standout Iman Shumpert.

Mike Woodson announced that Shumpert would be staying put a few days after superstar Carmelo Anthony voiced his displeasure that his club was even entertaining the notion of shipping out Shumpert.

Shumpert has not looked stellar returning from an ACL tear in the 2012 playoffs, but remains an elite wing defender and should find his way as the season progresses. Rumors were centered around Shump heading to the Phoenix Suns, but that is simply not going to happen.

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Al Jefferson

Phoenix may have struck out in the Iman Shumpert department, but according to the Arizona Republic's Paul Coro, the Suns are now interested in acquiring Utah Jazz big man Al Jefferson.

Jefferson, who is in the final year of his contract, is averaging 17.5 points, 9.4 rebounds and 2.1 assists on 48.5 percent shooting for a Jazz team that appears poised to sneak into the playoffs in a brutal Western Conference.

Phoenix could potentially offer Marcin Gortat, a true center who could slide into the starting lineup, in Jefferson's stead. The team could also offer Jared Dudley and even one of their first round picks, since they own the L.A. Lakers 2013 first-rounder in addition to their own.

However, because of salaries and the Jazz's slew of young big men, do not expect Utah to pull off a deal unless they can net a solid backcourt piece. Trading for Gortat would help salary-wise, but would only further the problem of the Jazz's crowded rotation up front.

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Luke Ridnour

Point guard play has been an issue at times for the New York Knicks, and Hoopsworld's Alex Kennedy recently tweeted that the Knicks are interested in acquiring veteran Luke Ridnour from the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Ridnour, sharing minutes with Ricky Rubio and J.J. Barea, has logged time at both guard positions and is averaging 12.2 points, 2.9 rebounds and 3.9 dimes on respectable 46.3 percent shooting from the floor.

Acquiring Ridnour would give New York an excellent back-up to Raymond Felton and allow the team to keep Jason Kidd fresh and ready for hopefully a deep postseason run.

Though he does not offer much on the defensive end of the floor, Ridnour can run a team's offense well and is a scoring threat thanks to his strong handle.

Although not a blockbuster move, a trade like this could be just what New York needs and could potentially put the squad over the top.

 


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