In today's NBA, most of the elite players have one similar attribute: they're great at scoring. With the February 21 trade deadline right around the corner, there's plenty of scoring fiends headlining current NBA rumors.
You can't win in the NBA without scoring some points, and offense is a much needed commodity for many a team. An elite scorer can turn any team from dud to stud.
With plenty going on in the rumor mill, here are some of the top scorers whose names are swirling around this February.
Josh Smith, F
The Hawks and Josh Smith have been at odds for some time now—a recent article by SI's Ben Golliver reported that the forward is being shopped by Atlanta.
Golliver reports that the Hawks are unwilling to give Smith a five-year max contract after this season and have decided to put him on the block. Both sides are apparently prepared to move on.
Despite the attitude issues towards his current team, Smith remains a proficient scorer on the court.
The 27-year-old is averaging 17.4 points a game this season, up from his career average of 15.2. He's shooting 46 percent from the floor, and a career high 35.4 percent from three-point range.
Over his last seven seasons, Smith has never averaged less than 15.6 points a game. He's also got the athleticism and flexibility to play either forward position.
His personality may not always be the best, but his ability to find the basket is always there. Teams looking to land Smith will see instant improvements in their scoring efforts.
Eric Gordon, SG
It seems ridiculous that the Hornets would be shopping Eric Gordon, but apparently the team has been making calls.
In a recent article, ESPN's Chris Broussard wrote:
We all know Eric Gordon wanted to sign with Phoenix last summer and many around the league believe he would still rather not be in New Orleans. That's prompted several clubs to call the Hornets about Gordon's availability. Those calls, in turn, led New Orleans to start calling around to gauge Gordon's trade value.
While it's still a long shot that New Orleans would move Gordon, the fact that it's actively calling other teams is a sign that he could be on the move.
Interest in Gordon should be high, as he's evolved into a great scorer over the years.
The 24-year-old posted back-to-back seasons averaging over 20 points per game from 2010-2012. This season, he's averaging 16.4, but shooting 40.3 percent from the floor and 35.7 percent on threes.
Gordon is a young and proficient scorer, and he can help nearly every team in the league. Don't be surprised if the Hornets find a big haul for him before the trade deadline.
Brandon Jennings, PG
Milwaukee claims Brandon Jennings is unavailable, but ESPN's Chad Ford isn't so sure. In a recent article, Ford wrote about Jennings:
Jennings has, according to one source, "irreconcilable differences" with Milwaukee. He's frustrated, according to sources, that the two sides weren't able to work out a long-term extension this summer. In addition, he feels as though he doesn't get the attention he deserves and wants a bigger market to take his talents to.
He recently changed agents in an attempt to get some traction on his relocation. Jennings' marching orders for his new representation? Get him out of Milwaukee...
Just in his fourth season in the NBA, Jennings has already emerged as one of the top scorers at the point guard position.
In his career, Jennings is averaging 17.2 points per game. He's posted an average of 18.5 points per game this season, while shooting 39.5 percent from the floor and 36.4 percent from beyond the arc.
Jennings' career low in points per game is just 15.5. That was in his rookie year.
The young guard is a great scoring threat, especially at one of the NBA's thinnest positions. It seems absurd that the Bucks would move him, but if the picture is as bad as Ford paints, than a move could be coming.
J.J. Redick, SG
J.J. Redick is a name that continues to swirl in NBA rumors, despite a recent ESPN report by Nick Borges that states the contrary.
Whether the Magic are actively shopping Redick or not, the fact remains that teams continue to come-a-knocking. Most recently the Bucks have hopped in the discussion, per ESPN's Marc Stein:
Marc Stein @ESPNSteinLine
Weekend Dime addendum: Milwaukee now in mix for Magic's JJ Redick. Bucks, I'm told, assessing their ability to retain sharpshooter long term2/9/2013, 3:44:09 PM
Redick is a solid all-around player, and he's always been a sharp shooter. But he's really come into his own this year.
The 28-year-old is posting career highs in points per game (15.3) and field goal percentage (45.9 percent). A lifetime 40.0 percent shooter from three-point range, Redick is shooting 40.3 from downtown this season.
All things considered, Redick is arguably the best shooter available this February.
If the Bucks are knocking on Orlando's door, and if both Redick and Jennings are available, this could be a potential matchup for a blockbuster.
A direct swap wouldn't exactly cut it—Jennings has far more value—but it could be the building blocks of a deal.
Paul Pierce, SF
Paul Pierce has been a top name in the rumor mill since Rajon Rondo's season-ending injury in January, and he remains a great option for any team looking for a scorer.
Even at 35 years old, Pierce remains one of the league's best scorers. This season, the small forward is averaging 18.5 points per game, while shooting 41.5 percent from the field.
Pierce is on the downside of his career, but he's not showing it right now. His ability to make baskets, combined with his veteran leadership, make him a valuable asset for any team.
With a flexible contract and plenty of things to offer, Boston will be hard pressed to keep Pierce after the February 21 trade deadline.
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