One of the great advantages about the NBA trade deadline falling so close to the All-Star break is that there is still a lot to talk about even when there aren't any games to discuss.
I mean, you could talk about the All-Star Game, except for the fact that none of the players are really trying. So what is the point in diving deep into it?
Instead, we can spend the weekend relaxing as we prepare to watch a fun game and breaking down all of the latest trade chatter from around the Association. Here are the latest trade rumors heading into All-Star Weekend.
Josh Smith's Suitors Don't Include Philadelphia
It seems like the Atlanta Hawks would love to trade Josh Smith before the deadline to avoid a situation where they have to pay him max money in the offseason or let him go to another franchise and leave them with nothing.
However, one team that reportedly won't be able to help them out are the Philadelphia 76ers. According to John Mitchell of the Philadelphia Inquirer, the 76ers don't like the package of players they would have to give up and not knowing if they would be able to retain Smith after the season.
Websites have speculated about a possible trade that would send Evan Turner and Spencer Hawes to Atlanta for soon-to-be unrestricted free agent Josh Smith, but such a deal would not interest the 76ers, according to two league sources with knowledge of the situation.
The 76ers have struggled this season, though they still have yet to play with a complete roster since Andrew Bynum has not stepped on the court due to injury. They are starved for offense, but you can understand why they need some assurances about the future before doing anything.
Plus, Smith might have an overinflated sense of self worth on the court. He is a very good player, no doubt, but he has said that he believes he is worth a maximum contract. That figures to be a major sticking point in any negotiations he might have after the season.
Al Jefferson Generating a Lot of Interest
Not that this should come as a great surprise, but Ric Bucher of NBC Sports is reporting that Al Jefferson is generating plenty of buzz around the league.
While I noted several days ago that Paul Millsap appeared to be the likelier Jazz big man to be dealt before the February trade deadline, an opposing team executive said there is more league-wide interest in Al Jefferson.
The Jazz are in a good spot right now, as they have enough talent to compete for a playoff spot and generate the extra revenue that comes along with it. They also have arguably the most valuable asset (Jefferson) this deadline and could ask for a lot in return.
It is rare that you find a big man on the market as young as Jefferson (28) who leads his team in scoring and rebounding. Teams are always going to pay more for size, so when you have a chance to maximize his value, and you aren't a title contender, you might as well take it.
Ben Gordon's Attitude the Last Straw for Bobcats?
Playing for the Charlotte Bobcats has to be a frustrating experience, because the team has languished at the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings all season.
One player whose frustrations are bubbling over is Ben Gordon. Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reported the Bobcats are pushing to deal him after an incident in practice.
After a bout of disruptive behavior from Ben Gordon targeted at Charlotte Bobcats coach Mike Dunlap, the franchise's desire to trade the guard has deepened, league sources told Yahoo! Sports.
The reported incident involved Gordon refusing to stop bouncing a ball while Dunlap spoke and "tossing it toward a ball rack."
Gordon is still one of the NBA's best three-point shooters, hitting nearly 41 percent of his attempts beyond the arc this season, so there is value to be found. But this reported incident could lower any offer the Bobcats get for him, since opposing teams know they want to get rid of him.
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