With the NBA trade deadline looming on February 21, the rumors are starting to come in droves around NBA circles.
Old names are once again making the rounds. New commodities are being dangled by teams in need of adding pieces elsewhere. And for now, Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol are still Los Angeles Lakers.
Hey, what would a rumors piece be without those two names, right?
But there are plenty of players who could be on the move, including a very intriguing one on the Los Angeles Clippers and a member of the Atlanta Hawks who always seems to be included in the rumor mill. Let's break down the latest NBA trade buzz.
Eric Bledsoe Moving to the Utah Jazz for Paul Millsap?
As you'll see, Eric Bledsoe of the Los Angeles Clippers has become a hot name in trade talks around the league. One team that could ultimately be a destination for Bledsoe is the Utah Jazz:
Sources with knowledge of the situation told ESPN.com late Saturday there is a level of mutual interest between the Clippers and Utah Jazz in exploring a deal that would feature Bledsoe as the headliner in a trade package for Jazz forward Paul Millsap.
Although two sources with knowledge of the Clippers' thinking insisted during All-Star Weekend that Bledsoe would not be moved in coming days and strongly predicted L.A. would stand pat, two other sources indicated the Clippers and Jazz will at least discuss the feasibility of a trade headlined by Bledsoe and Millsap before the deadline.
Bledsoe is averaging 9.6 points and 3.3 assists in 21.8 minutes per game, but as ESPN Fantasy Basketball writes, "in 12 games as a starter this season, Bledsoe averaged 14.2 points, 4.8 rebounds, 5.3 assists, 2.5 steals, 1.3 blocks, and 0.6 three-pointers in 34 minutes per game."
In other words, he's a player with a lot of potential.
Obviously, Millsap is a very good post option for the Clippers. On the season, he's averaging 15.1 points and 7.4 rebounds per game. Don't be surprised if this deal goes down at some point this week.
Will Kevin Garnett Head to the Los Angeles Clippers?
Probably not. While the Clippers have had serious interest in Garnett—and the rumors of that interest have been buzzing around the league for the past two weeks—it remains unlikely that Garnett will waive his no-trade clause.
The Boston Celtics have expressed the league's most well-chronicled interest in trading for Bledsoe, through a deal that would require Celtics forward Kevin Garnett to waive his no-trade clause so Boston could send Garnett to L.A. for Bledsoe and either young center DeAndre Jordan or veteran forward Caron Butler.
But Garnett was adamant Saturday in a media session with reporters in conjunction with the East's All-Star practice in Houston that there is no scenario in which he'd consent to waive the no-trade clause, irrespective of his close relationship with Clippers guard Chauncey Billups or the fact that he makes his offseason home in Malibu.
Garnett has already been quoted as saying "If it's up to me, I will live and die green," according to Arash Markazi of ESPN, so it would seem he's made his mind up.
Still, if the Celtics can convince Garnett waiving his no-trade clause would help the team in the future—and landing Bledsoe and Jordan would certainly accomplish that feat—perhaps Garnett can be convinced to head west.
It's unlikely Garnett will be moved, but I wouldn't totally dismiss the possibility altogether just yet.
Josh Smith Remains a Popular Target Around the League
There aren't many power forwards as athletic in the NBA as Josh Smith of the Atlanta Hawks, and many teams around the league are clamoring to add a player that averages 17.4 points and 8.6 rebounds per game.
Many, many teams. From Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports:
Still many involved for Atlanta's Josh Smith, including Bucks, Nets, Celtics, 76ers, Wizards, others, sources say. Strong belief he's moved.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) February 17, 2013
I would be shocked if Smith was still a Hawk after the trade deadline. It's risky for the team to go into this offseason with the possibility of losing Smith, and if they do trade him there's always the slight possibility they could sign him this summer.