Trade rumors are beginning to heat up as we approach the Feb. 21 NBA trade deadline.
Big names are being thrown around, as well as some names that could complement playoff contenders down the stretch.
From point guards to power forwards to centers, there's a little bit for everyone leading up to the deadline. Here's a look at the latest chatter from around the Association, complete with analysis.
Eric Bledsoe for Paul Millsap?
The Los Angeles Clippers have had talks about sending point guard Eric Bledsoe to the Utah Jazz in a package deal for forward Paul Millsap, according to Ramona Shelburne and Marc Stein of ESPN.com.
There appears to be a conflict among sources as to whether the Clippers will move Bledsoe at the deadline or not.
This seems to make more sense for the Clippers than the Jazz. While the Jazz are in need of a No. 1 point guard, Bledsoe has never demonstrated in his career that he's a pure point guard. His assist-to-turnover ratio this season (1.67) ranks eighth-to-last among point guards averaging 20 minutes or more, via Hoopdata.com.
Bledsoe deserves credit for improving offensively this season, but he still hasn't proven he can be a No. 1 facilitator. In my mind, he's best coming off the bench, where he can contribute both offensively and defensively.
The Clippers, of course, would love to add a high-caliber player like Millsap for frontcourt depth. I just don't know why the Jazz would do it, unless they really believe Bledsoe can become a pure point guard in time (he's only 23 years old, so there is still some potential for him in that area).
DeAndre Jordan Headed Out of Los Angeles?
Sean Deveney of Sporting News reported on Saturday that sources claimed DeAndre Jordan and head coach Vinny Del Negro have "clashed over playing time" this season. It could lead to the 24-year-old center being traded before the Feb. 21 deadline.
On the other hand, it's unclear who the Clippers would go after in a trade.
Kevin Garnett has been linked to the Clippers, but he's said he won't waive his no-trade clause. While Del Negro reportedly would be willing to give up Jordan and Bledsoe for him (via Chris Broussard of ESPN), the Clippers' front office isn't on the same page.
There's also the fact that Jordan is owed $23 million over the next two years. Do the Celtics really want to take on that kind of money, especially given his well-documented limitations on offense?
I don't think Garnett will be traded, and I certainly don't think he will be moved in exchange for Jordan.
Bucks Looking to Trade?
It would be a surprise if at least one Milwaukee Buck isn't traded by the deadline.
Gery Woelfel of the Journal Times cites "league sources" as saying that guard Monta Ellis and center Samuel Dalembert are the most likely to go, but guard Beno Udrih and forwards Ersan Ilyasova and Mike Dunleavy are also in play. Point guard Brandon Jennings doesn't appear likely to be moved at this point.
Ellis' value is hard to pin down. He's a dynamic scorer, but his troubles defending bigger guards can make him a liability in that sense. On the other hand, he's averaging 1.9 steals this season, sixth in the NBA. He ranks third in "defensive plays" (steals, blocks and charges taken) among all guards averaging 30 minutes or more, per Hoopdata.com.
Dalembert has proven to be a disruptive shot-blocker throughout his career, Ilyasova is a versatile stretch-4 who can rebound and Dunleavy has improved offensively and defensively since his years with the Golden State Warriors. Udrih showed last season that he's capable defending 2-guards, and he ranks above average in assist-to-turnover ratio this season.
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