NBA Trade Rumors: Latest on Josh Smith, Paul Millsap and Other Key Players

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistFebruary 19, 2013

ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 19:  Josh Smith #5 of the Atlanta Hawks walks down the court after a turnover against the San Antonio Spurs at Philips Arena on January 19, 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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With the NBA trade deadline quickly approaching, the rumor mill is churning like never before.

Some teams spend this time of year to find the missing piece for a championship run. Others are simply looking to build for the future.

Currently, there are some big names on the trading block that could make a huge impact on the entire league this season and beyond.

If one of these players is traded to a contender, the rest of the league could be in trouble.


Josh Smith, Atlanta Hawks

Few names have come up more often in trade rumors than Josh Smith. The Atlanta Hawks wing seems to be on his way out of town, and plenty of teams would be more than willing to acquire his services.

Vincent Goodwill of Detroit News explains the situation and offers some potential landing spots:

Smith is approaching free agency this summer, and has not gotten along with new GM Danny Ferry, while also clashing with coach Larry Drew, who suspended him for a game this month.

Ferry is shopping Smith hard, and was in Houston for the weekend. Two teams to watch, according to league executives: Dallas and Phoenix.

Although Smith has never made an All-Star team, he is still one of the better players in the league.

His best trait is his versatility, as he is able to fill up the box score almost every night. He is currently averaging 17.4 points, 8.6 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 2.1 blocks per game.

It is possible he could help the Dallas Mavericks reach the playoffs, but both squads mentioned would most likely try to re-sign him at the end of the year as part of a rebuilding process.

At only 27 years old, Smith will be good for a long time.


DeJuan Blair, San Antonio Spurs

Few gave respect to a 6'7" frontcourt player entering the draft, but the entire NBA now knows that DeJuan Blair is an elite rebounder.

While his minutes dropped severely this season, he still averages an efficient 3.9 rebounds in only 13.8 minutes per game. He has also made over 50 percent of his shots in each of his four years in the league.

He is no longer helping the Spurs, but he would certainly be an improvement for a lot of squads looking for frontcourt depth.

Alex Kennedy of Hoopsworld concedes that San Antonio held onto him for too long, but he reports that "most league sources believe that Blair will be moved before the deadline."

For poor rebounding teams like the Boston Celtics or Miami Heat, this could be the perfect addition to help for the postseason.


Paul Millsap, Utah Jazz

For years, Paul Millsap has been one of the more underrated players in the league. His name does not come up often, but he has averaged at least 15 points and seven rebounds per game in each of the last three years.

This level of play has caused him to generate interest around the league. Most recently, he has been mentioned in a potential trade to the Los Angeles Clippers, according to ESPN's Ramona Shelburne and Marc Stein:

Sources with knowledge of the situation told late Saturday there is a level of mutual interest between the Clippers and Utah Jazz in exploring a deal that would feature [Eric] Bledsoe as the headliner in a trade package for Jazz forward Paul Millsap.

If this trade comes to fruition, the Jazz would get a young point guard that could eventually become one of the best in the league.

Of course, this might be worth the cost for the Clippers, who already have Chris Paul at point guard.

Los Angeles is trying to contend for a title this season. Millsap would not solidify anything, but he gives the squad a better chance to compete with the top teams in the NBA.