Atlanta Hawks' Josh Smith
In ranking the 25 NBA players most likely to be dealt at Thursday's 3 p.m. ET trade deadline, a combination of factors come into play. At the forefront is the reported interest in each player, but current team salary structures and the specific positional needs were also considered.
From Pau Gasol of the Los Angeles Lakers at No. 25 to Josh Smith of the Atlanta Hawks at No. 1, these rankings list which players on the trade block could be traded, from least likely to most likely.
Los Angeles Lakers' Pau Gasol
The Los Angeles Lakers tried to trade Pau Gasol once already.
But while the Lakers would create much needed salary cap relief by moving Gasol and the $19.3 million he's owed for next season, it's going to be difficult to find a trade partner before the deadline.
On February 1, ESPN's Marc Stein reported that the Toronto Raptors were interested in Gasol. Shortly after that, though, the 32-year-old was sidelined for six to eight weeks with plantar fascia and knee tendinitis.
The injury, it seems, would make Gasol nearly untradable despite speculation indicating otherwise earlier this season.
New York Knicks Iman Shumpert
A report from SheridanHoops.com suggested the New York Knicks are open to trading second-year guard Iman Shumpert, but I don't expect a move like this to materialize.
While I could see Shumpert producing more than 5.3 points and 1.5 assists in an expanded role elsewhere, I don't believe the Knicks can afford to part with an asset like Shumpert right now.
They have exceeded the luxury tax threshold this season and appear on target to exceed it again in 2013-14. Shumpert, meanwhile, is owed only $1.8 million next season as part of his rookie deal.
The Knicks would be better served hanging on to a player like that.
Boston Celtics' Kevin Garnett
Kevin Garnett does not appear willing to waive his no-trade clause.
For that reason, Garnett is among the most unlikely players to be dealt despite his name consistently surfacing in trade reports over the last few days.
Otherwise, he would be a great fit for the Los Angeles Clippers alongside Blake Griffin and Chris Paul. With those superstars by his side, he could find himself competing for an NBA championship once again.
A Yahoo! Sports report this week did indicate that if Paul does want Garnett in Los Angeles, the Clippers will push harder than they previously have to get a deal done.
But unless those two guys talked extensively at All-Star Weekend—after Garnett initially came out stating his desire to be buried in Celtics' green—expect KG to stay in Boston for the duration of this season.
Utah Jazz's Paul Millsap
Power forward Paul Millsap is one of two Utah Jazz big men that could be traded before the deadline.
A report from Ramona Shelburne and Marc Stein of ESPN recently indicated that the Los Angeles Clippers were exploring a deal for Millsap that would ship him to L.A. in exchange for Eric Bledsoe.
While I'm certainly not discounting the possibility of that trade, I continue to believe that the Jazz would rather re-sign Millsap and trade Al Jefferson.
As a 51.7 percent shooter for his career, Millsap has been more efficient than Jefferson in his time with Utah despite a slightly lower scoring average.
Assuming the Jazz can't get a similar return for Big Al, however, Millsap could be the major piece that's moved this week.
Philadelphia 76ers' Spencer Hawes
Fox Sports Ohio's Sam Amico reported last week that the Toronto Raptors have been involved in discussions with the Philadelphia 76ers regarding Andrea Bargnani. Spencer Hawes was the piece that Philly was reportedly offering.
At $6.5 million next season, Hawes is a reasonably priced, serviceable NBA big man. In 51 games, primarily as a reserve, Hawes is averaging 10.2 points and 6.4 rebounds in just over 25 minutes per night.
He could help the Raptors or any other team in need of some low-post depth without tying up dollars past 2014.
Minnesota Timberwolves' Derrick Williams
It's difficult to believe that a player drafted second overall in 2011 could already be on his way out of town. It becomes less difficult to understand, though, when that player is stuck behind a perennial All-Star like Kevin Love.
As a result of Love's injury this season, the Minnesota Timberwolves are expected to fall short of the playoffs. When Love does return next year, though, there won't be much room for Derrick Williams in the starting lineup.
ESPN 1500 reported that while Williams is available, a trade seems more likely this summer than this week. Unless, of course, someone swoops in now with an offer for Williams in hopes that he can develop into what he appeared to be coming out of Arizona.
Detroit Pistons' Rodney Stuckey
After trading for Jose Calderon last month, the Detroit Pistons appear set to pair him with second-year guard Brandon Knight heading into next season.
Meanwhile, the Rodney Stuckey era in Detroit could be over as soon as this week if the Pistons are able to find a trade partner. According to Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press, teams have been calling about Stuckey.
If he is moved, the $8.5 million player option he's expected to pick up won't be Detroit's problem next season, which would leave the Pistons with upwards of $30 million in available cap space.
The delicate dance for Joe Dumars and company would be to find someone willing to take on Stuckey's contract when he's scoring only 11.3 points on 38.6 percent shooting from the field this season.
Philadelphia 76ers' Evan Turner
Evan Turner is a player who might just need a change of scenery. Despite an honest effort on both sides, things haven't worked out quite as well for Turner as Sixers fans had hoped.
Replacing Andre Iguodala in the starting lineup this season, Turner has struggled at times while scoring only 13.8 points on 42.6 percent shooting from the field.
In response to trade reports recently, Turner offered the following to the Philadelphia Inquirer:
I'm not a GM, so I really don't know [my trade value]. I think it's all about what our team needs, and that's it. Whatever. I think that the best is yet to come with me in general, wherever it occurs.
In saying as much, he sounds like a guy who could be on the move shortly.
Indiana Pacers' Danny Granger
The Houston Rockets have been linked to Danny Granger in a number of reports over the last month, including an ESPN.com report (subscription required) as recently as last week.
Playing alongside James Harden and Jeremy Lin, Granger makes sense for the Rockets for this season and beyond at the small forward position.
At least, he makes more sense there than he does playing behind Paul George in Indiana, who has emerged as an All-Star caliber swingman this season.
Moving Granger, along with his $14 million contract next season, would be a wise move for the Pacers if Houston or any other team is willing to ship back assets in return.
Milwaukee Bucks' Monta Ellis
Gery Woelfel of The Journal Times in Racine, Wis., cites "league sources" as saying that guard Monta Ellis is more likely to be traded by the Milwaukee Bucks than Brandon Jennings.
Ellis, after all, is older than Jennings and has a lower true shooting percentage this season.
The experiment of pairing the two combo guards in the backcourt wasn't a complete disaster, but the Bucks will be mired in mediocrity until that combination is blown up.
One of the two guards needs to be moved eventually, and Ellis is the more likely candidate for relocation.
Brooklyn Nets' Kris Humphries
It was recently reported by ESPN.com (subscription required) that a package including Kris Humphries was offered to the Atlanta Hawks in exchange for Josh Smith.
While trading for Smith seems like a peculiar move for the Brooklyn Nets with as much salary as they have on their books, it does seem likely they want to do something this week to shake things up.
Humphries could be used to facilitate a deal, if not with the Atlanta Hawks, then possibly somewhere else as talks continue to escalate around the league.
Phoenix Suns' Jared Dudley
Jared Dudley can be up-and-down when it comes to his offensive contributions, but given regular playing time, he has the ability to light up the scoreboard.
The New York Knicks and Memphis Grizzlies have been linked to Dudley at one time or another this season, and while neither would offer him a starting job, both could use him as a spark plug off the bench.
Despite reportedly wanting to stay in Phoenix (via Dave King of SB Nation), Dudley could make a bigger impact down the stretch if acquired by a contending team.
Los Angeles Clippers' Eric Bledsoe
The Los Angeles Clippers are understandably reluctant to part with Eric Bledsoe, but if Paul Millsap or Kevin Garnett could be acquired, then maybe a trade could transpire.
The Los Angeles Times recently reported the possibility of such as move, naming Bledsoe as "the common thread in rumored discussions" for Garnett and Millsap.
While certainly not the most likely trade to occur as the deadline approaches, this could be the most interesting one to keep an eye on.
Milwaukee Bucks' Samuel Dalembert
Beside Monta Ellis, the The Journal Times in Racine, Wis., cited Samuel Dalembert, who has an expiring contract, as the most likely Milwaukee Buck to be traded before the deadline.
There are a number of teams who could use the presence that Dalembert provides in the paint, and his expiring deal makes him even more appealing.
While there hasn't been much talk about Dalembert being traded to the Los Angeles Clippers, he could be a backup plan for multiple teams if Kevin Garnett and Paul Millsap become unavailable.
Los Angeles Clippers' DeAndre Jordan
DeAndre Jordan is a 24-year-old center who provides the defense and rebounding that championship teams need.
If I were the Los Angeles Clippers, I wouldn't be so quick to move a big man like that unless I could be guaranteed to get similar size and athleticism in return.
I would be more inclined to move Jordan, however, if reports like Sean Deveney's from the Sporting News were true. Deveney tweeted this weekend, "Clippers Vinny Del Negro and DeAndre Jordan have clashed over his involvement in the offense, source said. Hence they want a vet upgrade."
If the Clippers can find that veteran upgrade, expect them to pull the trigger on Jordan regardless of his physical tools.
Chicago Bulls' Richard Hamilton
The 35-year-old Hamilton has been serviceable, but far from impressive this season, averaging only 10.7 points per night.
Recently, an Arlington Heights Daily Herald report linked Hamilton with the Denver Nuggets in a potential swap for Timofey Mozgov.
But while trading Carlos Boozer would be my first priority as GM of the Chicago Bulls this week, moving Hamilton for cap relief as a consolation prize could be a secondary option.
Charlotte Bobcats' Ben Gordon
The Ben Gordon-Charlotte Bobcats pairing never made sense. After a report from Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports this week, it makes even less sense now than ever before.
Wojnarowski cited sources who claimed Gordon has been “disrespectful” and displayed “disruptive behavior” with the Bobcats this season.
The best thing Charlotte could do, assuming those reports are true, is to ship Gordon as far away from Kemba Walker and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist as possible.
At 12-40, the Bobcats are already the worst team in the NBA. They would only be marginally worse without Gordon's 12.4 points per game.
Meanwhile, Gordon could help a team like the Brooklyn Nets generate offense from the perimeter.
Utah Jazz's Al Jefferson
Al Jefferson is a special player. I've always thought the work he puts in is underrated, so I wouldn't want to part ways with him if I were a Utah Jazz fan.
But with Enes Kanter and Derrick Favors on board, trading Jefferson before he walks as an unrestricted free agent would seem to be the smartest move for Utah at this point.
Depending on where he might land, Jefferson could make the biggest impact of any player moved.
San Antonio Spurs' DeJuan Blair
DeJuan Blair is playing the fewest number of minutes of his NBA career. At 13.8 per night, he can be easily replaced in the San Antonio Spurs rotation. As a free agent this summer, the Spurs may look to move Blair to add something of value in return.
While only scoring 5.4 points and collecting 3.9 rebounds on a nightly basis with a $1 million expiring deal, I don't expect San Antonio to trade Blair alone.
But with interest from teams like the Portland Trail Blazers, Boston Celtics, Golden State Warriors and others being reported, it is likely that Blair will be dealt somewhere before the trade deadline expires.
Minnesota Timberwolves' Luke Ridnour
According to a report from ESPN 1500, the New York Knicks are one of several teams interested in Minnesota Timberwolves guard Luke Ridnour.
The other teams were said to include the Boston Celtics, Philadelphia 76ers and Utah Jazz.
The report also included a source from Ridnour's camp as saying that he is mentally preparing for a trade by Thursday's deadline.
If that does happen, the team that lands Ridnour will acquire an underrated guard who is scoring 12.3 points on 46.3 percent shooting from the field this season.
Denver Nuggets' Timofey Mozgov
There isn't a playoff team in the NBA that couldn't use an extra big man for the stretch run.
By no means am I suggesting that Timofey Mozgov will put a team over the top, but there has been rampant speculation that he will be dealt this week because of what he could add in an end-of-the-bench role.
The Denver Nuggets, meanwhile, seem unlikely to re-sign Mozgov this summer when he becomes a restricted free agent.
They are already at the luxury tax line, with $73 million currently owed next year, and have only been playing Mozgov roughly 10 minutes per game this season.
Earning $3.1 million this year, Mozgov should be affordable for most teams.
Chicago Bulls' Carlos Boozer
Depending on what they are able to receive in return, the Chicago Bulls could be the biggest winners at the trade deadline by moving Carlos Boozer and the dollars he is owed.
Initially acquired to provide an All-Star presence at the forward position, Boozer is now backed by two other All-Stars in Joakim Noah and Luol Deng, who anchor the attack up front.
But while Boozer has played better this season, the $32 million he's scheduled to earn over the next two seasons is hanging over this club like an anvil.
Where exactly does he land then? That's hard to say with certainty.
The much discussed possibility of a swap with the Toronto Raptors for Andrea Bargnani, though, would return an element of three-point shooting and offensive skill missing on the Bulls' front line.
Toronto Raptors' Andrea Bargnani
I have this inescapable feeling that some team is going to take a chance at resurrecting Andrea Bargnani's career by making a move for him at the deadline.
His contract is huge. He's also owed $32 million through 2015, and hasn't played well this season for the Toronto Raptors. But Bargnani is still a 7-footer with offensive skill and is only 27 years old.
There aren't too many players in the league like that these days. So despite shooting only 40 percent while collecting 3.9 rebounds in 25 games this season, Bargnani still has value.
A swap with the Chicago Bulls for Carlos Boozer makes the most sense. The Charlotte Bobcats have also been linked to Bargnani recently.
But while Doug Smith of the Toronto Star reported on Monday that a trade may come later rather than sooner for Bargnani, I still would rank him among the most likely players to be traded this week.
Orlando Magic's J.J. Redick
The Denver Nuggets, Indiana Pacers and Chicago Bulls have all shown interest in J.J. Redick.
There are a number of other playoff teams his 15.3 points, 4.4 assists and 40.3 percent shooting from three-point range would help this season as well.
Somebody, it seems, is going to trade for this guy.
I understand the Orlando Magic are not in a rush to move the unrestricted free agent, but they could be best served by doing so anyway. The Magic are 1-9 in their last 10 games and are going nowhere at the moment.
Rather than letting Redick walk at the end of the year, they might as well cash in by acquiring whatever young assets are available to further assist the rebuilding effort.
Atlanta Hawks' Josh Smith
Josh Smith is scheduled to be a free agent after this season. He could demand a max contract this summer and might not agree to an extension in a hypothetical trade scenario before the deadline.
But while this would make Smith an expensive rental, there seems to be too much interest in moving him to believe that he is staying put.
On February 11, Chris Broussard of ESPN first reported that the Brooklyn Nets were aggressively pursuing a trade for Smith. Marc Spears from Yahoo! Sports also mentioned the San Antonio Spurs as a team interested in Smith.
A number of other teams, including the Boston Celtics, according to ESPN's Marc Stein, have explored trade possibilities for the Hawks' small forward as well.
With GM Danny Ferry intent on clearing cap space since he arrived in Atlanta this summer, accomplishing this by moving Smith and acquiring assets in return appears imminent.