The smoke and mirrors of the NBA trade season has given us little to go on. No trades have been completed since January 30, but all that is about to change.
The trade deadline is a little more than two days away, and the rumor mill is working extra hard to make sure we don’t miss out on any trade speculation.
While teams have been relatively quiet in recent weeks, there’s plenty of reason to believe we will see some big deals before the February 21 deadline. Contenders, rebuilders and luxury tax offenders will be looking to wheel and deal before the window closes.
Let’s take a look at the most recent rumors involving the Raptors, Hawks and a couple other teams that could make a move in the next couple days.
Andrea Bargnani is Toronto’s most valuable trade asset, but his value isn’t particularly high at the moment. The Raptors may wait until the summer to trade him, according to Doug Smith of The Toronto Star.
While Smith’s sources suggest the summer as the best possible time to trade Bargnani, that doesn’t mean something won’t develop in the next couple days. Deals happen because the value is right, and the perfect offer may change Bryan Colangelo’s mind.
While Bargnani may not be on the move, Smith offers another interesting note about Colangelo:
Now, I know Bryan pretty well and I would say he’ll do something small this week, it’s like second nature to him, to make a deadline-week deal just to be in the fray.
Colangelo wants to wheel and deal, and Bargnani is definitely on the market. Perhaps one quality offer will be all it takes to get Bargnani out of Toronto.
Los Angeles Clippers
According to Ramona Shelburne of ESPN, the Los Angeles Clippers and Utah Jazz have “mutual interest” in a deal that would send guard Eric Bledsoe to the Utah in exchange for forward Paul Millsap.
Bledsoe has been a hot topic in the trade market discussions of late, though Los Angeles has been uninterested in moving him, especially with Chris Paul dinged up. Paul is clearly healthy now, and the rumors are again picking up steam.
While the deal makes sense for both parties (Bledsoe’s value is at an all-time high and Millsap would significantly strengthen the Clippers’ frontcourt), Dan Woike of The Orange County Register doesn’t believe there is a lot to go on right now:
To borrow a phrase from my former baseball colleagues, "hearing" that there's not much to Bledsoe-Milsap talk. Situations are fluid, though— Dan Woike (@DanWoikeSports) February 18, 2013
Just opening discussions is a step in the right direction. If the interest is in fact mutual between both teams, we’ll be hearing a lot more about this potential deal in the next couple days.
Josh Smith’s availability on the trade market hasn’t been disputed. According to Vincent Goodwill of The Detroit News, the Dallas Mavericks and Phoenix Suns are two teams that could potentially land the star forward.
Smith will be a free agent this summer, and he’ll be looking for a maximum deal. Atlanta won’t be the team to give it to him, and shopping him before the deadline is its best move. Smith’s value won’t be any higher than it is right now.
While Smith is clearly being shopped on the trade market, ESPN’s Marc Stein points out the biggest problem with all the rumors involving him:
Hawks have convinced numerous teams that Josh Smith will be moved between now and Thursday 3 PM deadline. Question remains where exactly— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) February 19, 2013
Yahoo Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski offers a few possibilities:
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
One thing is clear: Smith will probably be dealt. Unfortunately, no one has any clue where he will end up.
According to Gery Woelfel of The Journal Times, The Milwaukee Bucks could be open to dealing any player on the roster, including guard Monta Ellis and center Samuel Dalembert.
Kurt Helin of ProBaketballTalk also reports that Ellis will likely turn down his option with the Bucks this summer. If that's the case, they will likely look to get something for Ellis before he walks into free agency.
There hasn’t been much solid speculation as to the possible landing spots for any Milwaukee player, but Ellis should certainly interest a lot of teams in the league. The 27-year-old point guard is averaging 18.4 points and 5.5 assists in just under 37 minutes per game this season.
Ellis may choose to hit the open market this summer whether he is traded or not, but there are plenty of teams in need of backcourt help for the remainder of the season. Ellis would be a terrific option for a team like Boston looking to cement a spot in the playoffs, but there isn’t any real indication he could be heading to the Celtics. Steve Kyler of HoopsWorld does offer his feelings on a team to watch for, though:
RT @memo_1129:any chance Monta Ellis could go to mavs for expiring deals/picks? ---> I would watch Atlanta on this front more than Mavs.— Steve Kyler (@stevekylerNBA) January 22, 2013
Don’t be surprised if the Bucks manage to parlay Ellis into some valuable assets in the coming days. They could certainly benefit from adding draft picks and acquiring additional expiring contracts in a deal.