NBA Trade Rumors: Buying or Selling the Latest League Buzz

Grant RindnerContributor IIIFebruary 18, 2013

NBA Trade Rumors: Buying or Selling the Latest League Buzz

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    There is only one time of the year when the average person does not envy an NBA player: the February trade deadline. As front offices maneuver to improve their roster, no one is safe from being shipped off, and with the slew of new rumors every day, the anxiety seems unbearable.

    The weeks leading up to the 2013 trade deadline have been no exception, as plenty of high-profile players have been forced to sit back and watch as their names are linked to a different team every day.

    This tension should only increase in the next few days, so before we are all swept up in the trade frenzy, let us take a look at some of the latest rumors from across the league and whether they are, in fact, worth believing.

Josh Smith to the Milwaukee Bucks

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    At this point, I would not be surprised to hear an NHL team enter the Josh Smith sweepstakes. The Atlanta Hawks' versatile forward has been linked to practically every team in the league, with the latest suitor, according to the Journal Times' Gery Woelfel, being the Milwaukee Bucks.

    The Bucks are in the thick of the Eastern Conference playoff hunt, but both of their star guards could be free agents once the season ends, and this team lacks star power and interior scoring. The tandem of Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis is good, but neither possesses Smith's all-around talent.

    Milwaukee could offer Ellis, providing cap relief at the end of 2012-13 and a more-than-capable guard in the interim, a first-round draft pick and potentially a young forward like Ekpe Udoh for Smith.

    Milwaukee could even throw in the resurgent Ersan Ilyasova, depending on how much it covets J-Smoove.

    However, I just can't see this deal going through. Smith likely would not stay long-term in Milwaukee, and the team has some intriguing young talent up front in John Henson and Larry Sanders.

    All signs point to a departure from Atlanta for Smith, but odds are it won't be to Milwaukee.

    Final Verdict: Selling

Andrea Bargnani to the Chicago Bulls

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    It is no secret that the Toronto Raptors want to offload Andrea Bargnani, but given his poor shooting, Charmin-soft defense and injury history, it has been tough for the team to find a suitor.

    Surprisingly, ESPN's Marc Stein reported that a deal between the Raptors and Chicago Bulls was being discussed that would result in a swap of Bargnani and Carlos Boozer.

    For Chicago, Bargnani would slide into his more natural position as a power forward and give the team a nice pick-and-pop threat who can also hit three-pointers and stretch a defense.

    Toronto would land a skilled post scorer to play with Rudy Gay and Kyle Lowry who can score with his back to the basket and also hold his own on the boards. Boozer might not be particularly quick, but he is still one of the league's better power forwards.

    Still, Boozer is playing well, averaging 15.7 points, 9.3 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game on 47.1 percent shooting, while Bargnani has barely seen the floor and is shooting just 40.9 percent for his 14.8 points and 3.9 rebounds per night.

    Bargnani would provide the Bulls with cap relief, but he would not give them the second superstar they need to pair with Derrick Rose.

    Final Verdict: Selling

J.J. Redick to the Milwaukee Bucks

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    The Milwaukee Bucks may strike out on Josh Smith, but they are in great shape to land Orlando Magic wingman J.J. Redick. Redick is one of the most coveted players on the trade market, and reports have surfaced recently via ESPN's Marc Stein that the Bucks are pursuing a deal with Orlando (h/t Zach Harper, CBS Sports).

    Redick has come into his own for this rebuilding Magic team, averaging 15.3 points, 2.4 boards and 4.4 assists per game while shooting 40.3 percent from three-point range. He has handled the ball more and developed his offensive game beyond just shooting from outside.

    With Glen Davis still sidelined, Orlando needs to add some size to its roster. Milwaukee has a stable of talented big men it could part with in a Redick deal including Ekpe Udoh, John Henson and Drew Gooden.

    Redick would provide the Bucks with a floor-spacing wing player who is more of a natural 2-guard than Monta Ellis is. He also has plenty of playoff experience, something that could help this young Milwaukee club.

    Although he is a free agent in the 2013 offseason and will likely be showered with contract offers, this is a very feasible deal for both parties, even if it proves to be just a half-season rental.

    Final Verdict: Buying

Eric Bledsoe to Utah Jazz

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    Viewed by many as one of the league's next great point guards, the Los Angeles Clippers have been fielding plenty of offers for reserve Eric Bledsoe. One deal that has gained some steam heading into the trade deadline is a swap of Utah Jazz forward Paul Millsap for Bledsoe, according to ESPN writers Ramona Shelburne and Marc Stein.

    Bledsoe would provide Utah, which is still without Mo Williams, with a young point guard who could be their starter for the next decade and form an excellent young core with Derrick Favors, Gordon Hayward and Enes Kanter.

    Bledsoe's ability to play brutal on-ball defense and push the pace of the game would be a huge asset for this young Jazz team that should be looking to run at every available opportunity.

    Millsap would be a great player to have coming off the bench for the Clippers given his scoring ability and knack for making hustle plays. Millsap is averaging 15.1 points, 7.4 rebounds and 2.6 assists in 30.4 minutes a night.

    The problem though, and where I think this deal goes awry, is the salary issue. Los Angeles would need to send some serious salary to Utah, so they would likely part with Caron Butler in addition, which is a steep price for Millsap.

    Add to that the fact that Chris Paul has yet to sign an extension and Chauncey Billups has been less than durable, and you can see why this deal seems far-fetched at best.

    Final Verdict: Selling

Ben Gordon to the Brooklyn Nets

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    Rumors of Ben Gordon being dealt by the Charlotte Bobcats began to pick up even before an incident with head coach Mike Dunlap, according to Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski.

    Gordon is having a decent 2012-13 campaign, averaging 12.6 points, 1.9 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game while shooting 40.9 percent from three-point range, but the veteran does not fit with a young Charlotte team that has plenty of backcourt depth.

    The Bobcats desperately need a power forward who can be an immediate contributor, and a Gordon deal could potentially net one in the form of Brooklyn's Kris Humphries, per ESPN's Chris Broussard.

    The Nets, who have not used sophomore guard MarShon Brooks off the bench much, would acquire a guard capable of spelling both Deron Williams and Joe Johnson while acting as the main second-unit scorer.

    The Bobcats would nab Humphries, who, though slumping, is the kind of physical, hard-working player they could use alongside the offense-minded Byron Mullens.

    Although not a blockbuster trade, this is a deal that works financially, improves both teams and should be done as soon as possible.

    Final Verdict: Buying

Rajon Rondo for Dwight Howard

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    In all likelihood, this deal will not be happening, but its monstrous implications mean it must at least be discussed here. CBS Sports' Ken Berger recently reported, to the surprise of practically every NBA fan, that the Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics briefly held talks on a Rajon Rondo-for-Dwight Howard deal.

    Mitch Kupchak later refuted the notion, but in some ways it makes sense for both sides. The Celtics would bring in a franchise center who, if he can stay healthy, would be a player to build around once Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett are long gone.

    The Celtics are terrible on the glass, and though Dwight has not been as good as advertised, he is still a dominant rebounder and interior defender.

    For Los Angeles, Rondo's relatively reasonable contract would give them not only a top-shelf point guard, but also some cap relief for the future.

    But obviously, there are plenty of problems with this idea. The Celtics already have no natural point guard on their roster and would need to acquire one prior to the 2013-14 season, while they would also be gambling on the chance that Howard, who will be an unrestricted free agent, stays with them.

    The Lakers would have a backcourt logjam with Rondo, Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash, meaning they would need to make another move to rid themselves of Nash, something that seems unlikely at this point.

    Final Verdict: Selling