With only a few days before the NBA trade deadline, early talks are starting to turn into legitimate offers.
For months, rumors would circulate about potential moves for players like Pau Gasol, Dwight Howard and Eric Gordon. It seems like none of these players will change teams during the year.
However, a number of actual deals could be close to getting completed before Thursday's deadline. This is the latest buzz on possible moves around the league.
Josh Smith for Monta Ellis
It might take a little bit more for the Milwaukee Bucks to complete this deal, but this is where discussions have started, according to ESPN's Marc Stein:
Although both teams would be in the playoffs if the season ended today, they each have different needs. This is the type of trade that could benefit both sides involved.
Josh Smith is easily the hottest name on the trading block heading into the deadline. He fills up the box score in almost every category and his upcoming free agency makes him likely to be traded.
He could provide the Bucks with some much-needed inside scoring.
However, every team could use Smith on the roster. What makes this deal different is the return for the Atlanta Hawks.
Monta Ellis is one of the best pure scorers in the NBA, averaging 19.4 points per game over his eight-year career. He could replace the loss of Smith and possibly be a better long-term option for Atlanta.
Of all of the potential deals involving Josh Smith, this one makes the most sense.
J.J. Redick for Luc Richard Mbah a Moute
Ken Berger of CBS reports that this deal has actually been offered and is being considered at the moment:
While the Milwaukee Bucks do not have an immediate need for a guard like J.J. Redick, Berger follows up by explaining that this deal would get done if the team completes the trade for Smith:
Obviously, the departure of Ellis would leave a gaping hole on the roster, but Redick has the ability to fill it.
The Orlando Magic guard has expanded his game this season beyond just being a shooter. He is currently on pace for career highs in average points, rebounds and assists per game.
Of course, he is still a great shooter that makes 40.3 percent of his shots from three-point range.
As a return, the Magic would receive a solid, cheap frontcourt player in Luc Richard Mbah a Moute. They would also get a valuable first-round pick that will be greatly needed to rebuild.
Orlando has struggled all year and the team needs to get any value it can find from its roster.
Marreese Speights for First-Round Pick
Although Marreese Speights was already traded once this season from the Memphis Grizzlies to the Cleveland Cavaliers, the young forward could be on the move once again.
Sam Amico of Fox Sports reports that the Cavaliers have already received offers for the big man with a return of a first-round pick:
Speights has provided a decent amount of production during his short time with his new team, but Cleveland would certainly be better off with spending a first-round pick on a player with a higher ceiling.
While Amico does not name any specific team involved in this potential deal, one can speculate the teams that could use an extra rebounders for a playoff push. The Boston Celtics, Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs are all in the bottom third in the league in rebounds this season and would benefit from a player of Speights' caliber.
In addition, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! reported that the Celtics have been active in trade discussions:
Do not be surprised if this is one move they are looking into that could get done in the next couple of days.
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