The trade deadline is always a period of evaluation for teams throughout the NBA.
It's a time to reflect on whether you have what it takes to do damage in the playoffs or whether you need to build up for next season. Sometimes teams change their philosophies entirely after the All-Star break.
While the league may be rather quiet before the Feb. 21 trade deadline this season, here's a look at the playoff contenders who need to shake things up.
Boston Celtics (28-24)
With Rajon Rondo lost for the season, it's time to turn the page in Boston.
Ideally, the Celtics would receive some bright young players for both Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, but it's still unclear whether Boston will be able to deal either one of them.
The Celtics aren't making a title run this season without Rondo. They went on an 8-1 run to close off the first half of the season with Rondo absent from the lineup, but it's hard to imagine them keeping that up down the stretch, especially with an older team.
Milwaukee Bucks (26-25)
The Bucks may deal guard Monta Ellis before the trade deadline on Feb. 21 (according to The Journal Times), and it may be for the best.
There are limitations with the Bucks' backcourt of Ellis and Brandon Jennings. The 6'3", 185-pound Ellis has historically had a tough time defending bigger 2-guards throughout his career.
Essentially, the Bucks are discovering what the Golden State Warriors discovered with Ellis and Stephen Curry in the backcourt.
The Bucks, at 26-25, are barely holding on to the last seed in the Eastern Conference.
Atlanta Hawks (29-22)
The Atlanta Hawks are 29-22, holding the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference. It's fitting, given they always seem to be the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference.
See where I'm going with this?
The Hawks have been good enough to make the playoffs the past few years, but they don't do a whole lot once they get there. They've been to the postseason the past six seasons but have never advanced past the conference semifinals. They fell in the first round last season.
The trade of Joe Johnson to the Brooklyn Nets last season was the beginning. Dealing Josh Smith seems to be the modus operandi for Atlanta before the trade deadline this season.
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