With all of the rumors flying around the NBA these days, it would be nothing short of amazing if at least one high-profile trade didn't go down before the league's Thursday 3 p.m. ET deadline rolls around.
Contenders and pretenders alike are working the phones, trying to see if they can swing those one or two moves that will put their franchise in a better position going forward. And for the record, no one is immune from being dealt: The names of a number of former All-Stars have made their way around the rumor mill over the past couple of days.
While anything that happens before the deadline is unlikely to shift the balance of power in the Association, a few teams could wind up entering the final few weeks of the season better equipped to handle the stretch run.
ESPN's Chris Broussard is reporting that the Boston Celtics aren't opposed to moving injured point guard Rajon Rondo before the trade deadline:
Sources say Boston willing to trade injured PG Rajon Rondo in right deal. Wizards looking to move Jordan Crawford.— Chris Broussard (@Chris_Broussard) February 20, 2013
If the Celtics do trade Rondo, it's a clear sign that Boston is officially kick-starting its rebuilding program. There was some scuttlebutt regarding a Rondo-for-Dwight Howard deal last week, but Los Angeles Lakers' general manager Mitch Kupchak has said numerous times that he won't move his star center.
Finding a willing dance partner shouldn't be too hard for Boston, however. Rondo is one of the game's premier playmakers, and the two years and nearly $25 million left on his deal won't do much to dissuade teams from making a run at him.
According to ESPN, there are still plenty of suitors for Atlanta Hawks' forward Josh Smith, including the Brooklyn Nets, Milwaukee Bucks and Boston Celtics.
The 27-year-old Smith is having a disappointing campaign by his standards (17.4 PPG, 8.6 RPG), but he's clearly the biggest prize on the market in advance of Thursday's 3 p.m. ET trade deadline. Smith is in the final season of a five-year, $58 million contract, so any deal involving the 6'9" forward may require the involvement of multiple teams in order for the salaries to match up properly.
One place where Smith won't end up is Phoenix: A rumored deal to to send Smith to the Suns in exchange for center Marcin Gortat is pretty much dead in the water.
The Phoenix Suns may be out of the Josh Smith race, but that doesn't mean that they'll be quiet at the trade deadline. Sources have informed Chris Broussard of ESPN that the Suns may deal center Jermaine O'Neal to the New York Knicks, while point guard Sebastian Telfair may be on the move to the Toronto Raptors.
Sources: Knicks showing strong interest in Phx's Jermaine O'Neal...Phx also talking w/Toronto about moving Sebastian Telfair— Chris Broussard (@Chris_Broussard) February 20, 2013
O'Neal has been serviceable for Phoenix this season (6.9 PPG, 4.5 RPG in 16.6 minutes per game), and would add depth to a Knicks' frontcourt that has dealt with several injuries this year. Telfair, meanwhile, would give the Raptors another solid option behind Kyle Lowry at the lead guard spot.
If Milwaukee moves either Brandon Jennings or Monta Ellis before Thursday's trade deadline, expect them to make a play for Orlando guard J.J. Redick.
Ken Berger of CBS Sports is reporting that there is a proposed deal in which the Magic would send Redick to the Bucks in exchange for Luc Richard Mbah a Moute. The 26-year-old Mbah a Moute has a very reasonable contract (two more years at a total of $9 million), and he's a solid defender who also happens to be a decent rebounder.
Redick is one of the league's better shooters—his 116 three-pointers are eighth-best in the NBA—and his expiring contract has a number of teams around the league salivating. Count Milwaukee in that group, but nothing will happen on that front unless the Bucks can sort out the logjam in their backcourt.
The honeymoon appears to be over for Eric Gordon in the Big Easy: Chris Broussard of ESPN is reporting that the New Orleans Hornets have made Eric Gordon available for trade.
Sources: New Orleans has made Eric Gordon available for trade. Trade not likely though as clubs concerned about EG's health going forward.— Chris Broussard (@Chris_Broussard) February 20, 2013
Even after missing 35 games earlier this season with a knee injury, Gordon is still one of the league's more explosive guards, and a talented scorer who can put up points in bunches. His long-term health is obviously a concern, but a number of teams (Dallas, Golden State, Houston) have inquired about Gordon's status, and could be willing to take a risk on the 24-year-old guard.