NBA Trade Rumors: Fact or Fiction in the Final Minutes Before the Deadline

Bryant KnoxFeatured ColumnistFebruary 21, 2013

NBA Trade Rumors: Fact or Fiction in the Final Minutes Before the Deadline

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    The NBA trade deadline is finally upon us, and in typical fashion, no one quite knows what to believe.

    We've heard rumors floated about for days now, and we've even seen the first major move take place with Thomas Robinson heading to the Houston Rockets (according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports).

    But as we've seen in all the years past, the majority of deals won't go down until time has nearly run out.

    While nothing can be considered a fact until it's confirmed, there are certain things we can expect to see at the deadline. The NBA has been known to surprise us all, but when you read between the lines, you can begin to see the future.

Fact: Josh Smith Will Be Traded

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    After all the talk surrounding Josh Smith and the Atlanta Hawks, it would be downright shocking if the 27-year-old remained with the team beyond the Feb. 21 deadline.

    Where Smith lands has yet to be determined, but ESPN's Marc Stein has reported that the Brooklyn Nets, Boston Celtics, Milwaukee Bucks, Washington Wizards and Phoenix Suns are all potential trade partners.

    Vincent Goodwill of The Detroit News has said that the Suns and the Dallas Mavericks are the most likely destinations, but ESPN has since reported that Phoenix is no longer an option. 

    Smith's looming contract situation is the No. 1 motivation for the Hawks to rid themselves of the forward. He wants to be a maximum-contract earner, and GM Danny Ferry hasn't given any indication that he's willing to comply.

    Atlanta is building for the future, and it's become painfully clear that Smith is no longer in the picture.

Fiction: Dwight Howard Will Be Traded

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    The Los Angeles Lakers are not who we thought they were, and as a result, Dwight Howard has been rumored in trades leading up to the deadline.

    According to Chris Sheridan of (via CBS New York), the Brooklyn Nets are once again pursuing Howard, and there is a 50-50 chance he will be traded.

    The big man has also been linked to the Boston Celtics' Rajon Rondo according to Ken Berger of CBS Sports.

    But despite the speculation, Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times has reported the GM Mitch Kupchak does not expect to make any major moves.

    Needless to say, dealing Howard would be a major move, and it would likely create more questions than answers.

    Los Angeles still has a shot at the playoffs, and unless it feels Howard will leave in free agency, don't expect the trigger to be pulled at this point in the process.

Fact: Jordan Crawford Will Be Traded

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    Jordan Crawford has watched his role diminish with the Washington Wizards since the emergence of Bradley Beal and the return of John Wall.

    Despite averaging an impressive 19.1 points, 6.1 assists and 5.1 rebounds per game in December, the 24-year-old has seen both his minutes and his production come down to a crawl.

    Since Feb. 2, the guard hasn't played more than five minutes in a single contest, and he's been held out of the four-game stretch between Feb. 8 and Feb. 19.

    Crawford's inefficient shooting has made him a liability in Washington's struggling offense, but his ability to score in isolation sets makes him valuable to those in need of a scorer.

    The Wizards have played decent basketball since Wall returned to the floor, and ridding themselves of a player who is unhappy (according to Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today) would do them a world of good.

Fiction: Boston Will Break Up Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce

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    The Boston Celtics are at a point where it makes sense to ship out both Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce. The team has been inconsistent, they've struggled on the block and it's questionable as to how well they'll hold up in the postseason without Rajon Rondo.

    That being said, it doesn't make sense to trade one but not the other, and that's the situation GM Danny Ainge is in as the deadline approaches.

    Garnett has made it clear that he will not waive his no-trade clause (according to Yahoo! Sports' Marc Spears). Spears reports that the Los Angeles Clippers believe Garnett will change his mind, but there have been no indications that this will be the case.

    When it comes to Pierce, rumors began to surface about 24 hours before the deadline (according to Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski) that the Celtics and Brooklyn Nets had engaged in discussions surrounding the 35-year-old.

    The deal was set to include Kris Humphries, MarShon Brooks and a first-round pick, but Boston was apparently seeking a higher price.

Fact: J.J. Redick Will Be Traded

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    The Orlando Magic entered a phase of transition when they traded away Dwight Howard, and while nobody expected them to be great at this point in the process, they're still looking to start fresh.

    The next victim of the rebuild should be J.J. Redick. The 2-guard is having a career year, and while he's been one of the best players on the roster, that also means his trade value is at its highest.

    Redick isn't the kind of player who is going to get this team back to the playoffs, so utilizing that value is the best move for a group in the midst of an identity crisis.

    Accord to ESPN's Chris Vernon, the Memphis Grizzlies have entered their name into the Redick Sweepstakes. The New York Knicks have also been interested in acquiring the 28-year-old (per Alex Kennedy of Hoopsworld).

    Sam Amico of Fox Sports said that at one point Redick had expressed his desire to stay in Orlando.

    If a great offer never comes along, the guard might get his wish. But for a team that needs a serious change, nobody is off-limits.

Fiction: Portland Will Trade J.J. Hickson

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    The Portland Trail Blazers were as active as anybody at the 2012 deadline. They traded away Gerald Wallace and Marcus Camby, they released Greg Oden and they fired then-head coach Nate McMillan.

    The team is once again rumored to make noise, but don't be surprised if the talk ends up being just that—all talk.

    According to Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski, the Blazers are still shopping Hickson, but they haven't received any offers worth accepting.

    Portland is in the middle of a rebuild, but it is also in the midst of a playoff hunt. This team would be nowhere without its starting center, as the energy and rebounding he provides has been unmatched on the current roster.

    Hickson has an expiring contract, but unless Portland is offered a player who fits the long-term picture, don't expect the big man to be anywhere other than Rip City on Feb. 22.