NBA Trade Deadline 2013: Making Sense of All the Last-Second Rumors
Nevertheless, there are sensible methods of sifting through the heaps of speculation to reach informed conclusions as to what teams will deal which players.
While potential blockbuster deals continue to a remain mystery as they often are (i.e. the eventual four-team Dwight Howard deal), the amount of activity could hint that there will be a plethora of deals in the coming hours or a distinct lack thereof.
Only passing the deadline will give the NBA community a clear picture but, until then, we are forced to rely on sources close to the situation.
As you’re probably aware, the Atlanta Hawks have been wrapped in numerous trade rumors connected to athletic swingman Josh Smith.
So what do you need to know about this situation moving forward? Well, according to Jeff Zillgitt and Sam Amick of USA Today, “The Atlanta Hawks have decided it’s time for a change.”
It appears as if the Hawks are prepared to move on from the J-Smoove era via trade. He’s in the last year of his current contract, and it may take a max contract for a team to nab him during the summer. Where Smith ends up prior to the deadline, however, remains the mystery.
According to the article by Amick and Zillgitt, seven NBA teams are reported to have varying degrees of interest in Smith. Despite the widespread interest, all teams in the Smith sweepstakes want certain questions answered before they pull the trigger on a deal.
Those questions, via Amick and Zillgitt:
1. Will Smith re-sign with the team that acquires him? No team wants to give up key assets for the remaining two months of the season and get nothing long term.
2. Do teams want to sign Smith, who will makes (sic) $13.2 million this season, to a five-year deal for maximum money? That's a lot to invest in a quality player who has never been a first, second or third-team All-NBA selection or an All-Star.
There's also a third issue that concerns league executives: How will Smith impact the locker room? The Hawks suspended and fined Smith earlier this season for "conduct detrimental to the team."
Obviously, there are plenty of important variables behind any Smith deal. But, if the Hawks have decided it’s time for a change, they’ll likely try to get some value in return for a players who could leave for nothing this summer.
The Phoenix Suns have been floundering this season without Steve Nash. Of course, “floundering” may be an understatement, considering the Suns are in last place in the Western Conference.
Phoenix needs a major overhaul if they’re going to revitalize the days of playing respectable, winning basketball. Short of a literal miracle, that’s not going to happen at the 2013 trade deadline.
One key Suns rumor that has been swirling around is whether or not Phoenix will put together a package to trade for Atlanta’s Josh Smith.
The Twitterverse seems to be on the fence as to whether or not that trade could come to fruition. John Gambadoro, a radio talk show host for Sports 620 KTAR Phoenix tweeted:
I'll say it one more time. The Suns have no interest in Josh Smith. This is Atlanta trying to create a market for a player they want to move— John Gambadoro (@Gambo620) February 19, 2013
In other words, Gambadoro is giving a definitive no, there is no truth to the rumors of Phoenix targeting Smith before the deadline. ESPN's Chris Broussard didn't echo this sentiment entirely, but he did tweet the following:
U never say never but source close to situation says Josh Smith to Phx 4 Gortat-headlined package is unlikely— Chris Broussard (@Chris_Broussard) February 19, 2013
Two separate personalities in the sports realm seem to think that the rumored Smith-for-Gortat package is unlikely to occur. Nevertheless, there is another source saying otherwise.
Alex Kennedy of Hoopsworld has been steady in his stance that Phoenix will trade for the Hawks' forward. Via Twitter:
I wrote it three weeks ago (and took heat for it) and I'll write it again: Don't be surprised if the Phoenix Suns trade for Josh Smith.— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) February 19, 2013
Again, these rumors can make your head spin when there are reports from credible sources that essentially contradict each other. In spite of the hubbub surrounding the Smith rumors, there are more moves rumored for Phoenix.
Kurt Helin of NBC Sports ProBasketballTalk wrote that a possible trade sending Gortat and P.J. Tucker to OKC for Kendrick Perkins, Jeremy Lamb and a first-round pick is being denied (citing John Gambodoro via Twitter and an article in the Arizona Republic).
Additionally, ESPN's Chris Broussard tweeted that the New York Knicks are showing interest in Jermaine O'Neal, while the Suns are trying to move backup point guard Sebastian Telfair.
The Suns certainly appear to be big players at the deadline, having already acquired Marcus Morris from Houston in exchange for a second-round pick, per Adrian Wojnarowski via Twitter.
The Brooklyn Nets have generated a lot of noise leading up to the deadline by reportedly offering Kris Humphries, MarShon Brooks and a first-round pick to a variety teams.
The Nets are reportedly one of the teams in the running for Atlanta’s Josh Smith, but Brian Windhorst of ESPN has stated that Brooklyn will have to do better than offering Humphries to get a deal done.
Nets trying for Josh Smith but ATL has no interest in offers w/Kris Humphries. Neither do many teams they're trying to involve for 3-way
— Brian Windhorst (@WindhorstESPN) February 19, 2013
Moving Humphries and his less-than-desirable contract before the deadline would create a sigh of relief in Brooklyn. They have been getting just as much production from the likes of Reggie Evans and Andray Blatche for a fraction of the price.
In order to move Humphries, however, the Nets will have to stop low-balling teams with bad offers. For example, trying to snatch Paul Pierce from the Boston Celtics, via Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports.
It's probably safe to say that the Nets will not attain someone of the caliber of Smith or Pierce in return for an overpaid role player like Humphries.
Los Angeles Lakers
Although certain Los Angeles Lakers fans have been calling for various Pau Gasol and/or Dwight Howard trades, Lakers’ GM Mitch Kupchak has made it abundantly clear that neither player will be moved before the deadline. So it appears those Lakers fans punching names into the NBA trade machine will exit the deadline disappointed.
Starting with the injured Spaniard, ESPN’s Arash Markazi said via Twitter that the likelihood Gasol is traded before the deadline is very slim, but he could be moved during the offseason.
Kupchak said Pau Gasol would not be traded "today or tomorrow" but did not rule out a trade in the off-season.
— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) February 20, 2013
That makes a lot of sense when you consider that Gasol is still sidelined due to a foot injury. Additionally, Gasol's trade value is in the toilet right now. If he comes back and plays solid basketball for the Lakers near the end of the season, L.A. could get a better deal for him moving forward.
With regards to Howard, ESPN's Dave McMenamin collected the following quote from Kupchak in a recent article:
"We've been very consistent," Kupchak said. "We're not trading Dwight Howard. ... He will not be traded and there's nothing that anybody can do today to call me today and ask me, 'Would you do this?' and get a positive result."
If D12 does end up signing elsewhere this summer, Kupchak and the Lakers organization will be left high and dry. Perhaps Kupchak's stance to build around Dwight as the future of the franchise will convince him to stick around.
All of the trade attention in Lakerland is centered around Howard and Gasol, but the Lakers could swing a minor deal to improve their roster moving forward.
Alex Kennedy of Hoopsworld said via Twitter that Mike D'Antoni could end up reunited with a savvy veteran he's coached before.
The Los Angeles Lakers are keeping an eye on Raja Bell, who has been away from the Utah Jazz all season: tinyurl.com/abjvgv5
— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) February 20, 2013
So, while trading Gasol or Howard is not in the cards, adding a defensive-minded player like Bell could add some mental toughness to a team in desperate need of such intangibles.
As the NBA trade deadline gets down to the wire, my "miscellaneous" slide will encompass any relevant goings-on throughout the league. The following will provide a rapid-fire account of various rumblings throughout the NBA to take note of moving closer to the deadline.
Starting alphabetically with the Boston Celtics, Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports has reported that Kevin Garnett does not intend to waive his no-trade clause for any reason. This is important to take note of because it will completely alter what the Celtics organization plans to do at the deadline.
With KG intending to stick around and bleed green, the Celts may look to improve the team rather than gut it. A tweet by Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports gives insight as to who could be on the move from Boston:
In pursuit of guard help, the Celtics have made rookie center Fab Melo available in trade offers, league sources tell Y! Sports.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) February 20, 2013
Now that Rajon Rondo and Leandro Barbosa are both out for the remainder of the season with torn ACLs, adding depth at the guard spot for a playoff run is vital for Boston moving forward.
Moving on to another east coast contender, New York Knicks' head coach Mike Woodson said the Knicks will "sit tight" at the trade deadline, according to Al Iannazzone of Newsday.
Woodson is reportedly in favor of keeping guard Iman Shumpert, who has been the key Knick dangled in rumors moving toward the deadline.
Meanwhile, Sam Amico of Fox Sports Ohio tweeted that Jordan Crawford of the Washington Wizards wants to be traded.
Amico also weighed in via Twitter, saying a potential Eric Gordon to Golden State trade, which was first reported by John Reid of the Times-Picayune in New Orleans, has some truth behind it.
Alex Kennedy of Hoopsworld reported via Twitter that the Indiana Pacers' Danny Granger could be moved and Chris Broussard of ESPN listed Philadelphia's Evan Turner and both Ben Gordon/Gerald Henderson of Charlotte as possible trade chips.
Well, the NBA trade rumor realm is a surreal and aggressive place to be. I'd assume that there isn't enough wiggle room available before the trade deadline for big names like Granger, Eric Gordon or Turner to get moved, but names like Ben Gordon and Jordan Crawford could be shipped out of town.
The NBA community may well be poised for a disappointing trade deadline following a gargantuan amount of rumors and speculation. But that doesn't mean the next few hours won't be eventful.
Feel free to chat about the NBA with me on Twitter: @BenLebo