NBA Trade Rumors: Latest Pre-Combine Buzz and Speculation

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NBA Trade Rumors: Latest Pre-Combine Buzz and Speculation
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The 2013 NBA playoffs are in full swing and the NBA Draft Combine is right around the corner, but that hasn't stopped the rumor mill from churning out plenty of trade buzz.

The aging Boston Celtics are one team dominating trade rumors this May, as the club's aging core has brought about tons of questions about the future in Beantown. Elsewhere in the Eastern Conference, the Atlanta Hawks will soon have to make a decision about the future of Josh Smith, who is set to become a free agent this summer.

Out West, the Phoenix Suns have hired a new general manager, meaning that the roster could potentially undergo a major overhaul this summer.

Below we'll take a closer look at the latest pre-combine trade buzz and speculation.

 

Rajon Rondo's Uncertain Future

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Rajon Rondo has been the subject of trade rumors for awhile now and it certainly doesn't help that he's in the process of recovering from surgery to repair a torn ACL. Prior to the February trade deadline, sources told ESPN's Chris Broussard that Rondo was available but that a trade was unlikely given his injury.

Now, after bowing out in the first round of the 2013 NBA playoffs, the Celtics are at a crossroads and Rondo, like every other player on the team's roster, is seemingly in play for a trade (via Boston Herald's Mark Murphy):

All parts are in play. And that means that no matter how much the Celtics personnel chief will again insist that he’s not looking to trade Rajon Rondo, he will once again be on alert in case a deal makes sense.

With Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett also facing uncertain futures, there's truly no telling what's in store for Rondo this offseason.

The Celtics' aging core definitely makes him a valuable piece to the puzzle. However, if a trade proposal that's simply too good to pass up comes Danny Ainge's way, maybe one year later Rondo will be following Ray Allen's footsteps out of Boston.

 

Josh Smith Set to Leave Atlanta Via Sign-and-Trade?

The Atlanta Hawks failed to find a trade they liked involving soon-to-be free agent Josh Smith back in February, and they now risk losing Smith this offseason.

The following comes from The Boston Globe's Gary Washburn:

Atlanta coach Larry Drew is awaiting his fate, but with the Hawks having eight free agents, expect GM Danny Ferry to make wholesale changes. And the Hawks likely won’t allow Josh Smith to walk without compensation. To attract more suitors, the club likely will offer Smith on sign-and-trade deals. However, Smith is seeking the maximum, and interested teams may decrease.

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Smith averaged 17.5 points and 8.4 rebounds this past season as the Hawks were eliminated in the first round of the NBA playoffs for the second straight year.

Very few people believe that Smith is worthy of a max deal, but there's no denying that the 27-year-old forward is a game-changer. It's quite possible that a team would be willing to overpay for Smith this offseason if it means landing a second-tier star who can be counted on to score 15-20 points on most nights.

 

Michael Beasley's Time Running Out in Phoenix?

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Michael Beasley has had a tough time during his brief Phoenix Suns career, struggling on the court and making news for all the wrong reasons off of it (via ArizonaSports.com's Dave Dulberg):

Scottsdale Police announced Tuesday that they were investigating Suns forward Michael Beasley for an alleged sexual assault dating back to an incident on January 13, 2013. While no charges have been filed as of yet, it wouldn't be Beasley's first run-in with the law since coming to the Valley last summer.

The Suns forward was cited back in January for multiple offenses, including driving with a suspended license, driving with excessive speed, driving with expired registration and failure to display a license plate on the rear of the vehicle.

Now, after the Suns have brought in a new general manager in Ryan McDonough to run the show, Beasley's days in Phoenix look numbered—that is, if the franchise can find a willing trade partner this offseason. 

The following is from ESPN.com's Nick Borges (paid subscription required):

McDonough will shop Beasley immediately, however his value around the NBA is very, very low. Beasley is guaranteed $9 million over the next two seasons. 

And then there's this from ESPN NBA Insider Chris Broussard:

They took a leap on [Michael] Beasley's talent, but he's not in their plans.

Beasley averaged career season-lows in minutes played (20.7), points (10.1), rebounds (3.8) and field-goal percentage (40.5) last season with the Suns and the terms of his contract will certainly scare away potential suitors.

The good news is that he's only 24 years old and still has time to turn things around.

 

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