The Eastern Conference has been pitiful this season, but if there's any truth to the latest NBA trade rumors, then there are a few teams gearing up to make a deal to improve.
If the East wants to compete with the far superior Western Conference this season, then there will need to be changes. The conference's top teams—the Indiana Pacers and the Miami Heat—are capable of going toe to toe with the West, but even they could explore trades as the season progresses.
There are several quality players available already this season. Whether they move remains to be seen, but there is plenty of buzz regarding them at this point in time.
Jordan Crawford has performed well this season, averaging 13.7 points per game as the Boston Celtics' starting shooting guard.
Mitch Lawrence of the New York Daily News reports that general managers around the league are linking Crawford to the Miami Heat:
Miami is looking to deal for a young wing player who can score and take some of the load off Dwyane Wade. A few GMs have identified Boston’s Jordan Crawford as a player the Heat will go after in the coming days/weeks.
Boston is a team in contention in the East, so their willingness to actually deal Crawford is up in the air. Regardless, Miami will surely look to grab him if the price is right.
Crawford would be great insurance for Wade and would surely take the pressure off him. Crawford is enjoying a career season in terms of shooting percentages (37.5 percent from three, 44.5 percent overall), and that type of shooting would be a great addition to an already strong Heat lineup.
It doesn't appear as if the Heat really need to get any stronger, but adding Crawford into the mix would help them compete with both the Pacers and the top teams in the West.
Toronto Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry has been the subject of several trade rumors recently, but some of the newest reports have pinned the New York Knicks as a possible destination.
Lowry is not a particularly strong shooter (41.7 percent on his career), but he is a good facilitator (5.1 assists per game for his career) and would help distribute the ball in a Knicks offense that nearly always runs through Carmelo Anthony.
Should Dolan deal Hardaway?
James Dolan and Raptors general manager Masai Ujiri have discussed a deal including Knicks' 2013 first-round pick Tim Hardaway, Jr., Metta World Peace and Beno Udrih for Lowry.
Dealing Hardaway would be an interesting decision, as he has shown promise in 22 games this season.
The Knicks and Raptors appear to be a match, but a deal will obviously hinge on which players are sent to Toronto.
After a breakout 2012-13 season with the Houston Rockets, Omer Asik has been relegated to bench duty and just 18.3 minutes per game. He's without a definitive role on the Rockets because of Dwight Howard, and that has made him the subject of trade rumors since the signing occurred.
Eliot Shorr-Parks of NJ.com reports the Rockets and Philadelphia 76ers could be a match for a trade, and his report was prompted by Sam Amick of USA Today saying the two teams may already have a deal in place.
Final Asik note: Rival execs believe Rockets have deal in place - Philly their educated guess - & looking for better one b4 pulling trigger— Sam Amick (@sam_amick) December 14, 2013
Houston wants to trade Asik by a self-imposed Dec. 19 deadline (via Shorr-Parks), so the Sixers may very well be where Asik finds himself. The Sixers have the cap space and the picks to make a deal happen, and Asik would be a nice upgrade for them at center.
In a full-time role, Asik has shown he is a double-double machine and can control the glass. His offensive game still needs some work, but he is generally a capable scorer in the post.
The Rockets have needed to trade Asik for some time now, and it finally appears as if he'll be dealt within the coming days.