While it appeared earlier this month that the blockbuster trades had ended when Luol Deng was shipped from the Chicago Bulls to the Cleveland Cavaliers for Andrew Bynum, it looks like a few other big trades could be in the works.
After Rajon Rondo made his official return against the Los Angeles Lakers, it seems as though his hard work to get back might be for another team if he is traded to a contender. Rondo is part of a team young team with a rookie head coach in Brad Stevens that doesn't have the assets it had last year.
Along with Rondo, trades involving the New Orleans Pelicans and Philadelphia 76ers could be coming shortly, with both teams looking to make moves.
With all of this taken into account, here are some of the latest talks around the league.
Rondo Rolling Out?
After all of the offseason moves that the Boston Celtics made, trading away stars Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce to the Brooklyn Nets and head coach Doc Rivers to the Los Angeles Clippers, Rondo was the only leftover on a former championship team that appeared to be moving on.
With Stevens at the helm and the team looking more like a lock for a top-five pick in the 2014 NBA draft than for a playoff spot, Rondo might be the next to go. According to Mitch Lawrence of the New York Daily News, multiple general managers believe Rondo will be dealt:
More than a few GMs around the league expect Rondo to be on the move, if not at the trading deadline next month, then maybe in June at draft time.
With one more season to go on his contract, at $13 million, Rondo is still viewed as a top-five point guard. He returned to action on Friday against the Lakers and he needs to show he’s fully recovered from his torn ACL.
The only issue with Rondo is that he hasn't proven he can stay healthy. He is still worth a top pick in the league as a top-five point guard when healthy, as Lawrence points out, but the current trade market is getting slim.
Still, in just one game back, Rondo made a splash and looked like his normal self early in the game:
Lawrence points out in his report that the Phoenix Suns and Houston Rockets could be two potential trade partners and that the Dallas Mavericks could have an outsider's chance.
Regardless of where Rondo lands, it likely won't be right away, as teams will want to make sure he remains healthy before making the deal.
Pelicans Looking to Make Moves
The New Orleans Pelicans currently sit at 15-24 and are continuing to slide out of contention in the Western Conference, with the bottom of the West closer than the playoffs.
After making several offseason moves, including signing Tyreke Evans and trading for Jrue Holiday, New Orleans doesn't appear to be an improved team and could be looking to move one of its assets.
According to Lawrence's report, Evans and Eric Gordon could be the most likely players on the move: "The front office's take? Team execs are saying at least those are assets that can be moved. Davis and Holiday are the keepers."
No teams were listed in Lawrence's article, but contending teams looking for bench depth could do much worse than either Evans or Gordon.
Gordon is averaging 16.3 points this season and has averaged 20.4 points in his last five games. With a 35-point performance against the Rockets and two straight 20-plus games against the Mavericks, he might look appetizing for a Western Conference team attempting to make the playoffs.
As for Evans, injuries have kept him out lately, but he returned against the Golden State Warriors and put up 14 points. Unfortunately, his points per game are down from his seasons with the Sacramento Kings, and his turnovers are up from last year, all with fewer minutes.
Sixers Seeking First-Rounder for Young Players
Speaking of young assets possibly on the move, the Philadelphia 76ers might be in the trading mix as well before the deadline hits on Feb. 20.
According to Tom Moore of the Bucks County Courier Times, Philadelphia general manager Sam Hinkie is interested in moving either Evan Turner, Spencer Hawes or Thaddeus Young for the right price. As for the price tag, it appears he is only interested in getting another first-round draft pick and a player with an expiring contract in return:
If one of the other 29 teams meets his price — another 2014 first-round pick would be ideal, with the player in return less important as long as the contract is expiring — the Sixers GM is willing to swap Evan Turner or Spencer Hawes. ... Thaddeus Young is another trade candidate.
Which team is more likely to make a deal?
All three players are averaging over 14 points thus far this season at their respective positions, but the Sixers are currently 1-9 in their last 10 games and look to be sliding further and further away from the playoffs.
Turner, a former No. 2 overall pick, is the leading scorer for the team, while Hawes leads the team in both rebounds and blocks per game. Both players are experiencing career years, but they could be on the move with the team losing despite their efforts.
Though Philadelphia looks like it's sliding out of the playoff race, Moore said Hinkie could stand pat if he's not getting the trade offers that he wants:
But don't be stunned if Hinkie only trades one — or maybe even none — of the three by the deadline.
What's the rush? If nobody is willing to pay Hinkie what he perceives is fair value, he doesn't have to do anything.
With players like Michael Carter-Williams providing star power for the team and the return of Nerlens Noel possible after the All-Star break, the Sixers could look to add more draft picks and build upon their young roster next season.