The NBA season is in full swing, and with the trade deadline approaching, the rumors surrounding several players are beginning to heat up.
The trade deadline for the 2013-14 season is February 20, which means there's a good chance we see a few more trades before then. There have already been some intriguing moves, including Luol Deng going to the Cleveland Cavaliers for Andrew Bynum and a few draft picks.
Let's take a look at some of the latest rumors surrounding the association, breaking down the players involved and looking at what they bring to the table.
The Milwaukee Bucks decided to bring in Gary Neal this offseason, and while it seemed like a good signing at the time, it hasn't exactly worked out so far this year. He's played in just 23 of the team's 39 games, averaging 10.4 points per game while shooting just 39.4 percent from the field.
Still, given his success with the San Antonio Spurs, Neal has some trade value, and it appears that the Oklahoma City Thunder are a team interested in the 29-year-old. Anthony Slater from The Oklahoman discussed the possibility of the trade, saying:
One name that intrigues me: Gary Neal. He's having problems in Milwaukee and is clearly on the trading block. And after last game, both he and Durant, two Maryland boys, were having a nice chat after the game.
Problem with him is he's owed over $3 million for the next two years. So along with the Maynor exception, the Thunder would have to add some type of contract to the trade. And it would have to be something the Bucks are willing to take back. We'll see. But he's a streaky shooter that could win you a crucial ballgame, as shown in the NBA Finals last year.
Over his four-year career, Neal has been a solid contributor coming off the bench. He's averaged 9.8 points per game while shooting 42.9 percent from the floor and 40 percent from behind the arc.
Adding another guard makes a lot of sense for the Thunder right now, especially at the 2 position. Thabo Sefolosha and Jeremy Lamb aren't the best options at the 2-guard, and they could add some much-needed depth at the position with this trade.
At 33 years old, expectations for Chicago Bulls small forward Mike Dunleavy were low for this season. But with Derrick Rose out for the year and Luol Deng now with the Cavaliers, Dunleavy has become an effective starter for the team.
This year, Dunleavy has averaged 10.8 points, 3.8 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game, shooting a strong 44.6 percent. Since the new year, he's been playing 28.6 minutes per game, shooting 53.3 percent from behind the arc and scoring 12.1 points per contest.
Quite simply, Dunleavy is exceeding expectations, but who knows how much longer he can be effective. Considering the fact that the Bulls want to rebuild while Rose gets healthy, the team could trade the veteran away for a nice price to a team looking for a short-term scoring option at the position.
The rest of the league has apparently began to notice how effective he's been. Joe Cowley from the Chicago Sun-Times reported that, "there are plenty of trade rumors hovering around the Bulls," and that, "Dunleavy is a part of that, with at least four teams calling about a possible deal."
At 19-20, the Bulls are still second in the Central Division, although they're still 13 games behind the Indiana Pacers. They may currently be the No. 6 seed in the Eastern Conferences, but it's clear that they're still focusing on rebuilding to try to compete with the Pacers and Miami Heat in the future.
By trading Dunleavy, the Bulls would be losing a short-term scoring option in a down year while possibly getting some pieces or draft picks for the future, which is exactly what this team could use once Rose returns.
It's just not an NBA season without constant trade rumors surrounding Boston Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo.
Rondo finally made his season debut for the Celtics against the Los Angeles Lakers. They lost the game, but Rondo looked more comfortable than expected, finishing with eight points, four assists, two rebounds and just one turnover while shooting 4-of-9 from the floor.
But this is a rebuilding team, and Rondo is a superstar the Celtics could get a lot of value out of if they decide to trade him. Mitch Lawrence from the New York Daily News had this to say about the situation in Boston:
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.
Rondo probably isn’t going to accept a role in a rebuilding situation with a rookie coach, Brad Stevens, so look for Ainge to try to move him to the West, with Phoenix and Houston seen as two potential destinations.
Teams will be pushing hard to try to get Rondo, as is the case almost every year. During the 2012-13 season before tearing his ACL, Rondo was averaging 13.7 points, 11.1 assists and 5.6 rebounds per game. He's a four-time All-Star and is almost always a threat to put up a triple-double.
The Celtics likely aren't going anywhere at 14-27, and with a rookie coach in Brad Stevens, the Celtics need to rebuild. Rondo is also in the final year of his contract, and there's no guarantee that he would stay if he wasn't traded, as he could likely land a big deal on a team that is more focused on winning than rebuilding.