The trade deadline is looming—Feb. 20, to be exact—and multiple teams appear to be considering making deals for several different reasons.
Whether it's to build their team for a playoff drive or trying to rid themselves of contracts to build for the future, NBA executives are looking to bolster their roster before the stretch run of the season.
A few certified superstars like Rajon Rondo remain on the market for teams willing to put together the right package. Then there are other budding stars like Kyle Lowry and Evan Turner along with a plethora of Philadelphia 76ers players who are hot commodities out on the trading block.
With rumors boiling over before the trade deadline, here are a few players who have been viewed as potential movers before or on Feb. 20.
Danny Ainge "Getting Calls" On Rajon Rondo
It's clearly not a foregone conclusion that the Boston Celtics will trade away Rondo, the last remaining star from its 2008 NBA Championship team, but it does appear President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge has no problem with taking calls about the point guard.
Ben Rohrbach of WEEI.com reports Ainge's comments on the situation via Twitter:
Ainge on Rondo: "Yeah [I'm getting calls], but I think everybody's sort of fishing right now. I don't think they're anticipating anything."— Ben Rohrbach (@brohrbach) January 30, 2014
Ainge says teams are hoping to land Rondo at a bargain. Certainly didn't rule out dealing him. "I don't think there's anything serious yet."— Ben Rohrbach (@brohrbach) January 30, 2014
Rondo has only played in six games this season after returning to the team in January, but he's already made an impact on the team.
His 24.3 minutes per game are well below his career average of 32.8, according to NBA.com, but he is still averaging 6.7 points and 5.7 assists per game in his limited time on the court.
After a fan asked Rohrbach about Rondo being talked about earlier in the season as a centerpiece, he clarified what he thought of the trade talks:
@thechancecook He's never going to close the door on trading Rondo just for the chance a team blows him away w/ an offer (which they won't).— Ben Rohrbach (@brohrbach) January 30, 2014
Rondo is still currently in a Celtics uniform, but with no Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce or Doc Rivers on the roster, it appears Ainge could be looking to deal the 27-year-old.
Evan Turner On the Move?
The Sixers are 16 games under .500 with just 15 wins on the season. While they were a surprise team earlier in the season, it appears Philadelphia is closer to being at the bottom of the Eastern Conference than in the playoffs.
Given that current situation, Philly looks like a team ready to deal players away that they won't be able to keep in free agency. According to Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders, the Sixers should be looking to trade away Turner before the deadline if they can't re-sign him:
I think Philly should at least trade Evan Turner and Spencer Hawes before the deadline since those two will be free agents this summer. They might as well get something back for those players now rather than potentially losing them for nothing over the offseason, assuming they aren’t part of the 76ers’ long-term plan.
Thaddeus Young may get moved at some point too, but they could always decide to trade him over the summer or next season, since he’s under contract for next year. Trading all three before the deadline makes sense if Philly wants to try to lose a few more games to compete with Orlando and Milwaukee for worst record in the league, which really should be their goal at this point.
Turner has been putting together one of his best years this season on the court, which could certainly up his trade value. For teams that believe they can sign Turner in the offseason, the deal might be all the sweeter, especially if he keeps making clutch shots like he did against the Celtics.
After showing durability in the 2012-13 season by starting all 82 games, Turner has played in 45 games this year and has raised his points per game to 18.6, five more than his highest output for a season, according to Basketball Reference.
The former Ohio State guard is still donning a 76ers jersey for now, but could be one of the most likely candidates to be moved before the deadline.
Kyle Lowry Still On Trading Block?
No matter what Lowry does, his name still remains as one of the biggest names on the trade market for the Toronto Raptors.
Marc Stein of ESPN reported earlier that the rumors about Lowry continue, but the price tag is still too high for many teams:
Trade rumble: Sense around league remains Toronto more likely to trade Kyle Lowry than keep him to prevent losing asset for nothing. But ...— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) January 27, 2014
Issue here hasn't changed: No team out there willing YET to meet Raps' asking price for PG who, nice as he's playin, can bolt in free agency— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) January 27, 2014
As a follow-up on his comments, Stein provided more commentary on the situation following Lowry's outstanding production in the last few games:
Lowry's message to his bosses continues to be: I'm playing too well for you guys to even think about trading me. And he might just be right— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) January 30, 2014
Simply put, Lowry has played well enough to make the Raptors think twice about trading him. The 27-year-old point guard has performed out of his mind in his last four games, averaging 23.3 points, 10.8 assists and 6.5 rebounds per game with Toronto going 3-1 over that stretch.
The Raptors still seem on the fence about whether or not to deal Lowry or keep him and try to re-sign him in the offseason. But with his name still on the market, other teams could look to lure him out of Toronto and hold onto him for the future.
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