The closer we get to the Feb. 20 NBA trade deadline, the more some surprising names are beginning to surface as potential trade bait.
Here's a look at three players whose teams would likely move for the right deal.
J-Smoove just got to Motown this past off season, but apparently, the Detroit Pistons are already willing to trade him. Per Sam Amick of USA Today:
Pistons' general manager Joe Dumars would be more than willing to trade forward Josh Smith. Yet the reality of Smith's contract signed last summer (four years, $54 million) means he's likely going nowhere, which brings us to the question of what happens with big man Greg Monroe.
Monroe is headed for free agency, but it seems the Pistons may be inclined to re-sign him to continue to pair him with Andre Drummond, but the willingness to move Smith should be disturbing to fans.
Literally months after signing Smith, the team is already admitting it made a mistake. It's hard for a fanbase to get behind the moves made by management at this point.
Smith was supposed to be a major pickup for a team looking to make the postseason. Even within a dreadful Eastern Conference, the 20-29 Pistons wouldn't make the playoffs if the season ended today.
Smith's scoring, rebounding, blocked shots and shooting numbers are the lowest they have been in three years. That dip in production is obviously causing Dumars to want to part ways with Smith.
Once thought to be a cornerstone of the rebuilding efforts in New Orleans, Gordon is now reportedly on the trade block.
Per Amick: "The Pelicans are looking to make a big play, with rival executives having been given the impression that they're willing to trade shooting guard Eric Gordon."
Gordon has two years and $29 million remaining on his contract, so it'll be tough to find a suitor. His injury history and modest scoring numbers this season are a deterrent. Gordon is averaging a career-low 15.9 per game.
That's not exactly worth $14.5 million per season.
Though his numbers are down, Gordon is playing and healthy. He told Jimmy Smith of The Times-Picayune:
I'm feeling pretty good right now. I'm just looking forward to playing every game for the rest of the year and playing as many minutes as I can. There are no limitations.
Gordon has already played 1,506 minutes this season. To put that in perspective, he played a combined 1,574 minutes in the two previous campaigns.
We'll see if Gordon's new-found durability is enough to entice a team into taking him off the Pelicans' hands.
Of the three names included in this article, Young has the best chance of being moved before the deadline. The 76ers are in full tank mode and looking to dump players to make room for a new nucleus. The only two players on Philly's roster who are likely off limits are rookies Michael Carter-Williams and Nerlens Noel.
Young is just 25 years old, and in the midst of a solid season. He's averaging 17 points, six rebounds and two steals per game.
He's due to make $9.1 million next season, which isn't an astronomical amount for such a talented player moving into his prime. We'll soon see if the 76ers consider Young a valuable part of their rebuilding efforts.
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