It’s the time of year again in the NBA where the contenders dangle draft picks or some type of financial compensation to the downtrodden squads of the league in search for assets that could push their squads over the top in the chase for a championship.
The 2014 NBA trade deadline is less than 48 hours away (Thursday at 3 p.m. ET), and there is bound to be some movement, especially with such a loaded draft class on the horizon making picks so valuable.
Here is a look at some potential impact players who could be on the move that would certainly improve the chances of contenders in the playoffs.
Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders reported that the Toronto Raptors are interested in landing Denver Nuggets forward Kenneth Faried by the trade deadline.
It is worth mentioning that the Raptors’ general manager, Masai Ujiri, drafted Faried in the 2011 NBA draft as the GM of the Nuggets.
What’s more, Marc Stein of ESPN mentioned that the New York Knicks may be sniffing around when it comes to the Denver big man:
Faried’s production has been slightly down this season for the Nuggets, but that is largely a result of the crowded frontcourt surrounding him. He demonstrated just how valuable of a player he can be against the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday night with 21 points, 10 rebounds and three steals.
Rebounding is always at a premium in the NBA. Faried can instantly upgrade the efforts on the glass for any contender and could serve as a formidable rim protector on the defensive end.
If Faried does get moved, he will make an impact in the postseason chase wherever he ends up.
The Philadelphia 76ers aren’t going anywhere this season, which makes players like Spencer Hawes, Thaddeus Young and Evan Turner intriguing.
Young’s two-year deal with an expensive player option makes him difficult to move, but Turner is certainly a candidate who could help a contender.
He clearly didn’t seem too concerned with leaving Philadelphia in the future either in quotes made at the beginning of the season to Bob Cooney of Philly.com:
I just show up and work hard. It doesn't really bother me. I just take it one day at a time. I'll be somewhere next year, so all that other stuff doesn't bother me. I'm going to play hard, and I'm going to get my money, regardless.
It’s easy to read those comments and assume Turner only cares about money, but put it in the context of his understanding that the money only comes when he shows up and works hard.
Any contender that acquires Turner will at least know he is motivated to give his best effort, even if one of the driving forces behind it is money (which is a driving force for every player, whether they want to admit it or not).
Turner has cooled off some as of late, but a change of scenery would undoubtedly help, considering the trade rumors that have been circulating over his head all season.
Turner is a capable mid-range shooter, has solid ball-handling skills, can post up smaller defenders, has the athleticism to get out in transition, is a better passer than he gets credit for and is a decent defender. His versatility and ability to stuff the stat sheet when he plays up to his talent level makes Turner a potentially valuable asset to any contender looking for more depth at the forward spot.
There isn’t a bigger name on the market than Boston’s Rajon Rondo as the Celtics continue to rebuild and look to the future.
Sam Smith of Bulls.com reported that the asking price for Rondo from the Celtics is two unprotected first-round draft picks, though. Grantland’s Zach Lowe confirmed he heard the same rumor:
Considering the amount of talent in the upcoming NBA draft, it’s difficult to imagine many teams willing to give up multiple first-rounders for someone who is coming off an ACL tear and almost entirely relies on his athleticism.
That being said, perhaps it is just a negotiating ploy from Boston and the Celtics would settle for less. If that was the case, the hypothetical line to get Rondo would extend farther than any that of any other player at the deadline.
Rondo is a dynamic talent and makes those around him better, which is exactly what a point guard is supposed to do.
He also brings a pass-first approach to the game and doesn’t have to be the main piece to be satisfied with his role, as he demonstrated alongside Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce for a number of years.
Furthermore, Rondo never shies away from the critical moments. Clear-cut proof of that exists in the fact that his entire career is filled with incredible postseason games.
Rondo is the type of franchise-altering talent who is rarely available at a trade deadline. The only question now is whether the Celtics will give him up for the right price.
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