The trade deadline may have passed for the National Basketball Association, but there's still plenty of time for player movement.
As playoff teams jockey for position atop the conference standings, they're also looking to add depth to the bench via players who receive buyouts and clear waivers. Likewise, non-contenders are starting to face the reality of the upcoming offseason and how to shape their rosters for the 2014-15 season, and tough decisions are looming.
With that in mind, here's a look at a three NBA storylines unfolding in the fluid landscape of the league.
G Jimmer Fredette
It looks like the Chicago Bulls are going to get some bench help as they make their push toward the playoffs. Sam Amick of USA Today recently reported that Fredette is expected to sign with the Bulls once he clears waivers at 5 p.m. ET on Saturday.
After unfailing to unload him by the Feb. 20 trade deadline, the Sacramento Kings bought out Fredette on Thursday. It ended a two-plus-season run in Sacramento for Fredette, who could never crack the starting lineup regularly after starring as a sharpshooter for BYU in college.
Marc Stein of ESPN.com passed along a comment from Bulls forward Taj Gibson, who said Fredette could benefit from a change of scenery.
I've seen that he's got talent, It's just that the team that he was on, he never really got a chance to do much because they've got the characters on that team where they don't seem too serious, you know what I'm saying? Playing on strict, good teams kind of brings the best out of a player.
The Bulls have built a reputation as a defensive-minded team with good big men, but they don't have much overall depth at the guard position, with Kirk Hinrich, Jimmy Butler, D.J. Augustin and Tony Snell dividing up duties.
In 48 games with the struggling Kings this year, the 25-year-old is posting career lows in points (5.9) and minutes (11.3) per game but also has career highs in field-goal percentage (47.5) and three-point shooting (49.3 percent).
Fredette should have plenty of opportunities to contribute as a shooter off the bench and perhaps bring a nice spark to this team, which entered play on Saturday with a 32-26 record, tied with Toronto for the third-best record in the Eastern Conference.
G Ben Gordon
Ben Gordon has never been to the conference finals in his career, but it sounds like he could have a great chance to do that this year.
Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.com is reporting that the veteran guard is expected to sign with the Oklahoma City Thunder once agreeing to a buyout with the Charlotte Bobcats.
Shelburne also explained that the Thunder have emerged as a front-runner since they are essentially willing to rent him for the playoff push before letting him test free agency.
For Gordon, this is the best of both worlds, as he will get to jump to a legit NBA title contender while seeing what he can earn on the open market this summer. Entering play Saturday, the Thunder were leading the West with a 44-15 record, while the Bobcats were the East's No. 7 seed with a mark of 27-31.
But as Shelburne noted, Gordon's exit out of Charlotte isn't a done deal.
Gordon isn't the same effective sixth man that he was earlier in his career, and he has essentially fallen out of the rotation with Charlotte this year.
The 30-year-old looks like he's lost his step and has played in just three games since the start of January. In those three contests, he's gone 3-of-17 from the field, looking like a shell of his former self. He would have to show some major improvement to have any drastic impact on the Thunder.
G Steve Nash
This could be the last rodeo for two-time MVP Steve Nash.
The Los Angeles Lakers guard recently revealed on a Web series with Grantland.com that he could retire if the Lakers use the stretch provision on him this summer.
As Nash discusses with agent Bill Duffy in the video, the stretch provision would allow the Lakers to release the guard and his $9.7 million salary for the 2014-15 season and be able to stretch that out over a three-year span to alleviate salary-cap pressure.
Once Nash learned about the provision, he acknowledged that he's a prime candidate to be let go by Los Angeles.
"If the Lakers release me this summer, this is it," Nash told Grantland. "I finally got my kids here in L.A.; I'm not going to move them again, I'm not going to be without them for a year. So, it's either back with the Lakers next year or I'm done."
Nash turned 40 less than a month ago, and as he detailed with Grantland, his body has been breaking down on him over the years.
The writing is on the wall at this point for the point guard, who has never been able to recapture his showstopping form of yesteryear since joining the Lakers. But Nash is a smart man with a bunch of options at his fingertips whenever basketball is over, especially now that he lives in a media center like Los Angeles.
It's admirable that he wants to keep playing, but at this point, he's not going to do much to add on to his already sterling legacy, which should be enough to earn him a spot in the Hall of Fame.
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