Eight teams remain in contention for the coveted NBA championship, but for 22 franchises, attention has already shifted to the offseason.
The 2014 NBA draft looms large, but the possibility of improving via trade is always an enticing option. Rumors continue to circulate around NBA circles regarding potential trades which could affect draft strategies or offseason priorities.
Let's break down a few recent rumors that could impact numerous teams this summer.
Charlotte Bobcats Targeting Arron Afflalo
The Bobcats certainly have some holes to fill. The team needs an upgrade at the small forward position and added depth at point guard.
According to Marc Stein of ESPN.com, Charlotte already has its sights set on two targets:
The rumbles have already begun that a player Clifford is said to regard with real fondness after working with him in Orlando as an assistant—vet floor leader Jameer Nelson—as well as current Magic swingman Arron Afflalo will be among the Bobcats' trade targets.
Nelson would certainly solidify the point guard position. He averaged 12.1 points per game and 7.0 rebounds per game over the 2013-14 season and would be a great rotational option.
Afflalo would bring the versatility required to boost the Bobcats offense. At 6'5", he makes a great addition as a swingman. He averaged 18.2 points per game while connecting on 45.9 percent of his field-goal attempts over the regular season.
Chicago Bulls to Trade Carlos Boozer
The Bulls have been linked to plenty of rumors heading into the offseason—most notably the possible scenario of adding Carmelo Anthony.
If the team is to make a splash in free agency, it will have to free up some cap space.
According to Marc Stein of ESPN.com, trading Boozer may be how it gets that done. "Sources briefed on Chicago's thinking say the Bulls are going to do everything they can to try to find a trading partner for Boozer before seriously considering the amnesty option," he wrote.
At 32 years of age, Boozer is set to enter the final year of his contract worth $16.8 million next season. That's a hefty price tag to keep around if the Bulls are indeed looking to acquire the services of elite NBA players like Anthony.
Taj Gibson really came on strong down the stretch for Chicago in 2014, which absolutely makes Boozer expendable.
Detroit Pistons Shopping Josh Smith
The Pistons will be in the midst of a major upheaval over the offseason. Expect to see plenty of changes in Detroit. According to Zach Lowe of Grantland, they may start with trading Smith:
Other teams say Pistons indeed shopping Josh Smith, but demanding more than just dead expirings.— Zach Lowe (@ZachLowe_NBA) February 20, 2014
Smith played in 77 games for the Pistons this past season, missing the last five with a knee injury. He averaged 16.4 points and 6.8 rebounds per game for Detroit.
It may be difficult for Detroit to get top dollar for Smith given his limited skill set and struggles with accuracy over the regular season—he shot a career-low 41.9 percent from the field.
Depending on which teams are interested in acquiring the small forward, the former first-round pick will have to go at the right price.