It could also be...well, pretty boring, considering the likelihood that none of the above players—or any other stars, for that matter—will be moved before the Feb. 18 deadline. It certainly wouldn't be the first deadline to come and go without a major splash.
If any superstar is moved, however, it appears most likely to be Howard from the Houston Rockets.
Marc Stein of ESPN reported on Tuesday that the Rockets and Charlotte Hornets "held exploratory talks on a potential Howard deal since Houston made him available last week," though "one source close to the talks expressed pessimism Tuesday that the sides will be able to find common ground on a deal."
Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical also reported that any deal between the teams was unlikely:
Adrian Wojnarowski @WojVerticalNBA
Sources: Charlotte's shown no interest in cashing assets for Dwight Howard. Clifford loved coaching Howard in Orlando, but no path to deal.2/16/2016, 10:08:33 PM
Frank Isola of the New York Daily News reported that the Rockets and Miami Heat were having discussions about a deal that would send Howard to Miami and Hassan Whiteside to the Heat, and that Goran Dragic would also likely head to Houston in the deal if one comes to fruition, given Dragic's poor fit with the Heat thus far this season.
That might make the most sense of all the deals, though neither team is exactly flush with cap space.
Ultimately, the Rockets have struggled to drum up a market for Howard. As Zach Lowe of ESPN wrote, "Houston has been making calls on him for two weeks, but the Rockets have found little interest so far, per several league sources."
Nonetheless, Ric Bucher of Bleacher Report believes that the Rockets will do everything in their power to move the center:
Can Pelicans Big Duo of Boogie and 'The Brow' Thrive Together in New Orleans?
Bucher Buzz: If Bulls Trade Butler This Summer, Wade Could Opt-out
The Night in the NBA: Boogie Debuts, Dubs Go Off and LeBron Dominates Knicks
Howard Beck's Winners and Losers of the NBA Trade Deadline
Playing in a Small Basketball Market Is Brutal. Unless...
Breaking Down Anthony Davis' Record-Setting NBA All Star Game MVP Performance
From Russell Westbrook to Beyonce, the Best Fashion of NBA All-Star Weekend
Ronaldinho Was Spreading the Barcelona Word at the NBA All-Star Weekend
Russell Westbrook's MVP Campaign Fueled by the Fast Break
NBA All-Star Uniforms Since 1st Game in 1951
Glenn Robinson III Dunk Contest Rd.3
Robinson III Dunk Contest Rd. 1
Derrick Jones Jr 1st Round Dunk
Sager Strong Shootout
Ernie Johnson Sager Tribute Speech
Eric Gordon Wins 3 Point Contest
Kyle Lowry Airballs First Shot at the 3-point Contest
B/R Looks Back at the NBA Dunk Contest’s Greatest Moments with #DunkDominators
Celebrity All Star Game Does the Mannequin Challenge
NBA All-Star Weekend Is Here and So Is the New Wave
Bucher Buzz: Magic Turned Down Deal for DeMarcus Cousins
B/R Presents Hip-Hop Music Video Starring LeBron James and Other All-Stars
Breaking Down Carmelo Anthony's Decade of NBA All-Star Game Dominance
Can Starter-Snubbed Russell Westbrook Threepeat as NBA All-Star Game MVP?
This 5'5" Pro Dunker Thinks He Could Win the NBA Dunk Contest
History of Vinsanity
Could a Player with Zero Career NBA Dunks Win the All-Star Dunk Contest?
Ultimate NBA All-Star Game GOAT LeBron James Is About to Take Over New Orleans
Why the NBA’s Greatest Dunkers Are Passing on the Slam Dunk Crown
From Gucci Mane to LeBron: How the Kiss Cam Is NBA’s Cupid
Was Aaron Gordon vs. Zach LaVine the Greatest Dunk Contest Ever?
Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant Jaw with Each Other in KD's Return to OKC
Russell Westbrook Pushes Kevin Durant
Kevin Durant OKC Debut Welcomed with Boos
Giannis Antetokounmpo Makes a Space Jam Dunk
On This Day in the NBA: Allen Iverson Dropped 60 on the Magic in Philadelphia
The Underhand Free Throw Could Be Making a Comeback in the NBA
Devin Booker Scores the Winning Shot Against the Sacramento Kings
Yogi Ferrell Hits Game-Winning 3 Versus Trailblazers
The Potential Top-2 NBA Draft Picks Are About to Finally Settle It on the Court
Dunk Contest Legend Nate Robinson Wants One Last Chance to Ball in the NBA
Could a Player with Zero Career NBA Dunks Win the All-Star Dunk Contest?
Carmelo and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Month
Greg Anthony's Starting 5: the Biggest NBA All-Star Snubs
CJ McCollum Making Moves
DeAndre Liggins Takes Too Many Steps, LeBron James Mocks Him
Steph Curry Hits a Half-Court Shot Before Halftime
Joel Embiid Blocks James Harden and Finishes the Other Way
Kemba Walker Sick Crossover on Derrick Rose
The NBA's Biggest Social Media Stars Take the Court at Halftime
Howard Beck's Rant on the All-Star Voting Process
This Night in the NBA
Alternative NBA Facts with Howard Beck
Howard Beck Predicts His Eastern Conference All-Star Reserves Team
Howard Beck Predicts His Western Conference All-Star Reserves Team
'We Came Up in the Struggle’: NBA’s Zach Randolph Gives $20K to Keep Lights On
Celebrate This Year's Oscar Nominees with the NBA's Best Actors
Philadelphia 76ers Are on a Roll with #RaiseTheCat Victory Celebration
Joakim Noah Makes an Embarrassing Free-Throw Attempt Versus Pacers
Dion Waiters Drills the Three to Win the Game Against the Warriors
Giannis Antetokounmpo Drains the Three
Westbrook Scores Game-Winner and Earns Another Triple-Double to Defeat Jazz
LeBron James Nails a Clutch 3-Pointer to Tie the Game vs. Spurs
Eleven Years Ago Today, Kobe Bryant Dropped 81 Points on the Raptors
Greg Anthony's Starting 5: Top 5 Question Marks at the Halfway Point
Howard Beck and Ric Bucher's 1st-Half Disappointments
KD Has His Best Game of the Season vs. Thunder
Was the NBA Right or Wrong to Reduce Fan Influence on All-Star Starters?
Who Should Star in the Remake of 'White Men Can’t Jump'?
The Greek Freak vs. the Beard: Harden and Giannis Face Off in Houston
Allen Iverson Will Reportedly Coach Former NBA Stars in 3-on-3 Tournament
Mr. December: See John Wall Once Again End the Year as NBA's Player of the Month
Greg Anthony's Starting 5: the Top 5 Trade Targets in the NBA
Jordan Clarkson Fouls Goran Dragic & James Johnson Isn't Having It
Top 3 Landing Spots If the Chicago Bulls Move All-Star Jimmy Butler
Giannis vs. Porzingis: Battle of the International Unicorns
James Harden vs. Russell Westbrook: Who's the Real MVP?
Ric Bucher's NBA Power Rankings: New Year Sees a New Team at #1
Bucher Buzz: the Reason the Hawks Are Likely to Trade Paul Millsap and Others
Bucher Buzz: League Sources Say Bulls Have Begun Shopping Jimmy Butler
Who Will Grab the 8th Seed in the Western Conference?
Howard Beck Predicts the NBA All-Star Teams in Each Conference
Is Rondo's Relationship with the Bulls Beyond Repair?
What's Wrong with the New York Knicks?
Greg Anthony's Starting 5: Who Has the Most to Prove in 2017?
James Harden Connects with Montrezl Harrell with the Between-the-Legs Dime
Jrue Holiday Dunks on Kristaps Porzingis
Isaiah Thomas Scores Career High 52 Points Versus the Miami Heat
Tommy Heinsohn Goes Nuts After Isaiah Thomas Scores His 50th Point
Giannis Antetokounmpo Blocks the Two-Time Slam Dunk Champ
Doc and Austin Rivers Receive 1st-Half Ejections Against the Houston Rockets
Lopez Does a Double Clothesline
Clutch Under Pressure: MVP Steph Curry Steps Up with the Game on the Line
Greg Anthony's Starting 5: the NBA's Best Ball-Handlers
Kevin Durant Is an Assassin: the Former MVP Leads the NBA's Best Superteam
Tim Duncan Ends His Speech with Some Jokes
Coach Gregg Popovich Fights Off the Feelings During His Speech
Rest in Peace, Craig Sager: Paying Tribute to a Legendary NBA Sideline Reporter
James Harden Is an Assassin: the Beard Makes His Case for NBA MVP
Another surprise contender could always emerge, but at this point, trading for Howard only really makes sense for teams that are one impact player away from competing with the Golden State Warriors, San Antonio Spurs, Oklahoma City Thunder and Cleveland Cavaliers, the four clear favorites to win a title this season.
And quite simply, there aren't that many teams a tier down from the top four who are one player away from reaching the elite and also have the assets available to obtain a player of Howard's ilk. In other words, if Houston isn't willing to lower its asking price, the big center may be finishing out his season with the team.
Don't expect Blake Griffin to go anywhere, either. Head coach and president of basketball operations Doc Rivers told reporters on Tuesday, "We're not trading Blake," via Dan Woike of the Orange County Register.
So for the time being, it appears that Griffin will be staying put. But where there is smoke there is generally fire, and the fact that Rivers had to address the fact that the team intends on keeping the star power forward is telling. There's been enough buzz around Griffin this week to suggest that the organization at least fielded a few calls.
It seems just as unlikely that Kevin Love or Carmelo Anthony are going anywhere. Brian Windhorst of ESPN summed up why Love was unlikely to go anywhere, via ESPN Cleveland:
ESPN Cleveland @ESPNCleveland
Windhorst: Teams are calling about Kevin Love. I don't think there is a deal out there to make the #Cavs that much better.2/16/2016, 3:06:36 PM
ESPN Cleveland @ESPNCleveland
Windhorst: The #Cavs have made it clear, for Kevin Love- teams need to bring a star studded offer.2/16/2016, 3:09:31 PM
As for Anthony, it may not even matter if the Knicks work out a trade for the star forward since he has a no-trade clause and has had ample opportunities to leave New York but has remained with the franchise. Teams will do their due diligence and call the Knicks, but the no-trade clause looms large.
One player who could be moved is Pau Gasol, however, as reports began to surface on Wednesday that the Chicago Bulls were taking calls on the star power forward. Wojnarowski reported that the team was "aggressively shopping" Gasol, though Windhorst reported that the team has "taken some calls on Pau Gasol but aren't actively shopping him."
And the above paragraph, ladies and gentlemen, is the NBA trade deadline in a nutshell.
Ultimately, there will be trades. More than likely, those trades will see contenders add bench pieces and role players or teams look to dump expensive assets to free up cap space. But there may also be one or two moves that see superstars changing teams.
Yes, it remains unlikely. But at this point, well, the only real certainty we have is that we have absolutely no idea what will go down before Thursday's deadline. And that's what makes the whole thing fun.
You can follow Timothy Rapp on Twitter.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!