With the NBA's trade deadline just under a week away, rumors of potential trades are seemingly increasing by the hour.
One team at the forefront of several different trade winds is the Washington Wizards.
The Wizards, at a dismal 17-33 entering the All-Star Break, possess several different tradable parts that are clearly appealing to various teams throughout the league.
After entering the season with high hopes, Washington's already-slim playoff aspirations were all but derailed by the gun fiasco involving franchise centerpiece Gilbert Arenas and teammate Javaris Crittenton.
The season-long struggles of the 2010 edition of the Wizards have sparked several rumors about the team's core of talent—Caron Butler, Antawn Jamison, and Brendan Haywood—potentially being shipped out of town in an effort to rebuild from the ground up.
So, if the Wiz do decide to blow it up and start over, where will they send those guys?
Let's run through a few possible scenarios.
Scenario No. 1: Washington trades Butler and Jamison to Boston for Ray Allen, Brian Scalabrine, and JR Giddens
If there's any validity to this rumor (first reported by Yahoo! Sports via HoopsHype.com), it would be a sure-fire signal that the Wizards are content with bringing back a package full of nothing but expiring deals.
With Allen, Scalabrine, and Giddens all set to expire after this season, the Wizards would be cleaning $24 million off their books for next season, allowing them some breathing room for potential spending sometime down the road.
For Boston, this trade would give them a tiny bit more youth and some much-needed depth on the frontline.
Butler would likely slide in and become the starting off-guard in Allen's place, and Jamison would return to the sixth man role in which he flourished in Dallas several years back (he won Sixth Man of the Year in 2004 with the Mavericks).
The key to this trade would be the Celtics' willingness to eat more salary in an effort to possibly win another championship.
In my opinion, this would be a Pau Gasol-style fleecing at the hands of the Wizards, and Boston should jump at the opportunity, if it's really there.
While there would have to be more thrown in to make this work financially, this is the core of this potential swap.
Initially reported Thursday (also by Yahoo! Sports), this trade would satisfy all three parties involved.
Houston gets some much-needed size up front with Haywood and a perimeter player that can create his own shot with Butler.
This would also help the Rockets in their push toward the playoffs this season.
New York gets the biggest expiring contract out there (McGrady at $23 million), and Washington still gets expiring contracts with Harrington and whoever else the Knicks would send.
Win. Win. Win.
Scenario No. 3: Washington trades Jamison to Cleveland for Zydrunas Ilgauskas
If saving money is Washington's primary concern leading up to the deadline, I could see something like this happening in the 11th hour, when all other options have been exhausted.
The Cavs, in an attempt to bolster their roster for another run at the title, would get the man they've wanted all along, and Washington would again receive an expiring contract, this time worth $11 million.
While Cleveland has been hesitant to trade Ilgauskas, essentially their insurance policy for Shaquille O'Neal, this is a deal that they would not be able to refuse in the end.
Scenario No. 4: Washington trades Butler, Haywood, and Mike Miller to Dallas for Josh Howard and Erick Dampier
Howard and Dampier are both expiring contracts, so, again, Washington would have to be willing to make a trade without getting any young talent in return.
The only really appealing young player on Dallas' roster is 21-year-old rookie guard Rodrigue Beaubois, and it's been reported that Mark Cuban does not want to give him up.
The question for this trade is: Does Dallas like Butler enough to take on his salary of $10 million for next season?
Howard has been inconsistent all season long for the Mavs, and they've been interested in trading him for quite some time now.
This would likely make the Mavericks a bit more talented headed into the stretch run for the playoffs.
Scenario No. 5: Washington receives Brad Miller, Tyrus Thomas, and Yakhouba Diawara; Chicago receives Quentin Richardson, Michael Beasley, Dorrell Wright, and Brendan Haywood; Miami receives Caron Butler, Kirk Hinrich, and Fabricio Oberto
This one is something I cooked up using the ultra-addictive ESPN NBA Trade Machine.
Here, the Wizards receive about $18 million in expiring deals, highlighted by the coveted Tyrus Thomas.
It gives them a couple of months to try Thomas out for themselves and see if there is something there that they may be interested in long-term.
The Bulls will immediately add four solid rotation players that can step in and contribute, including Michael Beasley.
Beasley is similar to Thomas in that they are both highly touted prospects that have underachieved a bit so far during their brief careers.
Top-to-bottom, this makes Chicago more talented for this season while also saving them money for this summer, as all three players other than Beasley are expiring after this season.
The Heat receive a top-notch scorer to pair with Dwyane Wade, as well as a solid backup guard in Hinrich that can play both backcourt positions effectively.
This surrounds Wade with some more talent, and, as both Butler and Hinrich are under contract through at least next season, could give Wade more incentive to re-up with the Heat after this season.
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