Feb. 24 will be here before you know it. That date carries huge significance for all 30 NBA teams, as it's the final day to complete trades, the all important NBA trading deadline.
We've historically seen some huge trades take place around the deadline in the Association, and this year's market is shaping up to be an extremely intriguing one.
Obviously the biggest name out there remains Carmelo Anthony, the elite Denver Nuggets scorer, but the trading deadline has plenty else cooking as the 24th draws closer.
Rumors have emerged about other high-profile players across the league, so now is a great time to take stock of what may or may not happen in the next few weeks on the NBA trade front.
So I'll take a look at all 30 teams and offer up some predictions of what I think will happen before the clock strikes and the trading deadline passes on Feb. 24. So be sure to click through and see what I think will go down for every team on the trade market.
It's the million dollar question, so to speak: what will happen with Carmelo Anthony between now and the trading deadline? Will the Denver Nuggets finally find a match in their months-long quest to move Carmelo before his current contract expires and he bolts the team via free agency?
I think, despite the long and drawn out and overly unsuccessful negotiations that Denver has held for their elite small forward, the Nuggets will ultimately move 'Melo before the deadline. But it won't be to the New York Knicks, the team that Anthony clearly wants to play for in the near to distant future.
My pick? The Dallas Mavericks, thanks to their willingness to trade for Anthony without the safety net of a contract extension. Mark Cuban publicly admitted that the team would be willing to do a deal for Melo without extending him, as had been the preference of previous favorites in the Anthony Sweepstakes, the New Jersey Nets.
Dallas has the contracts of Caron Butler (injured, and who Melo would ultimately replace in the lineup) and DeShawn Stevenson to make the financial details work, but they may not have enough to offer in the way of draft picks or elite young players.
But three-team trades happen all the time, and I think Dallas gets another partner involved in the dance to get the Nuggets what they can live with in return for their perennial All Star.
The move would be a big boost to Dallas' case for possibly emerging from the crowded Western Conference playoff picture in the summer, and I think it makes the most sense at this point.
Since the defending NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers have been struggling in recent weeks, rumors have popped up about the team needing to shuffle its roster by making a trade, as they have grown stagnant in their quest for another NBA title.
Most recently, rumors emerged about Ron Artest potentially wanting to be traded and being the Lakers' main target to move before the deadline. Artest shot down those rumors over the last few days, saying he doesn't want to leave L.A., but the question remains: whom can the Lakers feasibly target and land?
The answer is, they don't have much in the way of viable trade chips. Their roster is older and the players they could potentially look to move for upgrades carry lofty price tags.
They also lost their first round pick in the 2011 draft via an early-season salary dump, when they moved guard Sasha Vujacic and his expiring contract to the New Jersey Nets.
Artest still has three years left on his deal and he's playing at a pretty low level right now. Andrew Bynum still has two years left on his deal that would pay him $31 million (the second year is a team option, so not guaranteed, but still). Plus. Bynum is chronically injured thanks to some faulty knees.
I don't think the Lakers are able to find a partner that is interested in their pieces and has what GM Mitch Kupchak needs. As a result, I think they continue to trudge forward with their veteran roster as it is, and will look for their players to step up as the playoffs approach.
The Portland Trail Blazers' season has been sabotaged by a rampant injury bug that's claimed center Greg Oden and elite guard Brandon Roy for the season, while also shelving veteran Marcus Camby and others for long stretches of the year.
Portland is still fighting for a playoff spot, but it's not clear they can both get in and make any noise come the end of the regular season.
Their biggest tradable asset right now is veteran point guard Andre Miller, who is on a reasonable salary and is (in a way) on an expiring contract thanks to the fact that he's only got a team option for next season.
For Portland, moving him saves them some money, but it also might net them a draft pick they could use to inject some talent onto a roster that has a number of injury question marks and will have some sizable needs heading into next season.
The ideal trade partner? The Atlanta Hawks, who definitely need a starting point guard and have the needed assets to match up with the Blazers. A veteran like Miller could help them out immensely come playoff time.
It's been an ugly year for O.J. Mayo of the Memphis Grizzlies. He's been benched, gotten into a fight with his teammate over a card game, and is now serving a 10-game suspension for taking a banned substance.
If ever there was a time where the phrase "change of scenery" came into play, it's with Mayo and the Grizzlies. His role in Memphis has become cloudy, and his off-court issues are plentiful.
Mayo can still score and shoot, and he's still on his rookie contract making him affordable, so his trade stock is still not totally in the tank despite the myriad issues off the court.
A team in need of a shooter to slot in at off guard or even bring off the bench will definitely look to make a deal with Memphis before the deadline.
Memphis is said to be asking for an arm and a leg in exchange for Mayo right now, but I think their price drops before the deadline and Mayo moves on to another organization.
Minnesota Timberwolves general manager David Kahn accumulated a round number of point guards thanks to drafting Jonny Flynn and Ricky Rubio in the same draft, and also picking up Luke Ridnour recently.
Rubio is slated to get out of his contract in Spain this summer with an eye on heading to the NBA. He has recently said he'd prefer to play in Miami, Boston or New York, but I'm assuming that he ends up in Minnesota for at least the start of his NBA career.
That means there is a crowd in the back court, and I think the T-Wolves address this by dealing guard Jonny Flynn before this deadline passes.
Flynn has taken a step back in his second year due to dealing with a hip injury, but he still has offensive upside to appeal to a team looking for help at guard, both in 2011 and in the future.
Minnesota could get a valuable draft pick, or perhaps a quality big man that could contribute immediately and bolster the roster heading into 2011-2012.
The Cleveland Cavaliers are circling the drain in the Eastern Conference right now, so it would seem like all they can really hope for is to unload some salary and maybe get back a useful young player but, more importantly, a decent draft pick to try and cash in in the 2011 draft.
The best player they can move? Antawn Jamison and his considerable salary remaining on his contract. He earns $13 million in 2010-2011, and then another lofty salary next season.
He is still a useful veteran who can score and pull down boards, but he's a win-now type player, not a building block which is what the Cavs need in this post-LeBron era.
Moving him to a team in contention that needs help at forward should be enough to get a decent draft pick and, more importantly, salary relief in some form. I think Jamison definitely moves before the trading deadline passes.
Richard Hamilton has been buried on the bench for the Detroit Pistons since being involved in the long-running Carmelo Anthony-to-the-Nets rumors that eventually died off a few weeks back.
Detroit still remains adamant about moving Hamilton, according to most reports, and I think they find a taker by the deadline.
I think the Pistons will have to kick in a decent chunk of cash to cover Rip's remaining salary (which is considerable despite his age and lack of production), but a contender will be willing to pick up the tab and also plug Hamilton into the rotation for his shooting and scoring abilities
A team like the Bulls could use a player like Hamilton in their rotation to deepen their bench and boost their playoff chances.
Carl Landry can help a contending team that is in need of forward help. Despite the fact that he's not a clear starter or someone who would make a major, noticeable impact after a trade, Landry is the kind of experienced veteran who can step into a contender's rotation and be a positive addition.
Players like Landry can help bolster an already strong team as they push for the playoffs. Landry was already linked to the Trail Blazers in January, but that trade fell through.
I think Sacramento finds a match that will take on Landry, giving them some added salary relief as well as possibly a late first-round draft pick.
What to make of the Bulls? The Bulls, the Bulls, the Bulls. They have played extremely well with Carlos Boozer joining their front court this year, after missing out on LeBron James and Dwyane Wade both in the free agent frenzy of 2010.They've dealt with injuries, as Boozer was out at the start of the year, and their dynamic, fiery center Joakim Noah is currently on the mend from an injury to his thumb. He's started working out and could return soon.
Since they've played well in Noah and Boozer's absence both, I think getting Noah back in the coming weeks is akin to making a trade at the deadline. Meaning I don't see the Bulls being players for a big upgrade move come February 24th, since they'll be getting some key internal help.
I do, however, think they may take on someone like Richard Hamilton, the well-paid but little-used veteran of the Detroit Pistons. Hamilton was playing decently well for Detroit in a limited role early in the year, and he still seems to have something left in the tank to contribute to Chicago's drive for a spot in the NBA Finals. He probably wouldn't cost a ton in talent or picks going back to Detroit as long as the finances worked out, and I think he would help provide added depth to the Bulls' already impressive roster.
Talk has started up that the Washington Wizards are looking to move the recently acquired Rashard Lewis, who they took in exchange for Gilbert Arenas in the mega-deal between the Orlando Magic and Phoenix Suns.
In theory, it makes plenty of sense, as Lewis is a veteran who isn't going to be a key part of the Wizards' rebuilding efforts led by star guard John Wall.
But nobody wants to take on the mega-dollars still owed to Lewis over the life of his contract. He's the second highest-paid player in the NBA despite not producing anywhere near that level anymore.
I think Washington will try to get a team interested in taking Lewis off their hands, but will ultimately fail to do so.
The Wizards will have to ride out Lewis' contract for another year and hope his production ticks up and a team is willing to roll the dice with him next season.
The Houston Rockets have depth and their general manager Daryl Morey has shown an affinity for making deals around the NBA trading deadline.
I think they move someone like point guard Aaron Brooks or perhaps recently acquired shooting guard Kevin Martin in exchange for more useful pieces, or perhaps another quality draft pick.
I think it's a given that Houston makes a move. They've been linked to even Carmelo Anthony, but I doubt he ends up there. But the Rockets will do something.
There were rumors of a Gerald Wallace-to-Cleveland trade in mid-January that never came to pass, but I still think the Bobcats aggressively pursue moving their best player in an effort to reduce payroll in the future.
Wallace still has a big contract that will pay him a pretty penny going forward, but he's a desirable talent for teams in need of scoring.
And he's not obscenely expensive, in that he could be affordable for a contender with some payroll space. I think he gets moved, as the Bobcats look to save some money and look to the future.
Corey Maggette has turned the scoring on at the right time for the Milwaukee Bucks, who are still very much in the hunt for a playoff spot in the East and could leverage Maggette's strong play in order to fill another need on their roster.
Trading Maggette isn't as painful for Milwaukee if they get back another quality player who fits into coach Scott Skiles' style of play, which they could do considering Maggette is still a strong shooter who has value.
I think Milwaukee moves him in a swap for another quality role player and continues the hunt for a playoff spot.
The veteran center Chris Kaman has been made expendable in Los Angeles thanks to the emergence of DeAndre Jordan, and is therefore Kaman a viable trade chip come the deadline.
Two issues facing Kaman are that he's never healthy, and he has a decent price tag attached to him.
But I think the Clippers will be exploring any possible move involving the center and will find a suitor willing to take a chance on Kaman come the deadline.
I would have thought Andre Iguodala would have been a main trade piece on the move around the trading deadline, if not for the fact that the Sixers are in the race for a playoff spot in the East and could use all the help they can get.
The Golden State Warriors were linked to Iguodala recently and he would be a good fit there, but I don't think Philadelphia moves their forward at this point thanks to their contention for a playoff spot.
I don't see a fit out there on the trade market for the Toronto Raptors. They could desperately use help at small forward, especially after they lost Linas Kleiza for the season to microfracture surgery.
But I don't see them being able to put something together before the 24th to bring in a difference-making player.
The New Jersey Nets picked up Troy Murphy before the season thinking he'd provide scoring from the power forward position, while chipping in on the boards and allowing the team to avoid rushing top draft pick Derrick Favors.
Instead, Murphy battled injuries all season and was jumped over on the depth chart by the surprisingly effective Kris Humphries.
Now Murphy has been basically sent home with pay by the Nets, with the complicit agreement in place that he'll be dealt by the team before the deadline passes.
I think Billy King gets a deal done and sends Murphy to a team looking for bench depth at forward.
I don't think, though, that the Nets move star point guard Devin Harris.
The Carmelo Anthony deal was the most logical route to move Harris, but they would be severely downgrading the roster if they traded Harris in another trade unless they got a key impact forward.
As a result, I think he sticks around through the rest of the season.
Plenty of teams could no doubt get a boost from acquiring MVP-caliber point guard Steve Nash from the Phoenix Suns, but I don't think Nash goes anywhere around the NBA trading deadline.
Phoenix made its big splash picking up Vince Carter and Marcin Gortat in January, and i think the Suns carry on with Nash in place, despite being outside the playoff picture as it now stands.
Teams like Atlanta and others could desperately use a point guard of Nash's caliber, but I think Phoenix keeps their franchise player.
People have tried to push a Danny Granger trade on the Pacers in terms of rumors and speculation, but I don't see Larry Bird moving the team's top scorer.
They have a ton of money coming off their books this summer, and it makes no sense to remove the team's top player unless they get back an equally impact-having scorer.
A move involving a player like point guard T.J. Ford, though, makes perfect sense. It could bring in another useful complementary player to boost the Pacers' roster and be around in 2011-2012 to play a role alongside whoever else the team brings in in the offseason.
I think that's the one move the Pacers make at the deadline.
Andrei Kirilenko's deal is expiring, reducing his trade market a bit, but I think a team gives Utah an offer it can't refuse for AK-47's services and the Jazz jump on it, perhaps seeing an opportunity to swing a three-team trade that brings them another useful piece besides the potential draft pick (or more) they'd receive for Kirilenko.
The Jazz have been a bit up and down this year, and I think moving Kirilenko could help them bolster their roster for a playoff push.
David West hasn't been able to strike a contract extension with the New Orleans Hornets, but I don't think that the team moves him, given their chances of making a playoff run and the fact that they could potentially still sign-and-trade him after this season.
While it's possible that teams go after West given his strong play and reasonable (and expiring) contract, I don't think New Orleans moves one of their franchise cornerstones this season.
They only have so much time left with Chris Paul on the roster, and will need to take a shot at the playoffs with as much firepower as possible.
I think the Knicks ultimately fail to make a trade for Carmelo Anthony midseason, but they're still the odds-on favorites to sign the forward once he hits the open market.
I do, however, think the Knicks trade their little-used power forward Anthony Randolph, picking up a draft pick for the player with potential that hasn't fit into Mike D'Antoni's system at all.
Randolph is still well thought of in the NBA and I think the Knicks add a draft pick for his services, as was reported back in January, when the team was still trying to stockpile for a potential Melo trade.
The Heat and Celtics are both playoff-ready teams, and while the Heat could no doubt use a few improvements on their roster, they aren't flush with trade chips and instead must go to battle with the Big Three and their current role players.
The Celtics have more flexibility, but I don't think they add any impact players at the deadline, or even another role player. I think each of these teams are prepared to move into the playoffs with what they've got on their rosters.
San Antonio is enjoying the NBA's best record, and I don't see them tinkering with a roster that's worked extremely well thus far. I think they continue on with the players they have.
The Thunder are in position to move up in the standings, only a game and a half behind the Lakers for the number three seed.
But they also don't jump out as a team that needs to make a move, as they don't have too many holes on their roster that require attention.
As a result, I think both these teams stand pat and try to continue rolling through the Western Conference.
Golden State would probably be more interested in adding another forward, but I think they instead explore moving their disappointing center Andris Biedrins. He's still owed a decent chunk of salary over the next few seasons, but I think a team might make Golden State a good offer for him given his shot blocking and rebounding.
He's healthy, which means he's got decent value compared to the many times when he's dealt with injuries in his career.
Do I think the Warriors ultimately move him? Probably not, but they may want to change things up given his unreliable nature and inflated price tag.
Orlando made its big splash back when they landed Hedo Turkoglu, Jason Richardson and Gilbert Arenas, and they've played pretty well since that trade went down.
I don't see the Magic making any other moves of note, as this seems to be the roster they'll go to battle with as they look to make it to the Eastern Conference finals yet again this year.