NBA Trade Rumors, Speculation and Scenarios: Latest News on Top Trade Chips

Corey CohnCorrespondent IIIJune 9, 2011

NBA Trade Rumors, Speculation and Scenarios: Latest News on Top Trade Chips

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    We don't know yet who will be crowned the 2010-2011 NBA Champions. 

    We don't know yet who will be drafted first overall in the upcoming NBA Draft.

    Heck, we don't know when/if the next basketball season will even start.

    We do know one thing, though. Trade speculation is always whirling around the NBA, given the league's high propensity of disgruntled stars and teams looking to improve.

    Though last year, a.k.a. "The Summer of LeBron (and Bosh and Amar'e and, for whatever reason, Joe Johnson)," will be hard to top, this offseason should be just as intriguing.  Of course, there aren't as many big-name free agents on the market, but taking their place are a number of top trade chips several teams would be itching to cash in. 

    Here's the latest on five of the most notable names out there. 

Steve Nash, PG, Phoenix Suns

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    Often, 37-year-old point guards don't make for very enticing acquisitions—but 37-year-old point guards don't often play like Steve Nash.

    Though Nash indeed has a lot of mileage, he still competes at an incredibly high level while playing one of the most demanding positions on the floor.  This past season, he led the league with 11.4 assists per game and shot a ridiculous (well, not for him) 49.2 percent from the field.

    Nash is running out of time to win a championship, however, and the Phoenix Suns don't exactly appear to be on the precipice of title contention. 

    One long-standing rumor had Nash reuniting with head coach Mike D'Antoni of the New York Knicks.  That is next to impossible now, given the re-signing of Chauncey Billups and the growing doubts as to whether D'Antoni will even be back with the Knicks next season after Donnie Walsh stepped down as team president.

    However, given the recent it's-about-time moment of the NBA season—Ricky Rubio finally agreeing to join the Minnesota Timberwolves after two years in Spain—a new landing spot has opened up for Nash, though it is a considerably colder one than his current home. 

    Sure, Minnesota isn't exactly sniffing the Larry O'Brien trophy either.  But with a young nucleus of Michael Beasley, Kevin Love and Rubio, you couldn't ask for a better veteran leader than Nash.  Especially after Beasley and Love made significant forward strides last year, and with Rubio just emerging from his NBA cocoon, Nash would be a perfect fit to run this up-and-coming offense.

    Minnesota also has a valuable trade chip of their own—the No. 2 overall pick in this year's draft.  The Suns could use that pick to draft Arizona's Derrick Williams

Tony Parker, PG, San Antonio Spurs

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    I know, I know—any mention of breaking up the Big Three is like San Antonio heresy.  But they say all good things must come to an end, and the signs are pointing in that direction for Tim Duncan & Co.

    Of Parker, Duncan and Manu Ginobili, Parker easily has the most trade value (considering Duncan would never be traded to begin with and Ginobili, as superb a player as he is, breaks down often).  Now, no one anywhere is out and out saying the Spurs need a revamping—they did, after all, nab the No. 1 seed in the playoffs.

    But falling to a No. 8 seed in the first round makes even the most stable of NBA franchises wonder if it's time to shake things up.

    Parker already spurred controversy (no pun intended) earlier this year when he reportedly told a French newspaper that he thought this was the last chance this team had to win another title.  He later backed off of those comments, and it isn't like what he said thrust him out the door, but it added fuel to an already burning fire.

    Parker has been in trade conversations before, and now seems like the opportune time to pull the trigger. 

    Unfortunately, one of the primary landing spots in the conversation for Parker was also the New York Knicks.  They could try to move Chauncey Billups, but he isn't likely to have many suitors willing to take on that contract. 

    But you can be sure that many other teams would be interested in a talented, veteran point guard with a collection of rings to show off.  Some have even speculated whether the Los Angeles Lakers could throw their hats into the ring

Monta Ellis, PG/SG, Golden State Warriors

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    Jerry West hasn't been a member of the Golden State Warriors' front office for very long, but he's looking to start his tenure off with a bang.

    Monta Ellis, the Warriors' primary scoring option and team leader, is on the trading block, with several teams reportedly in discussion. 

    According to ESPN Insider, the Atlanta Hawks, Chicago Bulls, Los Angeles Lakers and Philadelphia 76ers have all expressed interest in the 25-year-old combo guard.  The Memphis Grizzlies and Minnesota Timberwolves have also been suggested as possible trade partners.

    Although Ellis and Stephen Curry could create an offensively dynamic backcourt combination for years to come, the main concern comes with the defensive presence they create, or the lack thereof.  Ellis and Curry aren't tall enough to share the floor at the same time and produce consistent stops. 

    Plus, the team feels ready to entrust the offense solely in Curry's hands. 

    With so many teams showing interest, it's no wonder that the Warriors want a high-quality player in return for Ellis.  One of the biggest names in discussion is Philadelphia 76ers shooting guard/small forward Andre Iguodala.  Speaking of whom...

Andre Iguodala, SG/SF, Philadelphia 76ers

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    Now there's a segue for you!

    In addition to the Warriors, a couple of other teams have shown interest in the 27-year-old Iguodala.  The Los Angeles Clippers have been in discussion, hoping to to acquire A.I. for center Chris Kaman (according to ESPN Insider). 

    But it looks like the 76ers want more in return for their franchise player, though they do want a formidable big man.  It should be noted that the Clippers currently hold the Minnesota Timberwolves' 2012 first-round draft pick, which could make the offer more enticing.

    In case neither the Warriors nor the Clippers excite Philadelphia, there are other teams who are speculated to be good destinations for Iguodala.  One idea is Memphis, which could swap Rudy Gay. Another is Orlando, which is looking to add more pieces around center Dwight Howard to encourage him to stay.

    Hey, speaking of Mr. Howard...

Dwight Howard, C, Orlando Magic

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    The biggest of the big fish. 

    It isn't certain that Howard wants out of Orlando, but many seem to think that's the case.  (Hence the creation of the website http://staydwight.com/.) 

    Perhaps the Magic could make enough outside moves to assure their All-NBA center he won't have to carry the team by himself.  But that would likely require moving one of their other major players, like Hedo Turkoglu or Jameer Nelson.

    Obviously, every team would want Dwight Howard if they could land him, but where could he realistically go? 

    The Chicago Bulls, Dallas Mavericks, New York Knicks and New Jersey Nets have all been speculated as potential destinations, but one possibility shines brighter, as usual, than all the rest: the Los Angeles Lakers.

    In theory, it would be a monster move, with Howard getting the best opportunity to win, Kobe Bryant having a new asset with which to compete and the Lakers wiping away memories of their rather discouraging four-game sweep in the second round by the Mavericks.  Who knows, it might even make Phil Jackson pull a Pat Riley.  (OK, probably not.)

    But what would be more appropriate, following Shaquille O'Neal's retirement, than for the Lakers to usurp the Magic of yet another franchise center?