NBA Trade Rumors: Will Chris Paul, Dwight Howard, or Deron Williams Be Traded?

Eric BowmanFeatured ColumnistJune 30, 2011

NEW ORLEANS, LA - APRIL 24:  Chris Paul #3 of the New Orleans Hornets reacts to a call during a game with the Los Angeles Lakers in Game Four of the Western Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs at New Orleans Arena on April 24, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

NBA Trade Rumors Continue To Spread Despite NBA Lockout 

Well, it's official. The NBA is locking out the players after failing to complete a new collective bargaining agreement.  

The league may be in a lockout, but that doesn't mean the trade rumors end. Multiple teams need to improve their roster, and the since the draft is over the only way to get better is through trades and free agency.

The lockout puts a hold on all of this, but once it is over there will be a dash of trades and signings. Three of the biggest names that teams will be after are Chris Paul, Dwight Howard and Deron Williams.

All three are free agents in 2012, which will create for one interesting summer. However, if their current teams feel that they will walk away, they may trade them. After all, every NBA team was a witness to the LeBron decision and how Cleveland ended up with nothing. 

No franchise wants to feel the pain of being spurned by their big time star, which is why any of these three are subject to trades. It's the reason the Denver Nuggets traded Carmelo Anthony away.

So will any of them be traded before or even during the season?

Of the three, Williams is the player least likely to be traded. The New Jersey Nets acquired him this past season, and they believe he is the savior of their franchise. Williams wants to be surrounded with talent, which is why the Nets will be trading for or signing players to ensure that Williams does not leave in 2012.

There is still a chance Williams could be dealt, especially if at anytime the Nets believe he won't return. But the lockout certainly hurts the Nets chances of bringing in talent.

Speaking of surrounding stars with talent, the Orlando Magic must do that this offseason as well. Howard says he wants to stay in Orlando, but he isn't going to sign a contract extension. If Orlando wants him to stay then they have to make some moves.

It's kind of like giving the spoiled kid even more toys. He's whining, and even though he has stuff to play with, the kid wants more. Howard wants better talent around him so he can win a championship. However, it was Howard who let them down in the playoffs this year. 

Paul is the most likely player of these big 2012 free agents to be traded. The New Orleans Hornets can try to bring in talent to help Paul, but the All-Star point guard is going to leave. If the Hornets are smart, they will trade him at some point during the season. 

The NBA is a point guard's league, which is why multiple teams will be gunning for Paul. New Orleans will get a great deal in return if they play their cards right. They're already losing David West to free agency, and if they don't trade Paul, they will lose him to free agency in 2012.

All of these players could be traded sometime next season, but I only see Paul on the move. A lot will depend on what these teams do this offseason, but the Hornets don't have the means to bring in what Paul needs. He wants to win a title, and unfortunately that will never happen in New Orleans.

The lockout prevents these teams from doing anything at the moment, but eventually they'll do what they feel is best. Whether that's bringing in more talent, or parting ways with their star players.