With teams officially allowed to begin trade talks and free agent signings this week, you know the trade rumors will begin to go around at a rapid pace.
As we saw last season, it has become easier than ever for players to demand trades out of their current cities and to their preferred destinations. Teams also don’t want to take the risk of losing their stars in free agency for nothing, so they are trading them away before they get a chance to leave on their own.
There are also many teams looking to rebuild and replace veteran players with young talent, while other teams are title contenders looking to trade for that final piece to put their teams over the top.
Regardless of the reason, there will surely be many star players traded away from their teams this season. Here are five players who will definitely be traded before the trade deadline.
Last season, the Grizzlies attempted to trade O.J. Mayo to the Pacers at the very last second before the trade deadline passed, but submitted the trade too late and it didn’t go through. I can’t imagine how awkward it must have been when Mayo had to return to the Grizzlies and see his coaches who had just attempted to get rid of him.
Mayo saw his playing time and production drastically drop from his first two seasons to last year. After starting in all 164 games of his rookie and sophomore seasons and playing 38 minutes per game in those years, Mayo only started 17 games last season. Even worse is he saw his minutes decrease by almost a full quarter and he put up career lows in almost every statistical category.
Despite his low numbers last season, Mayo is still a terrific scorer who can play either guard position. He’s only 24 years old and still has time to grow and expand his all-around game before he hits his prime. The Grizzlies will definitely attempt to trade Mayo again, since he’s clearly fallen out of favor with their owners and coaching staff.
Possible Destinations: Pacers, Celtics, Spurs
Even though he’s 37 years old, Steve Nash is still one of the best distributors in the league, averaging 11.4 assists per game last season. As the trade deadline has approached the past couple of seasons, Nash’s name has been thrown around a lot. Any title contender would love to have Nash running the point for them because he always sets his teammates up with easy scoring opportunities and still has one of the best jump shots in the NBA.
While it is clear the Suns aren’t the playoff team they once were, they also don’t appear to be in rebuilding mode either. Last season they didn’t re-sign Amar’e Stoudemire to the max contract he demanded, but then went and spent a lot of cap space on guys like Channing Frye and Hakim Warrick. I question these decisions because the Suns now don’t have any talented, young players to build their team around.
You would think the two-time MVP would want out of Phoenix since they appear to be going backwards and not forwards, but he sounds like he is committed to Phoenix. This summer he held a workout in San Diego where most of his Suns teammates attended. He also recently came out and stated how important it is to bring Grant Hill back to Phoenix next season. Even though Nash might not want to leave Phoenix, I believe they will decide before the deadline this season it is time to trade him while he is still valuable and get some young talent in return for him.
Possible Destinations: Knicks, Heat, Magic
I don’t know why the Celtics would ever want to trade Rondo, but numerous reports have been flying around recently of the Celtics shopping the young PG. Rondo has been nothing short of amazing since getting drafted by the Celtics. He helped them win an NBA title as the starting PG in only his rookie season and has been named an All-Star and to the All-Defensive First Team the past two seasons.
Despite that, Rondo’s name has been part of many trade rumors recently. It’s been reported that the Thunder have turned down a deal the Celtics offered them of Rondo and Green for Westbrook and Perkins. Last season the Celtics and Thunder swapped Green for Perkins, so it’s interesting that the Celtics would offer a trade that involves sending them back to their former teams.
Another rumor that’s going around is the Celtics trying to use Rondo to acquire Chris Paul from the Hornets. The Hornets are supposedly not interested in Rondo, but would potentially trade CP3 to them if a third team got involved in the deal. The Pacers have stated they are greatly interested in acquiring Paul, so we’ll see if they can find a quality offer involving all three teams. For whatever reason, it appears GM Danny Ainge is determined to trade Rondo out of Boston.
Possible Destinations: Pacers, Thunder, Nets
Like Carmelo Anthony did last season, Chris Paul has effectively forced New Orleans to trade him this season if they don’t want to risk losing him for nothing. Paul has made it very clear he has no intentions of signing a contract with the Hornets long term. Every team in the NBA is drooling at the chance to steal Chris Paul away from the Hornets and trade offers have been rapidly flying the Hornets way.
Chris Paul spent almost the entire summer in New York with his good friend Carmelo Anthony. Even though he claims that he and Paul have never discussed Paul coming to the Knicks, rumor has it that Paul’s agent went to Hornet’s management last Thursday and said Paul will only sign an extension with the Knicks. Paul has stated he understands the Knicks lack the trade pieces the Hornets are looking for in return so he understands a trade is slim, but if he stays strong to his word that he won’t sign an extension anywhere else he could make it happen just like Carmelo did.
The most recent Paul trade rumor has been to the Golden State Warriors. The Hornets said they would consider trading Paul if Steph Curry and rookie Klay Thompson were involved in the trade. Another intriguing Chris Paul rumor has been with the Los Angeles Clippers. It is rumored that the Clippers are a team Paul would probably sign an extension with and they definitely have young, talented players the Hornets would want in return.
Possible Destinations: Knicks, Clippers, Warriors
Unlike Paul, Howard is still saying he loves it in Orlando and he hasn’t decided yet whether or not he is going to leave the Magic after the season. One of his “closest confidants” supposedly came out Saturday and said Dwight would prefer to stay in Orlando. The Magic owners aren’t stupid though and will not take the risk of losing him for nothing. Howard is the most dynamic player in the NBA. He averaged 23 points per game last season while also grabbing 14 rebounds and 2.4 bpg and has won the Defensive Player of the Year three consecutive seasons.
ESPN expert, Marc Stein, has recently come out and stated that the Magic would rather trade Dwight Howard before the season starts than deal with trade talks all season long. Many teams have been linked to the Magic center, including both teams from Los Angeles and the Nets. The Lakers have been linked to Howard since last season. Lakers’ executive Jim Buss has recently stated he’s not opposed to adding Andrew Bynum in a trade for Howard, but we’ll see if they package him with enough to get the Magic’s serious attention.
The Clippers are also rumored to have Howard at the top of their list. Pairing Dwight Howard with Blake Griffin would form one of the most athletic tandems the NBA has ever seen. You know with these two the Clippers would lead the league in dunks for years to come. The Nets have also made a big splash recently, offering Brook Lopez and two firsts for Dwight and Hedo Turkoglu. This offer won't be enough for the Magic to pull the trigger on a Dwight trade though. You know many more teams will get involved in trade talks with the Magic before Dwight get traded, but regardless where he goes, this trade will happen sooner rather than later.
Possible Destinations: Lakers, Nets, Clippers