10 NBA Stars Who Might Be on the Move in 2012
With the NBA season beginning in less than a week, preseason games and training camps are well under way throughout the league.
The biggest blockbuster of the offseason sent All-NBA point guard Chris Paul to the Clippers, giving Los Angeles a fearsome duo in Blake Griffin and Paul.
However, Paul will likely not be the only star traded this season.
Many top players like Rudy Gay, Dwight Howard and Andre Iguodala have been rumored to be dealt and could find new homes in 2012.
This article lists 10 stars who could be dealt during the incoming season.
Ray Allen (Boston Celtics)
This might be a stretch considering Allen has an expiring contract and seems interested in returning to Boston and ending his career as a Celtic.
Danny Ainge might be inclined to begin rebuilding because of this.
Allen is coveted by elite teams around the league for his stellar defense and incredible shooting ability. Don't be surprised if a team like the Dallas Mavericks, Portland Trailblazers or San Antonio Spurs trades for him at the deadline.
Chris Kaman (New Orleans Hornets)
Chris Kaman was acquired by the Hornets in the Chris Paul blockbuster deal, which also brought Eric Gordon and Al-Farouq Aminu to the Big Easy.
Kaman could find himself traded because he's one of three centers on the team, with his expiring deal being appealing to teams around the league.
He was not as effective last year, averaging 12.4 points, 7.0 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game, due to nagging injuries.
The Dallas Mavericks, Miami Heat and Houston Rockets could put in an offer for the 29-year-old veteran.
Paul Millsap (Utah Jazz)
Paul Millsap broke out last year, averaging 17.3 points and 7.6 rebounds per game on a big man-laden Utah Jazz team.
With Utah in a full rebuilding move after trading Deron Williams last year coupled with the fact that Enes Kanter, Derrick Favors and Al Jefferson are all on the roster, Millsap is likely to be dealt.
Elite teams probably cannot put together a package to acquire Millsap without destroying their core, but the Golden State Warriors, Houston Rockets and the Philadelphia 76ers could use another big man to put themselves in contention.
Andre Iguodala (Philadelphia 76ers)
Andre Iguodala did regress last year, only scoring 14.1 points and 5.8 rebounds after a standout campaign in 2009. However, he does all the little things right and is a solid defender.
Iguodala has been in trade talks for the past year and was almost sent to the Warriors in a swap for Monta Ellis. The 76ers might be inclined to move Iguodala due to his huge contract and because they have a budding backcourt in Jodie Meeks and Evan Turner.
Look for Iguodala to be traded to possibly the Warriors, Rockets or Lakers, as all three could use a better small forward.
Josh Smith (Atlanta Hawks)
After struggling to find his place in the league for the better part of his six year career, Josh Smith seemed to figure it out in year seven after averaging 16.5 points, 8.5 rebounds and playing stellar defense.
His relationship with the Hawks seems to have run its course, and the Hawks will likely not be contending with the existing core of Joe Johnson, Al Horford, and Smith well behind the top four teams in the East.
Josh Smith is truly on the trading block.
Monta Ellis (Golden State Warriors)
The Golden State Warriors are a franchise looking to make a statement, as owners Joe Lacob and Peter Guber brought in new coach Mark Jackson, who preaches defense. This is probably a huge culture shock for one of the most inept defensive teams in the league.
Is this a sign for the end of the Monta Ellis era?
Ellis averaged an astounding 24.1 points last season alongside Stephen Curry, but he does not seem to fit into the team's game plan and is undersized at the 2. When Curry is on the floor without Ellis, his stats usually improve and the team begins to play better.
Don't get me wrong, Monta Ellis is an elite scorer in the league. However, he does not fit well on the Warriors and will likely be traded.
Look for the 76ers and the Magic to consider dealing for his services.
Steve Nash (Phoenix Suns)
Steve Nash just does not seem to break down, getting better with age, much like fine wine. He averaged 14.7 points and 11.4 assists per game last year, averaging at least ten assists for the past seven seasons.
Will Phoenix management consider trading the future Hall of Famer so that he can win the championship, which has eluded him throughout his career?
It's certainly possible that the Suns hold onto him, considering that Nash enjoys playing in Phoenix and because they want to keep him.
However, if New York gives Phoenix an enticing package, look for the Suns to take advantage of this deal, speeding up their rebuilding process.
Kevin Love (Minnesota Timberwolves)
Every single year, there's a player who breaks out and moves into All-Star company. Last year, after averaging 20.2 points and 15.2 rebounds per game along with having a ridiculous double-double streak, Kevin Love was that guy.
Love becomes a free agent in two years and will likely not sign a long-term contract with the Timberwolves, unless they show signs of becoming a playoff contender.
In addition, Minnesota just drafted a PF in Derrick Williams, who can fill Love's void adequately, making Love possibly expendable.
This potential trade has the Los Angeles Lakers written all over it. Not only would the Lake Show benefit from an infusion of young talent, but Love would be elated to return to Los Angeles, after playing college basketball at UCLA.
Rajon Rondo (Boston Celtics)
Rajon Rondo is one of the top young point guards in the league, making his presence known through his elite defensive skills along with his innate ability to find teammates. This is evident as he averaged 11.2 assists and 2.2 steals in 2010.
However, Danny Ainge has tried to trade Rondo on multiple occasions including twice in the past year, and Rondo might be disgruntled by this. In addition, the Celtics are looking to rebuild, and Ainge does not seem to have Rondo in those plans.
At the moment, there's really not a list of teams interested in him. The Celtics are looking for a scorer and might send their All-Star point guard to Indiana in a package for Danny Granger.
Look for Ainge to either trade Rondo this season or keep him until his contract expires in 2015.
Dwight Howard (Orlando Magic)
Without a doubt, Dwight Howard is the best big man in the game and might even lay a claim as the best all-around player in the league.
D-12 averaged 22.9 points and 14.1 rebounds last year, while winning his third straight Defensive Player of the Year award.
Howard has reiterated that he's willing to stay in Orlando if they make moves that show that they're a championship contender, but with the current pieces, that's highly unlikely.
Magic general manager Otis Smith will realize that it's better to get a return on his All-NBA center rather than letting him walk. He will take offers from the four teams, where Howard said he would sign an extension: the Lakers, Mavericks and Nets.
If Los Angeles cannot make the move, look for the Nets to swoop in and pair Howard with their own All-Star Deron Williams.
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