NBA Trade Rumors: Predicting Who Stays and Who Goes by Deadline

Dan Favale@@danfavaleFeatured ColumnistJanuary 17, 2012

NBA Trade Rumors: Predicting Who Stays and Who Goes by Deadline

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    It's hard to believe the NBA only officially opened its doors a little over a month ago. We have already had a large enough dose of trade rumors to last us through the season, and then some.

    When March 15th comes to pass, which athletes will be headed for a change of scenery?

    To date, we have been provided with a plethora of trade chatter, yet it is unlikely that each speculated deal comes to fruition.

    Without fail, by the trade deadline, a number of rumored players will have headed nowhere, while others will be on the next flight out of town or already in the process of acclimating themselves to their new home.

Michael Beasley of Minnesota Timberwolves

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    Injuries and early struggles aside, Michael Beasley is a source of instant offense, but one the Minnesota Timberwolves would like to move.

    Rick Adelman is already contemplating bringing Beasley off the bench when he returns, and the team shopped the colorful power forward prior to the work stoppage.

    With a surplus of forwards on the roster, Beasley is most valuable to Minnesota as a trade chip, assuming he hasn't killed his own market.

    If Beasley can regain some of his offensive swagger upon his return, a team in need of some size and firepower could be willing to take a chance on him. The Timberwolves' low asking price should help move things along as well.

    Prediction: Minnesota finds a new home for Beasley; potential destinations include the Dallas Mavericks and San Antonio Spurs.

Al Jefferson/Paul Millsap of Utah Jazz

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    Once the NBA was back in business, it seemed that the presence of Derrick Favors made either Al Jefferson or Paul Millsap expendable to the Utah Jazz.

    Such a thought process was not unwarranted, specifically with regard to Millsap since he and Favors play the same position.

    However, after the Jazz's improbable start to the season, it is unlikely this supposed-to-be-rebuilding team disrupts any chemistry that has already been established.

    Utah is currently amongst the top teams in the Western Conference, and all signs indicate that the postseason is more than within reach. The Jazz may be putting an emphasis on the future, but given their current situation a fire-sale just isn't justified.

    Prediction: Both Millsap and Jefferson will remain with the Jazz. 

Steve Nash of Phoenix Suns

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    The Phoenix Suns actually held possession of the Western Conference's eighth seed for a short time this season, but have since fallen back down to Earth.

    Nash is a 37-year-old elite talent on a rebuilding team. Although he gives the Suns a fighting chance each night, he is most valuable to them as a trade chip.

    Phoenix has its sights set on the future and a tangible form of Nash does not factor into said future. A young and offense-savvy player they receive in return for him would.

    The New York Knicks inquired about Nash's availability leading up to the 2011 NBA draft. 

    While Carmelo Anthony and company remain hopeful that Baron Davis can help them turn their season around, the team will have its ear to the ground for any whisperings regarding Nash's availability.

    If the Suns are smart, they will deal Nash just before the deadline.

    Prediction: The Suns will give in and trade Nash; potential destinations include New York Knicks, Orlando Magic and Miami Heat.

Josh Smith of Atlanta Hawks

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    Prior to last summer's draft, the Atlanta Hawks began to gauge league-wide interest in Josh Smith. By all accounts, after the lockout had lifted, nothing had changed, as both the forward and the organization felt their relationship had run its course.

    It's an entirely different reality now, though.

    The Hawks are surging, even without the injured Al Horford, and Smith is a monumental part of that. His two-way impact has helped lead the Hawks to one of their best starts in years and his attitude has never seemed more positive.

    Smith is creating opportunities on both ends of the floor not only for himself, but his teammates.

    Factor in the notion that he has never been more valuable to Atlanta with Horford on the sidelines and you're left to ponder the age-old saying, "If it's not broke, don't fix it."

    Prediction: Smith stays in Atlanta.

Raja Bell of Utah Jazz

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    Raja Bell is toeing the line of unhappiness, as his role with the Utah Jazz is not as significant as he would like it to be.

    Bell, while unlikely to contribute much on the offensive end, is one of the best perimeter defenders in the game, but one for which Utah doesn't have a strong need.

    The Jazz are currently surprising the entire league and are not about to initiate a major roster shake-up.

    However, moving Bell could help trim some of the tension his status with the team has created, in addition to saving Utah some payroll.

    There are plenty of teams in need of shoring up their defense on the perimeter, including the Minnesota Timberwolves. It is likely Bell becomes linked to such teams once again as the March 15th deadline approaches.

    Prediction: The Jazz opt to move Bell; potential destinations include Minnesota Timberwolves, Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics. 

Monta Ellis of Golden State Warriors

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    The Golden State Warriors have indicated a willingness to part with either Monta Ellis or Stephen Curry in any Dwight Howard rental. One has to think they would prefer to move Ellis, as the team shopped him prior to the lockout.

    While the Warriors are open to moving Ellis, it's hard to imagine them doing so with Curry's status constantly up in the air.

    The high-scoring guard has developed a knack for creating plays for his teammates and has even shown a vast improvement in intelligence on the defensive end.

    Multiple organizations had an interest in Ellis when he was being shopped the first time, including the Los Angeles Lakers, Memphis Grizzlies and Philadelphia 76ers.

    Any of the three could come back into play, but Golden State has never needed their versatile guard more. Even if the Warriors rent Howard, the Orlando Magic would be most interested in Curry.

    Prediction: Ellis stays with the Warriors.

Amar'e Stoudemire of New York Knicks

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    Amar'e Stoudemire's name has made its way into the Dwight Howard trade rumor mill, but that's about as close as the power forward will come to being dealt.

    The New York Knicks are struggling, but that's what happens when there is no true point guard to direct a new-to-each-other offense. Stoudemire is suffering the most from the Knicks' lack of a floor general which has prompted such misguided speculation to take place.

    Stoudemire helped revive a dying New York franchise, and while that may not be enough to render him untouchable, his uninsured contract will be.

    Prediction: Stoudemire stays a member of the Knicks.

O.J. Mayo of Memphis Grizzlies

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    O.J. Mayo was thought to have been shipped out by the Memphis Grizzlies multiple times, only to see any deal fall through.

    Most recently, the New Jersey Nets have shown a desire to acquire Mayo's services in an attempt to strengthen their perimeter defense, add an outside weapon and give themselves a fighting chance at retaining Deron Williams this summer.

    While there is a chance that Mayo remains with the Grizzlies, he has had his fair share of problems in Memphis and the organization runs the risk of seeing him walk for a fatter contract this summer.

    Trading him before this season's deadline allows the team to capitalize off of his departure.

    Prediction: Mayo gets dealt by the deadline; potential destinations include New Jersey Nets, New York Knicks and Toronto Raptors.

     

DeMarcus Cousins of Sacramento Kings

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    All hell broke loose for the Sacramento Kings when the budding and volatile DeMarcus Cousins reportedly demanded a trade.

    The New Jersey Nets immediately emerged as suitors for the talented, albeit raging, power forward. One has to believe there was no merit to Cousins' supposed trade demand, ergo Paul Westphal's exit.

    Sacramento has been struggling of late, but this team is gearing up for the future—a future that is built around Cousins.

    Prediction: Cousins remains in Sacramento.

Andre Miller of Denver Nuggets

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    Andre Miller is reportedly unhappy with his backup role for the Denver Nuggets. While he is willing to wait until the offseason to find a team that he can start for, he would surely welcome an early resolution to his conflict.

    Unfortunately for Miller, it is unlikely the Nuggets opt to move him before the deadline. The starless team is tearing it up in the West, and has shown they are capable of hanging with league's elite, a tendency Denver is not about to disrupt.

    Miller's expiring contract, coupled with his far-from-diminishing abilities allows the Nuggets to capitalize off his departure. That said, the team would most likely rather reap the benefits of his presence now and watch him leave later.

    Prediction: Miller finishes the season with the Nuggets. 

Mo Williams of Los Angeles Clippers

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    The Los Angeles Clippers backcourt is more than crowded, which, according to Ken Berger of CBSSports.com, leaves the door open for Mo Williams to be dealt.

    With new additions Chris Paul and Chauncey Billups dominating the backcourt, significant minutes are becoming less available for the 29-year-old point guard.

    Despite being close to buried on the Clippers depth chart, Williams, when healthy, provides a significant dose of scoring and playmaking to any lineup.

    Los Angeles is only beginning to mold their newly-formed core together, but early on Williams has proven to be the odd man out.

    As the deadline approaches, it will become increasingly obvious that his tenure with the Clippers is coming to an end.

    Prediction: Clippers ship Williams out; potential destinations include Boston Celtics, Los Angeles Lakers, Orlando Magic and Dallas Mavericks.

Andrew Bynum of Los Angeles Lakers

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    As long as Dwight Howard remains a member of the Orlando Magic without signing a contract extension, the Los Angeles Lakers and Andrew Bynum will be unable to escape the trade rumor mill.

    Earlier in the season, it was believed that Los Angeles would have to relinquish both Bynum and Pau Gasol in order to pry Howard away from the Magic.

    While this may still be the case, the Lakers are no longer desperate enough meet such demands.

    Gasol continues to put up solid stat lines while Bynum has emerged as a dominant two-way player, capable of anchoring the low post for a championship-caliber team like the Lakers.

    His emergence has rendered Los Angeles desperate no more, making it highly unlikely the team deals both Gasol and Bynum for Howard. 

    Until Howard's situation is fully resolved, the Lakers will remain a potential destination. That said, if he is traded it is likely he heads elsewhere.

    Prediction: Bynum stays in Lakers purple and gold.

Boris Diaw of Charlotte Bobcats

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    According to Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer, the versatile Boris Diaw has been put on the chopping block by the Charlotte Bobcats.

    The Bobcats are unwilling to take on a bad contract in return, and they may not have to, given Diaw's contract is up at the end of this season. It doesn't hurt they he can play all five positions either.

    The Phoenix Suns could come into play for the 29-year-old, as may the Atlanta Hawks in their search to add some size to fill the void left by Al Horford.

    Diaw's conditioning is of major concern, but he is unselfish and runs the threat of exploding on the offensive end at any time.

    He is an efficient long-range shooter, but can also put up some points fro the inside. Given Charlotte's current direction, Diaw's greatest contribution will come from being moved elsewhere.

    Prediction: The Bobcats move Diaw; potential destinations include Phoenix Suns and Atlanta Hawks.

Deron Williams of New Jersey Nets

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    According to Marc Stein of ESPN, the New Jersey Nets are prepared to shop Deron Williams should Dwight Howard land with the Los Angeles Lakers before the deadline.

    Williams' status should be a major concern for the team, but New Jersey should take solace in knowing that while the Lakers remain a potential trade destination for Howard, the likelihood of him landing there is thinning by the day.

    Andrew Bynum's emergence has put Los Angeles in the driver's seat with regard to Howard. They are no longer desperate or obligated to give up both the 24-year-old center and Pau Gasol.

    Even though Bynum is arguably the most dominant big man the Orlando Magic will get in return for Howard, they are likely to want more, which the Lakers don't have, nor are they willing to give up.

    The Nets are more likely to get burned by Williams over the summer than they are to move him before the deadline.

    Prediction: Nets hold on to Williams.

Dwight Howard of Orlando Magic

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    Dwight Howard has a list of preferred destinations, one that he has expanded to include the Los Angeles Clippers and has already requested a trade to the New Jersey Nets. All signs point to him leaving the Orlando Magic, the only question is when.

    The Magic can hold out hope that Howard re-signs with the team this summer, but the risk is not worth taking. As impressive as Orlando as been, this core is not championship material, and the organization is restricted in what it can do to reach such a level.

    Should the Magic allow free agency to decide Howard's fate, there is a possibility he decides to sign with a team like the Dallas Mavericks even though Orlando can offer him more.

    In such a scenario, the Magic would feel obligated to engage in a sign-and-trade so they don't walk away empty-handed. At that point, though, any team's offer won't include any substantial assets as the center would have already shown a willingness to ink a deal.

    If Orlando wants to maximize the return they get on Howard's inevitable departure, he will be shipped out by the deadline.

    Prediction: Magic deal Howard; potential destinations include Los Angeles Lakers, Golden State Warriors and New Jersey Nets.


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