NBA Trade Rumors: Deals That Would Shake Up Playoff Picture

Bill Pivetz@@BPiv_SportsCorrespondent IIIOctober 18, 2012

MIAMI, FL - JUNE 17:  James Harden #13 of the Oklahoma City Thunder stands on court with his head down in the second half against the Miami Heat in Game Three of the 2012 NBA Finals on June 17, 2012 at American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida.  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 Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

The NBA was shaken up big time during the summer.

The Los Angeles Lakers acquired Steve Nash and Dwight Howard. Ray Allen left the Boston Celtics and joined the rival Miami Heat. Deron Williams decided to re-sign with the Brooklyn Nets.

The NBA trade deadline is February 21. We’ll have a better idea of which teams could make a move as the playoff picture starts to take shape .

However, with every team trying to build a super team, expect to see some high-profile trades early in the season as teams try to compete with the Heat, Lakers and Thunder.

Tyreke Evans Leaving Sacramento Kings

Tyreke Evans' days in Sacramento could be numbered. David Aldridge of NBA.com says the Kings will not offer a contract extension to Evans.

In his first three seasons in the NBA, Evans has shown that he can be a successful guard or forward. He averaged 18.2 points, 5.3 assists and 4.9 rebounds a game. Those stats prove that Evans is a well-rounded player on the floor.

Although teams haven’t come out and said they are interested in Evans, he could improve a lot of teams looking to make a run for the playoffs. There are a few teams who could use an upgrade at point guard, or even small forward.

Guards are very hard to come by right now. There are some available in free agency, but Evans is a young guard who can become a superstar in the league.

Josh Smith to Chicago Bulls

It’s no surprise that the Bulls need to make a move to help out Derrick Rose.

He is the team’s best offensive weapon. Next in line would be either Luol Deng or the aging Richard Hamilton.

The Bulls need help in the front court. Center Joakim Noah is injury prone, and Carlos Boozer doesn’t seem to have his heart set on playing in Chicago.

Trading for Hawks forward Josh Smith (via Larry Seely of Gather Sports) would be a huge improvement at the power forward position. He’s only 26 and has been a huge part of the Hawks' recent success.

Smith’s scoring average has gone up every year since 2008. He averaged 18.8 points and almost 10 rebounds per game last season.

The Bulls would also benefit from Smith’s postseason success, as well. In the 2012 playoffs, Smith averaged 16.8 points, 13.6 rebounds and 4.8 assists in five games. Boozer only averaged 13.5 points, 9.9 rebounds and 3.0 assists in six playoff games.

The Bulls will be without Rose for most of the 2012-13 season. Smith would be the offensive anchor they need until Rose’s return.

If the Bulls want to compete with the Heat in the Eastern Conference, then a move for another offensive weapon is what this team needs to do.

James Harden to Charlotte Bobcats

James Harden is known for two things—his excellent three-point shooting and his beard.

Harden helped lead the Thunder to their first NBA Finals in franchise history. Although they lost, Harden was consistent throughout the playoffs.

He averaged 16.3 points and a .410 shooting percentage from behind the arc. Being a part of the Big 3, along with Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant, Harden looks to capitalize on his success.

Harden wants to sign a big-money deal, but the Thunder don’t seem willing to sign him for a large amount of money. If the Thunder decide to trade him, they could get some talent in return.

The Charlotte Bobcats seem to be the main suitor for Harden. According to Gather.com, “The Bobcats are in desperate need of talent and could offer another draft pick along with Kidd-Gilchrist.”

This trade will not make the Bobcats an automatic playoff contender, but it will affect the Thunder’s chance to make it back to the Finals. Harden won the 2012 Sixth Man of the Year, and it will be hard for the Thunder to replace his production.

However, if the Thunder receive Kidd-Gilchrist, they’ll be the favorites in years to come.


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