NBA Trade Rumors: Ranking Odds Top Rumored Players Gets Dealt

Kelly Scaletta@@KellyScalettaFeatured ColumnistDecember 6, 2011

NBA Trade Rumors: Ranking Odds Top Rumored Players Gets Dealt

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    With what is all but officially dubbed the "Free Agent Frenzy" drawing near, the trade rumors are getting cranked up along with the free-agent rumors. The names on the trading block are ranging from the merely big to the downright huge. 

    These are the top five names on the trading block and the chances they get dealt. What won't be included are players who are being offered in exchange for them. Therefore you won't see names like Andrew Bynum or Brook Lopez here.

    Also, I've only included verified, recent trade rumors. Therefore names like Andre Iguodala that were being shopped last year near the trade deadline or before the draft aren't on the list either.

    That doesn't mean they won't be traded; it just means there's nothing available to indicate they will be. 

Paul Millsap

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    One week ago Chris Broussard of ESPN wrote that Paul Millsap was being shopped: "League executives say the Utah Jazz's excitement over young big men Enes Kanter and Derrick Favors has them shopping Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap."

    However, the Salt Lake Tribune today has reported otherwise:

    Sources also reiterated to The Tribune the Jazz are not expected to immediately use their amnesty clause on veteran center Mehmet Okur, and said Utah isn't actively pursuing a trade involving Millsap.

    On the one hand, it is true that the Jazz, with the additions of Kanter and Favors have a serious stockpile in the frontcourt. On the other hand, Broussard's been batting near the Mendoza-line when it comes to his trade rumors, if I can be permitted to mix my sports metaphor. 

    He might have gotten the Heat big three right, but since then he's been living off of that. 

    It's possible that the Jazz trade him, but I think the odds are in favor of him staying. If they are shopping him, a likely landing spot would be the Indiana Pacers. 

    Trade Chance: 35 Percent

Rajon Rondo

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    Rajon Rondo has had his name spilled into trade talks not once, but twice since the season ended. First it was in exchange for the Thunder star point guard, Russell Westbrook. Then it was in exchange for the Hornets star, Chris Paul. Then it was in conjunction with the Pacers. 

    No one seemed to interested. 

    Rajon Rondo has been less than happy to see his name coming up in trade talks. His ego was reportedly wounded when President Obama made a crack about his shooting last year.  

    So you end up with Rondo in one of three possible situations:

    1. Danny Ainge really meant it when he said that Rondo was their guy
    2. Ainge was practicing damage control because he tried and failed to trade Rondo.
    3. Ainge was practicing damage control and he's still trying to trade Rondo.

    My best guess is the third scenario is the most likely. The Celtics are getting old and two contracts—Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen—both expire this year. Rondo is a nice player to run a team that's in place, but not to carry a team. 

    When you look at the types of guards they were trying to acquire (allegedly) in Russell Westbrook and Chris Paul, they were scoring point guards. 

    Rondo is not a scoring point guard. 

    So, either Rondo magically became a scoring point guard after the trade rebuffs, or they are still shopping him. The problem is Ainge is putting more value on Rondo than other teams are.

    He would be an excellent fit with the Lakers, but who would the Lakers give back?

    Trade Chances: 20 Percent

Monta Ellis

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    Over the last two years, Monta Ellis has scored 24.7 points per game. Only five players have scored more than him.

    That's some pretty good trade fodder, don't you think?

    The most frequent name to come up in conjunction with Ellis is Rudy Gay. 

    Grizzlies GM, Chris Wallace said in response to those rumors:

    We're committed to this core. It's obvious. We've stepped up and extended three of them so far. What could we have done if Rudy was healthy (last season)? You're going to see Rudy Gay. We have no interest in trading Rudy Gay. We see Rudy as a cornerstone for this franchise.

    That doesn't leave a lot of ambiguity. The reality is that for all his scoring prowess, Ellis' game is incomplete and he doesn't play defense at all apart from his tendency to gamble for steals. Ellis won't net the return the Warriors would want. 

    The other thing is that he has the physical tools to be a great defender and with new coach Mark Jackson coming in, that could happen. Don't expect him to go anywhere. 

    Trade Chances: 5 Percent

Chris Paul

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    Chris Paul is not going to be a Hornet for more than a year and it's highly unlikely that he'll be a Hornet for the duration of the year.

    Paul will be dealt before the trade deadline, but it won't be to the New York Knicks. For all the personal attacks for my stance here, it doesn't change a certain reality—namely that the Knicks don't have enough to offer back

    This isn't about my personal feelings for the Knicks, it's about my personal observation about the difference in the caliber of player between Landry Fields, the best long-term player the Knicks have to offer, and Chris Paul. The Hornets are looking for a cornerstone player and Fields is not one. 

    And the fact is that whatever Paul's interest in the Knicks is, it's not set in stone. If he could have a max deal and play for a contender, he'd take it. That's why he'd be open to playing for the Clippers and Magic

    The thing that's intriguing is that the Clippers would not be including Gordon in the latest trade offer, but it still would be better than anything the Knicks can offer. The bottom line here is that the reason Gordon isn't in the offer is that Paul wouldn't give them the assurance of signing an extension. 

    What happens next year is up to Paul, but what happens this year is up to the Hornets. Would a season of playing with Gordon and Griffin be enough to secure the services of Paul for the future?

    They could offer that, a max contract and the possibility of adding Howard via free agency. That would be awfully enticing.

    Trade Probability: 100 Percent, 85 Percent to Clippers 

Dwight Howard

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    Dwight Howard is the biggest name on the trading block and that's pretty big. Why is his name even bigger than Chris Paul's? 

    Well, who is the best point guard in the NBA? There are three names you could present a pretty solid argument for to answer that: Chris Paul, Deron Williams and Derrick Rose. Now some might disagree here and there, but if there were a poll, it would be a pretty safe bet that all three names would secure at least 25 percent of the votes. 

    Now, who is the best center in the NBA? Every reasonable, rational person in the world that knows the difference between traveling and a double-dribble said Dwight Howard. There's not even a conversation. 

    No player in the NBA has such difference between the best and the second best. He's a one-man defense in the paint and he's the best low-post scorer in the NBA. 

    The thing is, whether he will go or where he will go really is much more up in the air than anything else. While all the fun has been had in discussing wild scenarios to the Lakers, Bulls and Nets, there hasn't been anything yet make the Magic get excited enough to talk.

    There remains another possibility, and that's that the Magic satiate Howard's desire to play with Chris Paul by acquiring him. 

    While Paul is a done deal to be traded, it's not the case with Howard. Gaining Paul would assure the Magic of not just retaining both but of being a perennial contender, if not taking the front runner status from Miami. 

    Trade Probability: 85 Percent (with the other 15 percent chance being of acquiring Paul).

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