Kiki's NBA cuts: Pre-trade takeaways
FEB 20, 2013 4:01p ET
Players entering the final year of their contract like Al Jefferson for Utah could be traded.
And there are the Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard rumors. Things are not really working well. Howard is a free agent and could walk. Steve Nash has some rumors also.
Don't forget about San Antonio. The Spurs have something up their sleeve but it may be someone other than Smith.
Except for the trades that we have already looked at, there is surprising little information out there at the current time. Although we only have one day until the trade deadline, Thursday at noon Pacific, it is a world away in NBA trade time. There is tremendous action going on behind the scenes but very few teams pull the trigger until the last second. This is because they are always looking for just that little bit better deal.
Let's see if we can get a few extra insights on the day before the trade deadline.
1. Smith will be dealt by the Atlanta Hawks
There is so much smoke around this deal that something is bound to happen. The Hawks have made it very clear that they did not intend to re-sign Smith this summer to a maximum contract. He does not fit into their rebuilding plan and they already pay one large salary to center Al Horford.
Smith has made it very clear he would not sign anything but a maximum deal. Although an extremely talented player, he has not led them to the promised land.
The most likely places for him to be dealt are to teams that have no problem paying him a maximum contract. The most likely candidate is probably the Brooklyn Nets, where money seems to be no problem. Other likely landing spots are Boston Celtics, Dallas Mavericks, Phoenix Suns, Washington Wizards and dark horse Milwaukee Bucks.
Conclusion: Smith will not be wearing a Hawks uniform next year and the Hawks will do their utmost to trade him this trade deadline.
2. J.J. Redick will be traded by the Orlando Magic
After a major overhaul centered on the Dwight Howard trade, the Orlando Magic will try to get young assets for Redick. Magic are in the process of rebuilding and have had a tough season. Paying Redick would not fit into their game plan. It's better to get young assets, draft choices or significant salary-cap relief going forward.
Redick is one of the best pure shooters in the NBA and has become a very good basketball player. He moves well without the ball and can fit into any offensive scheme. Look for Redick to go to a contender looking for that last shooter to make a championship run.
Conclusion: Redick for New York Knicks Iman Shumpert seems like it might make some sense. Although the Knicks have said they wouldn't trade Shumpert, it might be good for both teams. Bottom line, Redick gets traded someplace.
3. J.J. Hickson is shopped by Portland Trail Blazers
With the Trailblazers seemingly sliding out of playoff contention and Hickson having great value around the league, it seems natural to look for a trade. The price is going to be very steep but since the Trailblazers looked to move him before the season anyway, I believe that they will be shopping him hard.
Hickson has emerged as an extremely steady center for the Trailblazers. He has played much better than expected and can give you a double-double on any given night. His energy has been contagious all year and would have great value to any number of teams.
Conclusion: Hickson probably does not get traded but the offers will be very interesting.
4. Eric Gordon is traded by the New Orleans Hornets
Both the Hornets and Gordon have been going in opposite directions all year. For whatever reason this match, created through the Chris Paul trade, has not worked. New Orleans is an overachieving, hard-working team. Gordon is a very talented and hard-working young player, who can put up big numbers. On paper it should work, but both are somewhat dissatisfied.
Conclusion: The Phoenix Suns have always coveted Gordon and are still searching for a direction and a star. Depending on what they are willing to give up, he might be the perfect fit.
5. Utah trades Raja Bell
Don't beat yourself up if you have forgotten Bell. He has had a contract buyout dispute with the Utah Jazz all season and has not played for them yet. Although older, he still is an extremely tough defending guard who can make 3-pointers. That is a valuable combination for any team going into the playoffs. He should also have fresh rested legs for the second-half playoff push.
Conclusion: Any rumor section this year would not be complete without the Lakers entering the picture. Mike D'Antoni has always liked Bell and he would seem like a good fit for D'Antoni's up-tempo offense. The Jazz will definitely try to get something for Bell. I believe he ends up on the Lakers before the deadline.
6. Milwaukee shops Brandon Jennings
Jennings is a very talented young point guard that desires a maximum contract in small market Milwaukee. The Bucks have had a good year but Jennings has not played quite to his potential. The Bucks would be hard-pressed to give him a max contract right now.
Jennings is one of the most talented young point guards in the league and has shown, on occasion, what he is capable of. To get a max contract, he would really need to step up the second half of this year.
Conclusion: Jennings does not get traded, although not for lack of suitors. Dallas Mavericks could really use a star point guard but would they pay the terrifically high price Milwaukee is sure to ask. Also, with Monta Ellis possibly walking as a free agent next year, it would be a very risky move. Teams do not trade very talented young point guards often, so don't hold your breath on this one.
The trade deadline is always full of surprises. I almost guarantee there will be some trade, seemingly out of nowhere, that catches everybody by surprise. There are many big spenders still in the league today and many big names rumored to be traded, when this happens there are certainly always trades to be made.
Teams have figured out game plans going forward and are either going on a playoff run or preparing for next year. Financial concerns are always a priority. Teams will try to trade a big contract to avoid the punitive repeater tax or just try to create cap space for the next big free agent. There are endless reasons and ways to try and improve a team's roster.
Any way you look at it, NBA general managers spend the next remaining hours before the trade deadline working around the clock because at noon Pacific Thursday, all trades will be over.
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