While NBA teams can officially make trades at any point during the season up until the trade deadline Feb. 21, the action wasn’t likely to get underway until last Saturday.
That is because CBA rules stipulate that players signed in the summer must wait six months before they can be traded. And with another dozen or so players who cannot be dealt until Jan. 15, you are left with very few options in an already convoluted trade process.
Now that the Dec. 15 deadline has officially passed, the NBA rumour mill will officially kick into full gear. With that in mind, here are a few names you will almost constantly hear mentioned in the rumour rotation over the next couple of months.
Andrea Bargnani, Jose Calderon (Toronto Raptors)
When Andrea Bargnani and Kyle Lowry were injured in the Raptors loss to Portland last week it cooled off rumours involving the Raptors, as it took the team’s main trade chips off the blocks for a couple of weeks.
It has already been reported that the Raptors have been shopping Bargnani, but he will remain a Raptor for a least a few more weeks until he gets healthy.
Without Lowry, the team cannot likely move Calderon as they would be left with a gaping hole in their backcourt. Calderon’s contract expires at the end of the season, making him a valuable commodity.
Pau Gasol (Los Angeles Lakers)
Los Angeles has already traded Pau Gasol once (in the vetoed Chris Paul deal) so don’t be surprised to see it happen again.
The Lakers are said to be in no hurry to move Gasol until both he and Steve Nash return to action and the front office is able to see exactly how the pieces fit together.
Both players are expected to be back in the lineup by the end of the month and even if they figure it out, Gasol might be a better fit in another jersey.
Of course Gasol’s monster contract is a major deterrent to getting a deal done but the Lakers always seem to find a way. Who would have thought they could get their archrivals (the Phoenix Suns) to trade them the best player in their franchise’s history (Nash)?
On a longshot note, the Lakers have yet to sign Dwight Howard to an extension, which will likely lead to another round of rumours involving the former Magic star as well. If the Lakers believed he wasn’t going to sign next summer you can be certain he would be shipped out in seconds.
Josh Smith, Devin Harris (Atlanta Hawks)
Like Howard, Josh Smith is an unrestricted free agent at season’s end and like Howard, the Hawks would ship Smith out if he lets them know he isn’t hanging around beyond this season.
Loads of teams are already said to have called and inquired about Smith’s services so if someone were to come up with an offer that blew away general manager Danny Ferry, a change could be made.
Devin Harris will also likely be available for teams looking for point guards as he has an expiring contract and is currently behind Jeff Teague on the Hawks’ depth chart.
Derrick Williams, Kevin Love (Minnesota Timberwolves)
The Timberwolves cannot be happy with either Kevin Love or Derrick Williams at the moment.
Love recently sounded off about the team’s management and ownership. He has made no bones about the fact he is unhappy with his current contract as well.
It would be hard to see the Timberwolves deal Love but the only player that is untouchable on the roster is Ricky Rubio.
Meanwhile, it may be a little early to label Williams a bust at this stage but the team clearly expected more out of the Arizona product when they drafted him second overall two summers ago.
Williams’ agent recently said they had asked the team to look into trade possibilities although they had yet to officially demand a trade.
MarShon Brooks (Brooklyn Nets)
Not as sexy of a name as some of those listed above but he may be just as hot of a commodity.
A year ago he averaged more than 12.6 points, 3.6 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game but those numbers have declined with the arrival of Joe Johnson and the improved health of Deron Williams.
The Nets still need a piece or two if they are going to make a run and Brooks might be the best trade chip they have to offer.
Anderson Varejao (Cleveland Cavaliers)
Let’s face it, this Cavaliers team is at least a year away from contending for a playoff berth and is still trying to rebuild post LeBron James.
They have a couple of nice pieces in Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters but could use a few more.
Moving Anderson Varejao right now might be their best opportunity to pull it off as he is currently in the middle of a monster campaign.
Darren Collison (Dallas Mavericks)
I am still trying to figure out what happened to Darren Collison.
Midway through last season he was the starter on a Pacers team that was humming along in the upper echelon of the NBA’s elite. Then he got injured, lost his starting gig to George Hill and was shipped to the Dallas Mavericks for flotsam.
He struggled early on with the Mavericks, prompting the team to replace him with Derek Fisher, a player they signed off the scrap heap.
To say he might be available is an understatement.
Monta Ellis, Brandon Jennings (Milwaukee Bucks)
Both players will be unrestricted free agents at season’s end, which will automatically enter their names into the rumour mix.
Whether either ends up being moved remains to be seen but the Bucks will have to consider moving them rather than risk losing them for nothing.
RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS
Tyreke Evans (Sacramento Kings), Tyler Hansbrough (Indiana Pacers), Timofey Mozgov (Denver Nuggets)
All three of the above players will be restricted free agents next summer and are likely due for a raise.
Evans is a valuable commodity although the Kings have never figured out how to get the most from him while Hansbrough and Mozgov are role players who will likely cost too much to keep.
Teams will likely at least inquire about their availability over the next few months.
WAIT UNTIL JANUARY
Ersan Ilyasova (Milwaukee Bucks), Eric Gordon (New Orleans Hornets)
As stated above, there are a handful of players that can’t be moved until Jan. 15 and that list includes Ersan Ilyasova and Eric Gordon.
Neither player is believed to be on the block at the moment but Gordon has been a huge bust since the Hornets acquired him in the Paul deal and at some point they are going to need to wave the white flag.
Ilyasova, meanwhile, has been a bit of a no-show this season since signing a shiny new contract in the off-season, and reports out of New York indicate the Nets are interested.