The Feb. 20 NBA trade deadline is approaching as many NBA rumors swirl about teams looking to unload veterans and up and comers alike, to reshape their cap room and roster. General managers use this time to show how exactly they plan on approaching the rest of the season. Many teams have all but sealed their future for the season already, and other teams may still be fighting for a playoff spot and need that one player they think can put them over the hump. Teams that are already out of the playoff hunt may look to unload some of their high salary players for potential picks in the upcoming draft, or maybe just to get under the cap and dodge the luxury tax penalty. As the deadline approaches, many experts feel there will be monumental activity on the trading block.
Two of the most historic NBA teams have been heavily rumored to have a few marquee players on the block. The Los Angeles Lakers and the Boston Celtics are known to have probably the greatest NBA Final rivalries in all of sports today; in the coming weeks they both may be one of the teams needing to reshape their whole roster just to become competitive again. The Lakers are rumored to be interested in trading their all-star forward Pau Gasol, with many teams sniffing the coattails of the Lakers just trying to get a read on what they may want in return. The Phoenix Suns have been announced as one of the teams courting Gasol as they make their surprising push to the playoffs. The Suns could have as many as four first-round picks in the coming draft and may look to unload one and maybe more to bring in the two-time NBA Champion. The Lakers are in a position to try to get rid of some of their high salary players to possibly lure in another max contract player to complement the aging Kobe Bryant. All options are on the table when the Lakers are brought up. Not being a competitive team in L.A. is uncommon and not something the Lakers want to continue going into next year.
The Boston Celtics have not been shy in the NBA trading block the last few years as they have shown no matter who the player is, they are expendable whenever the deadline approaches. Last year, the Celtics traded away the face of their franchise, Paul Pierce, along with grizzled veteran and former MVP Kevin Garnett. Now their name is back in news as they have another young talent they may look to move, even though their GM Danny Ainge has been sending mixed signals causing rumors to swirl around the Celtics with the reports coming out of Boston. Rajon Rondo’s name has been thrown around all front offices since returning after his injury, but Ainge has snubbed all reports on his point guard. Whether Ainge decides to move him or not, Rondo may speculate on what his future may hold in Boston and opt to leave when free agency hits.
Some other notable players to keep an eye on are Andre Miller from the Denver Nuggets, Evan Turner with the Philadelphia 76ers and a huge dark horse in potential MVP candidate Kevin Love of the Minnesota Timberwolves. Many believe Love will not re-sign with the Timberwolves next year and may decide to take his talents back to California. The Timberwolves hope this does not come to fruition but if the possibility is likely, they may have to make a move to gain some sort of compensation for arguably the best power forward in the game.
There have been many names rumored on the block, and plenty of teams trying to get as many picks as they can in the deep talent pool coming in the draft. Whether it is players or picks, the trade rumors will continue to swirl as the trade deadline approaches. Everyone will be sure to stay tuned, as there may be too many names to keep track of when the NBA trade transactions start piling on around the league.
By Justin Huffman