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Potential Trades Brew In The Eastern Conference

Law Murray |
January 19, 2013 | 12:50 p.m. PST

Staff Writer

Andrea Bargnani could be heading out after seven seasons in Toronto. (MoRecupero/Creative Commons)
Andrea Bargnani could be heading out after seven seasons in Toronto. (MoRecupero/Creative Commons)
We have reached the part of the NBA season where Christmas seems like a long time ago, yet the All-Star Weekend is still about a month away.  It's usually a dead period to talk about the NBA, and so people have resorted to keeping underachieving sub-.500 teams in the national conversation (guilty).  

From a personnel standpoint, there hasn't been much to talk about yet. Four teams have changed head coaches (Lakers, Nets, Bucks, Suns), and just about every team has dealt with injuries (or, as Ricky Rubio and I like to call them, "excuses"). But there has only been one trade since the NBA season started, and it was a minor one at that (New Orleans Hornets trading Hakim Warrick to the Charlotte Bobcats for Matt Carroll, who was promptly waived). The last major NBA trade was James Harden to the Houston Rockets.

But with the NBA trade deadline about a month away, the trade winds shall blow! And before things start going down, I want to briefly cover every team's most probable trade action. Stretches are labeled (*), but (!) labels are moves I believe can and should happen (see here for the Western Conference):

Atlantic Division:

New York Knicks PF Amaré Stoudemire (*) was bought up since he isn't starting and has a ridiculous contract, but he has a role off the bench, and the Knicks aren't as deep as they appear to be with Rasheed Wallace and Marcus Camby injured.

Not much has changed for Brooklyn Nets PF Kris Humphries despite a coaching change. He's clearly expendable while Reggie Evans and Andray Blatche soak up minutes and rebounds.

If the Boston Celtics are going to make a move, I'd expect it to involve PF Brandon Bass (!). Rookie PF Jared Sullinger is starting to emerge, and I'd be more surprised if the Celtics pull the plug on SF Jeff Green.

Philadelphia 76ers backup swingmen Dorell Wright and Nick Young have disappointed this season as new acquisitions. The 76ers aren't likely to make a move while they wait on C Andrew Bynum, but both players are in contract-years, and the 76ers have fallen off lately, having failed to win consecutive games since the end of November.

Meanwhile, the Toronto Raptors still have a winning record in games PF Andrea Bargnani (!) has missed, while PG José Calderon (!) is in the last year of his deal. With PFs Ed Davis and Amir Johnson emerging, and the commitment made to PG Kyle Lowry, don't be surprised if the Raptors entertain some offers, especially for Bargnani.

Central Division:

 

Monta Ellis could be on the move. (Pablo Gamez/Creative Commons)
Monta Ellis could be on the move. (Pablo Gamez/Creative Commons)
The Indiana Pacers lead the division despite the absence of SF Danny Granger (*), largely due to the emergence of SF Paul George and the best defense in the NBA. With George playing small forward next to SG Lance Stephenson, the Pacers could entertain shopping Granger, but the Pacers starve for buckets (29th-ranked offense), and George fully expects Danny Buckets to stay.

The only player I could think of the Chicago Bulls moving is SG Richard Hamilton (*), as his playing time has been cut. But Rip is the only Bull with a championship ring, and he was bought to the Windy City to play next to PG Derrick Rose, so a move is highly unlikely.

On the other hand, the Milwaukee Bucks have already made a coaching change in part due to the questionable roster in Wisconsin, and some combination of PG Brandon Jennings (!), SG Monta Ellis (!), PF Drew Gooden (!), and C Samuel Dalembert (!) will have to be broken up. Jennings will be a restricted free agent at season's end, but I think it makes more sense to move Ellis (a poor-shooting, undersized starter), who can become a free agent this summer. Gooden has played 105 minutes all season, while Dalembert is in a contract year and stuck behind centers Larry Sanders and Ekpe Udoh.

 Detroit Pistons SF Corey Maggette has played all of 257 minutes this season as the Pistons' highest played player. He's in a contract year, but we'll see if GM Joe Dumars is rescued by that minor detail.

Cleveland Cavaliers C Anderson Varejao has been in trade rumors often, but he might not be healthy enough to help a team this season after leg surgery.

Southeast Division:

 

Josh Smith (right) is averaging 16.4 points and 8.3 rebounds per game. (Keith Allison/Creative Commons)
Josh Smith (right) is averaging 16.4 points and 8.3 rebounds per game. (Keith Allison/Creative Commons)
The Miami Heat are set. They won't trade someone like PF Rashard Lewis (*).

The Atlanta Hawks are anything but set. They suspended mercurial PF Josh Smith (!) after the team's 58-point "effort" at Chicago, and Smith is in a contract year. The Hawks have only five players under contract for next season, and two of them are rookies who don't play (SG John Jenkins, PF Mike Scott).

The Orlando Magic would love to move SF Hedo Turkoglu and PF Al Harrington, but both players have combined to play 120 minutes this season. Their injuries make them even less attractive, as they're not difference makers even when healthy.

Unless somebody wants to take on PF Tyrus Thomas' (*) contract, nobody is going to spend too much time entertaining Charlotte Bobcats players.

The Washington Wizards just got PG John Wall back, and spent last season turning over the entire roster. The one player that could possibly be available is SF Trevor Ariza, but that's only because his jumper is even worse than it usually is this season, and SF Martell Webster has absorbed most of his minutes.

 

 

Reach Staff Writer Law Murray via email or follow him on Twitter.



 

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