warning Hi, we've moved to USCANNENBERGMEDIA.COM. Visit us there!

Neon Tommy - Annenberg digital news

Trade Winds Blow: Potential Player Movement In The Western Conference

Law Murray |
January 18, 2013 | 11:35 p.m. PST

Staff Writer

Pau Gasol's inability to adjust to a new Lakers' offense is a reason why he might be traded. (Keith Allison, Creative Commons)
Pau Gasol's inability to adjust to a new Lakers' offense is a reason why he might be traded. (Keith Allison, Creative Commons)
We have reached the part of the NBA season when 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 Eastern Conference):

Northwest: Oklahoma City Thunder PG Eric Maynor has lost his spot in the rotation to PG Reggie Jackson. Maynor is struggling mightily in his return from a torn ACL, so his market isn't what it was pre-injury. ... Denver Nuggets C Timofey Mozgov is in the last year of his contract and stuck behind Cs Kosta Koufos and JaVale McGee. ... The Utah Jazz have a logjam up front, and PF Paul Millsap (!) and C Al Jefferson (!) are both in the last year of their contracts. The presence of PF Derrick Favors (3rd pick in the 2010 Draft) and C Enes Kanter (3rd pick in the 2011 Draft) suggests that some moves might be made, and a deal could involve exiled SG Raja Bell (!). ... The Portland Trail Blazers have the thinnest roster in the NBA that hasn't been hit by injury, but I don't expect them to be able to improve on that via the trade market. Their most tradeable asset may be contract-year C J.J. Hickson (*), but he is averaging a double-double while rookie C Meyers Leonard is on the shelf. ... The Minnesota Timberwolves don't need a trade. They need an exorcist. They'd probably like to trade PF Derrick Williams (*), but they actually need him to produce with PF Kevin Love out.

Pacific: PG Eric Bledsoe (*) is an intriguing name for teams, but he is perfect Chris Paul insurance for the Los Angeles Clippers. SF Caron Butler (*) might also be on the block since SFs Matt Barnes and Grant Hill are on the roster, but I'd be surprised if the Clippers break up their fun bunch. ... The Golden State Warriors have two veterans (SF Richard Jefferson and C Andris Biedrins) that they'd love to give away, but those players haven't been valuable for years. ... I can't see the Los Angeles Lakers continuing to start PF Pau Gasol (!) while he struggles to adjust to the Lakers' coaching change. Additionally, Gasol refuses to come off the bench. The Lakers also want to upgrade their backup PG from Steve Blake (!). If the Lakers are still below .500 at All-Star Weekend, their patience might wear out. ... The Sacramento Kings have been asked about C DeMarcus Cousins, but a more likely move would involve SG Tyreke Evans. He's one of only two players in Sacramento with an expiring deal. Evans is a former Rookie-of-the-Year, and it would be interesting if he ever landed in a stable environment. ... The Phoenix Suns had to make a coaching change in part because their roster is less than the sum of their parts. Every team SF Michael Beasley leaves seems to get better, but obviously that means the Suns could be stuck with him.

Southwest: The San Antonio Spurs aren't playing nearly as many big men as last year, which could leave PFs Matt Bonner (!) and especially DeJuan Blair (!) on the trade block. ... Memphis Grizzlies SF Rudy Gay has been involved in many trade rumors. I don't think the Grizzlies should move the only player on the roster who can consistently create his own shot. However, Gay hasn't been at his best this season, and where there's smoke, there's usually fire. ... After the Houston Rockets added a lot of young talent in the offseason, I can't see them making a move. Maybe they can move disgruntled rookie PF Royce White (!) to Minnesota, but I will be surprised if he's ever comfortable enough to play in the NBA ... Dallas Mavericks PG Darren Collison (*) is on a one-year deal, and the Mavericks have gone through great lengths (Dominique Jones, Derek Fisher, Mike James) to not start him, so perhaps he could be had. PF Dirk Nowitzki (*) might even get consideration to be moved. Ultimately, it's doubtful the Mavericks find a deal that is worth making in what is shaping up to be a lost season. ... The New Orleans Hornets SG Eric Gordon is now healthy, so they seem like another team unlikely to make a move. If another team really wants contract-year SF Al-Farouq Aminu (*), he might be available.

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



Craig Gillespie directed this true story about "the most daring rescue mission in the history of the U.S. Coast Guard.”

Watch USC Annenberg Media's live State of the Union recap and analysis here.