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NBA Weekly Roundtable 6: Trade Deadline Edition

Evan Budrovich, Tanaya Ghosh, Sareen Tavidian |
February 21, 2013 | 9:22 a.m. PST

Staff Writers

Josh Smith will surely be in a new uniform come Friday (Chris Nelson/Wikimedia Commons)
Josh Smith will surely be in a new uniform come Friday (Chris Nelson/Wikimedia Commons)
Thursday at noon on the west coast is the NBA Trade Deadline. We've also seen the first trade of the deadline season, as Sacramento dealt their No. 5 pick from last June's draft, Thomas Robinson, to the Rockets for Patrick Patterson and other parts. We've got our takes on how the trade deadline will shape up, as well as a post-mortem on All-Star Weekend. 

1) The trade deadline is on Thursday (today). What big name do you think is most likely to be dealt?

Evan Budrovich: Rumors have been circulating throughout the NBA in the past few weeks, and Josh Smith has the most market value of any player involved in serious talks. I expect the New Jersey Nets and Atlanta Hawks to work out a deal involving a swap for Kris Humphries and Smith by the deadline. The Nets need more athleticism, and Smith provides the stretch four talent that can add balance to their roster. He could also end up in Los Angeles or Dallas among other locations.

Tanaya Ghosh: No huge names stand out for me, but then again there could be a surprise or two at the last minute. The Hawks seem intent on trading Josh Smith, with rumors connecting him to a multitude of teams. Minnesota's Like Ridnour also seems to be likely to be traded but it's anyone's guess at the moment where he'll end up. This trade deadline doesn't seem to be as exciting and game-changing as recent years, but that could all change as the deadline nears.

Sareen Tavidian: One of the murkiest situations is where Magic guard J.J. Redick will end up. The Pacers, Bucks, Bulls, Timberwolves and Grizzlies are all rumored to be interested, and they can pay a lot more than Orlando can if they decide to resign Redick. All of those five squads are looking for an accurate and persistent shooter, and the sharpshooter out of Duke fits the bill. The Magic have a commodity on their hands, and should not make any hasty decisions when it comes to dealing Redick.

The Clippers are torn on whether to keep Eric Bledsoe (Keith Allison/Creative Commons).
The Clippers are torn on whether to keep Eric Bledsoe (Keith Allison/Creative Commons).
2) The Clippers are making noise with the possibility of trading Eric Bledsoe. Would this be a beneficial move, and what should they reasonably expect in return if they decide to deal him?
Budrovich: Bledsoe is set to be a restricted free agent after this season, making for a very interesting cap situation in Los Angeles. Since Chris Paul's resigning is not a sure deal, the Clippers are left in limbo with their rising point guard. Bledsoe could be dealt for talent, but I expect the Clippers to hold on to him and focus on winning this season. They could receive quite the value if they decide to move him, but they'd lose out on his overall potential by doing so. 
Ghosh: Bledsoe is still young he has lots more potential in the years to come. From Bledsoe's standpoint, it would be good for him to be able to start, but with Paul back, it's impossible for him to do so with the Clippers unless Paul doesn't return to L.A. after this season. However, for the Clippers, despite swirling trade rumors regarding a potential trade for KG, they would be crazy to let Bledsoe go. He can score, pass, dunk, and would serve as good insurance if Paul decides not to stay in L.A. after this season. It is true that Garnett would be a huge addition to the team, and the Clippers should settle for nothing less if they do decide to deal Bledsoe, because he's proven to be a very valuable asset and he's only in his third year.
Tavidian: The Clippers have become the new team in town and that is greatly due to their one-of-a-kind bench that includes Bledsoe. Trading Bledsoe would be a mistake on the Clippers' part, and they are definitely underestimating his abilities as one of the most persistent and energetic players in the league. Bledsoe has been such a great help to the team and his skills became even more evident during the short period of time that Paul was out due to injury. Although losing Bledsoe might not cause too much devastation to the team as a whole, it can cause the bench to lose symmetry on the court. Bledsoe is focused on keeping his team afloat and the Clippers would be foolish to trade a player who has only shown persistence when in the game. I’ve mentioned this before and will say it again; Eric Bledsoe has the potential to be one of the greatest team leaders. 
The dunk contest still has some excitement, but All-Star Weekend could use some fixing (dannyb/Flickr).
The dunk contest still has some excitement, but All-Star Weekend could use some fixing (dannyb/Flickr).
3) The NBA All-Star Weekend is over, as the West defeated the East in a 143-138 shootout on Sunday night. What changes do you think the NBA could make in order to make All-Star weekend better and more exciting?
Budrovich: This year's NBA All-Star Weekend was full of hype but came out relatively weak in terms of performance. The first thing the league should do to create excitement is demand the best players to participate in the dunk contest. Watching Kobe and LeBron soar in the air would make for quite the affair. Not only should stars participate, but the format of the competition needs to change. Instead of allowing players to get minimum scores on dunks as well as numerous attempts, the league should create stricter mandates on slam-dunk attempts in order to enhance the pressure of each dunk. The game itself falls under the same category as the NFL's Pro Bowl in effort, with both teams running up and down the court looking for lobs and highlight plays rather than playing a pure game. Fans seem to enjoy the game itself because of the top-notch participants, but maybe a shorter version would also enhance the broadcast. 
Ghosh: A charity dunk or new type of skills contest would be interesting, and may be more of an incentive for bigger names to go head-to-head for their charities. Perhaps have a one-on-one challenge between a legend and a current NBA player, or offer fans a chance to shoot around with their favorite players by holding a contest in the weeks leading up to All-Star Weekend. With social media, there are tons of possibilities for even more fan involvement. For example, fans could tweet in or submit their own videos of some sort... perhaps asking questions to NBA greats, having "greatest fan" contests for each team or coast, or tweet using a hashtag what they'd like their favorite star to do (on, or even something fun off the court). Additionally, more behind-the-scenes footage of the all-stars interacting and hanging out together would be pretty interesting, since it's one of the only times when the league's top players can just have fun together.
Tavidian: NBA All-Star Weekend 2013 made evident that there has to be changes made to the game's pace. Every year the audience knows what to expect, and the event has become repetitive and dull. Like Charles Barkley noted at the end of the weekend, Blake Griffin and Russell Westbrook shouldn’t be sitting on the side lines, they should be participating in the contests. It doesn’t matter how many times an athlete has participated; If they're good, they should be participating. The slam-dunk contest was the main contest that caught my eye this year, but not in a good way. This year's competitors were mostly bench players we rarely hear about. It was fun to watch, but would pale in comparison to a slam-dunk contest including Griffin and LeBron. Besides including relevant players, the NBA should also start brainstorming on new, less predictable contests. They should give fans the chance to participate, and I don’t mean by allowing them to vote. Fans should have the opportunity to actually participate in the contests, giving viewers a thrill the current format is not offering.



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