NBA Trade Winds Blowing

When you make a list of "82 Things to Watch For This NBA Season" as I did this preseason, at this point in the season, there are basically three categories in which the predictions fall.

The first two are obvious: I was either right or I was wrong. There are some cases where there is a bit of a gray area, but overall, it was a hit or miss situation. We'll cover all of those things at a later date. I plan on revisiting some of the best and worst of this season's predictions as we get closer to the All-Star Break and the halfway point of the season.

Then there's the third category that a prediction can fall into: we just don't know yet.

Some we won't know until the regular season ends, some until after we crown a champion in June.

But for some of the predictions that I made that fall into the "we just don't know yet" category, there's a subtitle "but we're about to find out."

No prediction falls into the "We're about to find out" category more than the number No. 61 on the countdown: "This will be one of the most active trade deadlines in recent memory."

I wrote that back in October, under the assumption that once all 30 teams have a better understanding of where they stand in the playoff race, plenty of teams will be trying to put themselves in the best possible position heading into the mythical summer of 2010.

As the subtitle I just created indicates, we're about to find out whether I was right or not about this being an active deadline.

That's because, for all intents and purposes, the "trade deadline activity" starts this week in the NBA. There are a couple of reasons why the trade winds are going to start blowing this week.

First of all, teams know where they stand at this point in the season. Whether it's a team in limbo like Toronto that needs to make a decision on Chris Bosh, a team like Houston that has the surprising potential to be a buyer in this market, a middle of the road team like the Thunder possibly ready to take the next step, or a team like the Knicks who have made their salary cap-freeing intentions known for two years, everyone has a pretty good idea which direction they prefer to go this trade deadline.

Secondly, there are no more quirky contract stipulations holding certain players back. Players that signed with a new team this offseason became eligible to be traded around Christmas time. Players with only partially guaranteed contracts were either optioned for the remainder of the season this week or waived, as teams had until January 10th to decide whether or not to take on the remainder of said players' contract.

And the third reason why trade talks are about to heat up, last week's D-League Showcase. All 14 D-League teams got together in beautiful Boise, Idaho for the annual D-League Showcase, in which GMs, front office members, and scouts gathered to watch a week's worth of D-League basketball in the hopes of discovering a diamond in the rough, or at worse, officially make some players on their team officially available via trade.

You see, when you get nothing but NBA front office people gathering in one place for an entire week roughly a month before the trade deadline, there are bound to be some trade talks.

And while we may be a few weeks away from finding out whether the prediction of this being one of the most active trade deadlines in recent memory is correct, we are right in the heart of speculation season.

Here are just a few of the players that have had their names bounced around the rumor mill as it concerns this season's trade deadline. Of course these are just rumors that I've come across this week, and there's a good chance that some or none of these things happen, but it's always fun to play "what if," right?

Chris Bosh

Bosh is probably the biggest name and best player that has the potential to be moved before the February 18th deadline. He is set to be one of the most coveted free agents this offseason, and many people around the league believe that due to the unlikelihood of him re-signing with the Raptors, Bosh's days in Toronto are numbered.

There have been some interesting rumors surrounding where Bosh might eventually end up. ESPN's Marc Stein reported this week that there are several teams interested in Bosh, including the Houston Rockets. The Rockets have a very interesting trading chip in their own right with Tracy McGrady and his $23 million expiring contract, but Stein writes that McGrady wouldn't necessarily have to be included to get Bosh away from Toronto.

Another wild rumor is that the Raptors and Lakers have discussed a Bosh for Andrew Bynum deal. While it sounds interesting initially because of Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol's oil and water relationship on the court, I don't think that there's any way Dr. Buss opens the checkbook up wide enough to pay Bosh what it's going to take to keep him in L.A.

The Lakers already have the highest payroll in the league and are a championship-caliber team. Why would they open up the possibility of having neither Bynum nor Bosh (if Bosh bolts via free agency after this season)? It's too much of a gamble, and I don't see the Lakers making anything more than a small move if anything at the deadline.

Other teams that may potentially have interest in Bosh: Dallas, Chicago, Miami, and New York. All four are possible destinations for Bosh in free agency, so if the right deal is made available, these teams might try to lure Bosh away from Toronto early and get a three-month head start on the courtship process.

If I had to guess, right now I'd say that there is a 60% chance Bosh gets moved.

The Raptors are right at .500 right now and sitting as the sixth seed in the East. That might not be good enough to assure Chris Bosh returns, but it's certainly no reason to fire sale, either.

Plus, ESPN knows that blockbuster trades make for good ratings. Look for them to continue to fuel the Bosh flames for as long as they can, hoping that someone will bite.

Al Jefferson/Danny Granger

Depending on who you believe, either the Pacers or the Timberwolves balked on an Al Jefferson for Danny Granger trade this week, but a few different outlets were reporting that there were definitely talks ongoing.

Minnesota is saying that they are committed to Jefferson, but the fact that he doesn't mix well with Kevin Love and with the Wolves in pretty rough shape, Minnesota could be in desperate need of shakeup. Don't be shocked if Jefferson's name pops up a few more times before trade season is over.

As for Granger, I really have no idea. I don't know that there are too many people out there that have any idea what Indiana's plan for the future is, or if they even have one.

The Pacers are 11-25 and are constantly hindered by injuries. How long can they play the "let's wait until we get all our guys healthy" card before they decide it's time to blow it up and start all over?

Tracy McGrady

As I mentioned earlier, McGrady is very intriguing because, on top of the fact that he was once an all-star several times over and an NBA scoring champ, he also has a $23 million contract that comes off the books after this season.

The Rockets have sent McGrady home and are said to be shopping him, but they also said they won't take back "B+" talent for him.

The name Andre Iguodala has popped up a few times, but "B+ talent" is being generous when it comes to Iggy, but if that's the best that comes their way by February 18th, the Rockets might be tempted enough by the possibility of a playoff push to acquire a player like Iguodala.

However, if I were to guess, I don't think the Rockets are going to trade McGrady. They are asking for an arm and a leg, and frankly, he's not worth that much. The reason that any team would want him is because of the cap relief that comes with him.

Well, guess what? McGrady doesn't need to be traded to get the cap relief that he represents. The Rockets could very well decide that they are happy being a slightly-above .500 team without Yao, and take T-Mac's $23 million and try to build a supporting cast for Yao in the summer of 2010.

Antawn Jamison

A cloud of rumors has been cast over all of Washington, DC over the past week or so, and not all of them involve Gilbert Arenas.

While reports are that with Wizards are doing all that they can to void what's left of Arenas' $111 million contract, they might also be willing to trade off any or all of their roster and start building from scratch.

The rumor that keeps circulating is that the Wizards and Cavs might be discussing a possible Jamison for Zydrunas Ilgauskas' expiring contract.

Even though they sit at 29-10, it's pretty much been decided that the Shaq and Big Z together experiment isn't going to work out. Shaq and his four NBA titles makes him a more valuable asset to the Cavs this postseason than the ringless Ilgauskas, so if one of them has to go, and my money is on Big Z.

Adding Jamison to the Cavs not only gives them another huge weapon, but serves as yet another reminder to LeBron that Cleveland is his best option if winning a title is what matters most to him, and that this team is very committed to doing whatever it takes to win with him.


Those are just some of the early trade winds that are blowing around the NBA. With 38 more shopping days until the deadline, expect plenty more big names to be talked about before it is all said and done.

If any of the above mentioned players get moved between now and February 18th, it could really reshape the playoff landscape for the remainder of the season.

But these players really just represent the tip of the iceberg. There are dozens of trade rumors that will be explored between now and the deadline. Some of them will be more accurate than others, but I stand by my prediction that when it's all said and done, this will be a very active NBA trade deadline.

The good news is, whether I'm right or wrong, we're about to find out.

Comments and Conversation

January 11, 2010


Nice article Scotto! I hope that you are right about the active trade season. I love me some trade rumors! I really hope that the Pistons can dump somebody and get a big or legitimate pg.

January 16, 2010


Nice article s.t.b. Cantons loss really

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