With the trade deadline slowly approaching, it is only natural that more names are thrown into the rumor mill. Let’s take a look at 3 hot names that could very soon find themselves changing their uniforms.
Andrea Bargnani – Toronto Raptors
Bargnani has missed 10 games with a torn ligament in his elbow, as well as a wrist strain, and is considered to be week-to-week.
While the Raptors’ schedule might have been kind lately, it is still impressive that the shorthanded team is 8-2 in the absence of the former No.1 overall pick.
While Toronto Raptors have shown patience and invested a lot into the Italian 7-footer, the recent stretch has shown that Bargnani might be expendable in Toronto.
The Raptors are 4-17 when Bargnani is in the lineup this season, and while it would be unfair to blame him for all those losses, the numbers certainly don’t help his cause.
In the 4 games that the Raptors have won with Bargnani in the lineup, he was shooting a horrendous 28.8% from the field and scoring 9.8 points, which clearly shows that he had more of a detrimental than a contributing role in the little success that the Raptors have had this season.
Bargnani is notorious for his poor defense and is quite one-dimensional offensively, but his shooting touch and ability to stretch the floor at the 4 and 5 positions is rare. He is having his worst scoring season since 2008-09 and has only averaged less rebounds in his sophomore season.
Toronto was interested in trying to get Pau Gasol in exchange for a package deal including Bargnani, but at this time it doesn’t look like Gasol is going to be moving.
Either way, until Bargnani gets back and proves that his injury won’t bother him, it will be tough for the Raptors to move his three-year $32.25 million contract. Once Bargnani is back in the lineup, the Raptors will most likely just look to dump his salary to any takers, while ideally receiving young players or expiring contracts in return.
J.J. Redick – Orlando Magic
J.J. Redick is having the best season of his career, contributing with career-highs in points (14.1) and assists (4.7). Redick is not eligible to sign a new contract at this time and will be an unrestricted free agent in July.
Redick and his family have made it clear that they are content with life in Orlando and would be more than happy to stay with the team.
While Redick might not have been part of the big picture plan for Orlando when the season started, his steady play might convince the Magic to keep him around.
Redick has been a major contributor in a season that the Magic were expected to be a laughing stock, scoring 18.2 points per game in the team’s 12 victories, while averaging 11.6 points in losses.
It would make sense for the Magic to keep Redick, but at the same time he is undoubtedly their most valuable trading chip, if the team wants to make moves before the February 21 trade deadline. Besides, while Redick wants to stay in Orlando at this point in time, anything can happen when you are an unrestricted free agent and the Magic might not want to risk losing him for nothing.
We can very well expect to see quite a few J.J. Redick trade rumors closer to the trade deadline.
Richard Hamilton – Chicago Bulls
Chicago Bulls needed a seasoned veteran and a good shooter to continue building a championship contender, and Rip Hamilton fit the bill perfectly.
Hamilton has a team option in his contract for next season, but the Bulls might be looking to dump his contract to another team before the trade deadline, in order to avoid paying the luxury tax this season.
Going into the 2012-13 season, there was a lot of uncertainty regarding the Bulls, who are waiting on the injured Derrick Rose to return to the lineup before seriously continuing the pursuit of a championship.
Hamilton has battled injury himself, and while he might be a decent fit in this Bulls team, Chicago really isn’t considered to be back into serious title contention until next season.
It might not be that easy to move his contract on its own, although the fact that his contract will essentially expire after this season might make it more lucrative for an eventual taker.
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