With the trade deadline just over a month away, players are constantly being put and taken out of various trade scenarios. Here are some of the latest trade rumors around the league.
Should the Atlanta Hawks put Josh Smith on the market?
Josh Smith was kicked out of practice by head coach Larry Drew this Tuesday, after which the organisation suspended Smith for one game for “conduct detrimental to the team”. Put all of that together with the recent struggles in Atlanta and the frustration of Josh Smith, and all of a sudden teams are calling, inquiring about a possible trade involving the 27-year-old.
Smith is in the last year of his contract, and already asked for a trade last season. If Atlanta decide to keep him past the trade deadline, they could very well lose their best player for nothing. Smith has a high market value, and considering the current situation, the Hawks should actively seek a trade for him.
Smith seemed regretful of his behaviour, and has not formally requested the team to trade him, but according to NBA insider Ken Berger, Smith’s agent acknowledged that there are teams that are interested.
After trading Joe Johnson’s contract, the Hawks have just under $18.5M worth of salary commitments next season. Trading Josh Smith, either for some solid young pieces or a worthy replacement, remains highly probable.
A lot of interest in J.J. Hickson
Recently I speculated on the fact that J.J. Hickson, who is an unrestricted free agent after this season, could be moved by the Portland Trail Blazers before the Feb. 21 trade deadline.
According to Chris Haynes, several teams have been calling directly to Hickson’s agent, as he has the option to veto any trade thanks to his Bird Rights. Teams would need to convince Hickson that coming to their team would provide him with the best possible opportunity, before contacting the Blazers with any kind of formal trade offer.
Hickson doesn’t seem too concerned with his situation, as he has the final say:
“Yeah, I’ll be lying if I said it wasn’t an exciting time in my life,” Hickson told CSNNW.com. “It’s also exciting to play on this team that everybody counted us out at the start. We’re making a lot of noise in the Western Conference. I’m trying to make this playoff run if I’m here after the trade deadline. Obviously, I’ll be happy either way because I can veto any trade.”
Hickson has been very consistent this season, averaging 12.2 points and 11 rebounds per game. If the Trail Blazers were to trade Hickson, the team’s playoff chances would quite likely take a hit, but the team is still a few pieces away from being considered title contenders.
The Lakers staying put?
Pau Gasol has been one of the hottest names in trade rumors for quite a while, but it seems as though the Lakers will keep the Spanish 7-footer. According to a Press-Telegram report, GM Mitch Kupchak is not planning on making any big moves before the deadline:
“We don’t have many options,”
“It’s not like we’re going to be active or overly active in the trade market.” – Mitch Kupchak
It is perhaps the right decision for the Lakers, as Gasol’s trade value has never been lower than it is now. Gasol has most recently been sidelined due to a concussion, as a result of catching an elbow in a game against the Denver Nuggets.
However, Lakers could potentially sign another player for around $1.78M, if they are granted a disabled player exception for the injured Jordan Hill.
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