The All-Star game is the NBA’s showcase weekend of talent and star power, but it’s also the annual conference of general managers looking to make a big deal in the days before the trade deadline.
Big deals don’t necessarily happen at the All-Star game, but they often times take shape there. Offers that weren’t on the table before a face to face meet of general managers sometimes find their way to fruition by deadline day thanks to the proceedings of this weekend. The following is not a list of deals to be made, rather the teams likely to be at the negotiating table.
- Atlanta Hawks- The Josh Smith saga has dragged on for a few years now, but at no point in the timeline of his career has the player been more sought after than right now. Smith isn’t an All-Star or even a guy you could call a blockbuster deal really, yet his name is the most high profile one out there right now as available through trade.
If the Hawks are going to do a deal before this trade deadline, it’s likely Danny Ferry will negotiate the deal that sends him on his way this weekend. Up to this point, no one has come to the Hawks General Manager with anything of substance that would see him give away a $13 million expiring contract, but he’s traveling to Houston, home of one of the most aggressive and creative GMs around in Darryl Morey. Could the two speak about a direct deal? Possibly, but even if they don’t, Smith’s name is enough to have Ferry be a very popular figure this weekend.
- Charlotte Bobcats-Something has to give. This is a terrible Charlotte team in need of a drastic shakeup. The Bobcats have a number of players they can deal for draft picks or fresh faces, it doesn’t really matter which. Names like Gerald Henderson and Ben Gordon could bring back significant players in return while the expiring contract of DeSagana Diop may provide a draft pick. In any case, the Bobcats are in bad shape and seem likely to once again be picking in the top five. Making as many moves to do something different than what they have been is essential to the future of the franchise.
- Detroit-The Pistons season is, much like the Bobcats, already over. Joe Dumars has a number of players he’s looking to dump, from Rodney Stuckey to Jason Maxiell and Charlie Villanueva. What each could return to the Motor City is uncertain, but it wouldn’t be very surprising to see at least two of the three in new uniforms next week.
- Utah-With the team in need of some back court help and in possession of plenty of front court trade chips, the Jazz will most certainly be involved in talks over the next few days. Derrick Favors, Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson have all been at the center of trade rumors and each will undoubtedly attract their fair share of suitors. Could Millsap end up in Atlanta as part of a three team deal that sends Josh Smith elsewhere? Will Jefferson make his way to San Antonio to play alongside Tim Duncan? Or will the young Favors find a new home where his playing time will increase? All are questions that will soon be answered, but it’ll be interesting to see what developments come out of this weekend.
- Dallas-The Mavs sit four and a half games back from a playoff spot and don’t look likely to make the postseason for a 13th consecutive year unless something is done through the trade market. Mark Cuban has made his declarations and certain names are certainly on the trading block. The Mavs have no shortage of expiring contracts to offer and as the ever so successful and quick witted Cuban makes the drive down to Houston for the game, he’ll undoubtedly be looking at his options and readying his trade trigger finger. Whether or not a deal gets done, we’ll see, but you wouldn’t put it past Cuban to shock us would you?