We already saw one trade go down this past week when the Jazz sent rookie Eric Maynor to the Thunder. With the new year just around the corner, expect trade talks to really pick up between now and the February 18 trade deadline. Trade rumors around the web and in newspapers have already started to gain momentum this week. Players like Tracy McGrady, Kevin Martin, Eddy Curry and Tyrus Thomas are just a few of the names that have been thrown out.
While Monta Ellis getting moved or the Kings parting with Martin is extremely unlikely (even with the rise of Tyreke Evans), other trade rumors have more credibility behind them. Here are five players who could legitimately have new addresses in the coming weeks.
1. Tracy McGrady (Rockets): This weekend, the Tracy McGrady marriage with the Rick Adelman and the Rockets went from rocky to irreconcilable. It’s clear that the Rockets have zero plans to play T-Mac and would want nothing more than to have him gone. McGrady has been sent home indefinitely and now team officials are pondering what the next move is. Currently, T-Mac is the highest paid player in the NBA at just over $23 million, but his contract expires after the season. The Rockets would love to try to trade him and get a player that could mix in with Houston’s young core and help them in the upcoming playoffs. The Knicks are rumored to be the most interested in McGrady. If the Rockets would be willing to take on either Jared Jeffries or Eddy Curry’s contract, this would be something the Knicks could pull the trigger on. Chicago is another team who might be intrigued by McGrady’s expiring contract.
2. Nate Robinson (Knicks): Whether it’s personal or just business, Mike D’Antoni is not playing Nate Robinson and it’s looking like he won’t be doing so anytime soon. The Knicks are on a little roll and it seems like D’Antoni has found a rotation that he’s comfortable with using. New York’s Christmas day game against the Heat marked the 11th straight game Nate has not logged a single minute and it couldn’t have come at a worse time for the 5-9 former slam dunk champion. Robinson’s career is at a crossroads. After a summer where he received zero interest despite averaging over 17 ppg in ’08-09, imagine how interest he’ll garner not playing at all? His agents are in crisis mode as they are pressuring the Knicks to either play him or trade him. With his one-year, $4 million contract only counting for about half at $2 million in a trade, it wouldn’t be a huge financial risk for other teams to take a chance on Robinson – even with his defensive and maturity issues. Teams like Orlando and Houston could use Nate’s explosive scoring off the bench.
3. Tyrus Thomas (Bulls): Things aren’t working in Chicago and management is going to have to make some tough decisions soon. There’s talk that Vinny Del Negro could be gone as soon as today. The Bulls also have a logjam at the power forward slot. The team seems to be high on rookies Taj Gibson and James Johnson and are unlikely to unload Joakim Noah, who is currently second in the NBA in rebounds. That leaves Thomas as possibly, the odd man out. Thomas is due for an extension this summer and the Bulls are trying to leave as much cap room as possible to sign one or two of the A-list free agents available this summer. Thomas could be a good fit for Portland, who are in desperate need for size, but may not have the right bargaining chips for the Bulls. The Knicks have also been reportedly interested in the athletic power forward.
4. Anthony Randolph (Warriors): There’s a fire sale going on in the Bay and almost nobody on that roster is untouchable. Monta Ellis, Andris Biedrins and Corey Maggette might be harder to move given the size and length of their contracts. Randolph is a guy with a lot of talent and potential. While he’s had some good moments in Golden State, he hasn’t been the beast they were hoping he was going to be this season. Throwing in Randolph into a trade, could make it easier for the Warriors to unload Ellis or Maggette. Toronto, Utah, Houston, New York, Washington and New Orleans are just a few of the teams that could make a run at the 20-year-old forward out of LSU.
5. Zydrunas Ilgauskas (Cavs): Ever since Shaq came into town in the summer, Big Z’s name has been thrown around in the rumor mill. At 34-years old and being injury prone, it’s doubtful that the Cavs would have interest in re-signing Ilgauskas. His expiring contract and ability to contribute right away makes him an attractive target for other teams. Plus, the Cavs are more in need of a shooting guard than an inside presence. Obviously with Greg Oden and Joel Przybilla out for the year, Portland would be an ideal destination for Ilgauskas. Golden State and Washington could also be interested in the long-time Cavs center.