NBA Trade Rumors as Deadline Approaches

Matthew Jordan

Monday, February 3, 2014 9:14 PM GMT

The biggest date left on the NBA schedule for this season is Thursday, Feb. 20. To be more specific, exactly 3 p.m. Eastern time that day as it is the trade deadline. Who is on the trading block, and where might these players end up?

While it seems unlikely the favorites on NBA odds such as Miami, Indiana, San Antonio and Oklahoma City make any major trades, a lot of bottom-feeders figure to be busy to try and open up cap room for next season and land a pick in the loaded 2014 draft. Those teams that haven't been to the playoffs in a while but have a chance to sneak in this season also could be active.

Remember, though, that trading in the NBA is not easy because salaries have to be close to matching. Plus most teams these days are loathe to take on contracts that don't expire after this season or give up draft picks. But here is a look at five fairly big-name players who could be on the move. You won't see Carmelo Anthony on this list because there's zero chance the Knicks deal him.

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Pau Gasol

The Lakers really have no reason to keep the future Hall of Famer around. He's in the final year of his contract and clearly Los Angeles isn't going to sniff the 2014 postseason. Gasol could make a huge difference should Memphis be able to put him next to brother Marc. The Phoenix Suns have been a huge surprise this season and now seem fixated on making the playoffs instead of getting into the lottery. There's been talk of an Emeka Okafor for Gasol deal. Okafor hasn't played all season due to injury and probably won't, but dealing Gasol for him would save the Lakers a few million dollars, and Okafor's contract expires after the season. If Gasol goes, the wretched Lakers might not be a betting favorite in a game the rest of the season, especially if Kobe Bryant decides to not return this season and get 100 healthy for 2014-15. Odds that Gasol is traded: 95 percent.

Dion Waiters

The Cavaliers have been an unmitigated disaster this season and even acquiring Luol Deng from Chicago hasn't helped. It seems like a lock that the Cavs will do something because their locker room reportedly is toxic right now. And most signs point to Waiters, who isn't exactly buddies with star Kyrie Irving, as being the main cause of that. Deng reportedly recently said this about what's happening in Cleveland: "The stuff going on in practice would never be tolerated by the coaching staff or the front office back in Chicago. It’s a mess." Since the Cavs can't trade coach Mike Brown, Waiters is probably the one to leave. Odds that Waiters is traded: 85 percent.

Evan Turner

Philadelphia's Turner, the former Ohio State star, is finally living up to being the No. 2 overall pick in 2010 -- taken ahead of guys like DeMarcus Cousins, Greg Monroe, Paul George and Eric Bledsoe. Turner is averaging 18.8 points, 6.0 rebounds and 3.8 assists.  The question is whether Turner's numbers are simply inflated because he's on such a bad team. The Sixers also don't want to give him a big new extension this summer. They are 100 percent willing to deal Turner -- and Spencer Hawes and Thaddeus Young -- but the asking price has been a 2014 first-round pick and expiring contracts, which has scared teams off. The Sixers already are terrible for sports bettors who back them as Philly has the second-worst ATS mark in the league. That figure to only get worse should Turner leave. Odds that Turner is traded: 60 percent.

Rajon Rondo

The Celtics would love to trade their best player and captain, but Rondo's value isn't anywhere near what it used to be right now as he has mostly struggled since making his season debut off ACL surgery, although he was terrific Sunday. The Houston Rockets would be serious Western Conference contenders if they could upgrade over Patrick Beverley at the point with Rondo. Perhaps some kind of deal built around Omer Asik and Jeremy Lin? Odds that Rondo is traded: 30 percent. This summer that number will jump.

Greg Monroe

This guy has probably the highest upside on this list, but the Pistons are a mess and likely can't afford Monroe (14.3 ppg, 8.8 rpg) when he becomes a restricted free agent after the season. GM Joe Dumars probably is a goner after this year as well after clearly making a huge mistake in giving that $56 million contract this past offseason to Josh Smith and asking Smith to play out of position at small forward. Monroe, Smith and Andre Drummond really don't fit in the same frontcourt. Smith isn't tradable and Drummond looks like a future superstar, so Monroe could be the odd man out. The Pistons have said Monroe isn't on the market, but what are they supposed to say? Dumars has been given a playoffs mandate this year so that could force him to hang on to Monroe just to get the East's No. 8 seed and the right to be swept by Indiana or Miami in the first round. Odds that Monroe is traded: 25 percent.