The 2012 NBA trade deadline is just hours away.
Paul Pierce (left), Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett (right) of the Boston Celtics have been discussed in trade rumors. However, there remains the possibility that none are traded before Thursday's 3 p.m. deadline. (Reuters/Adam Hunger)
Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard continues to be all the rave as he can change the landscape of the entire league based on what uniform he has on past 3 p.m. on Thursday.
Other significant names have been swirling in the rumor mill, too, including Golden State Warriors guard Monta Ellis, Los Angeles Lakers forward Pau Gasol and Minnesota Timberwolves forward Michael Beasley.
Many deals have probably been discussed for weeks, but which ones should really get done? Below are the top four that should:
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4. Andrew Bogut to the Golden State Warriors
The Warriors are in desperate need of a center. They lost out in the offseason to the New York Knicks on Tyson Chandler and to the Los Angeles Clippers on DeAndre Jordan. According to Ken Berger of CBS Sports, the team had discussed ways to acquire Bogut from the Milwaukee Bucks as part of a three-team proposal that would have sent guard Monta Ellis to the Orlando Magic. However, Berger later reported that Warriors owner Joe Lacob was uninterested in a deal that would send Ellis to the Magic just to appease Howard to stay in Orlando.
Lacob won't send Ellis to Orlando and help the Magic keep Howard, tweeted Berger. Lacob wants to preserve chances, however slim, of getting Howard himself.
Bogut suffered a fractured left ankle at the end of January and won't return to the court until mid-April. Despite the injury, Bogut is still an upgrade over the current Warriors centers that include Andris Biedrins, Jeremy Tyler and Kwame Brown.
Golden State's most valuable pieces are Ellis, Stephen Curry and David Lee, so it might be unlikely that they trade any of those players directly to the Bucks for Bogut without negotiating with a third team to get back valuable pieces in return. The Warriors need to find that team and get that deal done.
3. Jamal Crawford to the Clippers
Guard Chauncey Billups went down with a torn Achilles tendon earlier this year, so the Clippers have lost some of their shooting firepower. Crawford, a dedicated and streaky shooter, can fill the void Billups left and help the Clippers become more of an offensive force, especially on the perimeter.
Berger tweeted on Monday that the Portland Trail Blazers and Clippers were discussing a deal that would in fact send Crawford to the Clippers for Eric Bledsoe and Ryan Gomes. That trade is still being discussed, but there seems to be a roadblock, according to Ben Golliver of blazersedge.com, who tweeted:
League source: Clippers' interest in Jamal Crawford deal hinges on inclusion of Ryan Gomes' contract, which Blazers seem unlikely to take.
Gomes is scheduled to make $4 million this season and next. A possible replacement offer would be Bledsoe and Randy Foye. Foye's contract expires at the end of the season, but because he is averaging 9.2 points in 23.9 minutes a game, he may not be so expendable.
2. Ramon Sessions to the Lakers
The Lakers aren't getting any younger, especially at the point guard position, where their play hasn't been stellar by any means.
Alex Kennedy of Hoopsworld reports that the Lakers continue to express interest in Sessions, according to multiple sources. Sessions is only 25 years old and, as the backup to the talented Kyrie Irving, has proven his NBA prowess, averaging a little less than 11 points and just over five assists a game.
If the Lakers have to put a package together for Sessions, Steve Blake and draft picks would perhaps make the most sense. Any other piece is either too valuable or too invaluable.
1. Dwight Howard to the Nets
Kennedy reported on Tuesday that the Warriors and Magic have ended talks regarding a possible trade for the 26-year-old Ellis, according to sources close to the situation. That means that the player the Magic have been eyeing for weeks to placate Howard is no longer an option.
Now it seems as if the Magic might not have the valuable pieces necessary to acquire someone as good as or even better than Ellis. But does that necessarily mean Howard will walk away via free agency, though?
Yes and no. Howard has said that he wants to be surrounded with a team that wants to win. And, the Magic have done that because their 27-15 record proves they are currently among the top teams in the Eastern Conference.
Yet, Howard may still be of the mindset that the team can't go all the way as it is presently constructed. He can propose to stay with the Magic this season, watch how things turn out and make a decision at the end to either pick up his player option to play with the Magic next season or sign elsewhere.
For the Magic, the loss in the Ellis sweepstakes, Howard's perception of success and Howard's ability to choose free agency a year early could very well all be too risky of factors in not trading Howard before the deadline.
The Nets, who arguably have the most talent to expend among the teams on Howard's list of preferred destinations, can offer up center Brook Lopez, guard Marshon Brooks, another player and a couple of draft picks in exchange for Howard, who would be able to play alongside another superstar in Deron Williams. The Magic would receive valuable pieces to start the rebuilding process, and Howard would finally be welcomed into the big market he may be craving.