While many of the leagues players, superstars or not, are enjoying the festivities of All-Star weekend in New Orleans, team general managers are entering the busiest part of their season as the trade deadline nears in four days.
There are many rumors floating around, both big and small, but no matter the size they could either shift power from one conference to another or spruce up franchises looking to make a playoff push.
One of the biggest players involved in trade speculation is New Orleans Pelicans shooting guard Eric Gordon, who according to the Racine Journal Times is a target for the last-place and lottery bound Milwaukee Bucks.
A former first-round pick who reportedly never wanted to play in the Big Easy, Gordon is the Pelicans highest paid player with a $14.2 million salary this season, and makes $14.8 million next year. He also holds a $15.5 million player option for the 2015-16 season.
Ideally, New Orleans would have a solid young backcourt with point guard Jrue Holiday and Gordon, but the team likely expected him to score more than the 15.8 points per game he’s netted this year.
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The Pelicans have been trying to find the right mixture of players to match with forward/center Anthony Davis, and in order to make salaries match in a trade New Orleans could send Gordon to Milwaukee for some combination of guard O.J. Mayo, forward Ersan Ilyasova, or even big man Zaza Pachulia.
After Gordon, several other guards could find themselves on new rosters before the week’s end.
While he could’ve signed with his former team in the San Antonio Spurs for less money, Beno Udrih instead chose the New York Knicks, and unfortunately he’s been banished to the Knicks bench for much of this season.
Udrih’s played in two of the fledgling Knicks last 13 games, and according to the New York Post he has requested a trade and the Spurs could be a solid landing spot.
However, other than Udrih, the Knicks have very few assets to offer San Antonio other than maybe rookie Tim Hardaway Jr. or third-year guard Iman Shumpert.
The Bucks also have two guards that teams covet in Gary Neal and Luke Ridnour. According to CBS Sports Washington and Sacramento have inquired about Ridnour, who would be a solid addition for either club.
The Wizards, while ranking ninth in the league in overall bench scoring, need to find a backup for All-Star point guard John Wall, and Ridnour also provides some steady veteran leadership for their first playoff run since 2008.
Both teams likely see Ridnour as a solid veteran addition, but they also see his expiring $4.3 million contract.
Neal cashed in on his incredible shooting performance for San Antonio in last year’s playoffs and Finals for a two-year $6.5 million contract with Milwaukee, but he probably didn’t sign up to lose as much as the 9-43 Bucks have. Neal apparently requested to be traded to a more competitive team and Milwaukee is reportedly interested in honoring his request, according to Yahoo!Sports.
Then there is New York Knicks forward and NBA second-leading scorer Carmelo Anthony, who essentially ruled out any chance he’ll be traded before the deadline.
“I don’t think I’ll be traded,” Anthony said to the Boston Globe during All-Star media day. “I don’t think there’s no way possible I’ll be traded. I don’t even think they’re considering me being traded. If they feel like they wanted to get rid of me, then I think we would have already had that conversation. Like I said, I know for a fact I’m not getting traded.”
With the Knicks currently out of the playoffs, and even reportedly contemplating firing head coach Mike Woodson over the All-Star break, Anthony has been the subject of trade rumors for the last few months.
The Chicago Bulls were one rumored team, due to the fact they’ve already cleared so much cap space to outright sign Anthony this summer if he opts out of his current deal with New York.
However, Chicago or any other team interested will likely only make a deal if Anthony has agreed to a long-term extension before a trade is consummated.