NBA trade deadline approaches, rumors fly

Monday , March 05, 2012 - 2:45 PM

Jerry Zgoda

The NBA's March 15 trade deadline is days away, and a few names and a few teams keep emerging in discussions. Who's going, and who's staying? A snapshot look:

-- Dwight Howard, Orlando

He's the big domino that could tumble all the others this year.

Why does he presumably want to leave Orlando and its sunshine, no state income tax and beautiful new arena that they claim he built? Apparently because he wants to be the man, as if he isn't already where he is.

That's why smart money has him headed not to the Lakers but to New Jersey, where Nets part-owner Jay-Z will lay open for him all the doors of the metropolis, including a new arena in Brooklyn that opens next season.

Possible destinations: New Jersey, Dallas, L.A. Lakers, Chicago, Indiana.

-- Pau Gasol, L.A. Lakers

Opportunity's proverbial window is closing on Kobe Bryant, both because of time's march and a more punitive luxury tax that hits in 2013. Now that Lamar Odom is gone, Gasol is the next logical piece to move ideally for a point guard and other pieces, none of which like Gasol are due $38 million for the next two seasons beyond this one.

Minnesota has expressed interest since last summer. Why would it want yet another big man -- an aging one with a huge contract at that -- who likely would cost them No. 2 pick Derrick Williams? Beats us, too. Two answers: He's a versatile All-Star-caliber vet and Rick Adelman is 65 years old.

Possible destinations: Houston, Orlando, Boston, Minnesota.

-- Rajon Rondo, Boston

The Celtics say he won't be dealt, but ... Boston GM Danny Ainge turned his team around boldly and quickly the last time and he knows he must rebuild again soon. Rondo is temperamental, but he's also younger, better and thus has more trade value than Paul Pierce, Ray Allen or Kevin Garnett, whose careers all are coming to a close.

Possible destinations: L.A. Lakers, Atlanta, Golden State, Portland.

-- Michael Beasley, Wolves

He's everywhere in the national rumor mill, supposedly because Minnesota wants to create more playing time for Derrick Williams. That reason is nonsense, of course, as Adelman clearly believes they play separate positions.

If they've decided he's not part of the future, then by all means trade him for what you can get. But remember:

For all his faults, he's still the Wolf with the most sheer talent, and the only guy they have who can create his own shot.

Possible destinations: L.A. Lakers, Boston, Houston, New Jersey.

-- Kevin Martin, Houston; O.J. Mayo, Memphis; Jamal Crawford, Portland

All are possibilities for Minnesota. Martin is a deft shooter. Mayo is undersized as shooting guards go, but still is bigger and better for his defense, playmaking and shooting than the team's current options. Crawford almost signed with Minnesota in December and maybe now wishes he had.

Possible destinations: Wolves (all), Indiana (Mayo).

-- Other big names to watch: Monta Ellis, Ray Allen, Steve Nash.

-- Under the radar: Ramon Sessions, Chris Kaman, Paul Millsap/Al Jefferson.

-- Not for a bag of balls?: Lamar Odom, Hedo Turkoglu, Devin Harris, Ray Felton.

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