Jan. 15 is a date that general managers around the NBA have circled on their calendars, as it's the first day that free agents who signed deals falling under the old CBA rules of "base-year compensation" can be traded.
Basically, if a team exercised its "Larry Bird rights" on its own free agent and the player received a raise of 20 percent or more, said player is prohibited from being traded until Jan. 15.
With that date quickly approaching, the rumor mill has begun to pick up speed as teams try to bolster their rosters well in advance of the Feb. 21 trade deadline.
But those aren't the only players potentially on the move this season. From seasoned veterans to players in their prime to youngsters still looking to establish themselves, it seems as if nobody is immune to the trade winds swirling through the association.
Let's take a look at the latest rumblings from the mill.
Miami Won't Trade for Rebounding Help
While the Heat have been getting beaten on the glass this season—the team's minus-2.8 rebounding margin is eighth-worst in the NBA—the team is not looking to add anyone to the mix, either via free agency or through a trade. That is according to Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel.
Head coach Erik Spoelstra believes the answer is already on the roster:
We never stop talking about trying to improve the team. That's (Pat Riley's) nature. That's why I love working for him. But the answer right now is from within, and we all know that, the guys know that.
LeBron James leads Miami with 8.5 rebounds per game. Chris Bosh, who is pulling down just under eight boards per game (7.6), is the only other member of the team averaging more than five rebounds per contest.
Rudy Gay, SF, Memphis Grizzlies
In his latest column, Grantland's Zach Lowe says that 26-year-old small forward Rudy Gay may not be long for Memphis:
Memphis, over the last few weeks, has made it known in preliminary talks with other teams that Rudy Gay could be available via trade, according to sources around the league.
Faced with possible luxury tax payments for the next few years, the prospect of keeping its core of Mike Conley, Gay, Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol together is an expensive one.
Moving Gay and the more than $50 million he's due through the 2014-15 season would certainly give the Grizzlies more flexibility to improve the roster in other areas, but moving that much salary without taking bad contracts back is a daunting task.
This one is in the infancy stages right now, as the Grizzlies are clearly just trying gauge interest around the league. But should Memphis continue to play more like a borderline playoff team and less like a contender, a real push to move Gay may not be far behind.
Eric Bledsoe, PG, Los Angeles Clippers
There isn't a team in the NBA that wouldn't love to have Eric Bledsoe's defensive ability and incredible athleticism, but according to ESPN's Marc Stein, the 23-year-old point guard isn't going anywhere:
Sources briefed on L.A.'s thinking insist that the Clippers don't want to even begin to contemplate the idea of trading Bledsoe until they know that Chris Paul is signed and sealed for the long term.
After passing on a three-year, $60 million contract extension last summer, it's no secret that Paul is going to dip his feet in the free-agency pool and see what's out there (h/t ESPN). A team would likely have to offer the Clippers another young point guard under team control and more to pry Bledsoe away.
Ersan Ilyasova, SF/PF, Milwaukee Bucks
Brooklyn has been hot on the trail of Ilyasova for months, going back to this past offseason, when the Nets tried to sign the 25-year-old to replace Kris Humphries.
That hasn't stopped the rumblings, however, as it was only a few weeks ago that Journal-Sentinel beat writer Gery Woelfel said the Nets were still pursuing a deal to bring Ilyasova to Brooklyn, according to Kurt Helin of NBC Sports' Pro Basketball Talk.
Ilyasova, who fell under the "base-year compensation" clause in the old CBA, becomes eligible to be traded in about two weeks.
As Helin notes, the Bucks have interest in the Nets' MarShon Brooks and Tyshawn Taylor, but neither makes enough to match Ilyasova's $7.9 million cap hit in 2012-13.
DeMarcus Cousins, PF/C, Sacramento Kings
Since returning from his suspension ((h/t USA Today), 22-year-old DeMarcus Cousins has been on fire, averaging nearly 21 points and 14 rebounds per game. Not only has Cousins been a force at both ends of the floor, but he's found a way to get his teammates involved as well, dishing five assists per game.
Multiple teams have been linked to Cousins, but the two teams most recently mentioned have been the Charlotte Bobcats and Dallas Mavericks.
Yahoo! Sports' Marc Spears points out that the Bobcats not only have young talent to offer the Kings, but as many as three first-round draft picks in the 2013 NBA draft that could be used to facilitate a deal.
ESPN's Tim MacMahon, however, believes that the Mavericks are in prime position to add Cousins to the mix:
ESPN Insider: Mavs could make best offer for DeMarcus Cousins: Can any of the rumored teams in the mix for DeMar... es.pn/W37Cfq
— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) Jan. 2, 2013
MacMahon argues that a package of guards Darren Collison or Rodrigue Beaubois, center Brandan Wright and either Jae Crowder or Jared Cunningham is likely the best package Sacramento could land for Cousins.
If I'm the Kings, I'm talking shop with Charlotte before going down that road with Dallas.
Pau Gasol, PF, Los Angeles Lakers
What would an article on trade rumors be without something about the embattled Lakers' power forward?
As I wrote earlier this week, moving Gasol makes little sense for the Lakers, but that certainly isn't going to stop the rumor mill from churning, nor will Gasol's recent admission that while he's frustrated, he won't request a trade.
From ESPN Los Angeles' Dave McMenamin:
"No, oh, that's radical," Gasol said when asked whether he would request a trade following the Lakers' 107-102 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday. "I still believe. I still have faith in what we have. I still have faith that I can be a big part in helping this team succeed. Right now, I'm not being able to do that very often."
Whether there's actually a market for the 32-year-old's declining game—and more than $38 million remaining on his deal—remains to be seen, but the Lakers certainly wouldn't get much in the way of salary-cap relief should they decide to try to unload the veteran.
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