Expertís Corner: Players on the Trading Block

February can be a chaotically exciting time for the league. With the 2013 NBA Trade deadline Ė February 22nd Ė fast approaching, teams across the league are analyzing their rosters, plotting and scheming to outfox opponents, and make an upgrade that makes them better for the present or for the future. So who is most likely to be wearing a different jersey before the next couple of weeks? In this special Expertís Corner feature, NBA-Indiaís Akshay Manwani and Karan Madhok take a look at the players who could be changing addresses very soon.

Akshay's Take Karan's Take
Pau Gasol Josh Smith
The drama has gone on too long in L.A. this season and it certainly wonít end even with Gasolís departure from the Lakers. But for his own sake, and for the franchiseís sake, the Lakers will, I believe, trade Gasol. Yes, Gasol has a huge contract against his name (approx. $19.3 million for 2013-14), but with the injury to his right foot that will keep him out of action for at least six weeks, the Lakers are running against time to bag that eighth playoff spot in the Western Conference. Trading Gasol for a bunch of role players who could add to the depth and defensive strength of the Lakers would be their best bet of keeping their postseason chances alive. Smith has been on the trade radar for the past few years, for his skillset brings everything that excites the attention of NBA GMs (awesome athleticism, defensive prowess, and the ability to play multiple roles at a star level) but also things that worry NBA GMs (bad jump shot, the habit of taking excessive bad jump shots, and questionable decision-making). Atlanta has had Smith for his complete eight-and-a-half year NBA career, but the Hawks may be looking for a change. Smithís on the last year of his contract and is mulling his options. In the past few weeks, the Suns, Bobcats, and Rockets have all expressed interest in Smith; if he leaves, the Hawks will look to build a team completely around Al Horford in the middle.

Kevin Garnett Andrea Bargnani
Firstly, congratulations to the Big Ticket for scaling Mount -25k points, which makes him only the 16th NBA player to do so. But does that stop Danny Ainge from pulling the trigger on trading Garnett? While I would like KG to retire a Celtic, it would be entirely understandable if he was traded because the Cs donít want to go through the horrible depression of the í90s following the retirements of Larry Bird and Kevin McHale. Also, with the injury to Rajon Rondo, there is little chance of Boston making a deep run in the postseason, never mind their current six-game winning streak. The Clippers, in that sense, are the best option for KG, who could in turn, as rumoured, trade Caron Butler and Eric Bledsoe to the Celtics. The Raptors already made a bold move in trading a few surrounding pieces to get Rudy Gay from Memphis. Now, they will on the lookout to trade away their former No. 1 pick, Andrea Bargnani. Despite being a decent scorer, Bargnani has never lived up to his expectations, and a change of scenery could work both for him and for his former team. Rumours are that the Bulls have shown interest in replacing Bargnani for Boozer. But the question is: will Coach Thibodeau want to risk shaking up his working system for a player who may not comply with the high defensive standards at Chicago?

J.J. Redick Tyreke Evans
I would like to see this trade happen simply for the benefit of the Denver Nuggets. Not only are the Nuggets a poor 3-point shooting team (rank in the bottom five in shooting percentages from distance), but all other teams ahead of them in the Western Conference standings rank above Denver in this category. Redick, who has shot at 39.9% from 3-point land and figures on the top-10 list of players who have made the most 3-point shots this season, could give Denver a certain fillip here. Also, at 15.3 PPG this season, his best showing in the league, Redick would deepen Denverís bench strength. Since he is in the final year of his contract, why should the Magic let him walk off for free? Might as well trade him to Denver in exchange for future draft picks, which would help the Eastern Conference franchise build for the future.

- Akshay Manwani
Who wouldíve thought that the player who won Rookie of the Year award and became only the fourth rookie history since Oscar Robertson, Michael Jordan, and LeBron James to average 20-5-5 would find himself expendable just three years later? On the route to stardom, injuries and role confusion in Sacramento have limited Evans and now he finds himself looking at an uncertain future. In Isiaah Thomas, Marcus Thornton, John Salmons, Aaron Brooks, and Jimmer Fredette, the Kings have depth in the guard positions. But they still need leadership to start afresh on a team that will surely be centered around DeMarcus Cousins for the future. Evans still has a lot of talent; Sacramento will be wise to move him for a few veteran pieces before he bolts away in the offseason.

- Karan Madhok