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With the Feb. 19 trade deadline fast approaching, trade talk will get hotter and hotter over the next few weeks.
Raymond Felton appears to be caught in the middle of nowhere in Charlotte.
There are multiple motivations for pulling a trade-deadline deal. A few contenders are looking for the missing piece to put them over the top. Some teams are looking to avoid paying the luxury tax or trying to get under the cap for this summer or the more coveted summer of 2010. And other teams are just looking to build for the future.
After spending weeks on the phone trying to get a handle on which players are available, we've put together a list of who could be moved before the trade deadline. It's not the easiest task since most general managers claim that no one on their team is on the block -- they are just "listening" to other teams' offers.
That means this information comes largely from two sources: GMs who tell us what other teams are offering them, and NBA player agents who often play important roles in getting their clients moved this time of year.
While most of the players will not be moved by the trade deadline, if history repeats itself, several will.
Today we start with one of the most coveted positions this time of year: point guards. We've ranked them in order of the likelihood they are moved by the trade deadline. In the coming days we'll roll out the top available wings and big men as well.
The Bobcats would like to get something for him before he hits restricted free agency this summer and have been shopping him since before the 2008 draft. They tried to swap Felton for T.J. Ford twice in June -- once with the Raptors and once with the Pacers. More recently, they almost had a deal completed with Dallas a few weeks ago, but an Augustin abdominal strain forced them to pull back. With Augustin feeling better and nearing a return, the Bobcats could be ready to pull the trigger again.
Chance of trade: 75 percent
Conley is a good distributor and an excellent defender, but his shaky shooting has made him a liability. And with O.J. Mayo now dominating the ball, Conley is often left standing around on offense.
The Grizzlies would like to move Mayo to the 1 or at the very least get another guard who can stroke the basketball. They turned down a Blazers offer of Travis Outlaw for Conley this past summer and have generally been looking for more. I'm not sure they'll be able to get it.
A rumored trade of Ramon Sessions and Joe Alexander for Conley never materialized, in part because right now Sessions is a better player. But long term, Conley still has a lot of value in the right system.
Chance of trade: 65 percent
Oklahoma City has its point guard of the future, Russell Westbrook, and is primarily interested in getting below the cap. So an offer of an expiring contract or a young player who fills a need could get a deal done.
Chance of trade: 55 percent
Barbosa's diminishing role on the team is a telltale sign that head coach Terry Porter has lost faith in him. Still, Barbosa is young and has value: He isn't the pure point guard that some teams covet, but his scoring ability, energy and reasonable contract make him a hot name. It appears the Suns would be willing to part with him in return for a veteran who is more committed on the defensive end.
Chance of trade: 50 percent
The problem for the Knicks is that Robinson hits restricted free agency this summer and the Knicks aren't inclined to pay him. They are trying to free up as much money as possible for the summer of 2010 and Robinson isn't worth risking that flexibility to lose out on a shot at LeBron and friends. If the Knicks can get a future first-round pick for him or if they can use him to sweeten an Eddy Curry package for an expiring contract, they'll have to consider dealing him.
Chance of trade: 40 percent
A lot of teams will have interest in Ellis if the Warriors want to cut ties. The problem for Ellis is that he's a base-year compensation player and will have to be part of a larger deal to be traded before the deadline.
Chance of trade: 35 percent
However, the issue is twofold. One is his contract: Tinsley still has two years and $14.7 million left on his deal after this season. Second is the combination of his injury history and off-court track record. In the past six seasons, he has started more than 43 games only once. And his well-publicized off-court issues have given a number of teams pause. Still, Tinsley could be the answer for teams -- like Miami -- that are looking for help.
Chance of trade: 30 percent
With the Sixers hovering around .500 and not looking like the title contenders we thought they would be, it might be time for the Sixers to make a move for the future. While Miller won't bring them back an All-Star in return, he could get them a future pick or another player who could help them down the road.
It's not hard to see that the Sixers' future looks brighter with their youth, not their veterans. Miller might be the first to go, and it's not inconceivable that Elton Brand is next.
Chance of trade: 25 percent
I doubt Mike Dunleavy would hesitate to move him if he could. On the right team -- i.e., a contender -- Davis obviously has a lot to offer. But who's picking up that extra four years and $53 million on his contract? In this economic environment, the Clippers will struggle to find takers.
Chance of trade: 15 percent
I think the Bulls will most likely hang on to Hinrich for the rest of the season. However, the chances he gets traded will go up this summer, especially if there's a new GM running the show in Chicago by then.
Chance of trade: 10 percent
Others to watch: Marcus Banks, Heat; Jordan Farmar, Lakers; Jarrett Jack, Pacers; Stephon Marbury, Knicks; Sergio Rodriguez, Blazers; Marcus Williams, Warriors.
Chad Ford covers the NBA for ESPN Insider.