In addition to the Los Angeles Lakers and Clippers both flirting with the Boston Celtics, here are five of the most intriguing trade possibilities involving NBA playoff teams. Deals must be completed by 2 p.m. Thursday:
1. San Antonio (42-12, No. 1 seed in Western Conference): The team with the NBA's best record could use its heavy influence to work a significant deal before the deadline. Former Spurs employee/player Danny Ferry is now general manager of Atlanta and Hawks forward Josh Smith is available. Trading him to a Western Conference team makes more sense than keeping him in the East. Spurs assistant general manager Scott Layden is a former Utah assistant coach, which likely puts the Spurs in the driver's seat to obtain Jazz forward Al Jefferson. Prediction: Trade executed.
2. Memphis (33-18, No. 4 seed in Western Conference): After the Grizzlies made their salary-dump trades in January, there were rumors more moves were on the way. Even if power forward Zach Randolph is dealt in another salary dump move, he insists he'll be staying in Memphis. “I love the city of Memphis and the people in it,” Randolph said. “I love interacting with the kids and the charity. That's my home. I just bought a house there and my daughters go to school. I'm always going to be in Memphis, if they trade me or if they don't.” Prediction: No trades.
3. Denver (33-21, No. 5 seed in Western Conference): The hot-and-cold Nuggets got hot and won nine straight, but then hit the road and lost three straight at Boston, Toronto and Brooklyn. Denver previously has dangled role players such as Corey Brewer, Wilson Chandler and Anthony Randolph as trade bait, perhaps for Orlando shooting guard J.J. Redick, who has an expiring contract. Another possibility is trading 7-foot-1 center and pending free agent Timofey Mosgov to the Chicago Bulls for veteran forward Richard Hamilton. Prediction: Trade executed.
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