How Are Early Trade Winds Blowing?

12 Nov

You’ve been subjected to countless ruminations already this season about the likelihood of a Carmelo Anthony deal before the NBA’s Feb. 24 trading deadline.

You’ve likewise seen and heard stories in recent days and weeks about the starry likes of Atlanta’s Josh Smith, Minnesota’s Kevin Love, Memphis’ Zach Randolph, Golden State’s Monta Ellis and even the Phoenix Suns’ Steve Nash switching teams via trade … even though numerous sources both within and outside their various teams insist that none of those luminaries have actually been made available by their current teams. Ditto for the Los Angeles Clippers’ Chris Kaman and Philadelphia’s Andre Iguodala.

It’s conceivable that some of those stars might wind up being shopped before the last Thursday in February, likely starting with Iguodala. But it hasn’t happened yet.

So who is available at this pre-Thanksgiving juncture?

Trade chatter is expected to pick up leaguewide after Dec. 15, when free agents who found new teams in the offseason become eligible to be added to deals, but there are a few intriguing names in circulation if you know where to look.

There are a few former All-Stars whose availability is well-established. Gilbert Arenas in Washington, as you realize by now, for example. The Clippers’ Baron Davis, too, along with Philadelphia’s Elton Brand. Rip Hamilton and Tayshaun Prince in Detroit. The undefeated New Orleans Hornets, meanwhile, hope to be aggressive in peddling Peja Stojakovic’s $14.2 million expiring contract between now and the deadline, as my ESPN The Magazine colleague Chris Broussard detailed earlier this week.

The goal here, however, is introducing a few fresher names to the conversation. Players who aren’t just legitimately in play as we speak but also are less difficult to move contractually as the likes of Arenas (who’s owed more than $60 million and three years left after this season) or Davis (two years and nearly $29 million left, also after 2010-11).

So here are five:

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