One position at a time we will break down the most likely candidates to be moved before the NBA’s looming trade deadline of Feb.21. Next, we will take a look at five shooting guards who could be on the move over the next few weeks.
Courtney Lee – Boston Celtics
2012-13 Stats: 6.7 ppg, 1.2 apg, 2.3 rpg
Contract: 4 years, $21.3 million
The Celtics traded for Courtney Lee this offseason; however their pressing need for an inside presence may force Danny Ainge to include Lee in a package for a big man. Brought in after the loss of Ray Allen and with Avery Bradley missing the start of the season due to injury, Lee failed to live up to expectations early and struggled with his shot. He hasn’t had the impact Boston had hoped for.
With Bradley’s return to the starting lineup, Lee’s play has improved coming off the bench and he has shown his ability to knock down jump shots as well as play solid defense. Suitable as a role player on a contender or a stop-gap starter for a younger team, Lee will likely be included in any package the Celtics put together at the deadline.
Monta Ellis – Milwaukee Bucks
2012-13 Stats: 19.4 ppg, 5.6 apg, 3.5 rpg
Contract: 2 years, $22 million (Second year early termination option)
Unsurprisingly to most, the Monta Ellis-Brandon Jennings experiment in the Milwaukee backcourt has not produced the results Bucks’ management had hoped for.
The two have similar skill sets where scoring is their primary asset and playmaking comes as an afterthought. Playing with such an undersized backcourt is hurting the Bucks defensively and one, if not both, of the guards may not be in the team’s long-term plans after having time to assess the fit.
A number of teams could use Ellis’ explosive scoring and quickness. He is likely the perfect candidate for a sixth-man role on a contender; however, he can still be an excellent starter alongside capable defenders.
Eric Gordon – New Orleans Hornets
2012-13 Stats: 18.3 ppg, 4 apg, 2 rpg
Contract: 4 years, $58.3 million
Since returning from injury, Eric Gordon has been quick to pick up where he left off as one of the better scoring guards in the league.
His comments in the offseason, however–when he expressed his disappointment in the Hornets matching the offer sheet he got from the Phoenix Suns–still linger and New Orleans are likely monitoring the relationship between Gordon and the rest of the team closely.
The Hornets are now building from the ground up around first-overall pick Anthony Davis and will have another high lottery pick this season. If the team believes Gordon’s reluctance to stay in New Orleans could become a distraction for such a young team, they could easily move him for a package of shorter contracts and young talent to assist the rebuild even further.
Rip Hamilton – Chicago Bulls
2012-13 Stats: 12.4 ppg, 2.6 apg, 2.1 rpg
Contract: 2 years, $10 million
The Chicago Bulls have performed admirably without former MVP Derrick Rose this season and part of their makeshift backcourt is veteran Rip Hamilton.
With Rose’s return on the horizon, it appears that there will be a squeeze on minutes and it may be the 13-year veteran Hamilton who finds his role diminished. The Bulls have a team option on Hamilton’s contract at the end of the season, which is unlikely to be picked up.
Thus they can trade him as both a veteran contributor and an expiring contract. More than capable of contributing to a playoff team, Hamilton’s ability to play off the ball and reliable mid-range jumper make him a great compliment to many of the games superstars.
Gerald Henderson – Charlotte Bobcats
2012-13 Stats: 13.5 ppg, 2.3 apg, 3.8 rpg
Contract: 1 year, $3.1 million
Gerald Henderson is a talented scorer who is in the final year of his contract before becoming a restricted free agent. Bobcats’ management will likely be reluctant to invest big money on a third shooting guard, which may prompt them to make a deal before season’s end.
Henderson would be a great strike weapon off the bench for numerous contending teams and with his low salary will likely receive a number of offers. If the Bobcats can gain draft picks or young talent for their front court they would likely not hesitate to pull the trigger on a deal.
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