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NBA trade deadline: three players likely to get dealt

Now that the bright lights of All-Star weekend in Brooklyn have dwindled down, the league now shifts its focus to Thursday’s NBA trade deadline.

Several teams have stated that they’ll be very active at the deadline, including the Brooklyn Nets, Denver Nuggets and Philadelphia Sixers. But, there’s always surprises on this day involving the playoff-bound teams, trying to add the last piece to their rosters for a playoff push.

With this in mind, here’s three potential deadline targets who could be changing cities Thursday.

Brook Lopez, Brooklyn Nets

Lopez has been at the center of trade rumors for the majority of the season. The seventh-year center is averaging 15.3 points and 6.2 rebounds this season. A deal of Lopez to the Thunder nearly happened last month for Jeremy Lamb and Kendrick Perkins. Another trade, involving the Hornets’ Lance Stephenson and Cody Zeller, lost its legs just before it was sent to the league offices.

Up to this point, it seemed as if the Nets were aiming for the best possible deal they could get for Lopez. They might just have to force their hand at this point if nothing better comes to fruition. They could explore another deal to the Thunder, who’ll be missing center Stevan Adams for at least a couple more weeks during a crucial point of the season. If the Thunder are willing to package Reggie Jackson, Mitch McGeary and Perkins for Lopez, the Nets might be willing to listen to their offer again and find a way to get the trade done. It would make the Thunder a very complete team for the rest of the season and beyond and give the Nets a couple solid young pieces to restart their rebuild once again.

Aaron Afflalo, Denver Nuggets

Afflalo has been one of the more consistent offensive threats at the shooting guard position in the NBA over the past five seasons. He’s averaged 13.4 points per game over that span and would be a valuable piece to any team looking for an extra scoring option for a playoff push at the moment. The Bulls and Clippers have both shown their interest in Afflalo over the past month.

The Bulls, who’ve already stated their desire of seeking a trade partner for Taj Gibson, could do a deal of Gibson for Afflalo straight up. After trading away Timofey Mozgov to the Cavaliers earlier this season, the Nuggets could use Gibson’s defensive and rebounding services which he’s shown over the years in Chicago. The Clippers would have a much harder time making a deal work. They’d most likely have to attach a first rounder in order to make a deal work, since the best they can currently offer to match salary in a deal are names like J.J. Redick, Jamal Crawford and Spencer Hawes.

Goran Dragic, Phoenix Suns

The Suns have three point guards right now in Eric Bledsoe, Isaiah Thomas and Dragic. With Dragic on an expiring deal, he’s the guy the Suns are looking to move but only at the right asking price. The Suns would want big man help in return and the Rockets and Lakers are said to be interested in bringing in Dragic.

The Rockets could offer power forward Terrance Jones and Jason Terry for salary reasons to net Dragic. Jones returned recently from an ailing leg injury and has noticeably bulked up in his time away. With Josh Smith taking most of his minutes, the Rockets can afford to send him away for Dragic and the Suns could really use his services in the front court. The Lakes don’t have much to offer for Dragic, but they do own a late first-rounder in this years draft. They could ship Jordan Hill and the late first-rounder for Dragic and Tyler Ennis. The Lakers could than move their focus in the upcoming draft to another young piece to pair with Julius Randle in the front court next season.

 
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