5 NBA Trades That Could Happen Today Before The Deadline

We're just hours away from the NBA Trade Deadline at 3:00 pm ET today, and there have been plenty of rumors swirling about big-name players that may or may not be available. There is one thing that we know for sure - we're going to see a flurry of moves in the last few hours (and even minutes) prior to the deadline. Here are the five trades that appear to be the most likely to happen:

Rockets trade Dwight Howard, Heat trade Josh Richardson to Hawks
Hawks trade Al Horford, Jeff Teague to Heat
Heat trade Hassan Whiteside, Goran Dragic to Rockets

Miami was the early favorite to land Howard, offering a package deal of Hassan Whiteside and Goran Dragic to the Rockets in exchange for Howard. Houston turned that offer down because it didn't include a first-round pick they want, but the Heat are now working on a three-team deal with the Rockets and Atlanta Hawks, reports the Miami Herald's Barry Jackson

The Heat has been exploring bigger deals, including New York Daily News-reported discussions about Dwight Howard (the Rockets reportedly want at least one first-round pick in the deal and Miami has none to offer) and a day-old radio report of discussions with Atlanta that would send away Whiteside and Dragic to Houston but potentially net Al Horford and Jeff Teague.

The Horford/Teague scenario would be appealing to some inside the Heat, but Atlanta is talking to multiple teams and a third team would be needed to give the Hawks assets desirable to them.

The Heat likes Horford and acquiring him would give Miami a clear advantage in signing him as a free agent this summer, because (as ESPN noted), Horford values the fifth year of a contract, which is something that only his incumbent team could give him, with other suitors limited to four-year offers.

That would also be the appeal of acquiring impending free agent Mike Conley, in whom the Heat also has interest, according to ESPN’s Dan Le Batard.

Miami has been trying to get rid of Whiteside, Houston has been shopping Howard, and Atlanta has put both Teague and Horford on the block, making this a great deal for all teams. Houston keeps a dominant big man while upgrading their point guard position, Atlanta gets a true All-Star and potential franchise player, and Miami gets two veteran upgrades to help their playoff push.

Hawks trade Kyle Korver, second-round pick to Cavaliers for Timofey Mozgov, future first-round pick

Korver is one of three players that the Hawks have made available, and the Cavs have expressed interest in adding him for even more three-point shooting. Atlanta seems likely to blow up their current core to start a small rebuild, and getting Mozgov's expiring contract in return would help them have more flexibility this offseason. And, first-round picks never hurt.

Celtics trade Tyler Zeller, David Lee, two first-round picks to Bucks for Greg Monroe

Milwaukee has surprisingly put Greg Monroe on the trade block after signing him to a three-year, $50 million deal this offseason because of his "lack of fit" with the team. Boston is desperately looking for some way to acquire a star, and though Monroe isn't an All-Star, he's a high-quality player that will upgrade their roster and make the Celtics more attractive for top free agents. Both Lee and Zeller can become free agents after the season, giving the Bucks more cap space this summer, along with two picks in the middle of the first round. 

Nets trade Thaddeus Young to Raptors for first-round pick

Toronto currently holds the Knicks' first-round pick, and plan to use that as a trade chip to help improve their frontcourt. Starting power forward Luis Scola is better off coming off the bench, and the Raptors have targeted Nets forward Thaddeus Young as a guy that could fill that starting role. Brooklyn has made him available, so it seems to be just a matter of time before these two sides get a deal done.

Knicks trade Jose Calderon, future first-round pick to Timberwolves for Ricky Rubio

Minnesota is trying to unload Rubio to make room for second-year slam dunk champ Zach LaVine in the starting lineup, and New York has a need for a long-term point guard of the future. Rubio's a pass-first point guard that would fit well in the traditional triangle offense (if Phil Jackson continues to try and run that), and he wouldn't take shots away from Carmelo Anthony. Plus, his ability on the defensive end would be a needed upgrade on that side of the ball.

The Knicks are targeting Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley in free agency, yet there are signs that he'll return to Memphis - and New York can't have Calderon starting if they want to be a playoff team.

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