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Open market

Big names dominate talks as trade deadline looms

Posted: Monday February 19, 2007 12:03PM; Updated: Monday February 19, 2007 12:03PM
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Pau Gasol says he wouldn't mind a trade to a contender, but somehow the Celtics are interested in him as well.
Pau Gasol says he wouldn't mind a trade to a contender, but somehow the Celtics are interested in him as well.
Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images
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The NBA's All-Star Weekend is over. Now it's back to business. Literally.

The league's trade deadline is Thursday, meaning GMs will be working the phones in the days ahead trying to see if they can improve their teams for the home stretch.

The consensus around the league is that this trade deadline could be one of the busier ones in recent memory. With the Eastern Conference race still wide open, there is ample incentive for teams to make moves. The Bulls, Nets, Cavs, Clippers, Warriors and Nuggets are among those said to be most active.

So how will it all shake out? Here's a look at some of the bigger names who might be wearing a new uniform at week's end.

Pau Gasol, Grizzlies

The 7-footer has been on the block since saying last month that he wouldn't mind a trade to a contender. The rebuilding Grizzlies seem willing to accommodate him, but GM Jerry West says he's not going to just give him away.

The Bulls are rumored to be mulling a deal that would send either Ben Gordon or Luol Deng, along with a first-round pick, another player (Andres Nocioni, Tyrus Thomas or Thabo Sefalosha) and the expiring contract of P.J. Brown, but GM John Paxson so far has been unwilling to break up his core.

If Chicago doesn't pull the trigger, the Celtics (Al Jefferson, Gerald Green, Theo Ratliff and a pick) might be able to get in. One Eastern Conference GM said Gasol is the key domino in this year's trade market. "Everybody's waiting to see what will happen with Gasol," he said. "After that, other trades might fall into place."

Jason Kidd, Nets

The Nets don't want to give up Kidd, the face of the franchise, but with Vince Carter eligible to become a free agent -- and the season slipping away -- it might be time to start over. By getting rid of Kidd's contract (three more years, $59 million), New Jersey could put itself in great position to rebuild sooner.

Kidd even said during All-Star Weekend that he was ready for a trade. "They have to do what's best for the franchise if the team is underachieving," Kidd said of the Nets, 25-29 and 4 1/2 games behind Toronto in the Atlantic Division.

The Lakers are very interested, but it's unclear whether a reported offer of Kwame Brown, Jordan Farmar, draft picks and expiring contracts would be enough to get a deal done.

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