Trades? They're a comin'

FRANK ZICARELLI -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:49 AM ET

The calendar and the weather may suggest otherwise, but the NBA climate has the feel of February.

Much like the frenzy and wild speculation that serve as a prelude to the league's trade deadline, caution must be observed and logic exercised.

With so many teams looking to improve and so many names being bandied about, it wouldn't surprise any one if one or two roster-altering moves are completed, perhaps more.

Until the NBA final runs its course, no deal will be announced in an environment where there's no shortage of possibilities, some that appear to have merit.

In Denver, the Nuggets are in need of a pass-first point guard, an area that hasn't been addressed since Andre Miller was moved to Philadelphia for Allen Iverson.

Carmelo Anthony's name was linked with the New Jersey Nets shortly after Denver's unceremonious sweep in the opening round at the hands of the Los Angeles Lakers.

Like a lot of the gossip, the Melo to the Meadowlands swap was the stuff of fiction.

Now comes word that Joe Dumars has his sights on Anthony, an ironic twist when one considers the Detroit Pistons executive could have had the small forward in the 2003 draft for nothing.

Instead of selecting Anthony, Dumars used the second overall pick on Darko Milicic.

Having fired Flip Saunders, Dumars clearly is under the gun to alter a roster that is aging.

Chauncey Billups is one such player with Detroit whose best days appear to be behind.

Talking about deals is one thing, but to actually consummate one is entirely different in a salary-cap era.

"You get better by free agency, you get better by making trades and you get better by making your players better," Nuggets head coach George Karl told reporters in the Mile High City, an observation that is as universal as the game itself.

"I think we've got to observe all avenues. I don't think there's anything or any possibility that we should say no. I think our window should be open for business."

In Cleveland, the Cavs are continually trying to coddle LeBron James, who can walk away from his home state during the summer of 2010.

Every move GM Danny Ferry makes is to surround James with complementary pieces. By extension, Ferry is ensuring that he stays employed.

Ferry has yet to find that perfect fit for King James and last year's trade deadline blockbuster did nothing to fill that need.

Michael Redd, who played his collegiate ball at Ohio State, is the latest perimeter-happy hoopster to be connected with Cleveland.

Redd has turned into a one-trick pony in Milwaukee, where rookie GM John Hammond is hoping to turn the page and put his stamp on the Bucks.

The injury-prone Jermaine O'Neal also keeps getting mentioned as LeBron's new running mate, but acquiring O'Neal would be a huge mistake.

Having decided not to opt out of his deal, the Pacers would listen to any offer for O'Neal, and for that matter Jamaal Tinsley.

O'Neal produced his best season playing under coach Rick Carlisle, who has succeeded Avery Johnson in Dallas.

Larry Bird is pretty much in the same trading mood as Dumars, only Bird doesn't have nearly as many marketable pieces in Indiana.

Like a lot of teams, the Pacers can use toughness, fuelling one wild rumour that Bird wouldn't mind re-acquiring Ron Artest.

Dumars, Bird, Ferry and Hammond each oversee teams in the NBA's Central Division, which easily could be renamed Rumour Central.

With Chicago holding the first overall pick in the coming draft, changes are afoot with the Bulls.

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If Derrick Rose goes first overall, Kirk Hinrich becomes redundant.

Call it the calm before the storm, but teams are weighing all options as the June 26 draft nears and as July free agency approaches.

A lot of the talk will amount to nothing as is the norm in the build up to the February deadline.

But league executives are talking nonetheless and deals will be made in the coming weeks, for that we are certain.


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