NBA trade deadline looms — where is Atlanta's Josh Smith headed?


The NBA trade deadline is 2 p.m. ET Thursday, and this gives us roughly over 24 hours until then.

Around this time every year, NBA fans are bombarded with trade scenarios, rumors and a lot of very unlikely speculation that can cause their blood pressure to spike.

This season is no different of course, so here are the major players involved in rumors and the likelihood you’ll see those respective players actually being traded come tomorrow.

Kevin Garnett: Unlikely

There has been a lot of speculation as of late about what will happen with Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce in Boston after the recent season-ending injury to Rajon Rondo. The Celtics seem to be caught between a rock and a hard place trying to figure out if they should rebuild or try to win now.

Kevin Garnett has been tossed around heavily in recent days in a trade scenario that would send him to the Los Angeles Clippers in a package revolving around Eric Bledsoe.

It seemed very unlikely all along that Garnett would be traded, simply because it’s hard to imagine a situation where the Celtics' brass parts ways with a player who’s been so loyal to the franchise.

To add to the unlikelihood of seeing Kevin Garnett in any other color than green this season is a report from Adran Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports on Tuesday saying talks between the Celtics and Clippers have died. And among other reasons, Kevin Garnett has a no-trade clause and has stated he doesn’t intend to waive it.

Dwight Howard: Unlikely

The Dwight saga that many fans (including myself) thought would end once he was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers surprisingly hasn’t ended. Dwight is still one of the more common words you hear in the news, and simultaneously one of the least common names you see on the stat sheet.

Howard is not going anywhere. A strange rumor involving Howard and Rajon Rondo arose for a few days and died very quickly. It didn’t make much sense for LA to trade with their storied rivals in Boston, and it really didn’t make much sense to acquire an injured Rondo since Steve Nash still has a year and a half left on his contract.

Howard simply won’t be traded because there won’t be a deal worth taking on the table before tomorrow’s deadline. The Lakers appear to be ready to roll the dice and see what happens in the offseason, and Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak has stated the Lakers will not trade Howard. Fans should start preparing for Howard's Indecision III this summer.

Josh Smith: Likely

I hope this deal is likely, at least for effort's sake. The Atlanta Hawks have engaged in trade talks with just about every team in the NBA. All right, not really, but they have been involved in talks with Boston, Philadelphia, Brooklyn, Milwaukee and even the San Antonio Spurs.

It seems likely that Josh Smith will be a Hawk, simply because of how involved the Hawks have been in trying to find a deal for him, joined by the fact that Josh Smith is seeking out a max deal when his contract expires this summer.

Not many teams believe Smith deserves a max deal, but the Philadelphia 76ers have appeared to be one of the most likely places for Smith come tomorrow. Philadelphia is still without Andrew Bynum and will probably be willing to sign Smith in the offseason in order to pair him with Bynum, or give Josh Smith the reins of the team if Bynum is unable to come back from injury. The Sixers are offering Evan Turner and Spencer Hawes, two young pieces the Hawks can build around.

If Smith doesn’t go to Philadelphia, you could also see him in Milwaukee, who has offered Monta Ellis, a free agent this coming summer. Monta’s talent and expiring contract could be very tempting for a team like Atlanta moving forward.

If any of these players are likely to be traded by tomorrow, expect it to be Josh Smith. But the most likely scenario is the trade deadline coming and going without any major moves revolving around star players. You’ll probably see a few role players being swapped, but with talks dying down it appears that the big names will stay put for the time being.