NBA Trade Deadline: 5 Teams That Need One Piece to Be Contenders

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Who will trade themselves into contention?

NBA
Mike Ehrmann-Getty Images

The NBA trade deadline is rapidly approaching. With many teams looking to contend, we may experience an extremely busy month as far as transactions go. There are plenty of big-name players out there on the trading block, and with teams now having an idea of where they stand in the NBA some of them may be moved. An unusually high number of teams are tanking this season as the draft class is supposed to be loaded with talent.

Being stuck in mediocrity is the worst possible situation for any NBA team. They have no shot at contending nor do they have a chance at drafting a top prospect. So a team that is in this predicament must either choose to make a move to boost themselves into the playoff picture or make a move to give themselves an opportunity for a higher draft pick. For many of the top teams out there, this is the perfect time to add a talented player for at a bargain because teams want to get rid of them to tank.

Currently, there are only a select number of teams that can actually compete for the NBA Championship. These teams being the Indiana Pacers, Miami Heat, Oklahoma City Thunder and San Antonio Spurs. Other than that, no one is in the situation where they can win with their current roster. With franchises desperate to knock off the Heat and many jobs on the line, there should be some blockbuster moves in the upcoming weeks.

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Josh Smith to Houston

J-Smoove
Raj Mehta-USA Today Sports

Houston Rockets receive: Josh Smith

Detroit Pistons receive: Jeff Green, Omri Caspi, Houston's 2014 First Round Pick

Boston Celtics receive: Omer Asik, Houston's 2013 Second Round Pick

The Rockets acquire Josh Smith who when playing at the power forward position is considered a top forward in the league. On top of receiving an All-Star, they rid themselves of the grumpy Omer Asik, who has barely played this year because he's been mad that he doesn't start. If paired with Dwight Howard, Houston can easily catapult themselves into contention for the championship.

Detroit can move on from a failed experiment after mistakenly signing Smith to a four-year deal last summer and acquire Jeff Green who can spread the floor for big men Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond. This way they can have the money to re-sign Monroe at the end of the year.

Boston has been wanting to trade for Asik all year and they have also been shopping Green to get rid of his contract. The team adds another draft pick to their collection as well.

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Luc Mbah a Moute on his way to Portland

Luc
Jerome Miron-USA Today Sports

Portland Trail Blazers receive: Luc Mbah a Moute, Chris Kaman

Minnesota Timberwolves receive: C.J. McCollum, Joel Freeland

Los Angeles Lakers receive: Earl Watson, Golden State Warriors' 2014 second round pick via Minnesota

The Trail Blazers desperately need some defense and some bench depth. They may be able to win in the regular season by giving up 100 points every night but the situation totally changes in the playoffs. Therefore they need to make a trade. Unfortunately, McCollum has to be the fall man because other than him, Portland does not have many tradeable assets outside their starting lineup.

If Minnesota can acquire a rookie prospect like McCollum just for Mbah a Moute, they have to do it. In last year's draft, they struck out by trading their pick for Shabazz Muhammed, so they can redeem themselves by making this move.

The Lakers are tanking at this point, so making a move like this is solely to save some money.

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Evan Turner to the Clippers

Evan
Howard Smith

Los Angeles Clippers receive: Evan Turner

Philadelphia 76ers receive: Luke Ridnour, Jared Dudley, Clippers' 2014 first round draft pick

Chicago Bulls receive: Antawn Jamison, Ryan Hollins

Milwaukee Bucks receive: Kirk Hinrich, Willie Green, Chicago's 2014 second round pick

The Clippers have fallen short of expectation thus far. After making trades for Dudley and J.J. Redick in the offseason, they were expected to be a top team in the West. However, Dudley has not played well so trading him and acquiring a stud like Turner would be the ideal trade.

The 76ers need to trade either Turner or Thaddeus Young so they can lose as many games as possible. Both players can erupt at any time and carry their team to victory, so getting rid of one of the two will be their best option.

When Chicago traded Luol Deng for picks, they basically went into lottery mode. This deal is solely to shed salaries and avoid the luxury tax.

Any trade that the Bucks can get in on in which they receive a draft pick they should do (as long as they don't improve).

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Knicks add PG Andre Miller

Knicks
Chris Humphreys-USA Today Sports

New York Knicks receive: Andre Miller, Jeff Green, Kris Humphries

Denver Nuggets receive: Beno Udrih

Boston Celtics receive: Amar'e Stoudemire, Iman Shumpert

The Knicks have struggled to say the least, this season. Their struggles can mainly be accredited to their lack of point guard. Raymond Felton is a solid player but not starter worthy. Miller can penetrate the defense which result in Carmelo Anthony getting much easier looks at the basket. By also acquiring Green and Humphries, the Knicks can add some much needed depth after the plethora of injuries that they have experienced.

No organization wants a player that no longer wants to be part of the team. Therefore trading Miller for Udrih can save them money and a huge headache.

The Celtics have shown interest in acquiring Stoudemire if it meant unloading one of their expensive, long term contracts. By completing this deal they reach their goal of trading Green and they also acquire an up and coming player in Shumpert.

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Josh Smith sent packing to Phoenix

J-Smoove
Allen Einstein-Getty Images

Phoenix Suns receive: Josh Smith

Detroit Pistons receive: Emeka Okafor, Phoenix's 2014 first round pick, Indiana's 2014 first round pick via Phoenix, Phoenix's 2014 second round pick

The Suns have shocked the entire NBA world by having an extremely successful season thus far. With a highly valued expiring contract in addition to multiple draft picks, Phoenix has tons of leverage heading into the trade deadline. Making a trade for Smith is the perfect fit for this team as he would mesh with their fast paced style of play. This trade would most definitely make the Suns contenders after a prolonged drought.

Detroit would trade Smith in a heartbeat if it meant getting back such a large expiring contract and multiple draft picks. This trade would save GM Joe Dumars' job and give the Pistons another shot at free agency this coming summer.

Joseph Crevier covers the Los Angeles Lakers for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @RealJoeCrev and Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

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