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NBA Trade Rumors: could Detroit partner with Washington, Charlotte or San Antonio?

The 2012 trade deadline is right around the corner, and the NBA trade rumors increase in volume with every passing day. As we approach the March 15th deadline, we'll continue to examine potential trades between the Detroit Pistons and the league's other 29 teams. Which players should Detroit target? Who might be sent out in exchange? Let's make a deal!

Past Coverage:

Pistons Trade Asset examination (see full post: ranking the Pistons trade assets):

Trade Assets: Greg Monroe, Jonas Jerebko, Brandon Knight, Rodney Stuckey, Detroit's 2012 first round draft pick.

Trade Filler: Jason Maxiell, Vernon Macklin, Ben Wallace, Damien Wilkins, Detroit's 2012 second round draft pick.

Tough Sale Players: Ben Gordon, Tayshaun Prince, Austin Daye, Will Bynum.

Untradeable Players: Charlie Villanueva, Walker Russell Jr.

Washington Wizards | Southeast Division | 9- 29

The Wizards are a mess. They've got ugly, long-term contracts with under-performing players. They blew the 2011 draft. They don't really have any trade assets. They'll have a little free agent money next season, but the only thing they're likely to attract is junk that everyone else passed on.

Trade Status: You know that old adage "you shouldn't make a trade just to say you did"? That doesn't apply here. The Wizards should listen to anything and everything that comes their way, and the only players this team should hold close are John Wall, Trevor Booker and JaVale McGee. Even then, if the Wiz can luck into some kind of package that nets them another lottery pick or a bright young prospect, these names should very much be on the table. However, Washington has a few moveable contracts that might pull in a pick or a mid-level role player in this market.

What the Wizards can do and what they want to do are two very different things. If this team could rid itself of any one contract, it'd be Andray Blatche, and if they aren't trying now it's only because they've failed before. The Pistons clearly aren't interested in Blatche, since they've already got one of those.

Trade Likelihood: 4/10

Pistons - Wizards Trade Options: There's really nothing these teams can offer each other. Sure, the Pistons could ask for JaVale McGee, but the price would likely be too high. They'd ask about a first round pick or possibly Brandon Knight, neither of which Detroit should give up for McGee. McGee is approaching restricted free agency, to a point where his cost is very likely to exceed his value and to a significant degree.

Charlotte Bobcats | Southeast Division | 5 - 32

The roster of the league's worst team is truly a sad state of affairs. The only thing going for this team is its record, one of the worst in NBA history and the best shot at the number one pick in the 2012 draft. If they haven't been dreaming about Anthony Davis in Charlotte, it's only because there's no one left to dream.

The Bobcats' top pick from 2011, Bismack Biyombo, is shaping up to be a nice player. Biyombo has averaged 6 points, 8 rebounds and 2.5 blocks in 26 minutes as the team's starting center. If he can improve his offense in his second season, 10, 10 and 2 are not out of the question for Bismack. The problem for Charlotte is that Biyombo and Anthony Davis present a poor frontcourt pairing. They could collectively rebound and block shots like no other team in the league, but they'd have little impact on the offensive end of the court. Once the draft lottery is set, the Bobcats have some decisions to make about this.

Trade Status: Despite their current standings, the Bobcats aren't in dire need of a trade. Charlotte could trade Boris Diaw's $9M expiring deal, but it sounds like they are either trying to hold on to it or buy Diaw out early. They could try to find a taker for Corey Maggette, but he might have more value to Charlotte as he approaches expiration next year. Honestly, the only thing Charlotte should want to undo is the $26M due to Tyrus Thomas after this season. They could use the amnesty clause if they wanted, but given their cap picture in the years ahead, that probably isn't a high priority.

In short, Charlotte is a horrible team this season. Their salary commitments are likely to clear up quickly, however, as most of their debts are done next Spring. The rest of their roster is filled with young players on rookie scale contracts. The best strategy for this team is to sit quietly, try to hit the top lottery winnings this season and next, then have plenty of cap space and young trade assets in the near future.

Trade Likelihood: 2/10

Pistons - Bobcats Trade Options: It wouldn't be insane to take a spin on Tyrus Thomas, but only if Detroit could rid of one of its toxic contracts in exchange. I'm not sure why Charlotte would do such a thing, given that they could use their amnesty clause on Thomas (even though they don't really need to). However, 2011-12 looks like an aberration for Thomas, who could have real value despite the temper he brings to the table. Detroit could use a guy like him if he can return to his early form, and doing so is not out of the question.

Would Charlotte consider an exchange of Ben Gordon and Tyrus Thomas? They're due roughly the same pay, but Gordon expires earlier. In a deal like this, Detroit would be taking the risk, because if Thomas doesn't at least bounce back from an off year, they're on the hook with a longer salary. Either way, Charlotte still pays the amount due to Thomas but in an abbreviated scale. To make the numbers work, Detroit should ask for Reggie Williams, who can fill in the role Gordon currently has without much drop-off.

San Antonio Spurs | Southwest Division | 26 - 12

In the last three years, the only time the Spurs have made a trade has been for picks. They traded George Hill for the 15th pick (Kawhi Leonard) and the 47th pick in the 2011 draft, then the rights to a Euro player drafted in 2005. Prior to that, they've traded junk players for second round picks like they're going out of style. Then what do they do? They consistently find ridiculous talent late in the draft and keep on winning in the mean time. This is how you trade, and this is how you draft.

Trade Status: Expect the trend to continue. San Antonio will likely send out a player for a second rounder, possibly even a late first round pick. You know what wouldn't shock me? Is if the Spurs dealt DeJuan Blair for a late first rounder right before the draft. Example: Miami's 30th pick.

Trade Likelihood: 3/10

Pistons - Spurs Trade Options: The Pistons are in no condition to ship out any second round picks, they should only be looking to acquire them. Do not answer the phone when San Antonio calls-- it is a trap, a game that can only be lost. R.C. Buford is a wizard, and we'd be coming to the fight without saving throws.