- Joe Kaiser, Fantasy, Insider
A number of potential trades bubbled to the surface of the NBA's rumor mill this week, which is to be expected given how close we are to the league's Feb. 21 trade deadline.
On Thursday, ESPN's Marc Stein reported a potential deal with Chicago and Toronto involving a Carlos Boozer-for-Andrea Bargnani swap, and on Friday, ESPN's Chris Broussard reported that Charlotte and Brooklyn were talking about a Ben Gordon-for-Kris Humphries deal. Other reports in recent days have Brooklyn showing interest in Josh Smith, according to Broussard, and Milwaukee targeting J.J. Redick, per Stein.
While it's easy to focus on the big-name centerpieces of such rumored deals, guys such as Marc Gasol and Nikola Vucevic have proved in recent years that sometimes the lesser-known, unproven players can make just as big of an impact (and at a cheaper rate).
So who are the players that fit that description this season? Which promising first- or second-year guys might be made available by playoff-caliber teams if it means landing the guy who can push them deep into the playoffs? What players have yet to scratch the surface on their vast potential and could break out on a different roster?
Here is a look at some of the top young players on contending teams who could end up being involved in a trade-deadline deal this season: