Counting down: NBA trade deadline watch

Daniel Romero-Salas
As the clock ticks toward deadline, here's a look at 5 teams looking to make trades.

WHERE TO, DWIGHT? Speculations are plenty on where Orlando Magic's Dwight Howard will go. Sam Greenwood/ Getty Images North America/ AFP

MANILA, Philippines — In the lead-up to the NBA trade deadline, general managers are working the phones in order to upgrade their teams in preparation for the playoffs.

The Golden State Warriors and Milwaukee Bucks have already made big moves by trading star guard Monta Ellis, and centers Ekpe Udoh and Kwame Brown, for Bucks center Andrew Bogut and former Warrior Stephen Jackson.

The trade gives Milwaukee a high scoring backcourt with Ellis and Brandon Jennings. The Warriors on the other hand receive one of the best defensive centers in the league — when healthy.

Bogut is currently nursing a fractured ankle and will probably not play at all this season.

The deadline passes at 2 am Friday, March 16, Philippine time.

There could be a lot of activity until then so here’s a look at some teams that will try to make some changes.

Orlando Magic: The Magic are looking to upgrade their roster in order to convince Dwight Howard to stay. As previously noted, Howard can opt out as a free agent in the offseason, leaving for nothing. The Magic would prefer to trade him in return for other assets and try to get rid of Hedo Turkoglu’s large contract in the process.

Houston Rockets: The Rockets were active before the season started, taking part in the failed Chris Paul to the Lakers trade. They are still shopping multiple assets, with only Kyle Lowry deemed untouchable by Rockets management. The team is in the middle of the pack in the Western Conference and is looking for a star player — which they can find only by offering several young, talented players.

Los Angeles Lakers: An upgrade at point guard and small forward is at the top of the list for the Lakers. They already turned down a trade for Ramon Sessions of the Cavaliers for a first round draft pick, but still have coveted big man Pau Gasol available for the right price.

Portland Trailblazers: Jamal Crawford and Gerald Wallace look to be on the move as both will be free agents this summer. The Blazers have lost 7 of their last 10 games and are now 2.5 games back of 8th place in the Western Conference in danger of missing the playoffs. Portland is looking for another big man to pair with Lamarcus Aldridge after losing Greg Oden for the season.

Boston Celtics: General Manager Danny Ainge has been quoted as saying that he will break up the big three if the right deal comes along. Rajon Rondo has been reportedly shopped to other teams as his youth and reasonable contract size ($10 million this year) are appealing but Ainge is smart enough to hold out for another all-star.

New York Knicks: Linsanity has cooled down and the Knicks look like they might miss the playoffs having lost 8 of their last 10 games. Carmelo Anthony is reportedly unhappy with management, as are the players who have reportedly tuned out head coach Mike D’Antoni. The conflict is the supposed reason for D’Antoni’s resignation, announced Wednesday, March 15. The Knicks have actually been shopping Amare Stoudemire but no one wants to take a risk on a player who has had 3 knee surgeries. They are however interested in acquiring former D’Antoni favorite Boris Diaw from the Charlotte Bobcats. – Rappler.com

Daniel Romero-Salas is a lifelong NBA fan with an inclination to statistical analysis of the game. He graduated from the College of the Holy Cross in Massachusetts, and strives to bring a refreshing take on one of the most popular leagues in the world. Follow him on Twitter at @danromerosalas.