Now that we are into February as of Wednesday, the trade chatter will start to heat up ahead of the Feb. 23 deadline. There are only 19 players in the league who can't be traded without their consent by that deadline. Three guys, LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony and Dirk Nowitzki, all future Hall of Famers, have full no-trade clauses. Miami's Tyler Johnson and Portland's Allen Crabbe both possess the right to block any trade until July 10, 2017. I won't get into full detail of why, but it's because they re-signed with their teams after said team matched an offer sheet in free agency. Finally, there are 14 players who are on one-year deals and can't be moved without their permission because of some obscure clause in the CBA: Kris Humphries, James Jones, Deron Williams, Beno Udrih, Ian Clark, James Michael McAdoo, Anderson Varejao, Luc Mbah a Moute, Metta World Peace (yep, he's still in the NBA), Udonis Haslem, Steve Novak, Sasha Vujacic, Manu Ginobili and Marcus Thornton. Not much there, but many could be potential throw-ins to a deal, especially a Moute if the Clippers are trying for Carmelo.
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Pacers at Magic (+2, 214)
Indiana won a third in a row Sunday, 120-101 at home vs. Houston. Paul George had 33 points -- his career-high fourth game in a row with at least 30 -- and nine rebounds. Jeff Teague had 17 points and 15 assists. Orlando lost for the fourth time in five games Monday, 111-105 in OT at Minnesota. Elfrid Payton scored 21 points and Serge Ibaka had 17 points and 10 rebounds for the Magic. Evan Fournier scored nine points in 23 minutes in his first game since Jan. 13. Indiana leads the season series 2-0 -- both at home -- and has taken the past four in Orlando.
Key trends: The Pacers are 9-1 against the spread in the past 10 meetings. The "over/under" has gone under in nine of the past 14.
Early lean: Magic and under.
Timberwolves at Cavaliers (-8.5, 215.5)
First of an ESPN doubleheader. I wonder if the Cavs would still make that Andrew Wiggins for Kevin Love deal? I'm guessing yes since Love helped them win a title, but I'm sure the Wolves would do it again too. Minnesota won for the fifth time in six games Monday, 111-105 in OT over Orlando. Wiggins forced OT on a jumper with 10 seconds left. Karl-Anthony Towns had 23 points and 12 rebounds, and Ricky Rubio added 22 points, eight rebounds and eight assists. Cleveland closed an awful month at 7-8 with a 104-97 loss in Dallas on Monday. That same Mavs team lost by 38 in Cleveland in November. The Cavs were again without Love, and it's doubtful he plays here. LeBron James and Kyrie Irving were a combined 2-for-14 from long range. The Cavs have beaten Minnesota four straight times by an average of 17.5 ppg.
Key trends: The favorite is 4-1 ATS in the past five meetings. The over is 4-1 in those five.
Early lean: Wolves and over.
Raptors at Celtics (TBA)
Toronto hosted New Orleans on Tuesday. Boston won its fourth consecutive Monday, 113-109 over Detroit. Crazy-hot Isaiah Thomas had 41 points, 24 in the fourth quarter. He also had eight assists. Al Horford was back after missing two games, but Avery Bradley missed his seventh in a row with an Achilles' tendon. He's hoping to play here. Toronto leads Boston 2-0 this season with one victory in Beantown.
Key trends: The home team is 4-1 ATS in the past five meetings. The under is 5-2 in the previous seven in Boston.
Early lean: Wait on Bradley and the possibility the Raptors rest a key guy.
Knicks at Nets (+3.5, 221)
New York was in Washington on Tuesday most likely without Derrick Rose again. Brooklyn dropped its sixth straight Monday, 104-96 in Miami. Bojan Bogdanovic scored 16 points for Brooklyn, which has lost six straight and 17 of its last 18. The Nets led by as many as 11. They have allowed at least 100 points in 24 games in a row. New York is 1-0 vs. Brooklyn this year, winning by 14 back on Nov. 9.
Key trends: The home team has covered the past six meetings. The over is 6-1 in the previous seven in Brooklyn.
Early lean: Knicks and over.
Hawks at Heat (pick'em, 206)
Atlanta beat the Knicks 142-139 in four overtimes on Sunday, so it's a good thing the Hawks were off the next two days -- especially Paul Millsap, who played 60 minutes. He had a season-high 37 points, including the go-ahead layup with 27 seconds left in that fourth overtime. Millsap added 19 rebounds. Dwight Howard fouled out in the second OT with 19 points and 13 rebounds. The Heat have won a shocking eight in a row following a 104-96 victory over the Nets on Monday. The streak is the fourth-longest in the league so far this season, topped only by Golden State (12 games), Houston (10) and San Antonio (9). Of the last 80 teams that had winning streaks of at least eight games, 77 went on to make the playoffs. No way the Heat do that. Atlanta has beaten Miami in two low-scoring games this year.
Key trends: The Hawks are 0-5 ATS in the past five meetings. The under is 4-1 in Miami's previous five.
Early lean: Heat and under.
Pelicans at Pistons (-6, 210)
New Orleans was in Toronto on Tuesday. Thus you have to consider the possibility that Anthony Davis doesn't play here. He tends to get banged up. Detroit lost its third in a row Monday, 113-109 in Boston. Andre Drummond had 28 points and 22 rebounds for the Pistons, who outscored Boston 60-38 in the paint. They were just 1-for-15 on 3-pointers in the first half, though. New Orleans was 2-0 vs. Detroit last year and Davis averaged 45.5 points and 13.5 rebounds.
Key trends: The Pelicans are 7-1 ATS in the past eight meetings. The over is 5-2 in the previous seven.
Early lean: Pistons and under.
76ers at Mavericks (-5.5, 201.5)
Philadelphia again was without Joel Embiid on Monday but beat the Kings 122-119 to end a two-game losing streak. Robert Covington had 23 points and 10 rebounds. Embiid won't play in this one due to his knee. Dallas won for the fourth time in five games Monday in a 104-97 upset of Cleveland. Former Indiana star Yogi Ferrell, on his second 10-day contract, had 19 points and Harrison Barnes had with 24 points and a season-high 11 rebounds. Andrew Bogut was out with a right hamstring strain and he's not likely here. The Mavericks have won seven straight and 17 of the last 20 matchups with the 76ers.
Key trends: The home team is 5-0 ATS in the past five meetings. The under is 6-1 in the Mavericks' past seven at home.
Early lean: Mavericks and under.
Grizzlies at Nuggets (TBA)
Denver was the Lakers on Tuesday without Nikola Jokic, although there's hope he will return from his hip strain here. Memphis won a second in a row on Monday, 115-96 in Phoenix. Mike Conley had a career-high 38 points and tied a career mark with seven 3-pointers. He added nine assists and six rebounds as the Grizzlies never trailed. Memphis beat Denver in the first meeting 108-107 on Nov. 8.
Key trends: The Grizzlies are 3-7 ATS in the past 10 meetings. The under is 6-2 in the previous eight in Denver.
Early lean: Wait on Jokic.
Bucks at Jazz (-7, 199)
Milwaukee dropped a third consecutive Saturday, 112-108 in OT to Boston. Giannis Antetokounmpo led Milwaukee with 21 points, and Greg Monroe had 14 points and 13 rebounds for the Bucks, who trailed by 16 in the third. Jabari Parker was just 2-for-13 for four points. Utah has lost three of four following a 102-95 home loss to Memphis on Saturday. The Jazz shot just 26.3 percent from the field in the second quarter and never led in the second half. Rodney Hood led Utah with 20 points. Derrick Favors got the night off to rest. Utah is on a 14-game home winning streak vs. Milwaukee dating back to March 2003.
Key trends: The Bucks are 1-8 ATS in their past nine games. The under is 7-3 in the past 10 meetings.
Early lean: Jazz and love the under.
Clippers at Suns (+2.5, 220)
Los Angeles lost for the fourth time in five games Saturday, a 144-98 blowout in Golden State. The Clips were outscored in the third quarter by Steph Curry alone. Blake Griffin had 20 for the Clippers. Phoenix lost a fourth consecutive Monday, 115-96 to Memphis. Devin Booker scored 22, running his string of 20-point games to 13, for Phoenix. Rookie Marquese Chriss added a career-high 20. The Clippers won the first two of four meetings this season against Phoenix, both in L.A. Phoenix has won 13 of the last 18 home games over the Clippers.
Key trends: The home team is 5-0 ATS in the past five meetings. The over is 4-1 in the previous five in Phoenix.
Early lean: Suns and over.
Bulls at Thunder (-6, 207)
Second ESPN game. Oklahoma City was in San Antonio on Tuesday. Chicago beat Philly 121-108 on Sunday to end a two-game losing streak. Jimmy Butler scored 28 points and Robin Lopez added a season-high 21 points and had 10 rebounds. The Bulls' bench outscored the 76ers' reserves 49-15. Taj Gibson was out with left knee soreness. This starts a six-game trip for the Bulls. Chicago lost to OKC 109-94 on Jan. 9 but did win at the Thunder last year.
Key trends: The Thunder are 5-0 ATS in their past five at home. The under is 11-4 in the past 15 meetings.
Early lean: Thunder and under.
Hornets at Warriors (TBA)
Charlotte was in Portland on Tuesday. Golden State won a third in a row Sunday, 113-111 in Portland. Steph Curry sat out with an illness but should be fine here. Kevin Durant had 33 points and 10 rebounds, while Klay Thompson added 27 points for the Warriors, who have won 10 of their last 11 games. Golden State has won five straight in the series vs. the Hornets and took a 113-103 decision in Charlotte last Wednesday.
Key trends: The Warriors are 4-0 ATS in their past four at home. The over is 14-4 in the Hornets' past 18 in the second of a back-to-back.
Early lean: Wait on Curry.
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