It's an ever-shifting narrative as we head down the final week of the annual pageview orgy known as the NBA Trade Deadline. Buyers have become sellers, sellers have become buyers and everyone wants J.J. Redick.
Let's rank the participants in advance of next Thursday's trade deadline.
1. JOSH SMITH, Atlanta
We all know J Smoove's flaws -- too many long jumpers, too head-strong with coaches, etc. -- but he's also just 27 years old and a force defensively and on the glass. The Hawks have gone as far as they can with Smith and Al Horford and there's no sense in keeping him, especially if someone like Houston is willing to ante up.
2. KEVIN O'CONNOR, Utah
The Jazz have two really good frontcourt players on a team with two young bigs meaning that either Paul Millsap or Al Jefferson will likely be dealt. Because this is the Jazz we're talking about all information is kept in a top-secret vault atop Mount Nebo. The decision on which one they keep will be as fascinating as whichever player leaves.
3. WOJ, oracle
When the apocalypse happens, he'll have it the day before.
4. J.J. REDICK, Orlando
"You know, J.J. Redick could really help a contender," is what everyone says whenever Redick drains a 3 or comes off a screen and buries a jumper. The reported price is an expiring contract and a first-round pick, plus maybe a little something on top. The line forms at the left.
5. DWIGHT HOWARD, Lakers
6. THE LUXURY TAX
The tax was the impetus behind the Rudy Gay trade and will be the biggest influence over almost everything that will happen in the NBA in the future. Let's be clear: The financial penalties aren't the only issue. It's the hard cap that comes with the tax and the repeater penalties piled on top. Navigating the tax is becoming as much a strategy in roster-building as clearing regular old cap space, which is exactly what the owners wanted during the lockout.
7. THE TEXAS TRIANGLE
The Rockets have what everyone else wants: Cap space and players on rookie contracts with a handful of expiring deals to make pretty much anything work. The Mavericks don't have the rookie contracts, but they have expiring deals and a bunch of low-leverage picks. The Spurs, who very quietly have the league's best record, seem itchy to make a move.
8. ERIC BLEDSOE, Clippers
If the Clippers are able to swing a big deal it would almost certainly have to include Bledsoe, their 23-year-old master of disaster who is in the midst of a breakout season. That's a steep price to pay, especially considering Chris Paul's pending free agency. But if it means acquiring a major piece, Bledsoe is one of the most attractive assets in the league.
9. SAM PRESTI, Oklahoma City
The Thunder don't have to do anything and it might be better if they didn't considering their solid foundation. But if they wanted to, Presti has acquired first-round picks from Dallas and Toronto, plus a second-rounder from Charlotte. The Presti Model isn't just hitting big in the draft, it's also about accumulating assets and the Thunder are well-stocked to do something big.
10. ANDREA BARGNANI, Toronto
Bargnani has two more years left on a contract that will pay him a little more than $11 million per season on average. He is having a terrible season, compounded by injuries that also cost him half of last season. And he doesn't rebound. Or play much defense. Or do many things teams need their big men to do if they are going to be successful.
But he can shoot. Well, not this year, but throughout his career he's been a 36 percent shooter from behind the arc. That's a valuable trait if -- and it's a big if -- you have another big who can protect him on defense.
11. MARCIN GORTAT, Phoenix
Why isn't Gortat getting more attention? He seems like the classic example of a player who is in desperate need of a change of scenery. His numbers have suffered a bit without Steve Nash, but wouldn't anybody's? While we're on the Suns, Jared Dudley would also make a hell of a nice piece.
12. MASAI UJIRI, Denver
13. BRANDON JENNINGS, Milwaukee
How much of a market is there for a shoot-first point guard who makes only 40 percent of his shots? I suppose we're about to find out.
14. DANNY AINGE, Boston
Ainge doesn't have much left to work with and the sense I get is that teams aren't willing to give up what he needs to make a Paul Pierce trade palatable. Short of a franchise-altering move, he realistically has role mid-level role players in Courtney Lee, Jason Terry and Brandon Bass to make something happen. But at the very least he has to do something to help shore up a roster with nine healthy bodies and one Fab Melo.
15. DANNY GRANGER, Indiana
I get the idea here -- Paul George has flourished at the three and the Pacers have needs -- but I don't see a rush of teams looking to acquire a 29-year-old forward coming off a knee injury with $14 million left on his contract next season.
16. and 17. KRIS HUMPHRIES AND MARSHON BROOKS, Nets