We are now just over a day away from the NBA trade deadline. Trade talks between teams will only continue to escalate as we approach tomorrow’s 3 p.m. EST deadline.
Yesterday, we saw a couple of deals take place as the Detroit Pistons and Orlando Magic kicked off the action with a trade that sent Brandon Jennings and Ersan Ilyasova to the Magic in exchange for Tobias Harris.
Shortly after news of that trade surfaced, a three-way trade between the Memphis Grizzlies, Charlotte Hornets and Miami HEAT came to light. As part of the trade, the Grizzlies sent Courtney Lee to the Hornets and will acquire P.J. Hairston from the Hornets and Chris Andersen from the HEAT. Miami will obtain Brian Roberts from the Hornets. Also, the Hornets and HEAT will each send two future second-round draft picks to the Grizzlies.
It seems as though each year brings increased trade rumors, with only a small percentage of those rumors coming to fruition. As we head into crunch time near the deadline, here are several situations to keep an eye on:
Orlando May Not be Done
We were left on Tuesday night with word that the Magic may not be done dealing. After officially announcing the trade with the Pistons, Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical reported that the Magic and Los Angeles Clippers were nearing an agreement centered around forward Channing Frye.
In the reported deal, the Magic would send Frye to the Clippers in exchange for Lance Stephenson, C.J. Wilcox and possibly a second-round draft pick. The report stated that the Clippers are still shopping Stephenson’s contract around, but maintained that the deal with the Magic seems the most likely scenario to happen with a decision likely to come today.
It appears that acquiring Stephenson from the Clippers would purely be based on salary cap purposes only, as the report said the Magic would waive Stephenson immediately if they were to accept the trade. Frye is owed just under $16 million over the next two seasons, while Stephenson has a team option for $9.4 million next season.
The Magic could have up to $43 million in cap space this summer, with that number climbing even higher if Frye is traded.
Houston and Dwight Howard
A trade deadline cannot pass without the Houston Rockets being mentioned to some extent. The Rockets have made no secret about center Dwight Howard being available in trade talks, but it just doesn’t seem like they’ll be able to secure what they’re seeking in return.
While it’s yet to come out what exactly the Rockets might want in return, it’s been said their asking price is high. At this point in time, Howard’s trade value could be as low as we’ve seen it in quite some time.
The biggest downfall of potentially acquiring Howard is that he’ll be an unrestricted free agent this summer and could walk for nothing. Given that possibility, teams just don’t want to part ways with valuable assets with the uncertainty surrounding his future. Couple this with Howard salary (over $22 million) and finding a deal for him is tough.
Also, he’s dealt with nagging injuries over the past couple of seasons that have caused him to miss some time. He can still contribute at a high level to a team, but he just may not be that number one option that he was years ago with Orlando.
It seems as though the Rockets may just be better off holding onto Howard through the end of this season and try to make a deep run in the playoffs. Houston will surely try to go after some of the top free agents this summer, but in case they miss out on those names, they can always try to retain Howard long-term as a backup option.
New Orleans’ Decisions
It doesn’t seem like the Pelicans have been among those mentioned too much regarding the upcoming trade deadline, but the team does have some decisions to make.
Forward Ryan Anderson and guard Eric Gordon are both unrestricted free agents this summer and the Pelicans may look to trade them rather than risk losing them for nothing.
It sounds like Anderson is going to weigh his options in free agency and could be on his way out. If the Pelicans feel like he won’t be back, Anderson could be a name to watch over the next 24 hours.
This situation was discussed on the latest Basketball Insiders Podcast with Steve Kyler and Alex Kennedy, and Washington came up as a team that has shown interest in Anderson.
The problem teams have is they don’t want to give up a lot of assets for a guy that could walk in free agency. The Pelicans could look at a guy like Otto Porter to seek in return since he’s a younger guy who could possibly be a future piece of their core.
Gordon is in the same situation as Anderson. If he feels like there’s a better situation out there or if a better offer comes in free agency, then he could be on his way out as well and the team could be forced to trade him for something in return. However, Gordon doesn’t seem to have as much trade value as Anderson.
The team could also opt to keep both players. The Pelicans are only six-and-a-half games out of the last playoff spot in the West, so keeping both guys around could help keep them alive in the playoff hunt. The Pelicans have to decide quickly if they want to make a trade.
Atlanta May Not Be All That Active
One team that has come up very often in recent trade rumors has been the Atlanta Hawks. The team has been said to be taking calls on Jeff Teague, Al Horford and even Kyle Korver.
As things stand today, the Hawks are currently fourth in the Eastern Conference. This team is much different than they were a year ago when they won 60 games and advanced to the conference finals. It seems as though this Hawks group has peaked and a change could be coming.
If the Hawks make a deal, it seems like point guard Jeff Teague is the most likely to go. Horford has been mentioned as well, but he just told Basketball Insiders over All-Star Weekend that he wants to remain in Atlanta long-term. As long as the Hawks will pay him what he’s worth, Horford seems like a lock to stay.
The Hawks value their team chemistry, so it doesn’t seem like blowing up the roster is something they want to do unless it brings back meaningful pieces that will put the team in a better position in the future.
The Nets on Tuesday reportedly offered San Antonio Spurs assistant general manager Sean Marks the position to be their new general manager. The move could put the team in a unique situation moving toward the trade deadline.
The team may want to wait until the new candidate settles into the role before making any big decisions. That means the team could opt to hold out until after the deadline to make any roster decisions.
Heading into this week, Thaddeus Young and Brook Lopez have been mentioned as potential trade candidates. Young seems to be the more likely of the two to be moved, if a deal is made.
Still, the team could elect to hold onto those players moving forward and not trade them altogether. Both players are under contract for at least the next two seasons, with Young holding a player option for the 2018-19 season.
Joe Johnson was a name brought up on the Insiders Podcast as a potential buy-out candidate after the trade deadline passes. The team could look to part ways with Johnson, whose $24,894,863 salary will likely prevent him from being traded, so he could potentially join a team for a playoff run.
As we continue to approach the deadline, be sure to check our Trade Deadline Diary that will be updated with each rumor or trade.
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