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Excerpts from 2014 Trade Deadline Guide

If you’re on the fence about buying the 2014 NBA Trade Deadline Guide, here are a few excerpts from the features to help make up your mind.

Basketball Insiders



Basketball Insiders launched our first digital magazine last week, an in-depth 2014 NBA Trade Deadline Guide. The issue can be purchased on Turn-Page, which allows you to view the magazine on your desktop, tablet and smart phone. It can also be purchased through the app store for Apple devices and Android devices.

If you’re still on the fence about buying the magazine, we wanted to share a few excerpts from the Trade Deadline Guide. These are just several of the features included in the publication, but it gives you a preview of the brand new content that can be found in the magazine.
An Inside Look From the Frontlines of the Trade Deadline | By Travis Heath

Travis Heath spent several years working as a front office consultant for an NBA team. Here is what a typical trade deadline was like for him and his team.

“What do you think of J.J. Hickson?”

The question was asked without even an exchange of pleasantries to precede it.

“He rebounds the ball well on both ends,” I responded. “He is a bit raw on offense, but I think he’ll be fine on that end with time. He’s not good on the defensive end, though. He will really be a liability on more nights than not because of it.”

“Okay, thanks Travis.”

And with that, the call was over even though I had more to say. Welcome to the days leading up to the NBA trade deadline.

This is a time of information gathering and confirmation. It is a time of ideas and creative energy. It is a time of great distrust, with everyone fearing their hand might be tipped. It is also a time so busy and filled with so much chatter that the executive vice president of basketball operations often does not have time to say hello or goodbye when inquiring about potential trade targets.

I would posit that it must have been much more fun to work for an NBA team a couple of decades ago. Friends of mine who worked in the league at that time have only confirmed my suspicion. Back then, trades were constructed almost exclusively around talent. Of course, in the modern NBA, trades have much more to do with contracts and the luxury tax. The new buzzword is “flexibility.”

Often, I was just asked for my opinion on a player. However, to provide the most value feedback possible, I had to clearly understand how that player would fit into our current team in terms of talent, culture and salary structure.

It wasn’t as though the trade deadline brought about a lot of additional research. I knew every player in the NBA and I knew them well. I had (and still have) a database with my scouting reports on every player. If I knew our team was really interested in potentially acquiring a player I might watch a little more film on that player looking for something really specific, but for the most part, I already knew what I thought about the player.

Read the rest of this piece by downloading the magazine here. Heath discusses what it’s like working in an NBA front office, how teams use the media around the deadline and much more.


Behind the Scenes: The Deadline from Different Perspectives | By Alex Kennedy

Basketball Insiders sat down with a player, executive and agent to show what the trade deadline is like from different perspectives.

The Player Perspective

Chris Kaman, who currently plays for the Los Angeles Lakers, was dealt to New Orleans in 2011 and has heard his name surface in trade rumors countless times over the years. He discussed what it was like being traded and how players deal with the deadline.

“It’s just part of the business. There are people trying to save money, people trying to make money, people trying to get draft picks, there’s so many different angles that teams are playing. Each team makes their own decisions based upon that. You see teams trying to dump players right before the deadline and dump money. It’s just a business thing, I think, for the most part. Most times it’s financial, and a few teams it’s probably about getting better. It’s hard to get a good player because most teams that have a good player don’t want to get rid of them.

Initially, my first few times (being mentioned in trade rumors) it was kind of stressful. I didn’t know all the ropes. I didn’t know how to respond. I just didn’t know anything about it. I was wet behind the ears and didn’t know what to anticipate or what to expect, so I was kind of in a panic all the time until it didn’t happen and then the deadline came. Now it’s like, if you want to trade me, that’s fine, that’s part of the business. I’m kind of ready for it if it happens. Now I don’t think about it anymore, I just play. You can’t worry about that stuff. If you worry about that stuff, you’re going to go insane if you think about it.

It’s hard because as players, we have emotions like humans have emotions. It’s not emotions for them, it’s more financial. Does this make sense for them financially? And that’s all it is to them. You’re like a commodity or like a stock. ‘He’s down, let’s trade him.’ Or, ‘He’s up, let’s trade him and get our money out of him.’ Or whatever it is, it’s a business. The hard part is looking at it with emotions and as a person, trying not to get your feelings involved because that’s the worst way to do it. But still, you have a vested interest a lot of times and it’s not easy to just be numb to it and be like a robot. I understand it and I guess guys should understand it more, but these young guys don’t understand it. You don’t want to taint them and say, ‘It’s just a business, don’t worry about it’ but it really boils down to money. It’s the bottom line. It’s about money. If you’re doing a good job and they like you, then they’re going to keep you and they’re going to pay you. If you’re up and down, then they might get rid of you. There are so many things that come into play.”

Read the rest of this piece by downloading the magazine here. Kennedy interviewed Milwaukee Bucks assistant general manager David Morway and NBA agent Roger Montgomery to see what a typical trade deadline is like from their perspective as well.


How Players Deal With Trades and Rumors | By Jessica Camerato

Basketball Insiders talked one-on-one with a number of NBA veterans to find out what goes through a player’s mind as the trade deadline approaches. How do players deal with rumors and trades?

Gerald Wallace

“I’ve actually been traded one minute before the deadline (in 2011). It was actually kind of crazy for me because of the simple fact that you go through it all day, you hear about the trades, you hear about your name being mentioned in trade talks. I actually was talking to my agent on the way to practice (for the Charlotte Bobcats). I got to the gym, talked to the coaches and the general manager. Everybody assured me, ‘You’re good. You’re not going to be traded and everything was going to be fine.’ Then I went home after practice that day and took a nap. I woke up out of my nap and the trade deadline was 5 p.m. Eastern Time. When I woke up, it was like 4:45, 4:50 and my agent was like, ‘You’re traded to Portland.’ I was like, ‘Wow.’ It was basically right at the deadline. … They never did (tell me what happened). I couldn’t even get an explanation for why the trade went down. They wouldn’t tell me, they wouldn’t talk to me. … I was pissed. Like, I’m still pissed about it. I didn’t want to be traded. I liked Charlotte, being there. I was frustrated and pissed because I wasn’t expecting it. The fact that I had just sat in there and they looked me in my eye and they told me the deal wasn’t going to go through, all that. There was a lot more to it. We had just come off our first playoff appearance in franchise history. I had just come from the All-Star team. And all of a sudden, it’s like you’re tearing the team apart and starting all over again. You don’t get an explanation for it in this league so it’s kind of hard to take. … It makes you realize this is a business. You have to take it for what it is and understand that regardless of what situation you’re in, or the best situation you think you’re in, things could change in a matter of time.”

Read the rest of this piece by downloading the magazine here. Camerato did exclusive interviews with 10 players to discuss how they deal with trades and rumors.


Should the New York Knicks Trade Carmelo Anthony? | By Moke Hamilton

If you ask Tyson Chandler, Carmelo Anthony isn’t heading anywhere.

“The one thing that I know is he is locked [in], and he is a Knick,” Chandler said. “He showed that. When times were rough, he went out of his way to make sure that every guy was okay and that everyone understood we’re in it together. If we’re going to sink or go down, we’re going to go down together. At the end of the day, we’re going fight together and I appreciate that.”

Yet still, the overall inconsistent play from his team has left Anthony, at times, exhibiting a demeanor awfully reminiscent of Dwight Howard’s in the months preceding his departure from Hollywood.

The prospect of Anthony fleeing as a free agent is one that would give any Knick-lover nightmares. The franchise must decide whether to keep Anthony and risk losing him for nothing via free agency or find a team Anthony would be willing to re-sign with and proactively trade him for assets.

To a man, Anthony’s current teammates still believe he can be the top player on a championship team, and the “franchise player” tag is one that has grown synonymous with the small forward.

“Carmelo means a lot to this team,” Raymond Felton said when asked about the Knicks retaining Anthony. “He’s our number one scorer and he’s our franchise player. That says enough right there. He’s one of our leaders out there on the court and he’s the main guy we run our offense through.”

“He’s very important,” Kenyon Martin said. “He’s one of the most important, if not the most important, people on the team.”

When asked if the team ever thinks about Anthony’s pending free agency, Martin exploded.

“Hell no, we don’t think about no shit like that, man,” Martin said. “During the course of the game, if someone is thinking about something like that, then they’re in the wrong place. No. Why would we think about that? That’s shit that [media] come up with. Ain’t nobody got time to be thinking about that shit, we got lives and family and other shit going on. Nobody got time to be thinking about that shit.”

Privately, the belief in the New York front office is that Anthony is far from the problem. As a franchise, the Knicks are certain that they can build around him and are confident that the comfort-level he has in New York and the team’s ability to outbid any competitor in free agency will be enough to retain him.

That belief is likely to keep Anthony in New York past the deadline.  In the end, it may keep him in New York for the remainder of his career.

Read the rest of this piece by downloading the magazine here. Hamilton breaks down how LeBron James’ ‘Decision’ changed how teams deal with superstars, how Carmelo Anthony could be New York’s Dirk Nowitzki and much more.

Purchase the magazine through Turn-Page or through the app store for Apple devices and Android devices.




Monte Morris: Waiting for his Chance

Nuggets two-way guard Monte Morris talks to Basketball Insiders about his time with Denver.

David Yapkowitz



Monte Morris has only seen action in three NBA games with the Denver Nuggets this year. While most players who receive little playing time spend most of their time at the end of the bench cheering their teammates on, Morris’ situation is a bit different. He’s spent the majority of his rookie year in the G-League.

The NBA’s minor league has grown tremendously since it’s inception in 2001. All but four NBA teams have a G-League affiliate now. There are plans for the New Orleans Pelicans to have their own team by next season, and NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has spoken about having a team in Mexico.

As part of the NBA’s new collective bargaining agreement, they expanded the partnership between NBA teams and their G-League affiliates even more by adding two-way contracts. Essentially creating a 16th and 17th roster spot, two-way players are allowed to split time between an NBA team and the G-League.

For Morris, two-way contracts are an added opportunity for players to make an NBA roster.

“It’s a good chance for guys to make a roster, especially second-round picks to get a chance,” Morris told Basketball Insiders. “With two-way contracts, I feel like they’re going to get a lot better as far as rules and things like that go. This is the first year so they’re testing it out, but it’s a good opportunity. It’s a blessing at the end of the day.”

Morris was drafted by the Nuggets with the 51st overall pick in last summer’s draft. Second round picks are not afforded the guaranteed contract stability that comes with being a first-round pick. He was tabbed for a two-way contract almost immediately after he was drafted.

He had a stellar four years of college at Iowa State, where he was one of the top point guards in the nation as a senior. He also had a strong showing in Las Vegas with the Nuggets’ summer league team.

The Nuggets were a little crowded in the backcourt to begin the season with Jamal Murray and Emmanuel Mudiay ahead of Morris in the rotation. When Mudiay was injured and out of the rotation, Mike Malone opted to go with Will Barton as the backup point guard. The Nuggets’ trade deadline acquisition of Devin Harris pushed Morris farther back on the depth chart.

“The toughest thing is just staying mentally tough, staying true to yourself, and developing your own craft,” Morris told Basketball Insiders. “Just not losing that self-confidence cause you might not play when you go up. When you come down here [G-League], take advantage of it, have fun, and keep getting better.”

Morris has definitely done his part to stand out in the G-League. The Nuggets are without a sole affiliate, so they’ve used the Houston Rockets G-League team, the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, to get Morris additional experience. In 36 games with the Valley Vipers, he’s put up 18.2 points per game on 47.8 percent shooting from the field, 35.6 percent from the three-point line, 4.6 rebounds, 6.6 assists, and 1.8 steals.

He believes that if called upon, he can be a major contributor for the Nuggets. There are certain aspects he can bring to the team and he thinks it’s possible for him to play with Murray in the backcourt together.

“I think I can bring energy off the bench. I feel like me and Jamal Murray, the way the game is going you can play small ball. I feel like I can bring pace to the game and play defensively,” Morris told Basketball Insiders. “I like getting after it when I’m up there with those guys on defense and getting guys open shots. I know we got a lot of scorers, my goal would be getting everybody their shots.”

Morris has been able to show he can produce at the NBA level, even if it’s a small sample size. On Feb. 9, only the second game he’s played in with Denver, he scored ten points on 4-5 shooting from the field, dished out six assists, and nabbed three steals against the Rockets.

Players on two-way contracts are allowed a maximum of 45 days with the NBA team. Those days are not solely game days; they include practices and travel days as well. Once those 45 days are up, NBA teams have the option of converting a two-way contract to a standard NBA deal provided they have roster space.

If a player uses up the 45 days and does not have their contract converted, they go back to the G-League. They can rejoin their NBA team once the G-League season ends but are not able to play in the playoffs.

For now, Morris is just biding his time, waiting for his opportunity. He’s staying ready for when the Nuggets might need him. In the meantime, he’ll continue to take advantage of what the G-League has to offer.

“It’s definitely a good starting point. It’s just all about how guys attack it on and off the court,” Morris told Basketball Insiders. “It’s just being a pro and not losing confidence in your ability when you go up and don’t play. You just got to be ready, you’re really one injury away, one call away to step on and have to play.”

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Middleton, Bucks Aiming To ‘Lock In’ As Season Comes To Close

Spencer Davies catches up with Milwaukee Bucks swingman Khris Middleton in a Basketball Insiders exclusive.

Spencer Davies



Basketball Insiders had the chance to chat with Khris Middleton about the direction of the Milwaukee Bucks as the season comes to a close.

You guys won three out of four before you came into Cleveland. What was working during that stretch?

Just being us. Doing it with our defense, playing fast-paced offense. Just trying to keep teams off the three-point line. We haven’t done that. We didn’t do that [Monday] or two games ago, but it’s something we’ve just gotta get back to.

With the offense—it seems like it’s inconsistent. What do you think that’s got to do with mostly?

Just trying to do it by ourselves sometimes. Standing, keeping the ball on one side of the floor. We’re a better team when we play in a fast pace. And then also in the half court, when we move the ball from side-to-side it just opens the paint for everybody and there’s a lot more space.

For you, on both ends you’ve been ultra-aggressive here in the last couple weeks or so, does that have to do with you feeling better or is it just a mindset?

I’ve been healthy all year. Right now, it’s the end of the season. Gotta make a push. Everybody’s gotta lock in. Have to be confident, have to be aggressive. Have to do my job and that’s to shoot the ball well and to defend.

Have you changed anything with your jumper? Looking at the past couple months back-to-back, your perimeter shooting was below 32 percent. In March it’s above 45 percent.

I feel like I got a lot of great looks earlier this year. They just weren’t falling. Right now, they’re falling for me, so I have the same mindset that I had when I was missing and that’s to keep on shooting. At some point, they’re gonna go down for me.

Is knowing that every game at this point means more an extra motivator for you guys?

Definitely. We’re basically in the playoffs right now. We’re in a playoff series right now where we have to win games, we have to close out games, in order to get the seeding and to stay in the playoffs. Each game and each possession means something to us right now.

Is it disappointing to be in the position the team is in right now, or are you looking at it as, ‘If we get there, we’re going to be alright’?

I mean, we wish we were in a better position. But where we’re at right now, we’re fine with it. We want to make that last push to get higher in the seeding.

Lots of changes have gone on here. Eric Bledsoe came in two weeks into the season. You had the coaching change and lineup changes. Jabari Parker’s been getting situated before the postseason. How difficult does that make it for you guys to build consistency?

Yeah, it was tough at first. But I think early on we had to adjust on the fly. We didn’t have too many practices. There was a stretch where we were able to get in the film room, get on the court, and practice with each other more.

Now it’s just at a point where we’re adding a lot of new guys off the bench where we have to do the same things—learn on the fly, watch film. We’re not on the court as much now, but we just have to do a great job of buying in to our system, try to get to know each other.

Does this team feel like it has unfinished business based on what happened last year?

Definitely. Last year, we felt like we let one go. Toronto’s a great team. They’re having a hell of a season this year, but I feel like we let one go. This year’s a new year—a little add of extra motivation. We’ve been in the playoff position before, so hopefully, we learn from it when we go into it this year.

Would you welcome that rematch?

I mean, we welcome anybody man. We showed that we compete with any team out here. We can’t worry about other teams as much. We just have to be focused on us.

What has to happen for you guys to achieve your full potential?

Lock in. Just play as hard as we can, play unselfish, and do our job out there night-in, night-out.

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NBA Daily: Raptors Look To Fine-Tune The Defense

The Toronto Raptors’ defense had a letdown against the Cavaliers, but has been outstanding overall.

Buddy Grizzard



The Cleveland Cavaliers and Toronto Raptors engaged in an offensive shootout on Wednesday that could be a playoff preview. The Cavs protected home court with a single-possession, 132-129 victory. Afterward, the Raptors spoke about the types of defensive adjustments the team needs to make as the postseason rapidly approaches.

“That’s how a playoff game would be,” said DeMar DeRozan, who missed a three at the buzzer that could have forced overtime. “This is a team we’ve been playing against the last two years in the postseason. Understanding how we can tighten up things defensively, how to make things tougher for them [is key].

“[It’s] little small things that go a long way, and not just with them … with every team.”

Raptors coach Dwane Casey concurred with DeRozan that fine-tuning of the defense is needed. He also pointed out that, with young contributors such as center Jakob Poeltl and power forward Pascal Siakam on the roster, defensive experience against the league’s best player, LeBron James, is something they will have to gain on the fly.

“I don’t think Jakob Poeltl played against him that much, and Siakam,” said Casey. “This is their first time seeing it. I thought Jak and Pascal did an excellent job, but there are certain situations where they’ve got to read and understand what the other team is trying to do to them.”

Poeltl was outstanding, leading the bench with 17 points and tying for the team lead in rebounds with eight. Casey praised the diversity of his contributions.

“I thought he did an excellent job of rolling, finishing, finding people,” said Casey. “I thought defensively, he did a good job of protecting the paint, going vertical. So I liked what he was giving us, especially his defense against Kevin Love.”

Basketball Insiders previously noted how the Raptors have performed vastly better as a team this season when starting point guard Kyle Lowry is out of the game. Much of that is due to Fred VanVleet’s emergence as one of the NBA’s best reserve point guards. VanVleet scored 16 points with five assists and no turnovers against Cleveland. It’s also a reflection of how good Toronto’s perimeter defense has been up and down the roster.

According to ESPN’s defensive Real Plus-Minus statistic, three of the NBA’s top 15 defensive point guards play for the Raptors. VanVleet ranks seventh while Lowry is 12th and Delon Wright is 14th. Starting small forward OG Anunoby ranks 16th at his position.

The Raptors also rank in the top five in offensive efficiency (third) and defensive efficiency (fifth). Having established an identity as a defensive team, especially on the perimeter, it’s perhaps understandable that Lowry was the one player in the visiting locker room who took the sub-standard defensive showing personally.

“It was a disgraceful display of defense by us and we’ve got to be better than that,” said Lowry. “We’ve got to be more physical. They picked us apart and made a lot of threes. We’ve got to find a way to be a better defensive team.”

Lowry continued the theme of fine-tuning as the regular season winds down.

“I think we’ve just got to make adjustments on the fly as a team,” said Lowry. “We can score with the best of them, but they outscored us tonight. We got what we wanted offensively. We’re one of the top teams in scoring in the league, but we’re also a good defensive team.”

Lowry was clearly bothered by Toronto’s defensive showing, but Casey downplayed the importance of a single regular-season game.

“We’ve got to take these games and learn from them, and again learn from the situations where we have to be disciplined,” said Casey. “It’s not a huge thing. It’s situations where we are that we’ve got to learn from and be disciplined and not maybe take this step and over-help here. Because a team like that and a passer like James will make you pay.”

While the Raptors continue to gain experience and dial in the fine defensive details, Casey was insistent that his players should not hang their heads over falling short against Cleveland.

“Hopefully our guys understand that we’re right there,” said Casey.

The Raptors host the Brooklyn Nets tonight to open a three-game home stand that includes visits from the Clippers Sunday and the Nuggets Tuesday. After that, Toronto visits the Celtics March 31 followed by a return to Cleveland April 3 and a home game against Boston the next night. With three games in a row against the other two top-three teams in the East, the schedule presents plenty of opportunities for the Raptors to add defensive polish before the playoffs begin.

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