Guys Who Are Unlikely to be Dealt at the Trade Deadline
The NBA trade deadline is set for February 18 at 3:00 p.m. EST so expect plenty of chatter to dominate the airwaves over the next week. While there will likely be numerous transactions as the clock dwindles, here are some players who are unlikely to be changing zip codes.
Blake Griffin, Los Angeles Clippers
Griffin was on pace, statistically, to have a career season before a partially torn quadriceps put him on the shelf. As he was set to make a return from that injury, Griffin broke his hand after a scuffle with a team equipment manager. This put him back on the shelf for another six weeks. The Clippers then issued a four-game suspension on top of that once he is indeed eligible to return. While the Clippers have managed to hold their position in the top half of the Western Conference, there have been more than a few rumbles regarding the team’s disappointment in Griffin and his maturity. This led to trade rumors starting to leak, implying the Clippers would be willing to listen to offers for the former All-Star.
But according to Ken Berger of CBS Sports, it isn’t likely that the Clippers will seriously entertain offers for Griffin over the next week. He stated that if a deal were to take place, it would happen over the summer months.
Kevin Love, Cleveland Cavaliers
The relationship between Love and the Cavaliers got off to a rocky start but has shown much more consistent glimpses of cohesion this season. Despite a coaching change and battling early injuries, the Cavaliers currently sit at the top of the Eastern Conference standings heading into the All-Star break.
At one point, Love’s name was mentioned in potential trade talks, but the desire of Cleveland’s front office to listen to overtures for the talented forward has significantly waned.
Brook Lopez & Thaddeus Young, Brooklyn Nets
Brooklyn has all of the characteristics of a team that should be very active leading up to the trade deadline. The team has an interim coach and numerous long-term financial obligations while being out of the playoff picture and over the salary cap. These are the common traits of a squad that will potentially blow things up and start a massive rebuilding project.
However, according to Howard Beck of Bleacher Report, the Nets aren’t interested in trading two of their best players in Brook Lopez and Thaddeus Young, both of whom could return strong assets.
A note on Nets GM search: Prokhorov, I'm told, has made clear he is absolutely opposed to a roster teardown. He wants to keep Lopez/Young.
— Howard Beck (@HowardBeck) February 10, 2016
Taj Gibson, Chicago Bulls
When the season started, the Chicago Bulls’ frontcourt was filled with a wealth of healthy talent, essentially creating a logjam. Between Pau Gasol, Nikola Mirotic, Taj Gibson, Joakim Noah and rookie Bobby Portis, there were many questions about how rookie head coach Fred Hoiberg would manage the rotation. Many speculated that Gibson would eventually be the odd man out.
But with Noah lost for the season and Mirotic out until after the All-Star break, the Bulls now find themselves thin at a position once considered a significant strength. Chicago will limp into the All-Star break fighting for their playoff lives and Gibson logging 30-plus minutes each night due to the recent rash of injuries – making it unlikely that he’s dealt.
Dwight Howard, Houston Rockets
Sound familiar? Howard can opt out of his current deal at season’s end in order to become an unrestricted free agent. Anytime a player can opt out, their current franchise runs the risk of losing the asset for nothing in free agency. Even though Howard has declined and is past his prime, the guy is still an elite talent at the center position.
Rumors of Houston exploring the market for Howard started to creep up as we near the deadline. However, Rockets general manager Daryl Morey pretty much closed the door on the speculation, stating Howard is still part of the team’s long-term goals.
“We’re just focused on this season,” Morey said according to Brian Smith of the Houston Chronicle. “So is Dwight. If we as a team and he as a player play(s) like we know he’s capable and has been this year and was last year, all that stuff takes care of itself. There’s no way we make the conference finals last year without Dwight and there’s no way we are making the solid playoff push this year without Dwight.”
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