Three Big Trade Deadline Buyers
By Bill Ingram
This week will be a big one for Basketball Insiders and our readers. We’ve been working overtime putting together what will be a comprehensive 2014 NBA Trade Deadline Guide, which you can download from the iPhone App Store, Android App Store as well as online. Our team takes an in-depth look at all 30 NBA teams, detailing which ones are buyers, which ones are sellers and which ones are likely to stand pat. We also offer trade deadline insight from the player, agent and executive perspectives. As we anxiously await the publication of the magazine, let’s take a quick look at three teams that will absolutely be buyers as the last days before the deadline melt away.
Can These NBA Rookies Be Salvaged?
By Nate Duncan
Long before it was actually held, pundits deemed the 2013 NBA Draft one of the worst in recent memory. Since then, the top 10 has done absolutely nothing to dispel that notion. Aside from second pick Victor Oladipo and ninth pick Trey Burke, every rookie in the top 10 has been disappointing, injured, or both.
Do these rookies’ struggles bear ill portent for their fanbases, or can they turn it around? I talked to several scouts and executives, then went to the film and the stats to determine what to make of five rookies’ bad starts.
Can The Magic Continue To Win?
By Steve Kyler
The Orlando Magic have done the improbable. After amassing 14 wins in 51 tries, in the span of the weekend the Magic have taken down the top two teams in the NBA, overcoming 17-point deficits against both the Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday and the Indiana Pacers last night.
After the game last night in Orlando, one media member leaned into a Magic player and asked jokingly “Isn’t this a rebuilding team? This isn’t the plan.” The player looked up from his locker and smiled coyly.
Two games does not a season make, but what these two wins have done is prove to the players inside the Magic locker room that they can win when they apply themselves defensively, and they can play with anyone in the NBA, even the top two teams in the game.
Father’s Tough Love Turned Around Sullinger’s Season
By Jessica Camerato
It’s not unusual for Satch Sullinger to travel to Boston to watch his son play for the Celtics. Over the past two seasons he has become a familiar face around TD Garden, often coming to town for long home stands at a time. When Satch decided to visit Jared in late January, the 21-year-old thought his dad was coming to check in on him. Turns out Satch was traveling to put him in check.
Satch didn’t like what he had been seeing during games. The attitude, the expressions, they were not up to the standard he had set for his children when it comes to professionalism. Just weeks after leaving from a month-long stay, he returned to Massachusetts to let his displeasure be known.
NBA Power Rankings: Clippers Sailing
By Moke Hamilton
Commissioner Adam Silver’s first NBA All-Star Weekend is nigh, and thanks to him, the same can be said for Anthony Davis. As we take a look back at Week 15 of the Association, it is Davis who has been named the All-Star replacement for the injured Kobe Bryant, and it is Commissioner Silver that should be commended for what amounts to an excellent choice.
Another excellent choice would be the Indiana Pacers and their opting to roll the dice on Andrew Bynum. After coming to terms with the enigmatic seven-footer, the Pacers remain our top dogs in the Eastern Conference, but now, obviously have another player who, if healthy, can help them on what we expect to be a deep playoff run.
But as of this moment, for three weeks running, it is the Oklahoma City Thunder who are not only running, but crashing and rolling, as well. The winningest team in the league at this point still trail those Pacers by mere percentage points, but Kevin Durant’s near triple-double in Sunday’s showdown with Carmelo Anthony’s New York Knicks has done nothing more than put more room between Durant and his peers as the Most Valuable Player conversation continues in earnest.
Jazz Could Crash Trade Deadline Party
By Lang Greene
There’s no way around it. This is a rebuilding year for the Utah Jazz, one where the organization is allowing their young core of Alec Burks, Derrick Favors, Enes Kanter, Gordon Hayward and Trey Burke to gain experience and learn on the fly. While some franchises, such as Brooklyn and New York, have struggled to live up to the lofty expectations of their respective preseason hype, Utah is right where most slotted them to be.
The Jazz (17-33) are owners of the second worst record in the Western Conference this season, but if the team gets its personnel decisions right over the next six months, a big improvement in 2015 is undoubtedly on the horizon.
There are many variables to pulling off a successful NBA rebuilding project, but here are three essentials: significant talent on rookie scale deals, draft assets and salary cap room to maneuver.
On paper, the Jazz are positioned strongly on all of these fronts.
With the February 20 trade deadline just over a week away, the Jazz are strongly positioned to become an active player in the market festivities with a plethora of veteran players on expiring contracts.
Potential Trading Partners for Knicks in a Carmelo Trade
By Tommy Beer
Let’s start by fast-forwarding 12 months into the future… One year from now, what’s the best-case scenario for the New York Knicks? Could they be 10 games better than they are this season? Could they be a few games above .500? Even under ideal circumstances, could they possibly be considered a championship contender?
Keep in mind: Not even including Carmelo Anthony, New York’s 2014-15 team salary will still exceed $70 million – including $49 million committed to the trio of Amar’e Stoudemire, Tyson Chandler and Andrea Bargnani for the 2014-15 season. Thus, Knicks GM Steve Mills will have very limited roster flexibility this summer. Because New York will be over the cap, they will not be able to reel in any significant free agents. They also don’t have either their first or second-round pick to improve the roster.
This is something Anthony will have to consider this summer when he has to make a life-altering decision in July. Will Anthony be willing to essentially sacrifice another year of his prime? Has the Knicks organization exhibited an ability to build a winner?
If Healthy, Pau Gasol Remains Suns’ Best Option
By Jabari Davis
When we last heard of the Pau Gasol to Phoenix rumors, it appeared the Suns were souring on the idea of giving in to the Lakers’ reported desire to acquire a particular first-round pick (closer to middle of the round) of the upcoming 2014 NBA Draft. Either that, or they are truly playing hardball with the Lakers while awaiting Gasol’s re-evaluation of his injured groin scheduled to follow the All-Star break.
The reality is, while Gasol’s post productivity and veteran leadership could be precisely what the Suns need as they head into what they hope results in a playoff run, their potential four first-round picks in the upcoming draft give them more options than perhaps any other team in the league to complete a deal for an available player of their choosing.
Eric Gordon, Milwaukee Bucks a Potential Match?
By Yannis Koutroupis
We’re officially one week away from the NBA’s trade deadline and as a result there are a lot of talks about potential transactions going on throughout the league. Here’s a look at the latest rumors to cross the wire:
According to Gery Woelfel of the Racine Journal Times, the Milwaukee Bucks were playing close attention to New Orleans Pelicans guard Eric Gordon last night. They could have stood to pay him a little more attention defensively, as he dropped 21 points on them in a 102-98 Pelicans win, but that’s not the kind of attention Woelfel was alluding to.
A Warped Sports Fantasy Land
By Travis Heath
As someone who works with 19-year-olds on a daily basis, I am persistently reminded how their brains are still developing. As a college professor it is a true privilege to watch young people grow and gain a more stable sense of self. Within that process though, there is much fragility.
Our society erroneously assumes that adolescents become adults the moment they turn 18. Neuroscience paints a different picture and reminds us that a brain is not fully mature until age 24 or 25. Perhaps that is what is so disturbing to me about what happened at Texas Tech last week.
Bulls Might Not Amnesty Boozer
By Joel Brigham
Death, taxes, and the Chicago Bulls using the amnesty provision to cut ties with Carlos Boozer this summer. All of them are about as certain as things come in life, though on the TNT broadcast of the Bulls/Nets game Thursday night, Craig Sager dropped a little bombshell that has since shaken Bulls fans to their cores:
Chicago might not amnesty Boozer this summer after all.
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