With the NBA’s trade deadline (February 20, 3 p.m. ET) rapidly approaching, we are almost certain to hear of dozens of trade rumors and scenarios. While some will be more far-fetched than others, we wanted to take a look at some of the bigger names that could potentially be available in deals.
While the probable ‘buyers’ and ‘sellers’ may have been difficult to determine at times, both the standings and financial (cap) realities of certain franchises have made the picture a bit more clear. The Lakers, Sixers, Pistons and Bucks are the likely to be the biggest ‘sellers’ at the deadline, but given how unpredictable of a season 2013-14 has already been, we shouldn’t be surprised by much of anything over the next 28 (or so) hours.
Teams on the cusp or hoping to find that one piece that might either put them over the top or at least solidify a playoff position are the most likely to be the ‘buyers’ as the deadline approaches. Those teams could most notably include: Suns, Clippers, Blazers, Wizards and Spurs.
Reportedly Available: Available players or those potentially involved in active discussions or negotiations.
Josh Smith, Detroit Pistons – There were some of us that questioned the thought process behind signing Smith to a four-year, $54 million deal last summer. Not because there is anything wrong with Smith, but largely due to the fact that his better days at the small forward position are probably about five years in the past. With Greg Monroe continuing to produce at power forward, Detroit is rumored to prefer the idea of moving Smith’s contract. Potential trade partners: Jazz, Cavs, Pacers
Greg Monroe, Detroit Pistons – For the record, Monroe would not be a player we would move in Detroit’s position, but if the Pistons ultimately decide to move Monroe, they are likely to have multiple suitors. With Monroe’s pending restricted free agency, Detroit finds themselves in a position where they have to consider moving one of the better young power forwards. The most recent reports have their front office more reluctant to move him (as they should be) than say the aforementioned Smith, but it may ultimately become a numbers game with Monroe being the unfortunate odd man out. Potential trade partners: Lakers, Suns, Nets, Cavs
Kyle Lowry, Toronto Raptors – Lowry’s name was hot-and-heavy in trade rumors back in December and early January, as both New York teams were reportedly attempting to acquire the eight-year veteran. Lowry is currently in the middle of a career year for the Raptors, averaging 16.7 points, 7.6 assists, and 4.5 rebounds per contest. It will be interesting to see whether Toronto still decides to move him given they are currently a three seed in the Eastern Conference. GM Masai Ujiri has reported interest in Rajon Rondo, but it is uncertain whether a deal can be reached prior to the deadline. Potential trade partners: Celtics, Knicks
Omer Asik, Houston Rockets – It seems as though the Rockets have been reportedly willing and interested in moving Asik from the moment they signed Dwight Howard, and (frankly) they should. Not surprisingly, the team was very cautious with the thigh injury he suffered way back in December, presumably so no further damage would come and so Asik could be ready and available if a deal were to materialize. Potential trade partners: Sixers, Nets
Pau Gasol, Los Angeles Lakers – Stop us if you’re heard this one before. The reality is, the Lakers have attempted to, or at least have been interested in, moving Gasol for the better part of three seasons. It has nothing to do with not appreciating Gasol’s tremendous contributions to the franchise, rather it can specifically be attributed to a desire to maximize on his contract as an asset. The reported talks with the Suns regarding Emeka Okafor’s expiring contract and a first-round pick sound like the most realistic negotiations, but the ongoing rumors regarding using Gasol’s contract in a potential Kevin Love deal have once again surfaced. If healthy, whether it is one of these deals (or any other), it appears the 33-year-old could potentially be on the move before Thursday’s deadline. Potential trade partners: Suns, Bobcats, Timberwolves
Andre Miller, Denver Nuggets – Following his deactivation that was the result of an on-court argument with head coach Brian Shaw over month ago, very little has been heard from Miller. Rumors of interest from the Kings can and fizzled away in early January, but teams in search of backcourt experience for a playoff push might still have interest. Potential trade partners: Wizards, Knicks, Kings
Jarrett Jack, Cleveland Cavaliers – Apparently, they have yet to find the proper mix in Cleveland, as the reports are that Jack could be available before the deadline. Like Andre Miller, Jack (30) can provide experience and playmaking off the bench for any team in need of point guard depth in their rotation. A younger option by seven years, Jack also benefits from not having a very public spat with his head coach attached to his name to his benefit. Potential trade partners: Kings, Nets
Evan Turner, Philadelphia 76ers – Teams looking for a perimeter defender, slasher, and someone that can finish at the rim in transition may take a look at Turner. His inability to consistently knock down the three-point shot may turn a few teams off, but with the postseason stretch upcoming teams may look beyond any shooting deficiencies Turner may possess in favor of his defense and intangibles. Potential trade partners: Spurs, Hawks, Bobcats
Thaddeus Young, Philadelphia 76ers – Count Young as another Sixers player in the middle of a very good season on a bad team. Teams interested in versatile forwards who can provide scoring off the bench would have interest in Young’s 17.1 points per game. Potential trade partners: Spurs, Suns
Spencer Hawes, Philadelphia 76ers – Every team can use a big man who can step away from the paint and still be a scoring threat, and Hawes has developed the ability to do just that. He’s currently shooting 40.3 percent from beyond the arc, but still managing to pull down near double-digit (8.6) rebounds in 31.5 minutes per contest. Potential trade partners: Rockets, Clippers, Blazers, Mavericks
Emeka Okafor, Phoenix Suns – Teams specifically looking to add cap space for the upcoming free agent period this July would likely have the most interest in Okafor’s expiring $14.49 million contact. The herniated disc in his neck has kept him sidelined all season, so any team looking to acquire him would seemingly be trying to get beneath the salary cap or particularly the luxury tax threshold. Potential trade partners: Lakers, Celtics
The Pelicans’ Eric Gordon and Tyreke Evans were supposedly available at some point, but the most recent reports have them most likely staying put in New Orleans. Guys like Kevin Love, Rajon Rondo, and Zach Randolph have also been involved in rumors along the way, but it shouldn’t necessarily be anticipated they’ll be moved before the deadline, barring any significant and unforeseen developments.
Those three-team trade proposals that commonly circulate on Twitter or throughout sports radio may work perfectly in a trade machine generator, but don’t actually come to fruition nearly as often some might think. Any of the ‘sellers’ that aren’t specifically motivated by salary cap difficulties could simply wait until the offseason for draft day or even sign-and-trade deals once the NBA’s free agency period is upon us in July.
The trade deadline often disappoints, much like highly anticipated free agency periods, but given how many teams appear to be on opposing sides of the ‘buyers’ and ‘sellers’ markets there could be more action than recent years. For in-depth trade deadline analysis including a team-by-team breakdown, be sure to subscribe to Basketball Insiders Magazine.
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