Excerpts from 2014 Trade Deadline Guide

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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.

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.”

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.”

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.

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.