NBA AM: Who’s on the Trading Block?
The NBA trade deadline is just over two weeks away. Here are some names and situations to watch closely.
The 2013-14 NBA trade deadline is set for 3:00 p.m. (ET) on February 20, which puts us at just over two weeks away from one of the busiest times of the season. As expected the trade rumor circuit has started to heat up as league executives continue to work the lines to secure a deal for their respective franchise.
Here are some initial names and situations to keep an eye on around the league as the deadline nears.
Pau Gasol, Forward-Center, Los Angeles Lakers
Gasol, a four time All-Star, has seemingly been on the trading block for years. The veteran is on the books for $19.2 million this season and will be an unrestricted free agent this summer. It’s no secret the Lakers would move Gasol if the opportunity presented itself, but the franchise has refused to take on long term money in the process preferring to protect their cap room for free agency this summer.
The latest, according to the Los Angeles Times, indicates the Phoenix Suns have at least expressed an exploratory interest in Gasol. The Suns reportedly would be willing to part ways with a first round pick and veteran center Emeka Okafor as part of the deal.
The Lakers are attempting to retool on the fly, so expect Gasol’s name to remain firmly entrenched on the rumor mill all the way up until the deadline.
Greg Monroe, Forward, Detroit Pistons
The frontcourt trio of Andre Drummond, Greg Monroe and Josh Smith has failed to live up to expectations this season in Motown, especially on the defensive side of the ball. The team’s lack of perimeter shooting has played a strong role in the team’s struggle as well as Monroe’s presence forcing Smith to play out of position at small forward.
With Monroe is expected to become a restricted free agent this summer and the team committing over $50 million to Smith, reports have surfaced the former Georgetown product may be on the move.
However, despite the persistent reports, Pistons executives continually have denied engaging in any trade talks involving Monroe.
Rajon Rondo, Guard, Boston Celtics
The Celtics are at the beginning stages of their rebuilding project and president of basketball operations Danny Ainge has made it clear he won’t let loyalty to specific players impact his blueprint. Boston has a strong asset in Rondo, one of the best point guards in the league, as we approach the deadline. However, as we covered in this space last week, sources maintain Rondo is in all likelihood safe from the trading block – for now.
Evan Turner, Forward, Philadelphia 76ers
There are three factors to note when evaluating Turner’s future with the Sixers: the team is beginning a lengthy rebuilding process, Turner is headed toward restricted free agency and the fourth year pro is having a career season.
The Charlotte Observer recently reported the Charlotte Bobcats have explored the possibility of acquiring Turner from the Sixers to aid in their playoff push. Other outlets report the Sixers are looking to secure a first round pick in return for Turner in a deal.
Emeka Okafor, Center, Phoenix Suns
Okafor has yet to play a single game this season due to a neck injury, but the Suns are reportedly shopping the veteran big man around the league to gauge interest. The value in Okafor is his $14.5 million expiring contract at the end of the season. There are plenty of teams in rebuilding situations around the league and one of the keys to a successful retooling is freeing up cap room.
Phoenix is looking for another rotation player to strengthen their playoff positioning and Okafor may be one of the vehicles utilized to pull off a deal at the deadline.
Ben Gordon, Guard, Charlotte Bobcats
Make no mistake, the Bobcats would entertain the notion of moving Gordon and his $13.2 million expiring contract, but the franchise hasn’t found a deal to their liking yet.
A change of scenery would apparently be welcomed on both fronts as Gordon told Basketball Insiders earlier this season his biggest priority would be joining a contender in free agency this summer.
Jason Thompson, Forward, Sacramento Kings
The arrival of forwards Derrick Williams and Rudy Gay and the return of Carl Landry may place Thompson on the expendable list. The problem Sacramento will encounter is the fact Thompson is owed more than $19 million over the next three seasons. While Thompson has been productive since entering the league, that cap number may be one teams around the league hesitate to absorb on their books.
Thaddeus Young, Forward, Philadelphia 76ers
Young is currently the longest tenured Sixers player on the roster and is averaging a career-high 17.4 points per game this season. Despite being one of the few bright spots for the team this season, rumors continue to swirl that the organization is trying to move Young in order to secure an asset (or pick) for their rebuilding effort.
Young is owed $9.4 million next season and has a player option for the 2016 campaign worth $9.9 million.
Omer Asik, Center, Houston Rockets
The Rockets aggressively tried to deal Asik earlier this season but couldn’t find a deal to their liking. After failing to find a deal, Rockets general manager Daryl Morey has publicly maintained Asik will most likely remain with Houston until his contract ends after next season. However with the trade deadline approaching and finding quality big men scarce, Morey’s phone lines may be buzzing soon from team’s looking to strengthen their own interior.
Chris Kaman, Center, Los Angeles Lakers
The Lakers used their full taxpayer mid-level exception ($3.1m) to sign Kaman this past summer, but the partnership hasn’t blossomed according to plan. Kaman was expected to receive the lion’s share of minutes for the Lakers at center this season but has played in less than half of the team’s games to date.
Kaman, who has also dealt with some injuries, has been confused by his lack of a defined role and with the Lakers rebuilding don’t be surprised if you hear the veteran’s name mentioned in trade reports leading up to the deadline.
Andre Miller, Denver Nuggets Rift Still Ongoing
Veteran point guard Andre Miller’s consecutive games played streak was snapped at 239 last month after receiving a DNP-CD from head coach Brian Shaw. Miller then lashed out at his coach and received a two game suspension from the Denver Nuggets in return. While the suspension was quickly lifted, the fact remains Miller hasn’t played with the team since December 30, 2013.
The Nuggets could use a steady floor general in the backcourt with Nate Robinson being lost for the season to a torn ACL.
However if a reunion were to take place, Shaw says he won’t be the one reaching out to mend the fence with the exiled Miller.
“There won’t be any reaching out from our end,” Shaw told Christopher Dempsey of the Denver Post. “I think we’ve operated and done everything that we’re supposed to do. So, if there’s any reaching out that needs to be done I think the reaching out has to come from him to us. But at this point we’re still trying to evaluate the situation. The guys that are here are going to be our concern. That’s something I’ve kind of completely taken myself out of and let whatever happens be dealt with between him, his agent and the front office.”
Miller is averaging a career-low 5.9 points and 3.3 assists in 30 games this season.
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