All week leading up to the deadline there has been plenty of speculation regarding trades of certain players. This piece continues the Basketball Insiders series of the Trade Deadline Watch and highlights the most intriguing stories and where we are at with them.
The trade deadline is about as interesting as it gets at this point of the year, as teams are either trying to stockpile future assets or acquire playoff-level talent to help them make one last push for the Larry O’Brien. The unfortunate reality for many teams, however, is that a deal may not end up getting done.
You can argue that every franchise has moves they should make, but whether or not they’re able to find a partner that enables a symbiotic relationship is the determining factor. As we saw early Wednesday morning, sometimes it takes four teams and a boatload of players to make a deal worthwhile!
Below we will lay out some of the most interesting storylines, dive into important facts and highlight any developments. With the deadline coming to a close at 3 p.m. Thursday, we shall see if any of these deals happen. Hoorah for Trade Deadline Season!
Andre Iguodala – Memphis Grizzlies
The drama is ripe with this one! Iguodala hasn’t suited up for the Memphis Grizzlies all season — he and the front office had an agreement in place before his departure from the Golden State Warriors was finalized — and certain players with Memphis are taking notice.
As reported by Mark Giannotto of The Commercial Appeal, Dillon Brooks earlier this week said, “I can’t wait till we find a way to trade him so we can play him and show him really what Memphis is about.” Teammate Ja Morant then quote tweeted the above comment with the talking emoji. It’s safe to say that Memphis’ young stars aren’t all too pleased with Iggy’s willingness to just sit out.
This one is interesting because Memphis was supposed to struggle. No one had them on the cusp of the playoffs right before the All-Star break. Even the Grizzlies’ front office had little faith, as it’s apparent that is part of what led them to the agreement with Iggy that he would be able to sit out until they could flip him for draft assets.
Well, Memphis is solid. They have a handful of young stars in Morant, Jaren Jackson Jr., and Brandon Clarke. It’s easy to see why they would feel spurned by Iggy’s continued lack of desire to join them in their playoff hunt.
The biggest issue with Andre Iguodala right now? There doesn’t seem to be many buyers. It’s been reported that Memphis wants a first-round pick for the former Finals MVP and three-time NBA champion, but there aren’t many teams that have enough faith in the declining 36-year-old. Enough faith for a future first-rounder, at least.
There’s a chance Memphis can still flip Iggy for some second-round picks, but there is also the possibility a deal doesn’t get done and they simply sit on him until he becomes a free agent over the summer. But as for any deals heating up over the last few days, there hasn’t been much chatter.
Kevin Love – Cleveland Cavaliers
Cleveland is a bad team. They have a couple of nice, young pieces, but in no way, shape or form should it have a max-contract level player on the roster. Kevin Love definitely helps Cleveland, but he has very little help around him, so he himself is not able to amount to many wins, as the team’s record indicates.
Love is still playing basketball at a high-level. The issue, however, is that he is getting older, clearly past his peak and is owed over $90 million in the next three seasons. Not only will Cleveland want an equal return in terms of draft assets for Love’s abilities, but they’ll also need to find a team willing to take on his salary. On top of this, they’d need someone to match his almost $30 million salary for the 2019-20 season, which could take up to four players. This makes any trade incredibly difficult.
There are plenty of teams out there that could use Kevin Love’s services. He probably pushes teams like the Los Angeles Clippers or Utah Jazz to the top of the Western Conference hierarchy. He makes a team like the Boston Celtics an instant threat to win the East. But are there any teams out there that could easily get a deal done? Not likely.
At the end of the day, will Love’s $30 million-per-year contract through the 2022-23 season be worth it? He’s 31 years old. He’ll almost be 35 by the time his contract is up. Monitoring this situation will be very interesting.
The New York Knicks
As expected, the Knicks are opening up shop. A yearly ritual around the trade deadline, the Knicks have nowhere to go but up, so getting as many future draft assets as possible is not a bad thing.
The most notable names to come out of New York’s circle are Julius Randle and Marcus Morris. Both players could provide a huge boost to all current playoff teams, enough so that the Knicks might actually get a decent haul for them. Both Randle and Morris off the roster would also allow the Knicks to play and develop some of their younger talents. Let’s be real, Morris isn’t willing them to the playoffs anytime soon, so there’s not much point in letting him be your nightly hero if you can flip him for a potential first-round pick.
With the recent firing of team president Steve Mills, the Knicks are now much more likely to get a Morris deal done. Teams like the Los Angeles Lakers are already begun exploring their options. Morris adds instant offense to any roster and has the chops on defense, too. He isn’t an All-Star by any means, but if he’s your fourth or fifth guy, you have a championship-level roster for sure.
All the trade hoopla wraps up tomorrow. Will any of the above deals get done? Will anything not mentioned be the highlight of this year’s trade deadline? Are there deals worked out that never even saw the light of day until they were announced? We’ll have to wait and find out.
With the end of the Golden State Warriors’ dynasty, there are at least six-plus teams that have a real chance at winning it all, and you better believe that another seven or eight think they have a legitimate shot, too. If that means anything, you should expect plenty of transactions.
But, the league is and always has been full of surprises, so we’ll just have to see what the front offices have up their sleeves.
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