NBA Trade Deadline Watch: Pacific Division
A look at the potential players that could be on the move in the Pacific Division.
We continue our NBA Trade Deadline Watch with today’s look at the players that could potentially be on the move in the Pacific Division. The Western Conference is as competitive and deep as it has been over the past couple decades as we have about 10 teams either pursuing a playoff spot or jockeying for their eventual position, and another six that should at least be considering, if not actively maneuvering, for for a better position in next year’s draft.
Teams are technically beyond the halfway point and the trade deadline is quickly approaching (February 19). With teams like the Oklahoma City Thunder, Cleveland Cavaliers and New York Knicks already active on the trade market, don’t be surprised to see more teams involved in discussions as we work towards the 2015 NBA All Star break (February 13-15) in New York City.
Expiring deals: Leandro Barbosa
Potentially expiring deals: Draymond Green (Restricted), Justin Holiday (Restricted), Ognjen Kuzmic (Restricted), Brandon Rush (Player Option) and Marreese Speights (Team Option).
Could be shopped: David Lee and Leandro Barbosa.
The Warriors may be one of the more complete teams in the league and have played exceptionally well for first-year head coach Steve Kerr, but if the past few seasons (including so far this year) have proven anything it’s that Andrew Bogut’s presence in the middle is about as vital to the team’s ultimate success as anything else.
Obviously, MVP candidate Stephen Curry and the man some would say is a legitimate Most Improved Player candidate Klay Thompson do much of the nightly damage on offense, but Bogut’s size in the paint is absolutely necessary if this team is to have more playoff success than in recent years.
Since you can never count on players to be fully healthy in professional sports -especially in Bogut’s case – these Warriors should really consider bringing in another big man that can rebound and act as a rim-protector for the playoff push. Backup center Festus Ezeli is currently trying to rehab what has been a significant ankle injury with the team’s D-League affiliate. David Lee has been a large part of what the Warriors have done over the past couple years, but the emergence of Draymond Green as a force and consistent contributor could make Lee expendable at this point if the Warriors were able to find a party interested in the final year ($15.49 million) of his contract in 2015-16.
Expiring deals: DeAndre Jordan, Austin Rivers, Hedo Turkoglu, Ekpe Udoh and Glen Davis.
Potentially expiring deals: Jamal Crawford (Non-Guaranteed) and Matt Barnes (Non-Guaranteed).
Could be shopped: Ekpe Udoh
As you can see, the Clippers really don’t have very many viable options in terms of bargaining chips. Jamal Crawford is clearly their best reserve asset, but they would be foolish to tamper with their core players this late in the year. Especially when Crawford has literally carried their bench offense this season.
The trouble is, unless the Clippers are able to add talent via potential buyout players, they find themselves needing additional scoring and playmaking options off the bench. They could also use another perimeter defender as well as another big man that can rebound and act as a rim-protector when DeAndre Jordan is out of the game. We listed and discussed a few potential options in Nate Robinson and Tayshaun Prince here, but if the Clippers aren’t able to work those deals out they aren’t left with many options that don’t include messing with the team’s chemistry. They’re also limited by a hard cap this season.
Expiring deals: Gerald Green and Brandan Wright.
Potentially expiring deals: Goran Dragic (Player Option)
Could be shopped: Miles Plumlee, Gerald Green and Archie Goodwin
Currently at 27-20 and in what would be the eighth and final Western Conference, the Phoenix Suns find themselves in the potential position to act as “buyers” at the deadline. For a team that hasn’t enjoyed postseason play since the days when Lakers and Celtics were still playing in the Finals (2009-10), it will be interesting to see if GM Ryan McDonough determines a need to shore up the roster in order to continue holding teams like the New Orleans Pelicans and Oklahoma City Thunder at bay.
Not that McDonough has to break things up, but he’s in a prime position to capitalize on some of the roster redundancy if he so chose to make an upgrade or add depth at the center position. The team’s recent decision to send second-year guard Archie Goodwin along with rookies T.J. Warren and Tyler Ennis to play for their D-League affiliate (Bakersfield Jam) presents the opportunity for each young player to get some consistent playing time as well as allows the organization to really see what they’ve got in Goodwin.
Like Warren and Ennis, Goodwin finds himself as an odd-man-out in what is a talented, but crowded backcourt for the Suns. With Green’s expiring contract looming, this could be an excellent opportunity for the team to determine whether Goodwin could be a viable replacement in the event that negotiations don’t go in favor of the front office’s stated desire to re-sign their soon-to-be free agent this summer.
Expiring deals: Omri Casspi, Reggie Evans, Rudy Gay and Ryan Hollins.
Potentially expiring deals: Derrick Williams (Restricted)
Could be shopped: Derrick Williams, Nik Stauskas, Ray McCallum, Omri Casspi and Ramon Sessions.
At 16-28 in an extremely competitive Western Conference, the Kings still seem to be in the “win now, at all costs” mindset that apparently led to the surprising decision to fire former head coach Mike Malone after just an 11-13 start. Our own Alex Kennedy discussed this very topic in one of his recent chats, as the rumor is the Kings will continue their aggressive pursuit of additional talent, even though they’ve gone just 5-15 since terminating Malone and are technically closer to the last-place Timberwolves (Western Conference) than they are to actually catching the Suns for a playoff spot.
As Kennedy mentioned, they’ve got plenty of young assets to package if the right deal presented itself and even though point guard Darren Collison has seemed to be a good fit for them, the team could still be pursuing a young backcourt asset like OKC’s Reggie Jackson if the Thunder were to make him available prior to the deadline.
Rookie Nik Stauskas hasn’t been able to break into Sacramento’s main rotation, but the 6’6 shooter could be seen as a cost-controlled asset with the potential to be developed by other teams. If they make a move, Stauskas could be a central figure in the deal.
Expiring deals: Steve Nash, Carlos Boozer, Jeremy Lin, Wayne Ellington, Wesley Johnson and Ronnie Price.
Potentially expiring deals: Jordan Hill (Team Option) and Ed Davis (Player Option).
Could be shopped: Jordan Hill, Jeremy Lin, Ryan Kelly and Steve Nash.
It would have seemed disrespectful to place the entire roster (sans a near-retirement Kobe Bryant) under the “could be moved” heading, but the reality is this team might have the most flexibility of anyone as we move forward. Bryant is done for the year and the team is 13-34, which would place them on pace to finish even worse than last year’s (franchise-worst) 27-55 record.
For a team in need of significant talent upgrades at several positions and a necessity to retain their top-five protected lottery pick – regardless of whether they publicly acknowledge it- the Lakers may as well play young guys like Jordan Clarkson, Tarik Black, Ed Davis and even Wayne Ellington as much as possible down the stretch.
Hill has been productive, but also remains the team’s best trading asset as several contending teams are sorely in need of frontcourt depth as we head into the playoff push. The Lakers could decide to hold on to Hill for what would be the final year of his deal (Team Option) in 2015-16, but it also wouldn’t be shocking to see him moved or even packaged with another asset like Nash’s expiring contract if it meant the team could place themselves in a better position moving forward. They are rumored to desire both players of impact and additional draft picks. Given all of the competition both within the conference as well as in the East, it would be somewhat surprising if they were not one of the more active teams (at least in terms of discussions) as we head towards Feb. 19.
The trade deadline, like many free agency periods, has traditionally been more “sizzle than steak” over the years, but that could really change this season. Teams like the Thunder and Grizzlies have already made deals in order to improve their rosters. The Blazers and Clippers are among a group of teams potentially in need of frontcourt depth, while several others could definitely benefit from more perimeter defenders in anticipation of facing the likes of Curry and Thompson, James Harden or even Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook (if they get in) for a seven-game series.
Be sure to check out our Northwest, Southeast division articles as well!
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