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NBA Trade Watch: Southwest Division

A look at some players from the Southwest Division who could be on the move, including Ryan Anderson.

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The NBA season is underway and while the action on the court is exciting, the action off the court can also be intriguing. Trades in the NBA can come at anytime and it keeps players, teams, reporters and fans on their edge of their seats until the trade deadline hits on Feb. 19, 2015 at 3 p.m. EST. This is one of the most unpredictable and interesting times of the season and while rumors are always circulating, only a few trades happen each year.

Here is a list of five players from the Southwest Division that could be moved prior to the deadline for one reason or another:

Ryan Anderson, New Orleans Pelicans – With Anthony Davis developing into a superstar and holding down the Pelicans’ starting power forward spot, it doesn’t leave much room for Ryan Anderson. He’s playing a significant role off of the bench, but there’s no room for him in the starting lineup with Davis and Omer Asik in New Orleans’ frontcourt.

The best thing for both parties may be to trade Anderson and get a couple of good pieces in return, which can strengthen the Pelicans’ depth. Right now, the Pelicans have a huge drop off after their first six players, so moving Anderson for several pieces could help the team at multiple positions.

Several teams around the league are in search of a big man that can shoot and Anderson will be a hot commodity if he is put out on the market. He is now healthy, playing well and not showing signs of rust.  During the preseason, he averaged 13.4 points and five rebounds per game over seven games. In the season opener, he had 22 points and nine rebounds in 22 minutes.

The Pelicans won’t trade Anderson just to trade him because they really like him, but if they have the opportunity to get a lot in return and solve their depth issue, perhaps it’s something they’ll consider.

Marc Gasol, Memphis Grizzlies – Marc Gasol has spent his entire six-year career with the Memphis Grizzlies, but that could change when he hits the free agency market next summer. Gasol will be unrestricted and that has proven to be an unpredictable process. The big man will be highly coveted, with plenty of teams alreadybeing mentioned as a potential suitor for Gasol’s services, including the New York Knicks.

Gasol’s older brother Pau Gasol recently told the New York Post that it is “possible” that his brother may land in New York, and he would seem to be a perfect fit in the triangle offense. If all remains the same, the Knicks will be able to offer Gasol a max deal, but it’s less than Memphis can offer since they hold his Bird rights. The 2012-13 Defensive Player of the Year is currently in the last year of his four-year, $57.5 million contract.

If it becomes clear that Gasol plans to leave Memphis for whatever reason, the Grizzlies could decide to trade him prior to February so that they can get something back in return. Gasol has a ton of trade value and, if he plans to leave, the Grizzlies can potentially send him to a team that wants to either rent him for the rest of the season or try to lock him into a long-term agreement this offseason. Memphis would love to keep Gasol and it’s very possible their marriage will continue, but if he wants out, trading him is better than watching him walk in free agency.

Austin Daye, San Antonio Spurs – Austin Daye has been in the league for five years and has played for four different teams. He is no stranger to trades and might be on the trading block again this coming season.

This past summer, the Spurs drafted Kyle Anderson, making Daye a somewhat expendable piece. Anderson, out of UCLA, put up eight points, three rebounds, two assists and 1.17 steals per game during the 2014 NBA Las Vegas Summer League.

Anderson’s youth and fresh perspective might appeal better to the Spurs. Daye’s contract is a little over $1 million and it wouldn’t be hard to move. The Spurs understand the importance of continuity, so they may not make any moves before the deadline, but a role player like Daye could be someone they’re willing to part ways with if the right offer presents itself.

Terrence Jones, Houston Rockets – The Houston Rockets were unsuccessful in their effort to land a third star player this offseason and may be looking to make some moves before the trade deadline. The Rockets were hoping to land All-Stars Carmelo Anthony or Chris Bosh through free agency, but both players stayed put with their teams. In an effort to clear cap space for Anthony or Bosh, they parted ways with Jeremy Lin and Omer Asik. At the same time, they decided not to match Chandler Parsons’ $46 million three-year offer sheet from the Dallas Mavericks.

The Rockets were clearly out to improve their roster and knew it would mean cutting ties with Lin, Asik and Parsons. Since they didn’t make a big splash in free agency, look for the Rockets to be active around the trade deadline (as they are every year with Daryl Morey at the helm). Before, Parsons was their most attractive trade chip; now, Terrence Jones is the next best player with trade value. He made a huge leap from his rookie season to last season by increasing his point average from 5.5 to 12.1. During the preseason, he averaged 16 points, 13 rebounds and three assists per game. If he continues to play at a high level and keeps on improving, his trade value will continue to rise and the Rockets could use him in a deal for the third star they desire.

Austin Rivers, New Orleans Pelicans – The New Orleans Pelicans did not pick up the team option on Austin Rivers’ rookie contract and he will become an unrestricted free agent next summer.  Rivers has struggled at times and has not adjusted to the Pelicans’ system. Reports over the summer indicated the Pelicans considered trading or waiving Rivers in order to clear room for Omer Asik from Houston. With New Orleans choosing to let Rivers hit the open market next summer, it seems like he is not part of the team’s long-term plan and the Pelicans may try to trade him rather than letting him walk as a free agent.

This will be a big year for Rivers, as he tries to prove to the Pelicans and teams around that NBA that he should be playing at this level. Finding a new team might be the best thing for him. If the Pelicans can trade him away and acquire someone that will help them in the long run, they should go for it. Rivers will need to play well to increase his trade value. If he does, he could be moved before February and then get some offers from around the league next summer.

 

Mary Stevens is entering her third year covering the NBA. She is based out of Orlando, Fla. and has also covered the NFL, NCAA and MLS.

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