Coming Down the Stretch
Yesterday in this space, we hit on some of the top-level names that have been floating around the trade market. Today, we’ll jump into some of the smaller names being kicked around in advance of the NBA Trade Deadline.
Phoenix Suns forward P.J. Tucker is one of several Suns players being discussed in trade circles. League sources peg him as a likely trade candidate mainly because his contract is favorable and he is a good and available team guy. The Toronto Raptors and Cleveland Cavaliers are said to have kicked the tires on Tucker, as have the Washington Wizards. The prevailing thought on Tucker is that he could be had for very little in return and that becomes interesting as teams that are looking for bench help from a veteran miss on bigger fish.
Tucker is owed $5.5 million this season and has $1.5 million of his 2016-17 salary guaranteed. In terms of relatively cheap and available talent, Tucker looks like someone who could get packed in with another player or moved outright by himself.
The Orlando Magic made their first transaction yesterday, sending Tobias Harris to the Detroit Pistons. Their next transaction might be offloading Channing Frye to either the L.A. Clippers or the Cleveland Cavaliers. From there, the next guy under consideration is big man Andrew Nicholson. His camp has been pushing for a trade since the deadline last year and the Magic have again indicated a willingness to try and make a deal happen.
Nicholson has played a little under Magic coach Scott Skiles, but with the arrival of Ersan Ilyasova from Detroit it seems less likely that Nicholson has a role going forward with the Magic.
They could also move off point guard Shabazz Napier. He too was told that the Magic would entertain deals to land him in a situation where he could play more.
The Magic have made it clear that, barring a blockbuster offer, they will not be moving their core young guys – but it does seem like the Magic are trying to flip some of their low-minute bench players into something more substantial for a postseason push.
The Boston Celtics have been shopping forward David Lee with the assistance of his agent. The problem in moving Lee is he has a big contract and while that’s favorable in a deal for a star-level player like Houston’s Dwight Howard, it’s not very favorable in a lesser deal.
There is a sense that Lee would be open to a buyout if he is not traded or is traded to an unfavorable situation. As things stand today, Lee’s contract value is $15.43 million of which the Celtics have already paid roughly $10.07 million of it. With a remaining balance of about $5.36 million, some teams may see a willing buyout candidate as valuable or that’s at least the hope from the Celtics’ point of view.
When Lee has played, he has played well so if the Celtics cannot move him and he is indeed bought out, he may have his choice of situations once he clear waivers.
The New York Knicks have very little to offer in the trade market, but the name that continues to pop-up is big man Kyle O’Quinn. The Knicks have been looking for a starting-caliber point guard, but it’s unlikely that O’Quinn alone returns the kind of player the Knicks are looking for.
A team to watch on the O’Quinn front could be the Toronto Raptors, who have been looking for a power forward and someone that can bang in the post and stretch the floor a little as a shooter. O’Quinn fits the bill in a lot of ways and has a long history with Raptors All-Star Kyle Lowry and Terrence Ross as they have trained in the offseason together.
The Raptors have eyes on a more established option, but as the deadline approaches O’Quinn could become an interesting fallback, especially if the Raptors would part with point guard Delon Wright and big man Lucas Nogueira.
The Knicks, like the Raptors, are searching for bigger options but if they fail to materialize, Toronto is situation worth watching.
The Sacramento Kings are looking for change and one of the names that’s drawing a lot of interest is swingman Ben McLemore. The Kings have explored the value of several parts of their roster and it seems that McLemore and his rookie deal are the most attractive parts.
The Kings are looking at deals that could move off McLemore and veteran Caron Butler.
One situation to watch is Atlanta, as the Kings have eyes for Thabo Sefolosha. The Hawks have been looking for help along the perimeter and may be willing to part with Sefolosha for the right package. McLemore could be enticing enough to get a deal done.
Otto Porter, Jr.
The Washington Wizards have been fairly active in the march up the trade deadline and the guy to watch is forward Otto Porter Jr. The Wizard like Porter a lot, but there is a sense that Pelicans forward Ryan Anderson could be obtained in trade, but that the cost could be Porter. At this point, there does not seem to be a deal; however, the Wizards are planning to make another run at several of the players they covet and and Porter could be the guy they have to move to make a deal.
The Wizards have the ending contracts of veterans Alan Anderson and Jared Dudley, but at this point neither seems to be enough to make a deal happen.
With the Brooklyn Nets agreeing to hire Sean Marks from San Antonio as their next General Manager, the question becomes will he and the Nets try to trigger a deal before the deadline?
There are a number of teams linked to Nets forward Thaddeus Young and he could return the most future value for a Nets team desperate for assets. Then there is center Brook Lopez, who could also return value.
Nets sources said it is unlikely either players is moved before the deadline, but the Nets are listening to offers and could be talked into something if the offer were right.
One Nets name that’s not getting any transaction is guard Joe Johnson, who is owed $24.894 million this season (of which the Nets have paid roughly $16.25 million). With a balance of roughly $8.6 million still owed, that’s a hefty number for most teams to consider at the deadline.
There is a belief that once the deadline passes, Johnson might agree to leave some of that cash on the table to be a free agent. However, the Nets say that’s not a conversation that has happened yet.
Make sure to check out the 2016 NBA Trade Deadline Diary for all the latest news, rumors and trade details. It’s updated throughout the run to the February 18 3 p.m. EST trade deadline.
The Deadline Podcast
In case you missed it, Alex Kennedy and I dropped the Trade Deadline Preview Podcast last night. We hit on all the major trade rumors and teams looking to make deals. Take a listen:
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