Predictions for 2013, trades, champions
by Sam Amick and Jeff Zillgitt, USA TODAY Sports
On each Friday, The NBA A-Z guys Sam Amick and Jeff Zillgitt will take on a topic or topics from around the league to discuss. This week, they talk about the Feb. 21 trade deadline, second-half storylines, playoff sleepers and best bet to win the title.
What teams will be most active at the trade deadline?
Sam: Most of this isn’t rocket science. Take a peek at the standings, and ask yourself which team’s respective records aren’t as good as what some of us media pundits had said they would be going into the season.
Those teams, more than likely, will be active. To take it a bit deeper, those odds go up even more if those teams have players on expiring contracts with any discernible trade value. That’s partly why so many folks around the league expect Utah to be active: in addition to the fact that the Jazz set the bar high last season (36-30) and want to keep momentum moving forward, they have talented big men in the last year of their contracts (Al Jefferson at $15 million and Paul Millsap at $7.2 million), young bigs who can take their places (Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter) and a glaring need for an upgrade at the point guard spot. Even before Mo Williams hurt his thumb and had to schedule surgery that will keep him out six weeks, that had been deemed a priority.
Otherwise, Toronto – which enjoyed modest improvement last season under new coach Dwane Casey and is on its way to even more after winning eight of its last nine- is widely expected to send center Andrea Bargnani (three years, $33 million remaining) packing.
A few notes from other teams…
While Jeff has made it clear that Cleveland doesn’t need to trade big man Anderson Varejao, I have to think some tempting offers will (and probably already have) cross the desk of general manager Chris Grant. And considering the Cavs are a woeful 7-26, the pressure to make a move continues to increase.
Miami wants another big man, which comes as no surprise considering the Heat are 23rd in the league … [For more on NBA A-Z: Predictions for 2013, trades, champions, click here.]