NBA AM: NBA Trade Market Update
Counting Down To The Trade Deadline: The 2013 NBA Trade Deadline is just 37 days away and while most NBA teams have done the courtesy call to see what’s out there, several teams are actively trying to make a few deals.There are some players in play that could very well end up on another teams within the next month, if the return in value is right.
Here are the ones being talked about the most in NBA circles.
Rudy Gay, Memphis
17.8ppg 2.5apg 5.7rpg 15.01 PER
As Bill Ingram covered yesterday in the NBA PM, no name in the NBA gets talked about more than Memphis’ Rudy Gay.
There are a couple of misconceptions about Memphis’ stance. First, the Grizzlies are not looking to dump Gay. Second, the Grizzlies want to improve in the West not take a colossal steps backwards.
There is no doubting that the Grizz would like to avoid being a luxury tax payer, and if moving Gay helps them to that, they are open to the idea as long as it returns real value.
Gay represents 17 points and five rebounds per game to the Grizzlies. While the dynamics of Gay’s game are far greater than his production, the Grizzlies know they can find those points and rebounds in other places and for a price tag far cheaper than the $16 million owed to Gay.
Factor in that he has never been in love with Memphis, the Grizzlies see him as the chip to cash.
That said, what’s coming back to Memphis in terms of trade offers isn’t necessary exciting, at least not yet. There is a sense that Memphis may hold the line this year and look at moving or cashing Gay out around the draft when teams can and often will offer more value.
The Grizzlies see themselves as contenders in the West this year and any Gay deal would have to keep them there and solve some of their other roster issues. Poaching Gay for cast off parts or a bunch of ending contracts isn’t going to get it done, unless those ending contract make the Grizzlies better.
Sources close to the Grizzlies have been adamant that they are not having a fire sale and core guys like Zach Randolph, Gay and Marc Gasol are not being considered in deals unless it makes the team better.
The Grizzlies have $74.15 million in salary commitments and have until February 21st to get that number under the $70.307 million luxury tax line.
The Grizz can find better ways to trim $3.84 million in salary than dumping Gay for garbage, so don’t expect them to move him unless it’s a deal that favors their goal of competing in the West this year.
DeMarcus Cousins, Sacramento
17.6ppg 10.2rpg 0.6bpg 21.59 PER
With the Sacramento Kings on the verge of being sold to a Seattle ownership group, league sources say the Kings are frozen in terms of making deals.
It’s not out of the question to see that changing before the trade deadline. However, sources have been pretty adamant that nothing is really going on with the Kings because of all the uncertainties surrounding the club.
There was a real push for DeMarcus Cousins when the team suspended him a few weeks ago. However, the Kings didn’t engage anything then and are not engaging anyone now.
There has been some talk of a Tyreke Evans deal, but sources say the same uncertainties that are road blocking any meaningful discussions on Cousins are doing the same with anyone on the Kings’ roster.
In the NBA its sometimes joked that a team is “Open For Business” when they are actively talking calls and considering deals. The Kings seem to be “Closed. Pending Relocation”
It’s not out of the question that things in Sacramento get some clarity in the next few weeks, but for now, it seems like gridlocked is an understatement.
Pau Gasol, LA Lakers
12.2ppg 8.4rpg 1.4bpg 14.63 PER
Not much has changed with the Lakers and Pau Gasol; he is still recovering from a nasty concussion and could make his return in the coming days.
On the trade front the Lakers just are not engaged in anything. There are still some teams with interest in Gasol mainly because there is a belief he could be had on the cheap side in terms of what it would take to get him out of LA.
Lakers sources have said for weeks that based on what’s been offered, moving Gasol isn’t going to happen mainly because nothing out there makes the team better.
There is a real concern that change is the last thing the Lakers need and that with the team still outside the playoff picture creating anymore chaos could derail the season.
There are a couple of things to consider on this front. If the Lakers fall out of the playoff hunt before the deadline, it’s safe to say massive changes will be considered. But, as long as the offers for Gasol remain low and the team continues to show signs of life, don’t expect much from the Lakers if anything at all.
The major changes with the Lakers will come during the offseason, when the Lakers roster will allow them to take on additional players and not have to eat contracts as they’d have to do now.
There is also a sense that as Gasol enters his final contract year his value will go up, especially if the Lakers can find a way to get him back to playing well.
J.J. Redick, Orlando
14.6ppg 4.5apg 2.3rpg 16.03 PER
The Magic have been fact finding for most of the season. So there isn’t really anything going on that they have not been considering for a while.
J.J. Redick is the name most teams call about; however, there is interest in Jameer Nelson and Arron Afflalo according to league sources.
The Magic are sitting on a $17 million Traded Player Exception, which has gotten them involved in several complex situations. Nothing is close with the Magic and anything they’ll do is likely going to drop at or near the trade deadline.
Redick is an ending contract and there is a real belief that if Orlando doesn’t come with serious money and years, that Redick will walk to a contender.
For Redick’s part he has tried to put everyone at ease saying all the right things about wanting to stay, but if there is a catalyst piece that helps Orlando make some bigger moves its likely him.
There are two contracts the Magic would love to package in with any deal they make and that’s Glen Davis and Hedo Turkoglu. Neither is overly attractive, but one or both could be the cost of doing business, especially for a team that wants Reddick or a team that wants to use Orlando’s TPE to facilitate a bigger deal.
The Magic have been linked to the Memphis Grizzlies and Rudy Gay, although, it’s looking like Orlando’s involvement might not be to keep Gay for themselves, but rather move him on for assets that fit their long-term plan a little better.
Anderson Varejao, Cleveland
14.1ppg 14.4rpg 0.6bpg 22.03 PER
Varejao underwent surgery to repair a split muscle in his quad and is expected to be out until well past the trade deadline.
The Cavs were not overly interested in trade Varejao, however, a number of teams expressed interest and there is a reality to the business side of the NBA. If you’re not winning, you’re re-building and the Cavs and their fans are growing impatient with the learning curve.
It’s not out of the questions that Varejao gets traded at the deadline, even with the injury. Word is the surgery went well and a full recovery is expected.
The question is what’s the return on an injured double-double machine?
The Golden State Warriors traded a ton for Andrew Bogut, who is still battling injuries, so it’s not out of the question that a team makes a play for Varejao. The problem is the return may be too low because of the risks involved in taking a player who may not pass a physical at the time of the deal.
Verajoa is expected back in March and for a team with postseason goals in clear view, the reward may be far greater than the risk in some teams eyes, so don’t rule Varejao off the market just yet.
Brandon Jennings, Milwaukee
18.5ppg 5.9apg 3.7rpg 17.47 PER
Teams have been calling the Milwaukee Bucks; however, they don’t seem overly interested in moving the players calling teams have interest in. There is a real market for Brandon Jennings and for Monta Ellis, but the players the Bucks would like to move – Drew Gooden, Samuel Dalembert and Beno Udrih – just are not that attractive.
The Bucks have made it clear they will match whatever is offered to Jennings in restricted free agency, but Ellis is unrestricted and can walk wherever he’d like to play next season.
As the deadline gets closer, there is a sense in NBA circles that a team willing to take Milwaukee’s luggage might be able to pry away Monta Ellis, but Jennings may be off the table completely.
The Bucks have talked a lot about their pending flexibility in free agency so dumping the rest of their unwanted contracts seems to be a priority.
Al Jefferson, Utah
17.4ppg 9.8rpg 1.1bpg 20.90 PER
The Jazz have two core pieces that are heading towards free agency in July and of the two Al Jefferson seems to be the piece the Jazz have the best chance at retaining.
Teams have been calling about both Jefferson and forward Paul Millsap. Both players have value and both players have a real market; the question is will Utah pull the trigger?
New Jazz GM Dennis Lindsey keeps things very close to the vest so when a deal involving either drops, it may come out of left field.
League sources say there just isn’t a sense of where Utah is going to go, but that keeping Jefferson even through free agency is more likely than retaining Millsap.
Jefferson can earn far more from Utah and there is a sense that free agency may not be very good to him, unlike Millsap who will have teams tripping over themselves to get at him. Factor in that Utah has Derrick Favors biting at the bit for more minutes and opportunity, the Utah player like traded may be Millsap with Jefferson being the player they retain.
It is not out of the question that both players are dealt, especially if it return a star level player to Utah. But, if the deals are simply upside pieces, Utah may sit out the market, as the cap space both Millsap and Jefferson can clear might be worth more than the luggage being tossed around as trade bait.
Eric Gordon, New Orleans
16.6ppg 3.9apg 1.9rpg 14.89 PER
Gordon has played in eight games for the Hornets so far this season, one less than he did in the entire lockout shortened season last year. In that span the Hornets have won five of those eight games and the complexion of the team is radically improved.
The Hornets say they matched Gordon’s contract to keep him. He says he wants to be the leader of the team and Hornets player after Hornets player raves about his impact and influence on the team.
Factor in that Gordon has the right to veto any trade for the first year of his contract, a trade involving him just doesn’t seem to be in the cards.
Gordon has gone out of his way to ingratiate himself to the Hornets organization, buying Panera Bread breakfast last week for the entire organization, every staff member at three different locations. At the time he said he wanted to illustrate his belief in the team and thank them for their support.
There is no doubting that Gordon has trade value. There is no doubting that New Orleans isn’t going anywhere this year, but the word from the very top in New Orleans is they like this squad, so a deal to rip it apart will have to be a doozie.
If the Hornets do a Gordon deal it would be surprising, especially considering Gordon’s value only increases if he can finish the season strong and his trade restriction is lifted in the summer so the Hornets can pick their deal on their terms.
Andrea Bargnani, Toronto
16.0ppg 4.3rpg 0.7bpg 12.43 PER
The Toronto Raptors want to trade Andrea Bargnani, so that’s likely going to happen. The question remains what do they get back for him and who takes on his contract?
A small survey of league executives showed very little upside to Bargnani, but at the same time he is still a player some teams think highly of. His current injury, his work ethic and his lackadaisical approach are huge red flags that will impact value, but there is a sense that a couple of teams would take the chance on Bargnani if the price were right.
So here is the game of it, how long does Toronto hold on to him before they blink and part ways? The other question is what do the Raptors do with Jose Calderon?
Combined, both players represent a huge chunk of salary changing hands and the return even at “discounted prices” could yield a lot.
There is no doubt that Toronto is being aggressive in the marketplace, the question is what will they get back for Bargnani and can he get back on the court before the trade deadline and prove concerns about his health wrong.
DeJuan Blair, San Antonio
5.2ppg 3.9rpg 0.1bpg 13.82 PER
The San Antonio Spurs will be dealing DeJuan Blair. They tried unsuccessfully to move him to Miami around the draft last year and they are actively looking for situations involving him now.
There are a couple of negative factors for the Spurs.
Blair doesn’t make much by NBA standards. He’s owed roughly $1 million this season, which means the most the Spurs can take back is a salary is in the $1.5 million range.
Blair will also be an unrestricted free agent in July, meaning whoever trades for him could lose him for nothing in July. It is hard to give up a first round draft pick in that scenario.
The Spurs are looking and talking, but it’s safe to say Blair will be elsewhere after the trade deadline and unfortunately San Antonio may not get much for their troubles.
Derrick Williams, Minnesota
9.0ppg 4.3rpg 0.5bpg 15.39 PER
There has been a lot of talk lately about the Wolves trading Derrick Williams, however, with Kevin Love out for basically ten weeks due to a broken hand, the odds that Williams is even considered in a deal are slim.
Williams has played fairly well as of late, mainly due to a more predictable role and routine.
One league source joked that if Williams continues to play this way, the odd man out might be the often disgruntled Love.
It’s doubtful that the Wolves trigger a deal with Williams or the injured Love for that matter, but it will be an interesting situation to watch especially if the Wolves can crack the playoffs without Love.
The Wolves are actively engaged in the trade market, so a deal involving Williams isn’t crazy, it just seems unlikely at this point.
Marcin Gortat, Phoenix
11.7ppg 9.1rpg 1.9bpg 16.90 PER
The Phoenix Suns are going nowhere fast and they are actively looking at ways to right their ship. The Suns have talked to Memphis regarding Rudy Gay, and there have been several teams calling the Suns regarding Marcin Gortat.
The Suns look like a team that’s going to make a move before the deadline. The question becomes how much change do they make and how much salary will they take on.
Jared Dudley has been mentioned a few times in connection with the Memphis deal and there is more than a passing interest in Gortat on the part of the Houston Rockets.
Phoenix has some chips to play and in roughly 30 days they are likely going to play them.
The NBA Trade Deadline is February 21st at 3pm EST, so expect a lot more chatter in the days and weeks leading up to it.
Pek May Be Pricing Himself Out of Minnesota: The Minnesota Timberwolves have been devastated by injuries this season, but even with a thin roster the Wolves continue to find ways to win, due in large part to the emergence of Nikola Pekovic as a bonafide power player in the NBA.
Pekovic is headed to restricted free agency this summer, and there is growing belief that more than a few team are prepared to test Minnesota’s bankbook with what could be a monster payday for Pekovic.
Pekovic talked with HOOPSWORLD about his season and how he has approached getting better. The cameo commentary is courtesy of Andre Kirilenko who had some fun about Pekovic’s age.
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