NBA AM: Trade Situations To Watch – Part 4
VIDEO OF THE DAY – Iman Shumpert
HOOPSWORLD catches up with New York Knicks guard Iman Shumpert at the 2013 adidas Nations.Watch More Video Here
A Few More Trade Situations: Over the last week or so we’ve touched on the Cleveland Cavaliers, Orlando Magic, Toronto Raptors, Philadelphia 76ers, Memphis Grizzlies, Boston Celtics, Houston Rockets, Minnesota Wolves and Phoenix Suns as it pertains to possible trade situations to watch as NBA training camps get under way in roughly six weeks.
Today we’ll touch on three more.
What’s Next In Dallas?: The Dallas Mavericks have been swinging for the free agent fences for two consecutive summers. They missed on Deron Williams in 2012 and missed on Dwight Howard this summer. The Mavericks did make some deals, but none of them were the franchise-altering moves that were expected or as some would say were promised when the Mavericks opted to break up their 2011 championship team.
The Mavericks as a franchise are in an interesting position, mainly because two of their largest contracts in Dirk Nowitzki and Shawn Marion expire this season. Vince Carter’s $3.1 million deal comes off the books too.
As things sit today, the Mavericks have just $28.26 million committed next season, making them one of the teams that could again get aggressive in free agency. Yeah, we’ve heard that before, but the one thing Dallas continues to do is be patient and preserve their flexibility.
The big question facing the Mavericks this season is how much does 35 year old Dirk Nowitzki have left?
Mavericks’ owner Mark Cuban has pledged that ‘he’ll never trade’ Nowitzki, but are the Mavericks getting to the point where they’re not going to contend again with him? It’s hard to look at this iteration of the Mavericks and believe they are a title contender; how much longer is that status going to work for Nowitzki?
The upside for Dallas is that Nowitzki’s game isn’t based on athleticism. He is not a high flyer, or an above-the-rim player and that tends to add a little longevity to a player’s career. Last season was the first year injuries really impacted Nowitzki and prior to those injuries he played surprisingly well. That said, father time catches everyone eventually and Nowitzki has logged a lot of basketball, not just in the NBA but internationally.
The Mavericks are well positioned to continue to adapt until they find their next star caliber player. They have plenty of tradable contracts and with another summer of cap space coming, the Mavericks could again be front and center in free agency or extremely active around the trade deadline in February.
It is naive ignore the fact that the Mavericks have a lot of older players at the end of their contracts, in some cases their careers, so there is no doubting that the Mavericks are at a crossroads.
Most of Dallas’ future is tied to Nowitzki and while both he and Cuban are extremely loyal to each other, how much longer can either side say ‘one more year’?
The clock is absolutely ticking in Dallas, and while the Mavericks have a respectable team coming to camp, they are far from elite in the West and their best player is headed to free agency in 308 days.
Does Denver Have Enough?: The Denver Nuggets will open camp with a lot more questions than answers. They have a new front office, a new head coach and what looks to be a new pecking order in terms of who runs the show on the floor.
There is no doubting that Ty Lawson is Denver’s best player, in fact if he can be the guy he was during the 2013 NBA Playoffs all year, Denver could be surprisingly good.
The issue in Denver is who is the second best player?
You’d be tempted to say Danilo Gallinari. The problem is with his injury history can you really count on him?
Gallinari is coming off an ACL tear and word is he may not be ready to play until sometime in December. At this point in his career Gallinari has missed almost as many games (166) as he’s played (228) and he’ll come late to the party this year with a new coach and a new system.
The Nuggets traded away Kostas Koufos, giving JaVale McGee a lot of more room and opportunity, but is anyone ready to bank on JaVale? There is no doubting JaVale’s athleticism and above-the-rim play, but is he a second option?
If you run down the Nuggets’ roster there just isn’t a second option that doesn’t have question marks surrounding him.
The up side for Denver is they have six guys that can really play. The question is whether one of those emerges under first-year head coach Brian Shaw as a legit guy or does new general manager Tim Connelly bundles two or three to land one.
The Nuggets have a lot of pieces that are on somewhat reasonable deals, so moving one or two of them shouldn’t be crazy to make happen, but there is no escaping the fact that Denver isn’t the up and comer they were a few season ago.
The Nuggets are clearly a team in transition and outside of Lawson and maybe Faried it’s hard to imagine that Denver’s roster doesn’t look different after the February trade deadline.
Detroit Has Some Decisions To Make: The Detroit Pistons had a solid offseason. They got a major free agent in Josh Smith. They made an upgrade at point guard in acquiring Brandon Jennings from Milwaukee and they scooped up a few interesting rookies in the draft in Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Tony Mitchell and Peyton Siva. Add in another solid offseason for Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe and the Pistons should be in the Eastern Conference Playoff picture.
The question in Detroit is where does Rodney Stuckey, Will Bynum and Charlie Villanueva fit into the puzzle?
Villanueva and Stuckey are both ending contracts, so Detroit may get inspired play out of both of them as they angle for new contracts this summer. That could also bring up both players’ trade value closer to the trade deadline.
Villanueva has been a disappointment since arriving in Detroit and Stuckey had arguably his worst season as a Piston last year. Neither have tremendous trade value today, so moving them to move them may not make sense, especially for a team that will need depth to compete in a tough Central Division.
Detroit will also need to figure out what they plan to do with Monroe, who is eligible for a contract extension on his rookie scale deal.
The smart money says the Pistons ink Monroe to a new deal before the October 31 deadline for rookie scale extensions. The issue there is that Milwaukee’s Larry Sanders has set the bar for bigs after inking his four-year $44 million extension last week.
It is hard to imagine that Monroe’s agent will entertain a number less than $44 million, so will Detroit play with Monroe at that number or do they play out the season and risk a cap space team setting the price even higher?
The good news on that front is that Detroit’s salary cap clears out significantly when Villanueva and Stuckey come off the books, so a significant chunk of their combined $17 million can shift to Monroe and still leave Detroit with room to add next summer.
The Pistons are a better basketball team today. They also have several cashable assets to look at trading during the season and the bulk of their expected core is locked in.
The Pistons are finally in a situation where they might be able to contend in the postseason as constructed, and won’t have to do anything with the roster that doesn’t make sense for them.
We’ll hit on three more teams on Thursday so stay tuned.
We Want To Know:
Larry Wants To Lead: The Milwaukee Bucks made Larry Sander’s new contract official holding a press conference yesterday that yielded some fun by way of Milwaukee Bucks owner Herb Kohl, who grabbed the microphone with a question for his new $44 million player.
According to Charles F. Gardner of the Journal Sentinel, Kohl surprised the room with his question.
“Hey, Larry,” Kohl said. “Congratulations. You’re quite a bit richer and I’m a little poorer. Tell us about your goals for yourself and the team in the years to come.”
Sanders, who isn’t shy at all, took the question from his owner in stride.
“A big team goal for me is unity, undeniable unity,” Sanders said. “The brotherhood that has been missing for a couple years, that is a key part of winning, I believe. Just spending time together away from basketball. I feel like knowing each other off the court directly relates to knowing each other on the court.
“Holding each other accountable, being able to speak to each other. For me, to step more into a leadership role. I would say, to be more a leader by example. I have a lot of ideas. It starts with me. I have to be that guy. I embrace that responsibility and I’m excited about that.
“Hopefully, no I’m not going to say hopefully. We will all get on the same page. We will push forward as a team. If I have to drag everyone along, that’s what will happen. But I doubt that. I doubt people will be dragging their feet.”
Sanders’ comments were not arbitrary; in fact, they were very specific and were more of a response to some issues last season.
Sanders had a few run-ins with his former teammates last year when in practice he openly questioned their commitment to the team and to each other, something that did not sit well with some of his former teammates.
Former Bucks assistant coach Anthony Goldwire confirmed as much, suggesting that players in the Bucks’ lockerroom didn’t appreciate Sanders leadership.
“Last year, and the year before that, Larry didn’t come to play every night,” Goldwire said to TalkinHoopz.com..”Some nights he took off. Some guys felt like he didn’t have the right to speak. Now, once you get in the playoffs, now you feel like you want to talk.
“He’s the leader of the Bucks now. This year he has a big burden. He has to continue what he started last year in the playoffs and start over now, going into September, going into their pick-up games. But in order for the team to respect him, he has to do that every night.”
Sanders’ new deal kicks in in 2014-2015, locking him into Milwaukee for the next five seasons. Sanders’ new $44 million deal also includes bonuses and incentives that could balloon the value of his contract to more than $48 million. Those incentives involve bonuses for some personal goals like being named to All-Defensive teams, winning Defensive Player of the Year and being named an All-Star. It also includes several bonuses tied to team goals like playoff berths and deep playoff runs.
In Case You Missed It: Every off-season we end up with more video interviews than you can possibly have seen so here are a couple more in case you missed them.
HOOPSWORLD's Yannis Koutroupis recently ranked Arizona State guard Jahii Carson as the 20th best prospect in the 2014 NBA Draft. He talked with HOOPSWORLD about his upcoming season and what he has been working on.
Baylor big man Isaiah Austin talks about his injury timeline, what he is looking to prove this season and his possible future in the NBA.
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