NBA AM: Nets, Magic And Blazers On The Clock?
Trade Watch: With nine days until the 2013 NBA Trade Deadline more and more teams are trying to shake deals lose, either through enticing offers or leaks of proposals in the media. Yesterday we hit on Utah, Detroit, Toronto and Milwaukee, so today we’ll touch on a few more.
Brooklyn Wants To Deal: The Brooklyn Nets would like to make a trade. They have been active in trying to make a deal with offers out to Atlanta for Josh Smith, to Charlotte for Ben Gordon with the center piece of their offer being the $12 million salary of Kris Humphries.
Before we get too far into this, Humphries isn’t what Brooklyn is really dangling; it’s MarShon Brooks who the Nets are hoping will get some traction on, with Humphries being the salary to acquire a real veteran player.
Sources close to the process say Brooklyn might also toss in a first round draft pick for the right deal (read that to be Josh Smith). Brooklyn has also been linked to Milwaukee’s Ersan Ilyasova.
The Nets look like a team that is going to get something done at the deadline and with Reggie Evans and Andray Blatche playing well, Humphries looks to be the guy on the way out and it looks like MarShon Brooks will be going with him.
Don’t Forget About Portland: The Portland Trail Blazers have a lot of ending contract guys and have routinely expressed a willingness to explore deals.
It’s unclear how much value Portland’s bench guys have, but it’s clear that for Portland to achieve their goal of making a solid playoff run they might need a little more help.
J.J. Hickson is a name mentioned a lot; however, because of how JJ’s deal was done – one year bird right deal – he has the right to refuse a trade as he’d lose those bird rights if moved. Hickson recently professed how much he loves it in Portland, so it’s hard to imagine he’d agree to a trade.
Luke Babbitt and Nolan Smith are ending contracts and do not appear to be in the big picture for Portland, which looks to have just $47 million in guaranteed salary next season. That makes them a prime candidate to take on a player with years on his deal at the deadline.
Portland GM Neil Olshey has said a few times over the last month that his team was open to making a move, but that they wouldn’t sacrifice any of their core pieces and that making a move had to line up with their long-term plan.
The Wolves Are Willing: Stop me if you have heard this one before: Minnesota is willing to make a trade.
In what has become an annual ritual, the Minnesota Timberwolves have been aggressive in the marketplace trying to drum up a transaction.
The Wolves have two problems. They have too many point guards and are trying to move off one of them (Luke Ridnour is what other teams are saying) and they have the pending restricted free agency of big man Nikola Pekovic.
Ridnour is relatively low priced based on his production; he’s slated to earn $4 million this year and has a guaranteed $4.32 million next year. As far as veteran point guards go there may not be a better trade option available.
As for Pekovic it’s a little more complicated. Minnesota loves Pekovic and really doesn’t want to trade him; however, it is becoming increasingly clear that Pekovic is going to draw a major multi-year offer as a restricted free agent. Assuming Andrei Kirilenko picks up his $10.21 million player option as he has said he’ll do; the Wolves could find themselves looking at the luxury tax line if someone offers Pekovic $10 million or more per season in free agency.
Wolves source say that future luxury tax really is not factoring into their process, but for Minnesota luxury tax is a scary concept considering where they project in the West.
The Wolves will control Pekovic in free agency with a $6 million qualifying offer, so they’ll likely end up with the right to match any offer he receives and luxury tax is computed at the end of the season regardless, so Minnesota could always try and trade themselves out of the Tax if they opt to match a major offer.
The smart money says the Wolves make a minor deal if they can make one, and that Luke Ridnour is the guy most likely moved.
You’ll hear a lot about Pekovic, but it seems that unless a seasoned player comes back in the deal Pekovic ends the season where he is, but with Minnesota you never really know what is real, because they do tend to flood the marketplace with scenarios hoping to drum up a deal.
Nothing For Orlando?: When the Magic opened their season the prevailing comment was ‘what’s this team look like after the trade deadline?’- the short answer, likely what it looks like today.
The Magic have been engaged in trade talks for the better part of a month. Team after team has tried to pry J.J. Redick out of Orlando and the offers for him continue to come in with teams trying to move Orlando off the dime.
Much like when Orlando was trying to find a deal for Dwight Howard during the summer, the Magic have decided that no deal is better than a bad deal and might sit out the deadline as crazy as that may seem.
Orlando has a clearly defined set of goals: Amass first round draft picks. Preserve cap flexibility; add players that fit the culture and the system they are building.
Sources peg Redick price tag as “steep”, maybe too steep to get a deal done mainly because Orlando has the desire to re-sign him this summer or help him find his new team via sign-and-trade, much like they did with Ryan Anderson last summer.
Most of what’s been offered to Orlando either doesn’t help them in the long-run or doesn’t help them achieve the goals of clearing out their salary cap.
The Magic are not sitting out the trade deadline by any leap of the imagination, it’s just that with roughly nine days to go, there isn’t much Orlando is willing to do. That can always change with the right phone call, but if you are expecting a major roster changing trade, it does not seem like there is a deal like that for Orlando.
One thing to keep an eye on is Orlando’s $17.81 million Traded Player Exception, more than a few teams have tried to get Orlando to play ball as a middle man, and if a first round draft picks lands in Orlando’s lap they might play along and help grease a trade through because of what they can do with the exception.
Will Barton: The Portland Trail Blazers have a ton of young guys, but second round pick Will Barton is really starting to show the promise some teams saw during the draft process.
Barton talked with HOOPSWORLD about being a rookie in Portland and how much fellow rookie Damian Lillard has helped him settle into the NBA.
Fegan Join Relativity Sports: NBA power agent Dan Fegan has agreed to join Happy Walter’s Relativity Sports as head of their basketball division. Over the Summer Relativity acquired/merged in two dominant baseball and football agencies and this week finalized a long-rumored deal with Fegan.
Fegan, who represents notable NBA stars like Dwight Howard and John Wall, has more than $173 million in contract dollars outstanding. He’ll join Walter’s Rogue Sports/Relativity Sports who represents Amar’e Stoudemire, Chicago’s Jimmy Butler and New York’s Iman Shumpert to name a few. Rouge/Relativity has some $47 million in outstanding contract dollars.
The new combined entity will have more than $215.7 million in contract dollars and that’s not counting the new deal expected for Howard, a possible extension for Wall and a new deal for Ty Lawson kicking in next season.
Wasserman Media is the top agency in the basketball with more than $290 million under contract. Jeff Schwartz’s Excel Sports has more than $215.62 million under contract.
The deal had been in the works for almost six months and was announced yesterday.
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NBA Chats: There will be one NBA chats scheduled for today featuring Dr. Travis Heath, who will hold down his bi-weekly NBA Chat at 4pm EST. Travis is a practicing psychologist, a former consultant for the Timberwolves and a long-time contributor to HOOPSWORLD. You can always find the next upcoming chat here: Upcoming NBA Chats. If you are looking for a completed chat, check the Chat Archive.