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NBA AM: Trade Situations To Watch – Part 7
Posted By Steve Kyler On September 3, 2013 @ 9:34 am In NBA | No Comments
Bulls' guard Marquis Teague talks about playing summer league and getting a chance to prove his ability to his team and coaches.Watch More Video Here
More Trade Situations: Over the last two weeks we’ve touched on the Cleveland Cavaliers, Orlando Magic and Toronto Raptors, the Philadelphia 76ers, Memphis Grizzlies and Boston Celtics, the Houston Rockets, Minnesota Wolves and Phoenix Suns, the Dallas Mavericks, Denver Nuggets and Detroit Pistons, the Knicks, HEAT and Pelicans and the LA Lakers, Sacramento Kings and Charlotte Bobcats.
Today we’ll hit on three more:
Are The Hawks Better?: The Atlanta Hawks went in to the 2013-2014 off-season with more cap space than any team in the NBA and they had big dreams. Part of that dream was to lure both Chris Paul and Dwight Howard to Atlanta, but that never got beyond the dreaming stage; instead the Hawks spent the bulk of their cap money on forward Paul Millsap, veteran forward Elton Brand and re-signing guards Kyle Korver and Jeff Teague.
It’s hard to look at the Hawks roster and say that they got appreciably better, but it’s also hard to say they fell off. Strangely, they are about the same. The Hawks surely improved in the professionalism and maturity department and that might help them more than any personnel move they could have made.
As training camp for the Hawks gets set to open in roughly 27 days, the Hawks will be different on several fronts. They have a new head coach and they have a team that is now built around All-Star Al Horford.
The problem for Atlanta is that they are pretty much married to this group of guys. The amounts of the contracts Atlanta gave out and the duration of most of those deals is going to make it hard for the Hawks to make transactions, meaning this is likely who Atlanta has.
The Hawks are sitting just over the salary cap with $57.75 million in commitments. They have $45.336 in guaranteed deals next season, so they could dip into free agency again next summer if they opt not to bring back Gustavo Ayon, Jared Cunningham and John Jenkins. The Hawks also have options on Pero Antic and Shelvin Mack and Mike Scott.
All could become tradable due to their contract flexibility, but it’s not as if Atlanta has a roster gem that could fetch a major asset at the trade deadline.
The Hawks may not be one of the teams that are overly active this season in the trade market, but they may also be a slightly better team than they are being projected.
The Hawks on paper are not radically different from a personnel point of view, they are a little older and a little more mature, but this Hawks team looks a lot like the last one and they are married to it for the next couple of years.
The Window Is Open: Before we get too far down the road here, the Chicago Bulls will not be making substantial changes to their roster this year.
Forward Luol Deng is not being traded and neither is forward Carlos Boozer.
This is who the Bulls are going to be, and they feel like the window is wide open for them to dethrone the Miami HEAT and get to the NBA Finals.
Derrick Rose is 100 percent healthy. He has been working relentlessly on his jump shot and core strength. Those that have watched him play say he is quicker off the bounce than he was before the injury and that he can really hit the outside shot.
If all of that proves to be true, the Bulls are in championship mode. Not break up the band mode.
The Bulls are sitting on $78.404 million in salary commitments so they will be a luxury tax team this season.
The Bulls do have two attractive ending contracts starting with the $14.275 million owed to Luol Deng; however, the word from Chicago is that Deng and the Bulls could ink a contract extension for Deng that ensures he remains in Chicago long-term. That deal would likely be at a reduced price from the $14.2 million he’s making this year.
Reserve guard Kirk Hinrich also is at the end of his deal with the Bulls and is scheduled to earn $4.059 million. The Bulls are really thin at point guard and moving Hinrich seems highly unlikely.
The Bulls do have three attractive rookie scale players including Jimmy Butler ($1.12 million), but the word from Chicago is that Butler will be the starting two guard and that Chicago is unwilling to entertain anything that has Butler’s name attached.
Rookie Tony Snell could be attractive in trade, but the Bulls are extremely high on Snell and feel like they can really add some density to his long, rangy frame and really turn him into a great utility player this year.
Second year guard Marquis Teague showed flashes of promise in Summer League in July, but if he can’t bring up his level of NBA play early in the season he could again be the odd man out.
The Bulls say that Teague will get a chance to have a role this year, if he fails to find his place he could be a chip the Bulls explore value on.
Overall the Bulls are not likely to be active in the trade market. There is an amazing sense of confidence and trust that this roster has in what they are doing and unless something toxic happens and they struggle early, the Bulls feel like this team has a real shot this year and until that’s proven wrong don’t expect much to change in Chicago.
Give This Group A Chance: By now you have surely heard the rumors about Blazers big man LaMarcus Aldridge. Between what’s been reported, what’s been said by Blazers general manager Neil Olshey and what Aldridge himself has said here is what’s real:
Aldridge isn’t going to waste his career in Portland and the team has responded to that aggressively.
Last year the Blazers had a dreadful bench, as good as the starters were when they were out of the game Portland simply choked away wins.
This year the Blazers have arguably one of the best benches in the Western Conference, stacked with talented guys that could start in some situations.
The Blazers went all in this summer and the word is they believe that winning will cure all the hard feelings last season engendered with Aldridge.
The problem for the Blazers is if things don’t get out to a good and quick start, Aldridge could turn on them and that a realistic way to think about it.
Aldridge says he has bought into to what the team has done and that he wants to see it work in Portland and that’s he’s 100 percent on board, but what happens if they struggle?
The Blazers are unlikely to be big in the trade market unless the wheels come off the team in November and December. If Portland is playing well, this team likely stays as constructed.
The Blazers have $63.973 million in contract commitments and the guys they might explore moving – Wes Mathews (two-years and $14 million remaining on his deal) – are not overly attractive in trade unless one of Portland’s rookie scale players are attached and at this point that’s not likely.
The biggest chip the Blazers have to cash is Aldridge, but inquiring teams have been told Portland isn’t selling.
The Blazers say they are committed to Aldridge and he says he is committed to the Blazers, as the season gets going that’s clearly the biggest situation to watch because a guy that’s got one foot pointed towards the door tends to be the guy moved if things go south.
We will hit on three more situations on Thursday, so stay tuned.
We Want To Know:
Competing Without Winning: There is a funny conflict that emerges as NBA teams try and rebuild. No team or executive wants their guys to quit. In fact, there is a big fear among losing teams that guys stop working and preparing when it’s clear there is nothing to play for.
How many times have you heard a player say ‘if it were a playoff game, I’d be out there’.
Last year the Orlando Magic clear wanted a high draft pick, but they always didn’t want to allow a culture of losing to enter their locker room. They wanted their young guys to play hard and they demanded a lot from them. At the end of the day that amounted to 20 wins, but it’s hard to say to anyone who watched Orlando play, that they didn’t play hard and on most nights they were right there in the fourth quarter.
The Philadelphia 76ers are trying to accomplish the same thing this year. Clearly next year’s draft is more important than anything the Sixers have on the roster, but that doesn’t mean they plan to quit playing or playing hard.
New Sixers GM Sam Hinkie says his club plans to compete and that will start with some unsettled situation in training camp.
“I think the competition will be good for us,” said Hinkie to Tom Moore of The Intelligencer. “I think our guys will welcome that, too.”
Hinkie says that all of his players will get a fresh start this season with the addition of Brett Brown as head coach.
“Everyone starts with a blank slate,” he said. “That’s refreshing in a lot of ways. It’s less what you’ve done and more: what can you do from here?
“I think all of our players will sense an opportunity to play, show what they can do and expand their game one way or another. It’s important for the future of the Sixers and their own careers.
“Several guys on this team are very talented. Several guys have more game in them than we’ve seen to date and are itching for a chance to try.”
There is no doubting that the 76ers are going to lose more games than they win, but the question is can they use this year to get their young guys better as players while also losing enough games to get one of the gems of the 2014 NBA Draft?
It’s pretty clear that’s the plan.
If you look at Orlando last year, they turned misery into optimism in just one season. The hope in Philly is to do exactly that.
Did You Miss Something?: 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.
Rockets' forward Chandler Parsons talks about his team's off-season and the addition of Dwight Howard to Houston and his time with Team USA.
New Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday talks about getting traded. His new team and what he expects from New Orleans this season.
More Twitter: Make sure you are following all of our guys on Twitter to insure you are getting the very latest from our team: @stevekylerNBA, @AlexKennedyNBA, @TheRocketGuy, @LangGreene, @EricPincus, @joelbrigham, @SusanBible @TommyBeer, @JabariDavisNBA , @NateDuncanNBA , @MokeHamilton and @YannisHW.
NBA Chats: There are two NBA chats scheduled for today beginning with Nate Duncan’s chat at 11:00am EST. Bill Ingram will hold down the evening chat at 8:00pm EST. You can always find the next upcoming chat here: Upcoming NBA Chats. If you are looking for a completed chat, check the Chat Archive.
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