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NBA PM: The Trade Deadline Dilemma
Posted By Bill Ingram On February 18, 2013 @ 5:00 pm In Main Page,NBA | No Comments
The NBA trade deadline is just three days away, and as fans around the league scour the internet and their favorite social media outlets for any scrap of news about their team possibly making a move, the actual news has slowed to barely a trickle.
A big reason why the deadline buzz is less buzzy this year is because the full impact of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement is starting to take hold with even the biggest NBA spenders. One team, in particular, can serve as a fair example of why this is true.
The Houston Rockets, like more than a handful of teams in the NBA, are one significant piece away from contending. They have a great franchise cornerstone in James Harden, now an All-Star, and a cast of interesting supporting pieces like Jeremy Lin, Chandler Parsons and Omer Asik. What they lack is that sure-fire number two option to make it all come together. Ideally, they would add that person at the deadline and make a push for a deep playoff run, but that’s not how things are likely to play out.
The Rockets are poised to have a significant amount of cap space this summer, as they have just a little over $40 million currently on the books for next season. They will have enough cap space to go after one of this summer’s top free agents, looking at a class that includes Dwight Howard, Chris Paul, David West, Josh Smith, Paul Millsap, Andrew Bynum and Al Jefferson to name some of the biggest names (complete list here). Whether or not you believe that the Rockets will be able to lure a top free agent or not, the reality is that they will have cap space, and with a legit All-Star now in place they think players will take a second look at Clutch City.
The question that the Rockets, in our example, are asking themselves, is whether or not it’s worth cashing in their cap space now to make sure they land someone significant, or whether they should put all their money on luring someone over the summer. The issue, of course, is that while they have accumulated a lot of redundant young talent and plenty of draft picks to use in a deal, if they cash those in and bring in a player like Josh Smith or Paul Millsap, who are rumored to be available, there is no guarantee that they will stick around. Both are free agents at the end of the season and could seek greener pastures elsewhere, leaving Houston empty-handed.
Houston has not had much luck pursuing free agents in recent years, and only managed to land Lin and Asik by using what amounted to loopholes in contract structure to make it undesirable for their previous teams to match offer sheets. It remains to be seen whether or not Harden proves to be a big enough draw to lure another big name to Houston. Likely or not, however, the Rockets say they are determined to maintain flexibility for free agency and that they won’t make a big move to that might threaten that flexibility.
The new Collective Bargaining Agreement, with its much stricter penalties for teams over the luxury tax threshold, will not spell the end of big blockbuster trades at the NBA trade deadline, but it might mean there will be far fewer of them. Based on what we’re hearing today, just three days before this year’s deadline, it appears that teams are reluctant to make big deals as they look to position themselves to be successful under the new system.
Sacramento’s Jason Thompson Talks Deadline
The Sacramento Kings are a team that comes up often in trade talks amongst rumor mongers, but internally the Kings are far less active in trade talks than many would like to believe. Jason Thompson talks with HOOPSWORLD about the team that has changed so much and yet remains very much the same, what he thinks will happen at the deadline and more in this exclusive interview:
Bulls Looking To Sell High With Boozer?
For those who were surprised by recent reports that the Chicago Bulls were making calls gauging interest in power forward Carlos Boozer, let’s put it in perspective just a bit.
When the Bulls signed Boozer to a five-year contract in July of 2010, he was believed to be the final piece of Chicago’s championship puzzle. Boozer was among the best power forwards in the league, coming off of a year in which he averaged 19.7 points on 56 percent shooting to go along with 11.2 rebounds and even 3.2 assists per game for the Utah Jazz. The Bulls hoped that playing alongside Derrick Rose would only help Boozer play at an even higher level, but so far it hasn’t worked out that way.
Boozer’s first year in Chicago was less than stellar. A bizarre hand injury cost him 23 games and then his numbers took a dip to 17.5 points and 9.6 boards per game. In last year’s lockout-shortened campaign, they dipped again. Boozer appeared in all 66 games last season, but averaged just 15 points per game and 8.5 rebounds – the lowest averages since his rookie year. By the end of the season, Bulls fans were calling for the team to use the amnesty clause on Boozer and get him out of town.
This season Boozer has stepped up a bit in the absence of Rose, but while his scoring is back up to 15.7 points per game his efficiency has dropped considerably as he’s shooting a career-low 47 percent from the field. Considering he’s owed just over $32 million over the next two seasons, the Bulls are hoping Boozer’s mild resurgence might be enough to make him a person of interest in the trade market.
It remains to be seen what the Bulls actually get for Boozer if they trade him; the fan base was understandably nonplussed when word leaked out that the team was talking to the Toronto Raptors about Andrea Bargnani. Still, if the Bulls are determined to move him, they will find a taker. No matter who they get it’s clear that backup four Taj Gibson is ready for a bigger role.
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