Trade Mix: Teams Who Want to Deal
With the Carmelo Anthony trade essentially finalized, expect to see trade activity pick up around the league as we approach the February 24 deadline.
Here is a look at some teams expected to become players in the next wave of league transactions.
The Hawks have been relying on outstanding team chemistry in their consistent rise through the Eastern Conference ranks since 2006, but with every other team in the East’s power structure making deals since last summer the Hawks may have to abandon this strategy and get in the mix.
One of the glaring holes on the Hawks roster, besides a legitimate center to help Al Horford’s transition to power forward, is point guard. Last week rumors began circulating Atlanta was one of a few teams who reached out to the Cleveland Cavaliers on the availability of point guard Ramon Sessions.
The Hawks are reportedly offering veteran Maurice Evans’ expiring deal and project second year guard Jeff Teague to the Cavs. Sessions is averaging 12.3 points and 5.3 assists this season, while registering 21 starts. His presence would bolster Atlanta’s backcourt depth.
The Celtics have resembled a MASH unit all season, but the only thing that matters to the veteran squad is being 100 percent healthy for the playoffs. Adding to injury woes is reserve swingman Marquis Daniels who is out with a bruised spinal cord, an injury with the potential to sideline him for the remainder of the season.
The Celtics are in the market for shooting guard / small forward help.
Los Angeles’ Rasual Butler, Detroit’s Richard Hamilton and Cleveland’s Anthony Parker are targets Boston has their eyes on.
Hamilton is owed $25 million over the next two years so he’s an unlikely trade target for the Celtics. However, if the Pistons decide to buyout the veteran then Boston has a more legitimate shot at obtaining his services.
In terms of a trade, Butler and Parker are the more realistic options and both have deals coming off the books at season’s end.
Butler, a nine year veteran, is on the books for $2.4 million this season while Parker, at 35 years old, is owed $2.4 million.
Boston has more pieces to make the financials work in this salary range as opposed to a super deal involving Hamilton.
To no one’s surprise Chicago is on the hunt for a shooting guard. Last summer the franchise waged unsuccessful campaigns to bring in Atlanta’s Joe Johnson, Orlando’s J.J. Redick and Portland’s Rudy Fernandez, settling on the trio of Kyle Korver, Keith Bogans and Ronnie Brewer.
Houston’s Courtney Lee and Cleveland’s Parker are on the radar.
In the meantime, the team is bringing in four D-League players to audition for the team. The list includes Orien Greene, Jerome Dyson, Matt Janning and Stephen Denis.
Although the Bobcats are only one game out of the Eastern Conference playoff standings and have compiled a 15-13 mark since Larry Brown stepped down as head coach, the team has entertained offers for Gerald Wallace and Stephen Jackson. Both players have considerable value around the league.
The cost conscious Bobcats are always seeking to shed expenses.
No one is untouchable on the roster of a team with a 10-46 record. Like most rebuilding franchises, the Cavs are in the market for draft picks, young players with potential and financial relief to prepare for the future.
Former All-Stars Antawn Jamison and Mo Williams are both on the trading block, while clubs around the league have been inquiring frequently on the availability of Sessions, Parker and injured center Anderson Varejao.
Dealing Carmelo Anthony will likely usher in a few more roster changes as the team looks to solidify its core for the future.
Teams are heavily interested in center Nene who the club can flip for immediate value – picks, young talent, etc. Shooting guard Arron Afflalo is also drawing huge interests although it’s very unlikely the club packages the emerging player still on his rookie deal unless it’s part of a much bigger transaction.
In addition, the Nuggets boast more than $22 million in expiring contracts with Kenyon Martin ($16.5 million) and J.R. Smith ($6 million) coming off the expense sheet at the end of the season.
Golden State Warriors
The Warriors are flirting with .500 and are surprisingly only four games out of the Western Conference playoff race. The team is led by the supremely talented guard tandem of Monta Ellis and Stephen Curry, but lack interior firepower.
The team has reportedly expressed interest in Denver’s Nene who would be a perfect complement inside for the Curry-Ellis combo on the perimeter. The squad is shopping little used forward Brandan Wright and also have the expiring contracts of Vladimir Radmanovic and Dan Gadzuric to use as potential trade assets.
Houston is one of the most trade asset heavy teams in the league, but has somehow failed to bring in the elusive franchise player with those chips. It takes two to tangle and you can’t fault general manager Daryl Morey because the exec has been tearing up the phone lines looking for a dance partner.
Yao Ming ($17.6 million), Shane Battier ($7.3 million), Jared Jeffries ($6.8 million) gives the club over $30 million in expiring deals to work with. Plus 2010 Most Improved Player award winner Aaron Brooks has attracted interest from teams looking for backcourt help.
The Grizzlies are fighting for and currently tied for the eighth and final playoff spot out West. The willingness of team ownership to invest heavily in the franchise is paying dividends and has the team playing confidently.
The squad has continued to deny promising shooting guard O.J. Mayo is on the trading block, but he’s been completely ineffective since being demoted to the bench earlier in the season. Outside of the team’s top players, Mayo could fetch a decent amount of talent if traded. Memphis’ backcourt depth, specifically point guard talent, behind starter Mike Conley is slim.
New Orleans Hornets
With a healthy Chris Paul back in the lineup the Hornets are once again on the north side of .500 and eyeing another playoff berth. However, the team’s depth, at multiple positions, remains a concern.
Starting center Emeka Okafor has been sidelined with an oblique injury and that has increased the scrutiny on the depth New Orleans possesses on the interior. Reportedly the Hornets are interested in Portland’s center Joel Przybilla who’s in the final year of his deal.
Don’t be surprised to see the Hornets aggressively pursue frontcourt help.
Portland Trail Blazers
The Blazers have somehow withstood the rash of injuries that have plagued their roster. The play of LaMarcus Aldridge has been a blessing, but over the long term the franchise has plenty of decisions to make as Brandon Roy’s future is in doubt because of his brittle knees.
The team has constantly shopped point guard Andre Miller but has yet to find a taker. The value in Miller to opposing teams may not stem from his on court ability, but from the $7.8 million team option a club can choose to opt out of this summer.
Also in the mix is veteran center Marcus Camby who has stated he’ll contemplate retiring if dealt. The team has showed little interest in dealing away the young and talented Nicolas Batum.
The Suns may be ten games out of the Pacific Division title chase, but is positioned to make a decent run at the postseason down the stretch.
The question is will they make a deal to strengthen those chances.
The acquisition of small forward Josh Childress hasn’t panned out. Childress is an established double-digit scoring, defensively solid wing that could add value to a team looking to contend. Problem is his price tag (owed $27 million through 2015).
Keep An Eye On These Teams
Detroit Pistons: Veteran small forward Tayshaun Prince’s deal is expiring at season’s end and the team has been shopping Hamilton
Indiana Pacers: Reports indicate the team isn’t happy with the production they’re getting out of Brandon Rush at shooting guard. Plus T.J. Ford and Mike Dunleavy are in the last year of their respective contracts. Another attractive trade chip for a contending team would be defensive minded guard Dahntay Jones who has postseason experience
Orlando Magic: The Magic continue to publicly say they’re unlikely to deal at the deadline. We’ll see.
Los Angeles Clippers: The team has been seeking to solidify their small forward position and possibly move former All-Star center Chris Kaman.