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Chard Ford: Trade Watch: Top Wings and Top Bigs on the block
Garrett W. Ellwood/Getty Images
Will the Matrix be involved in another blockbuster deal before the trade deadline?On Tuesday, we broke down the top point guards on the trading block. Today, we turn to the wings -- shooting guards and small forwards -- who could be on the move. And there are a number of interesting players available at the moment.
We spoke with a number of NBA general managers and player agents to get a take on who might be moved before the Feb. 19 trade deadline. While such an endeavor is far from an exact science, here's our take on who's available.
Top wings on the block
Shawn Marion, Heat
Marion has been at the top of the list of players most likely to be traded all season. Since the moment the Heat drafted Michael Beasley, it has been pretty clear that the Heat have to move Marion this season or risk losing him for nothing this summer when he hits free agency.
A number of teams are interested in his talent. The question is, are any of them willing to meet his salary demands this summer? The thought of that has scared off a number of would-be suitors. The Raptors have shown the most interest, but the Cavs and the Kings, among others, also are in the hunt.
Mike Miller, Wolves
Getting Miller as part of the Kevin Love trade this past summer looked like a coup for the Wolves. However, Miller hasn't fit in and reportedly has been miserable in Minnesota. While the Wolves publicly say there's nothing to the Miller trade rumors, a number of GMs around the league disagree.
Miller's shooting ability and reasonable contract make him one of the most attractive trade candidates out there.
Wally Szczerbiak, Cavs
There are a lot of expiring contracts out there, but none gets more attention than Szczerbiak's because the Cavs aren't interested in cap room right now. They want a championship.
Everyone in Cleveland is crossing their fingers that some desperate GM will pull a Chris Wallace and give away an All-Star for cap relief and late first-round picks. But more often than not, it doesn't happen. Still, with the economy turning sour and a scrum of teams trying to get under the cap in 2010, the Cavs might be able to pull it off.
John Salmons, Kings
Salmons is having a career season, but he doesn't fit into the long-term future of the franchise. The Kings have been shopping him all season. Despite his talent, he's never really been known as a chemistry guy in either Philadelphia or Sacramento.
His versatility, defense and ability to handle the ball have attracted a number of suitors. But buyers beware -- this guy has to start. Take him out of the starting lineup, and his numbers drop and his pouting increases.
Vince Carter, Nets
Going into the season, no one predicted that Carter, at the age of 32, would put up All-Star numbers on a rebuilding team. But he has played his heart out and, with Devin Harris, has made the Nets respectable. Which means it's the perfect time for Rod Thorn and Kiki Vandeweghe to throw him a farewell party.
Carter has garnered plenty of interest from a few championship contenders like Cleveland and Houston who see him as a nice veteran addition. The Nets should jump on any deal that gets them a combination of cap relief and picks. Getting the last three years and $51 million of his contract off their books has to be a priority right now.
Marquis Daniels, Pacers
Daniels is one of the more under-the-radar trade prospects on this list. He is having one of the best seasons of his career, and he has a team option on his contract, which, in essence, is an expiring contract. With Mike Dunleavy now back from injury and rookie Brandon Rush waiting in the wings, Daniels is expendable.
Daniels' appeal is two-fold. Not only can he help a team now, but he represents no long-term risk. For that reason, a number of GMs I spoke with listed Daniels as a player they have some interest in. I doubt the Pacers would mind packaging him, along with one of their other expiring contracts, if it could land them a young big man to pair with Danny Granger.
Chance of trade: 40 percent
Allen Iverson, Pistons
Everyone, including Joe Dumars, knew the Pistons were taking a big gamble bringing Iverson into the circle of trust. So far, the grand experiment hasn't turned out well. While the Pistons look like a playoff team, they no longer look like a serious contender for an NBA title.
So, what do the Pistons do next? They can keep plugging along, let Iverson's contract come off the books and have around $15 million in cap space this summer. Or, they can be proactive and try to turn Iverson into more assets or possibly a veteran big to shore up their front line. While Iverson doesn't hold the same appeal to many GMs as he used to, he is still a great ticket draw and could make someone a lot of money.
Josh Howard, Mavs
Mavs owner Mark Cuban has been pretty adament that he doesn't want to trade Howard, but there's enough buzz around the league to make you wonder whether some of it is a smoke screen. The Mavs, at best, are a first-round-exit playoff team. I don't think that's what Cuban had in mind when he mortgaged the future to get Jason Kidd at last year's trade deadline.
While I'm sure he'd prefer to move Jerry Stackhouse, Howard is the guy in whom teams are interested. If Cuban wants to make a big splash by the deadline, Howard has to be the guy to go.
Lamar Odom, Lakers
Odom has been on the block for what seems like years. This season, there was a lot of talk that the Lakers would move him after his lackluster performance in the playoffs. The fact that Odom's deal expires at the end of the season also led to the belief that the Lakers would move him now, while they could get something in return.
However, Odom is still in L.A., and the signals I'm getting are that he'll most likely stay there. Unless the Lakers get blown away with a trade offer, Odom's chances of swapping teams appear slim.
Corey Maggette, Warriors
No one understood what the Warriors were thinking when they showered Maggette with a five-year, $48 million deal this summer. Not even the Warriors, apparently. (We could say the same thing about Stephen Jackson's deal.) Almost immediately, it became clear that the Warriors wouldn't mind getting out of Maggette's contract, and he has been on the block ever since.
Maggette still is one of the best scorers in the league, but with his price tag, I'm not sure how much interest he will generate.
Tracy McGrady, Rockets
Once again, T-Mac is nursing injuries and dampening the hopes of Rockets fans everywhere. This time, it seems like everyone has had enough. The problem is, what GM in his right mind would give up anything of value for T-Mac at this point? Isiah Thomas is no longer running the show in New York.
So the Rockets can try to shop him all they want, but unless they want bad contracts in return or another injury-prone former star like Jermaine O'Neal, I don't think they will pull it off.
Chance of trade: 5 percent
Others who might be moved: Travis Outlaw, Blazers; Jerry Stackhouse, Mavs; Larry Hughes, Bulls; Andres Nocioni, Bulls; Sasha Pavlovic, Cavs; Bobby Simmons, Nets; Linas Kleiza, Nuggets; Rashad McCants, Wolves; Adam Morrison, Bobcats.
Chad Ford covers the NBA for ESPN Insider.
Trade Watch: Top big men on the block
On Tuesday we broke down the top point guards on the trading block and on Wednesday we did the same for the top wings. Today we turn to the bigs -- power forwards and centers. They are typically the most coveted prizes in any deal, and because of that, blockbuster trades involving elite big men just don't happen very often. Still, there's an unusual amount of buzz this season concerning some pretty impressive ones.
We spoke with a number of NBA general managers and player agents to get a take on who might be moved before the Feb. 19 trade deadline. Here's our take on who's available.
Top bigs on the block
Jermaine O'Neal, Raptors
O'Neal was traded last June. And now, with this trade deadline swirling, he is at the center of the storm again. The Raptors are ready to move him and develop Andrea Bargnani at the 5. But can the Raptors find someone willing to pay the injury-prone O'Neal $30 million over the next season and a half?
The Heat have shown the most interest. The Knicks and the Bulls also might make some sense.
Marcus Camby, Clippers
Camby has been a strange fit in Los Angeles from the start. And with Zach Randolph now at the 4 and Chris Kaman also at the 5, Camby's long-term fit is a question mark.
Given his appeal around the league as a rebounding and shot-blocking machine, he's drawing a lot of inquiries. A number of teams would love to have him, especially when you factor in that his salary will drop to less than $10 million next season. With the Clippers trying to save money any way they can, you've got to believe Camby has a good shot of moving before Feb. 19.
Raef LaFrentz, Blazers
LaFrentz has what NBA GMs are calling a "super-expiring contract." Not only does his $12.7 million salary come off the books this summer, but insurance is paying 80 percent of it. Add in that the Blazers have other young players like Sergio Rodriguez, Channing Frye and Travis Outlaw whom they could throw in a deal, and a team looking to clear some cap space and develop young talent would have to take a hard look at a deal with Portland.
The biggest question surrounding a Blazers deal at the moment: Does any GM in the league really want to do Blazers GM Kevin Pritchard any favors after his team threatened to sue all the owners in the league over the Darius Miles fiasco? More than one GM has told me no.
Brad Miller, Kings
Miller is big and can still be productive when he's healthy. While he's overpaid, the good news is that his contract is done in 2010. The Kings are willing to move him to create more time for Spencer Hawes. So do we have a taker?
A team like the Pacers would be an obvious fit, but they can't afford to take on his salary. The Heat have been eyeing Miller. Ditto for the Bulls. But will trading for Miller really put either team over the top?
David Lee, Knicks
Lee has been fantastic this season in Mike D'Antoni's system. The problem is the Knicks can't afford to pay him this summer when he hits restricted free agency. So the team is trying to figure out a way to either move another big contract like Eddy Curry's or (at the very least) Jared Jeffries'. If they can't, they might have no choice but to move Lee.
It will be a blow to the Knicks' rebuilding effort, but signing him to a deal worth $8 million a year could blow their chances of having enough room to lure LeBron James and someone else in 2010.
Antawn Jamison, Wizards
Jamison signed a four-year, $50 million extension this past summer. Jamison has been solid, but his team is terrible, and the Wizards are showing no signs of pulling out of this tailspin.
If they can package Jamison's contract with Etan Thomas' or Darius Songaila's for an expiring deal, it would save them a lot of money in the long run.
Charlie Villanueva, Bucks
Villanueva was on the block before Michael Redd tore his ACL. Now the team might have no choice but to keep him around. Without him, the entire scoring load would fall on Richard Jefferson and Andrew Bogut. Villanueva is having the best season of his career and looks promising enough that the Bucks probably won't trade him.
However, there is a caveat. Given the financial situation of small-market teams like the Bucks, can they afford to keep him? Their payroll is at $64 million next season before they decide what to do with Villanueva and Ramon Sessions. Will Herb Kohl be willing to fork over the cash for a team that looks like a borderline playoff team? If the answer is no, it's better to trade him now and package him with a salary they want to get rid of or trade him for assets.
Carlos Boozer, Jazz
Boozer and the Jazz are in a predicament. Boozer was planning to opt out this summer, but an injury has put that plan in doubt. Meanwhile, Paul Millsap has turned into a borderline All-Star and hits restricted free agency this summer. Can the Jazz afford to keep both Boozer and Millsap? Most GMs don't think so, with several expecting Millsap to get an offer that exceeds the midlevel exception.
With the Jazz's payroll for next season coming very close to the luxury-tax threshold without factoring in Millsap's likely new contract, there's a problem. Several GMs are adamant that the Jazz will move Boozer. The problem is, no one wants to give up anything for him until they know he's healthy and know what his intentions are this summer. Whether that all gets resolved by the trade deadline or whether it spills over into the summer remains to be seen.
Elton Brand, Sixers
The Sixers are experiencing quite a bit of buyer's remorse after giving Brand an $80 million contract this past summer. Brand has been awful in the early going. To make matters worse, he struggles to play the style the rest of the team wants to play. More and more, it's looking like a bad fit for both parties. I've heard rumblings over the past few weeks that the Sixers would let Brand go for expiring contracts and a future pick -- a pretty small price for the most coveted free agent of last summer.
But will anyone want to take on his contract at this point? The Heat's Pat Riley has always been a fan. The Pistons are looking for a dominant big, too. A Chicago homecoming isn't out of the question either. And the Cavs might be willing to roll the dice, although that's a lot of money to gamble with. Will any GM or owner in the league have the guts to pull the trigger?
Marvin Williams, Hawks
Williams starts at the 3 for the Hawks but can also play the 4 in a small-ball lineup. He is the guy the Hawks infamously took instead of Chris Paul in 2005.
While Williams has been solid, he hasn't been great. And the Hawks will have a tough decision to make with him hitting restricted free agency this summer. The team already is cash-strapped. Joe Johnson and Josh Smith have huge deals. Mike Bibby will also be a free agent. Ditto for Josh Childress. And sooner than later, they're going to have to pay Al Horford.
All of that has led to some rumblings around the league that Williams is available in return for a lottery pick and a little cap relief. My source in Atlanta denies it, but it's something to keep an eye on.
Amare Stoudemire, Suns
The Suns are the most talented mess in basketball. Some nights, they look like they can beat anyone. Other nights, they get outplayed by the Knicks. A lot of this has to do with a general malaise that has overcome the team. The Suns loved playing for Mike D'Antoni and the freedom he gave them. Terry Porter? Not so much.
Stoudemire will become a free agent in 2010, and if things keep going south in Phoenix, the Suns stand a big chance of losing him. So GM Steve Kerr has a tough call to make. Do they fire the coach and bring in someone who can make the players happier? Or do they blow up the team and start rebuilding? If it's the latter, virtually every team in the league will be lined up for Stoudemire.
Chris Bosh, Raptors
Speaking of messes, the one in Toronto might be the stickiest. It's looking clearer to outside observers that Bosh is pretty set on testing the free-agent waters in the summer of 2010. Given what the Raptors have and what other teams will have to offer, it's not a stretch to say the chances of the Raptors retaining him don't look so good right now.
That leaves GM Bryan Colangelo in a tough position. Trade him and get criticized for giving away the franchise player. Don't trade him and get criticized for not being able to re-sign him. If the Raptors could get a blockbuster offer for Bosh, they probably would have to entertain it. Anything short of that and I think Colangelo will take his chances.
Chance of trade: 5 percent
Others who might be moved: Rasheed Wallace, Pistons; Samuel Dalembert, Sixers; Eddy Curry, Knicks; Darko Milicic, Grizzlies; Chris Wilcox, Thunder; Joe Smith, Thunder; Channing Frye, Blazers; Ike Diogu, Blazers; Sean May, Bobcats; Drew Gooden, Bulls; Tyrus Thomas, Bulls; Joakim Noah, Bulls; Rasho Nesterovic, Pacers; Jeff Foster, Pacers.
Chad Ford covers the NBA for ESPN Insider.