The Names In Play: The 2011 NBA Trade Deadline falls on February 24th this season, which is roughly 83 days away. On December 15th, roughly 12 days from today players who were signed as free agents in July can be traded and that’s likely the earliest a major trade is going drop.
As far as trade chatter goes, it’s been pretty quiet for the most part mainly because there were so many free agents this summer most teams don’t have the assets to package two-for-one and upgrade talent. Over the next few weeks things should loosen up on the trade front and there are some names to know as things start to come together in this year’s Deadline Watch.
Here are the notable guys in play:
- owed $3 million: The Sacramento Kings are going nowhere fast and Carl is simply biding his time. Sources close to Carl have said it is highly unlikely he’d consider re-signing in Sacramento unless they really put a “can’t refuse” offer on the table.
Landry is a solid player and has real trade value, because of very movable salary and his upside. As the season slips away from the Kings they are going to be more than tempted to move Carl mainly because it’s pretty clear unless they seriously overpay him he’s headed elsewhere as a free agent. Carl is really a “trade him or lose him” type player.
- owed $11.14 million: It is very probable that Tayshaun Prince is traded before the trade deadline. The problem is that almost everyone knows that, meaning Detroit is getting less than stellar inquires for Tayshaun.
Even with his best years behind him Tayshaun is a solid NBA veteran and Joe Dumars and the Pistons cannot afford to just give away a talent like Tayshaun. A deal for Tayshaun is likely going to come down to the wire and really will be about who offers the most value to Detroit.
Sources near the Pistons continue to say there is another scenario in which the Pistons let Tayshaun’s contract expire and try and re-signing him to a more manageable cap number. If Dumars is serious about that stance, he may not fold to lowball offers simply because Tayshaun is a talent.
Richard Hamilton -
owed $12.65 million: Richard Hamilton is the player that makes the most sense to trade in Detroit, yet deal after deal is turned away by the Pistons.
Sources close to the situation say that Joe Dumars values Richard far more than he should and as a result he has placed such a premium on what he’d want in return for Rip its almost crazy.
There is a reality approaching. The team is for sale and the Pistons are no closer to a playoff berth than they were last year for a lot of the same reasons.
If the Pistons are going to make a meaningful change, Richard Hamilton has to be part of it.
The problem is no one around the Pistons believes Joe Dumars will trigger a deal involving Rip unless it returns a real All-Star and he’s not worth that in trade, especially not with three more season at $12.65 million left on his deal.
Vince Carter -
owed $17.52 million: Vince has a team option on his contract for next year worth $18.92 million and there is almost no scenario in which Orlando will be paying Vince that amount of money.
What’s open for discussion is whether Vince will finish the season in Orlando. His deal is basically an ending contract and the Magic have made no secret that they’d make a change if it improved the roster; the problem is there is not much out there that can make the best team in the Eastern Conference better.
The Magic would love to flip Vince Carter for Carmelo Anthony or Chris Paul, but that’s simply not going to happen.
Magic sources have said from the beginning of the season that there is a scenario in which Vince is traded and there is also a scenario in which Vince finishes the season and is possibly re-signed this summer to a much lower contract amount.
How the Magic and Vince play between now and the trade deadline will go a long way towards deciding Vince’s future. The Magic are not sold Vince is the ideal player for them, but they are equally not sold they could do better than Vince without adding more players to a deal and that’s something the Magic are not very open to.
If the Magic could find a viable improvement for Vince straight up, they’d explore that, but a massively complex two-for-one or three-for-one trade is not in Orlando’s future.
- owed $17.73 million: There is almost no scenario in which Gilbert Arenas and the $62 million he’s owed beyond this season are traded.
Forget what you’re hearing, the Magic made one phone call this summer and went about their business.
Gilbert’s deal is too big and he is too high risk both from an injury point of view and a personality point of view for a team with championship aspiration to gamble on him.
The Magic made the inquiry before seeing Vince Carter play and as of today unless Vince falls off the depth chart, the Magic don’t have an ongoing discussion with Washington, at least according to Washington. Sources close to the Wizards said they had no interest in Carter, even if it got them out of Gilbert’s deal.
The Wizards are stuck with Gilbert and unless they want to toss in John Wall as bait for a deal, there just isn’t a team willing to take what Gilbert is right now for any combination of bad deals.
Gilbert will have to put together a string of All-Star type games and prove he can play at an elite level and stay healthy before anyone will sniff at him.
- owed $17.14 million: The Denver Nuggets are not nearly as interested in trade discussions involving Carmelo Anthony as the media is.
There are several teams with standing offers for Carmelo and most of those offers came from the teams you’ve heard from… New York, New Jersey, New Orleans, Houston, Golden State and the Clippers.
Denver’s stance is they are not going to be swayed into a bad deal because of media pressure and while things in Denver are not terrible – they have won seven of their last ten – there is not a sense of panic or desperation.
Nuggets’ sources said recently that the team has basically agreed to re-evaluate the Carmelo situation at the deadline and see if there is a deal to be made. They are also hoping to have a greater understanding of what the labor environment is going to look like.
Carmelo has hinted that if there is a threat of a lockout he may not opt-out of his final $18.51 million contract year, which gives the Nuggets another season. The team also believes the radically reduced salary structure being talked about plays in their favor too.
Factor in that the next Collective Bargaining Agreement could have some kind of Franchise Tag system like in the NFL, the Nuggets don’t feel like they will get hosed if they do not make a deal.
How the Nuggets fare in the win-loss column between now and the deadline will weigh heavily into their decision. As things stand today the Nuggets are not afraid of losing Carmelo for nothing in return. They are however deathly afraid of making a bad deal that trashes the franchise for the foreseeable future.
- owed $15.03 million: There has been speculation that Peja and the Raptors have talked about a contract buyout and if a deal cannot be reached it won’t be surprising to see Toronto try and trade Peja themselves before the trade deadline.
The Raptors are trying to collect young players with upside, so a team looking to clear some space this summer might see Peja as attractive.
Toronto’s not looking to return anyone with sizable contract dollars or years attached, so it’s basically trading one big ending contract for several smaller ending contracts, which rarely happens, hence the buyout talks.
Raptors’ sources have said they have no problems letting Peja’s deal expire, but if they can return an asset or two or reduce their overall expense by way of a buyout there is interest.
Peja told several people prior to being traded from New Orleans he expected to be traded to the Philadelphia 76ers in a deal for Andre Iguodala and seemed pretty adamant that such a deal was going to go down and then he was moved to Toronto.
The smart money says don’t buy a Raptor’s Peja jersey; he’s not going to be in Toronto very long.
- owed $12.30 million: 76ers sources have maintained all season that a decision to move Andre Iguodala has not been made yet. The team continues to run the bulk of their offense through him, but with a 5-13 record and the worst record in the Eastern Conference it seems inevitable that Iguodala is going to be traded.
Here is the rub. The 76ers were hopping second overall pick Evan Turner would emerge in the first month of the season as a future star which would make a trade decision on Iguodala easier.
Turner has been less than impressive, hence the indecision from the 76ers.
Iguodala has three years and $48.1 million remaining on his deal and he has proven that he is not a focal point player. His contract is too rich for Orlando’s blood and while the Hornets seemed interested, they traded away the lone asset that could have made a deal work when they sent Peja Stojakovic to Toronto.
During the Off-season when the Carmelo Anthony rumors were in full swing, Nuggets’ coach George Karl led the Iguodala for Carmelo Anthony rumors and with the pieces Philadelphia has they could be a bigger player in the Carmelo race if they genuinely wanted to enter it.
Iguodala seems like the likeliest player to change teams before the deadline.
The problem with Iguodala is with his contract, the teams that want him and could use him can’t afford him long-term and the teams that can afford him long-term don’t need or want him, because he is a second option player.
When those roles change, it’s inevitable that Philadelphia will trade Andre Iguodala, there just isn’t a deal out there that Philly has engaged.
- owed $14.50 million: It is not very likely that Chris Bosh will be shopped or traded from the Miami HEAT this season. But when it comes down to improving the woeful HEAT, Bosh is the only big dollar asset that could return something.
Word is the Houston Rockets, who targeted Bosh as their top free agent in July, would still take him after he clears December 15th. With the HEAT in need of a real point guard and a true post player, the Rockets have both to spare.
Bosh was initially part of the “Big Three” featuring LeBron James and Dwayne Wade, but as sources close to the HEAT revealed recently, Bosh is not nearly as connected to LeBron and Wade as he was this summer. Sources said recently that both Wade and James have grown frustrated with how passive Bosh has been through the first month of the season and as we’ve chronicled here Bosh has pushed back on the HEAT system, opting to do things his own way.
If thing continue to be up and down, and turmoil continues inside the HEAT locker room, Bosh could be moved, it’s just not very likely. If the HEAT see another season threatening injury, Bosh is the biggest chip the HEAT have to cash. They just don’t seem ready to cash it just yet.
- owed $13.35 million: The Cavaliers have been bringing Antawn off the bench as the 6th man for all of the games he’s played this season. Jamison is putting in starters’ level minutes and putting up starter level numbers so he is not unhappy with the role, but $13.35 million for a sixth man is a lot.
Jamison’s name is going to come up, mainly because he’s a veteran guy that could help a playoff team and he has one more season at $15 million left on his deal.
Jamison is not going to change the fortunes of a team all by himself, but Jamison as an addition for a playoff push would make a number of questionable teams on the playoff bubble a lot more secure.
If Cleveland falls out of the playoff race significantly Jamison and Anderson Varejao’s $7.03 million contract could return a lot of future value for a team on the verge of a total rebuild.
If the Cavs stay in the hunt for the 7th or 8th playoff seed they may stay out of the trade market, unless it’s to acquire a player with their $14.5 million Traded Player exception.
So while the Cavs could easily be sellers at the deadline, they could also be major buyers depending on where they stand in the Eastern Conference and Jamison’s future as a Cavalier is tied to that too.
- owed $10.03 million: Corey is not happy in Milwaukee. He is not starting. His minutes are the third worst of his career and his offensive game reflects that and according to sources so does his attitude.
The problem is that Milwaukee should have known this would happen when they traded for him and with two years and $22.5 million owed after this season, Maggette may be close to unmovable on his own.
The Bucks do have the ending $18.30 million contract of Michael Redd and there is some talk that Redd’s deal could be packaged with Maggette to add better fitting pieces to the Bucks’ roster, if the Bucks can find a deal.
Maggette is available, according to sources, but on his own he’s owed an awful lot of money for what he’s been producing. What was once viewed as a chance to restart his career has turned into further proof that Maggette’s best years may be behind him.
Milwaukee may want to move him, but unless his numbers take a radical tick upwards; they may be stuck with him.
- owed $5.57 million: O.J. Mayo has lost his starters job and if things don’t improve pretty quickly he may lose his place in Memphis.
The Grizzlies view themselves as a playoff team this season and if moving O.J. Mayo helps them add a piece that insures that goal, they will move him.
Zach Randolph has this season and $17.33 million left on his deal with Memphis and has been pushing for an extension. Grizzlies’ owner Michael Heisley says he plans to do a deal with Zach, but if both sides cannot reach a deal before the trade deadline, a package of Randolph and his ending contract and O.J. Mayo could return a lot of value to the Grizzlies.
The Grizzlies are not actually talking to teams about Zach, but with O.J. clearly being out of the game plan some teams have inquired, the Grizz just are not ready to deal.
- owed $14.44 million: J-Rich would like to see an extension from the Phoenix Suns, but understands how things are playing out in Phoenix.
The Suns say they want to do a new deal with J-Rich, but if the Suns fall far enough out of the playoff picture in the West, they currently sit in the eighth seed at 9-9, moving J-Rich for future assets is very real and very probable.
The Suns also have the ending contract of Earl Clark worth $1.89 million to offer.
Sources close to the situation say at least six teams have been scouting Earl Clark and if the Suns decide to move J-Rich there is a very good chance Earl is included in the deal.
- owed $11.30 million: Despite the show pseudo-rookie Blake Griffin has been putting on over the last few games, the Clippers are still the worst team record wise in the NBA.
That’s not likely going to change without a major roster change. The Clippers have loads of talent to offer inquiring teams, but Chris Kaman is the most valuable player the Clips would part with.
Kaman has been rehabbing an ankle injury and has missed the last 11 games as a result. Prior to the injury Kaman was putting up a double-double average with 11 points and 10 rebounds.
Factor in that Kaman has one more season worth $12.2 million beyond this season and it’s easy to see why he is a player several teams have expressed interest in.
Injuries are always a concern with Kaman, and his flaky personality scares off serious coaches, but if Kaman can return to form quickly, he could very well be the answer for some teams that are thin in the front court.
With the Clippers going nowhere fast, the price tag on Kaman may not be that high especially if a deal involving Chris could move out Baron Davis and his $13 million salary.
- owed $11.00 million: Prior to the closing of the Golden State Warriors sale there was a lot of chatter suggesting that Monta Ellis was not in favor with new ownership and that they would explore moving him once they controlled the team and that Monta would welcome the change.
Since the sale of the Warriors has closed and new owners Joe Lacob and Peter Guber have taken over, a very different tune is coming out of the Bay Area.
New ownership says Monta is a foundation piece and often refers to him as one of the team’s best players.
League sources that have been privy to trade talks with Golden State say the team is turning away inquiries and that while no player on a 8-10 team is untradeable, the Warriors are not nearly as open to moving Monta as they were six months ago.
It’s pretty safe to say Monta Ellis will finish the season in Golden State, unless another team really blows the Warriors away with an offer.
Stealing Ellis for ending contracts and future assets won’t get a deal done, and that does not look like it will change between now and the deadline.
There is one player the Warriors would consider moving Ellis for according to sources and that is Carmelo Anthony, anything less than Melo seems to be off the table.
- owed $1.24 million: Rudy’s displeasure with his situation in Portland is well documented and while Rudy has mellowed in his displeasure, accepting that he has little choice in the matter, his game is not helping his cause.
Portland shopped the hell out of Rudy and most teams with interest in Fernandez would not meet the first round pick asking price the Blazers put on Rudy.
16 games into the season and 34.3% from the field shows why.
Rudy is still very much available in trade, and as the trade deadline gets closer the odds that a team pulls the trigger on a deal is pretty real.
Portland my not get the first round pick they coveted in the off-season, but when the guy you are trading is 9-for-31 from the field in his last five games, something for Rudy might be worth more than hanging on to him.
Rudy clearly needs a change of scenery and the Blazers could use an infusion of new blood, especially if the Blazers could flip Rudy to the New Orleans Hornets for a player like Marcus Thornton or to the team like Orlando for a player like Ryan Anderson.
Kevin Love - owed $3.63 million: Love has been a monster this season. His rebounding number have been gaudy, his offensive number have been solid and overall Love looks a lot like the most recruited player in the nation he was a few seasons ago coming out of High School.
The problem is as good as Love and even Michael Beasley have been, the Timberwolves are still a four win team.
There is hope that once Jonny Flynn and Martell Webster return from injury the Wolves can start stringing together some wins and that could happen in the next week to ten days.
There is however a reality in Minnesota that could derail the plan and that reality is team president David Kahn may not survive another trip to the NBA lottery.
So between now and the trade deadline the Wolves had better win some games or ownership may force management's hand in trading some of the younger assets for more proven stars while their value is high.
The Wolves like the construction of this team and Kevin Love is a big part of that, but if the team continues to drop games with Webster and Flynn in the lineup, trades involving Love are real. With Corey Brewer’s ending $3.70 million contract to pack in, the Wolves could return a couple of nice assets if they put Love on the market which they have not done.
Keep an eye on the standings… if the Wolves can’t make up some ground in December, they could be shopping assets in January.
- owed $17.82 million: The most asked question concerning Kirilenko is what will his contract return in trade.
The honest answer, nothing. The Jazz really have no interest in trading Andrei Kirilenko.
They were tempted to move him this summer in a four-team deal that would have returned them Boris Diaw and Quinton Ross and allowed them to cut some $5 million in salary costs and get below the Luxury tax line.
Ownership continues to say they have no problem paying the Luxury tax for a year, and for now with the Jazz sitting at 15-5 and having won eight of their last ten games, the message from the Jazz is the same - they are not actively looking at deals.
Jazz sources have said the team would have no problem signing Andrei to a new deal next summer a much lower price tag, Andrei continues to say he wants to be in Utah, unless something radically changes, it’s more likely than not that Andrei Kirilenko is in Utah past the deadline, and the Jazz find another deal to make to get them under the tax line at the trade deadline.
It is not impossible to believe a deal could surface in February, but with the Jazz sitting exactly where they wanted to be at the 20 game mark, a major move involving Kirilenko is unlikely.
There will clearly be more players mentioned in the march up to the deadline, but keep in mind that this week marks the 20 game mark for most teams or the quarter pole of the season.
Most teams start looking at themselves at this point in terms of making changes.
Teams that have 12 or more wins are not likely to make major changes. Teams sitting with less than 7 wins are the teams most likely to trigger a deal.
Teams will have one more chance at the 40 game mark to make decisions before the trade deadline passes which is generally right around the 58 game mark for most teams.