The NBA Trade Deadline is almost upon us - 3:00 PM on Thursday - and there will certainly be a large number of rumors floating through the league grapevine. NBA fans all want their team to make a blockbuster trade where they get a stud while giving away nothing, with the money part all magically working out. Unfortunately, it just doesn't work that way.
Here at numberFire, we are breaking down each division to see the trade situations of each team. What exactly does each team need? Can they realistically make that happen? What's the market for their players? Read on and find out.
Current Playoff Odds: 100.0%
Current Championship Odds: 15.4%
Expiring Contracts: Mario Chalmers, $4 million; Shane Battier, $3.27 million; Ray Allen, $3.2 million; Toney Douglas, $1.6 million; James Jones, $1.5 million; Rashard Lewis, $1.4 million; Roger Mason Jr, $1.27 million; Michael Beasley, $1 million; Greg Oden, $884,000
2014 Draft Picks: First-round pick, Second-round pick
Cap Situation (Cap this season is $58.679 million): $81.784 million this year, $69.447 million on books for next year
Positions/Areas of Need: C, bench wing players
Thoughts: The Heat are stuck with their roster it seems - they did bring in Toney Douglas last month in the three-way Jordan Crawford trade, but that was more for cost-cutting than improving their roster. They have an exception that the media thought would be used on now Pacers big man Andrew Bynum, but they stood pat and say they are committed to this Greg Oden experiment. They got inspired play from Chris Andersen last year, and most likely they'll need a similar type of effort from Oden if they want to match up down low against the Indiana Pacers.
It will be interesting to see what they do with PG Mario Chalmers after this season. He has never put up amazing numbers - he's averaging 9.7 points and 5 assists per game on the year - but with LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh on your team, he doesn't really need to. What's important about Chalmers is that he doesn't really hurt them. He's a better defender than fans realize and is shooting 46.3% from the field, a number that Brandon Jennings would kill for. However, they have Norris Cole locked up past this year and the difference between Chalmers and Cole may not be great enough in the Heats' eyes to justify a Chalmers extension, especially when Cole is on a cheaper deal than Chalmers would sign as a free agent.
All this is just noise, as they'll figure out what do to next year after they go for their third straight NBA title. They're setting up their contracts to be able to re-sign LeBron, and next year they will start out at $12 million less than their cap hit this season. Obviously the difference won't be that drastic since they'll have to sign players to fill out a roster, but they will probably try to keep it low so they can offer LBJ whatever it takes to get him to stay. That is the one and only priority for the Heat, which means they won't make any (further) moves before the trade deadline this year.
Current Playoff Odds: 93.7%
Current Championship Odds: 0.7%
Expiring Contracts: Elton Brand, $4 million; Gustavo Ayon, $1.5 million; Jared Cunningham, $1.2 million; Shelvin Mack, $884,000; Mike Scott, $788,000
2014 Draft Picks: First-round pick (can swap first-round picks with Brooklyn Nets), Second-round pick
Cap Situation: $59.171 million this year, $47.957 million on books for next year
Positions/Areas of Need: PG, SF
Thoughts: Jeff Teague is owed $8 million over the next three seasons, but hasn't exactly lived up to this contract this year. He started off pretty well, averaging a shade over 16 points and 8 assists per game. However, once 2014 hit, he hasn't been the same guy. In January, he averaged 13.6 points, 4.6 assists, and 3.2 turnovers a game. Not exactly what you want from your starting point guard on a good-sized contract. He is posting a -3.3 nERD on the year and has looked very lost defensively ever since Al Horford went out with his injury. They drafted Dennis Schroder in this past draft and obviously have high hopes for him (despite rough play this year), so perhaps this makes Teague more dispensable to the Hawks.
Paul Millsap is having a solid year and Horford is certainly not going anywhere, so the Hawks are potentially locked up down-low for next year. Millsap could also be moved if a good offer comes around, and he's definitely attractive to other teams - he's due $9.5 million (cheap for an All-Star forward) next season, but then becomes an expiring contract. The Hawks don't really have any bad contracts (see: all New York teams), and are only committed to two players beyond the 2015-2016 season (Teague and Kyle Korver are guaranteed through '16-'17).
DeMarre Carroll has definitely outperformed his contract - only making $2.5 million this year and next - but he's probably not a starting small forward on a championship-caliber team. He does have some definite skills, such as very good perimeter defense and serviceable outside shooting, that teams (like the Rockets, for example) could definitely use to get over the edge. Carroll seemingly would have been a great piece in a Omer Asik for Paul Millsap swap that was rumored for a while a couple months ago.
Danny Ferry, the current GM of the Hawks, has been rumored to not really be in love with any of his players other than Horford. Further, since everyone is on a good, smart contract, the Hawks could potentially move a lot of different ways come Thursday. Without Horford, they likely won't make a huge dent in the Eastern Conference playoffs this year, so Ferry could get busy and make some smart moves to bolster the future of the team.
Current Playoff Odds: 93.6%
Current Championship Odds: 0.3%
Expiring Contracts: Trevor Ariza, $7.7 million; Marcin Gortat, $7.7 million; Jan Vesely, $3.5 million; Kevin Seraphin, $2.76 million; Trevor Booker, $2.35 million; Chris Singleton, $1.7 million; Al Harrington, $1.4 million; Garrett Temple, $916,000; Glen Rice Jrr, $490,000
2014 Draft Picks: Second-round pick (First to Phoenix)
Cap Situation: $70.333 million this year, $43.165 million on books for next year
Positions/Areas of Need: Backup PG, backup PF/C
Thoughts: The Wizards already traded the most valuable commodity in trade talks earlier this year - a first-round draft pick. Putting all their eggs in the Marcin Gortat basket, they will likely not be able to make any further moves, unless it includes Trevor Ariza, who is an expiring contract and has been playing very well this season. Feasibly, Gortat would hold some value as an expiring contract as well, but the Wizards likely aren't moving him this year after giving up their first.
The most demanding need is at backup point guard. Eric Maynor has just not been very good on either side of the ball, only contributing 2.3 points and 1.7 assists in 9.3 minutes a game. Their franchise point guard John Wall has been a stud this year, but the Wizards aren't even an average team when he's on the bench. They received Kendall Marshall in the Gortat deal, but promptly cut him. His inspired play of late with the Lakers (although D'Antoni has a lot to do with it) probably hurts the Wizards front office, especially when they have to watch Maynor run things when Wall is out.
Nene has been very good this year and Gortat has been solid, though probably not worth a valuable first-round pick. When either of them are out? It can get pretty rough. They took Jan Vesely with the sixth pick in the 2011 NBA draft, but he has not proven to be a reliable big man for them off the bench. The Wizards are very good defensively with their starters in, but not even close to that when the bench replaces them. As mentioned above, they probably won't make a move before Thursday, as it would have to include Ariza, and they likely want to keep him for a playoff run that the owners have salivating at for years.
Current Playoff Odds: 62.6%
Current Championship Odds: 0.3%
Expiring Contracts: Ben Gordon, $13.2 million; Ramon Sessions, $5 million; Jannero Pargo, $1.4 million; Anthony Tolliver, $1 million; Jeff Taylor, $788,872; Chris Douglas-Roberts, $535,000
2014 Draft Picks: First-round pick from Portland, First-round pick from Detroit (both protected, their own first-round pick goes to Chicago if they're out of the top-10), Second-round pick
Cap Situation: $60.824 million this year, $40.857 million on books for next year
Positions/Areas of Need: SG, PF/C, bench help at all positions
Thoughts: Ben Gordon does have a sizable expiring contract this year, but he's also not performing anywhere close to it. Therefore, he's pretty much unmovable and will become a free agent this summer. Their other shooting guard, Gerald Henderson, has been disappointing this season after looking very impressive at the end of last year. They owe him $6 million next year and then he has a player option for the same amount the following year, which he will very likely pick up.
Although the Bobcats were scrutinized by NBA analysts for signing Al Jefferson to a $13.5 million per year contract, when his former Utah Jazz counterpart, Paul Millsap, went a lot cheaper, Big Al has been very good for the Bobcats this year. Charlotte is by no means the most attractive free agent location, and places like that will always have to overpay a bit to get good free agents to come there.
Josh McRoberts has been good this year but is probably not a long term starting option at power forward. They took Cody Zeller for this reason and if McRoberts opts out after this season (he has a $2.7 million player option which I'm guessing the Bobcats would be glad to pay for a good backup PF) for more money, it won't be the end of the world.
The Bobcats have been heavily involved in trade rumors in the past couple of days, most notably with the Lakers and 76ers regarding Pau Gasol and Evan Turner. Neither have turned into anything serious, most likely since both teams are surely asking for at least one of their first-round picks. Evan Turner, while putting up numbers this year, is doing so on a terrible team and doesn't really give the Bobcats a significant upgrade at SG (at least not worth a first), despite the rough play of Henderson.
Gasol would be a large upgrade at PF, but could possibly be just a rental for this year's playoffs. The Bobcats, while optimistic, can't possibly be so much so that they would give up a first in order to still get routed by the Heat or Pacers. The Bobcats may indeed be traders come Thursday, but it would have to be definitely worth their while to give up one of their highly sought-after firsts.
Current Playoff Odds: 0.0%
Current Championship Odds: 0.0%
Expiring Contracts: Jameer Nelson, $8.6 million; Jason Maxiell, $2.5 million; Ronnie Price, $1.27 million; E'Twaun Moore, $884,000; Doron Lamb, $788,000; Kyle O'Quinn, $788,000
2014 Draft Picks: First-round pick, First-round pick from Denver (Second to Cleveland)
Cap Situation: $56.800 million this year, $35.598 million on books for next year
Positions/Areas of Need: PG, SF, PF, Frontcourt depth
Thoughts: The Magic could be active before the trade deadline, but the question is how. Jameer Nelson has a large expiring, but $8 million would probably be too pricey for a contender to get him as a back-up point guard. The Magic have two first-round picks, but will definitely not give either up, especially since their own will likely be a top-five pick. They would move players in order to gather more draft picks, and if they make any moves prior to Thursday, this is the only likely possible outcome.
The Magic are in a good spot for the future - they have a couple of very good young players in Victor Oladipo, Nikola Vucevic, and Tobias Harris. Not to mention Arron Afflalo, who had a good argument for being an All-Star this year, despite being on a bad team. He's probably one of the best three or four two-way shooting guards in the NBA, and would be a very good commodity on a playoff team. He's on a good contract as well - he is owed $7.56 million next year and then has a $7.75 million player option the following year.
The Magic have been good when playing Harris at the PF spot and going small. However, in the future they will need to look at getting some better frontcourt depth. They owe Glen Davis $6.6 million next year but then he's an expiring and the Magic can get rid of him. The Magic have been vocal about wanting to upgrade at point guard, and will most likely look at Marcus Smart or Dante Exum in this coming 2014 draft.
It's likely they won't be able to move Nelson and instead let him become a free agent at the end of the year, and then use their sizable cap space on getting a big free agent to pair with all their young talent, a la the Houston Rockets with James Harden. They may be active in the next two days, but definitely are not rushed to be if they don't get a deal that is in their favor. They're doing well in their current long build for the future.