NBA Trade Talk: Atlantic Division
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: 99.9%
Current Championship Odds: 3.1%
2014 Draft Picks: First-round pick; Two second-round picks
Cap Situation: (Cap this season is $58.679 million): $70.914 million this year and $41.380 on books for next year
Positions/Areas of Need: Backup PF/C, PG (if Lowry is moved)
Thoughts: The Raptors have definitely beaten the odds at this point in the season. They traded Rudy Gay to free up cap space and bring in a few veteran pieces. And then boom - they're suddenly a good offensive and defensive team with two dominant players on their roster in Kyle Lowry and Demarr Derozan.
The Raptors are seventh in team defensive efficiency according to numberFire team power rankings. They could, however, use a larger shot blocking presence in the paint at least in a back-up capacity, and/or a size upgrade at power forward. This seems unlikely to happen by the trade deadline, but would help them the most for a run in the playoffs this season.
The key question that's being bounced around is whether they’ll keep Kyle Lowry. It’s a no brainer to do so, but the front office is unsure of whether he’ll resign with the Raptors in the offseason. Trading Lowry only seems to make sense if they receive an equally gifted point guard back, perhaps Rajon Rondo and maybe Jeff Teague. Trading Lowry just for picks seems like it would hurt the franchise.
Current Playoff Odds: 85.1%
Current Championship Odds: 0.1%
2014 Draft Picks: None
Cap Situation: (Cap this season is $58.679 million): $100.788 million this year and $88.482 million on books for next year
Positions/Areas of Need: Backup PF/C
Thoughts: Rumors are circulating that Jason Terry may be moved for another backup point guard, or Reggie Evans may be moved to a team that needs rebounding. This all seems like noise though, as I don’t think point guard depth is an issue, and Reggie Evans is an afterthought for this year.
My take is that the Nets are who they are, and it is unlikely that they'll find a way to vastly improve by February 20th. There's plenty of talent on the team, and they have a vast amount of playoff experience. If Deron Williams ever starts playing like he did from 2007-2010, the Nets will be a scary matchup in East.
The one place that would be nice to see the Nets make a move is for an experienced backup center or power forward. With Kevin Garnett’s limited minutes (21.4 minutes per game), they don’t have a frontcourt player that really puts any fear in opponents while Garnett is on the bench. A guy like Omer Asik or Spencer Hawes would really help the team by giving them more size, rebounding and blocked shots.
Although the Nets are 14th in the numberFire team power rankings, they are still 19th in defensive efficiency and 21st in overall team efficiency, and could use interior help. It’s just not clear that the Nets have the flexibility or assets to get such a deal done.
New York Knicks
Current Playoff Odds: 24.5%
Current Championship Odds: 0.1%
2014 Draft Picks: Second-round pick from Sacramento (protected for picks 31-55, so Knicks unlikely to receive this)
Cap Situation: (Cap this season is $58.679 million): $87.604 million this year and $91.216 million on books for next year
Positions/Areas of Need: PG
Thoughts: The Knicks should be significantly better if they can add a more dynamic point guard. Raymond Felton has been adequate when healthy, but a nERD rating of -4.5 just isn’t going to cut it for a contending team (if that’s what they think they are). There are a number of upgrades that might be available in the marketplace (e.g. Jeff Teague, Rajon Rondo and Kyle Lowry), but the Knicks don't have many assets left in the cupboard to trade for one of these players.
New York has previously given up most or all of their near-term future draft picks (excluding a 2015 first round pick), and may not want to trade some of their more reasonably priced assets like Tim Hardaway, Jr. Money is never the issue with the Knicks; it’s being able to fit quality players into a bloated cap structure.
The other person that seems likely to move is Beno Udrih, as he's not part of the rotation and there may be interest from veteran teams looking for an experienced backup on a reasonable contract. However, this won't yield much in return, and could weaken the Knicks if Felton is injured again.
Current Playoff Odds: 2.3%
Current Championship Odds: 0.0%
2014 Draft Picks: Three first-round picks (one received from Philadelphia is protected for picks 1-14 in 2014 draft and a second pick is coming from Brooklyn or Atlanta). They will likely end up with two first-round picks
Cap Situation (Cap this season is $58.679 million): $70.747 million this year and $46.556 million on books for next year
Positions/Areas of Need: SG, PF/C
Thoughts: The Celtics are in rebuilding mode. They have had all kinds of injury problems this year and a rotating starting five. However, the team has continued to compete and have a few solid pieces on the roster. Rajon Rondo remains a bona fide star, and they have a couple of younger players who look like they may become established parts of the frontcourt in Jared Sullinger and Kelly Olynyk. Jeff Green, still only 27, is also under contract for a couple of more years, and he's a very capable small forward.
However, the Celtics don't have sufficient depth and need to find improvements at SG as well as more frontcourt help. At this point, Boston will probably just continue to build through the draft as they will have two 2014 first-round picks and ample cap space. The team's front office is hard to read, but it feels like they might consider moving Rondo for the right combination of draft picks and additional cap relief (i.e. add in a second player like Gerald Wallace or maybe even Jeff Green).
Current Playoff Odds: 0.0%
Current Championship Odds: 0.0%
Expiring Contracts: Evan Turner, $6.8 million; Spencer Hawes, $6.5 million; Lavoy Allen, $3.1 million; James Anderson, $916,099; Daniel Orton, $369,322; Hollis Thompson, $490,180; Brandon Davies, $490,180
2014 Draft Picks: Two first-round picks; Three second-round picks
Cap Situation: (Cap this season is $58.679 million) $45.636 million this year and $23.723 million on books for next year
Positions/Areas of Need: SG, SF, PF, C and depth
Thoughts: All of the rumors point to the 76ers trying to move three out of their five most valuable pieces. Specifically, Evan Turner, Thaddeus Young and Spencer Hawes are all on the block. It seems that the 76ers want to rebuild through the draft, and add to last year’s picks of Michael Carter-Williams and Nerlens Noel.
Evan Turner seems like the best candidate to be moved since he’s played well this year, and he can play defense (at least he could at Ohio State). Further, placing him on a good team (perhaps a veteran defensive-oriented team like the San Antonio Spurs) may accelerate his development as a player.
Spencer Hawes will also be moved if the 76ers can find a suitor but I’m not sure what he brings in return, hopefully a draft pick. With respect to Thaddeus Young, he has absolutely shown some explosiveness this year and ability to put up big numbers. He may be the person that the 76ers end up moving as he gives them the most cap relief of the big three on the block and his contract is not crazy.
At the end of the day, it seems like the 76ers should be able to move at least one of these three guys but the franchise has been so obvious about wanting to tank that I doubt they’ll be offered what they want for this pool of players.