NBA Trade Talk: Northwest 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.
Oklahoma City Thunder
Current Playoff Odds: 100%
Current Championship Odds: 16.5%
2014 Draft Picks: First-round pick from Dallas (via Lakers to Houston, protected for selections 1-20 through 2017, unprotected in 2018), Second round pick goes to Toronto, Second-round pick from Philadelphia (via Memphis protected for selections 31-50 and 56-60, not conveyed if it falls in these parameters)
Cap Situation (Cap this season is $58.679 million): $69.509 million this year, $67.979 million on books for next year
Positions/Areas of Need: Wing Scorer: SG/SF to compliment Durant and Westbrook
Thoughts: Kevin Durant has been the best player in the NBA since Russell Westbrook went down with a knee injury on Christmas day, and Westbrook is rumored to be returning Thursday, according to Durant. This is a team with the best record in the NBA, and have few very weaknesses. We here at numberFire have them ranked third in the team power rankings, being a top five team in both offensive and defensive efficiency.
Things are seemingly very quiet on the trade front in Oklahoma City, as they are very unlikely to make any major moves before the deadline. One rumor has been a Westbrook for Rajon Rondo trade, but I can't imagine that happening, although I do think it would benefit both teams. Rondo opens up the floor in a way that few others can, and is less of a scorer than Westbrook. But that may be just what the Thunder needs to put them over the top and lead them to their first championship.
Current Playoff Odds: 99.5%
Current Championship Odds: 1.3%
2014 Draft Picks: No picks. Their first round goes to Charlotte, second rounder goes to Denver.
Cap Situation: $57.414 million this year, $71.980 million on books for next year
Positions/Areas of Need: Depth at SG, big PF/C
Thoughts: The Trailblazers are a team with a ton of chemistry, and their core will likely be intact for years to come. This is a young team that lacks reliable depth down low, behind LaMarcus Aldridge and Robin Lopez. I could see them venturing out looking for a reliable big man that can come off the bench, but am not sure that they would be willing to give up any significant amount of young talent just for depth. Their best bet is to stick with their solid young core, and hope that they can maintain health throughout the rest of the regular season, and into the playoffs.
The Blazers currently sit as the number one team in offensive efficiency according to the numberFire rankings, but their downfall is that they are severely lacking on the defensive end. They are 22nd in defensive efficiency, and complacent play on the defensive end by many of their young players is certainly their biggest weakness. They would benefit tremendously from a veteran rim protector who could also work with the younger players on defense, but I just don't think it is in the cards for them right now.
Current Playoff Odds:7.1%
Current Championship Odds: 0.1%
2014 Draft Picks: First round pick to Phoenix (protected for selections 1-13 in 2014, 1-12 in 2015 or 1-12 in 2016, if Minnesota has not conveyed a first-round pick by 2016, then they convey their 2016 second-round pick, and 2017 second-round pick to Phoenix. Second round picks from New Orleans and Golden State.
Cap Situation: $68.512 million this year, $66.471 million on books for next year
Positions/Areas of Need: SF
Thoughts: The Timberwolves have been decimated by injuries over the past month. First, Nikola Pekovic went down with a foot injury, and while Ronny Turiaf has filled in admirably on the defensive end, Kevin Love has been forced to shoulder even more of the load on offense. Then Kevin Martin broke his thumb in early February, and will likely be sidelined for at least another week or two.
This team is teetering on the brink of elimination already in a tough Western Conference playoff race, and they would be best suited to unload Love, and hope for a solid big man and possibly some picks in return. They made some small splashes in the offseason, but none of their acquisitions have paid much dividends on the floor. It's time to trade Love and move on. As it currently stands, the Wolves aren't contenders.
This team still sits at 10th in the numberFire team rankings, but a lot of that has to do with the stellar play of Kevin Love. As you can see, their actual odds to make the playoffs isn't very high.
Current Playoff Odds: 2.3%
Current Championship Odds: 0.0%
2014 Draft Picks: First-round pick from New York, Second-round pick from Portland.
Cap Situation: $66.675 million this year, $69.359 million on books for next year
Positions/Areas of Need: Defense
Thoughts: The Nuggets are another young team with a tremendous amount of talent, but unfortunately for them, that talent is mostly on the offensive end. This is one of the worst defensive teams in the league, as their defensive efficiency currently 20th with limited upside. They aren't officially out of the playoff hunt, but this season is all but determined for them.
The Nuggets could move Kenneth Faried, as he was described this week as "uncoachable." He has tremendous talent and is an excellent rebounder, but has the tendency to disappear completely during the course of a game. I think they could get a decent return for Faried, but they need to ensure a focus on defensive players. Denver's offense is adequate, but their defense has been just plain terrible at times this season.
My thoughts are that the Nuggets could unload some players, but I just don't see them making any big moves. They will likely wait for the offseason and look to improve there.
Current Playoff Odds: 0.0%
Current Championship Odds: 0.0%
Expiring Contracts: Richard Jefferson, $11 million; Andris Biedrins, $9 million; Marvin Williams, $7.5 million; Derrick Favors, $6 million; Brandon Rush, $4 million; Diante Garrett, $719,000; Ian Clark, $490,000; Mike Harris, $382,000; Jamaal Tinsley, $140,000
2014 Draft Picks: First-round draft pick from Golden State
Cap Situation: $56.592 million this year, $16.280 million on books for next year
Positions/Areas of Need: C, SF, G depth
Thoughts: Utah is in need of significant upgrades, and they are more than capable of improving for next year. With only $16 million on the books for next season, anything is possible in Salt Lake City.
The Celtics are rumored to be interested in Gordon Hayward, but a deal is unlikely because Danny Ainge values his draft picks too much, and the Jazz are unlikely to send Hayward to Boston for anything less than a first-round pick or a proven player like Rondo.
The Jazz could look to unload some expiring contracts at the deadline, but the salaries of these contracts may be too high to make anything happen. Richard Jefferson's contract is $11 million for this season, but there are few suitors, if any, for his services at this time. The Jazz do have a solid core of young, albeit inexperienced talent, including Hayward, Trey Burke, Derrick Favors, and Alec Burks that they could build around in attempt to become a playoff contender in the next few years. For now, they're not a playoff team, and will be looking towards the future rather than the present.