In this six part series, I will detail every team in advance of February’s trading deadline. I will discuss the team’s current state of affairs, including whether they are buyers or sellers, which players are “untouchable” and what guys could be moved. I will also propose a hypothetical trade for each team.
Current Record: 18-30, 5th in Southwest Division
Expiring Contracts: Andrew Bogut, Deron Williams, Salah Mejri, Jonathan Gibson
2017 Draft Picks: 1st round (own), 2nd round (own)
Buyers or sellers? Sellers, but Mark Cuban may never want to sell.
The Mavericks have tried, yet struggled, to remain relevant since winning the title almost a decade ago. Numerous failed free agent spending sprees have left this roster long on bloated contracts but short on young talent.
There are players on this roster that contending teams would not mind having coming off of the bench. Andrew Bogut, Deron Williams, Wesley Matthews and Seth Curry could fetch a draft pick or young player in return. The problem for Bogut and Williams is they are both upcoming free agents. Dallas will probably try to retool once again, so I doubt they trade Matthews or Curry.
Potential Trade: Mavericks trade Andrew Bogut and Deron Williams to Pelicans for Jrue Holiday, Omer Asik and 2018 1st round pick (lottery protected)
C – Salah Mejri, Omer Asik
PF – Dirk Nowitzki, Dwight Powell
SF – Harrison Barnes, Justin Anderson
SG – Wesley Matthews, Seth Curry
PG – Jrue Holiday, JJ Barea
I struggle to come up with a trade that would make sense for Dallas. Sorry Cavaliers fans, but the Mavericks are not give up an expiring contract and still productive point guard like Deron Williams for $30 million of a mediocre Iman Shumpert. This trade scenario would give Dallas three months of Jrue Holiday. Dallas would hope it can convince Holiday to resign as a free agent. The Mavericks also land a future first round pick for taking a bad contract (Omer Asik) off the Pelicans hands.
Current Record: 36-16, 2nd in Southwest Division
Expiring Contracts: Nene, Tyler Ennis
2017 Draft Picks: 1st round (own), 2nd round (from Portland), 2nd (from Denver)
Buyers or sellers? Buyers.
Even with a recent losing streak, the Rockets remain the most surprising team in the league. The front office rebuilt the roster on the fly with shooters and energetic young big men around full time ball handler James Harden. Veterans Eric Gordon, Ryan Anderson and Trevor Ariza are fixtures as shooters, and youngsters Clint Capela, Sam Dekker and Montrezl Harrell have played big dividends.
The Rockets would like to add an experienced big man and perhaps another shooter to the roster, but will not want to disturb chemistry in the process. Any trade would likely be very minor.
Potential Trade: Rockets trade Corey Brewer, KJ McDaniels, Nene, 2017 1st round pick to Suns for Tyson Chandler
C – Clint Capela, Tyson Chandler
PF – Ryan Anderson, Montrezl Harrell
SF – Trevor Ariza, Sam Dekker
SG – Patrick Beverley, Eric Gordon
PG – James Harden, Tyler Ennis
This would be an ideal trade for the Rockets, who have hooked up with the Suns on deals several times before. Tyson Chandler is nearing the end of his career, and while he is no longer the defender he used to be, he has shown that he is still a quality rebounder and shot blocker. He would be very good for about 20-25 minutes off the bench behind Clint Capela. The Rockets send a first round pick to the Suns to compensate Phoenix for accepting Corey Brewer’s bad contract.
Current Record: 29-21, 3rd in Southwest Division
Expiring Contracts: Zach Randolph, Tony Allen, Vince Carter, JaMychal Green
2017 Draft Picks: 1st round (own, transfers to Nuggets if not in the top five), 2nd round (from Heat if in top 40)
Buyers or sellers? Buyers.
The Grizzlies have the seventh highest payroll in the league, but little in the way of young tradable assets, which makes it difficult to envision what way the front office will lean. Coming off a historic off season spending spree, Memphis can only be described as “all in.” However, with Chandler Parsons owed a staggering $100 million and struggling to stay on the court, and Marc Gasol and Mike Conley playing very well, trade options are limited. Zach Randolph’s expiring contract could fetch some offensive help, but he is still reasonably productive, and the Grizzlies might want to resign him for cheap so he can retire with the franchise.
Potential Trade: Grizzlies trade Wade Baldwin IV, Brandan Wright and Deyonta Davis to Lakers for Lou Williams and Marcelo Huertas
C – Marc Gasol, Jarell Martin
PF – JaMychal Green, Zach Randolph
SF – Chandler Parsons, Vince Carter
SG – Tony Allen, Lou Williams
PG – Mike Conley, Marcelo Huertas
The Grizzlies are 30th in the league in scoring. Here they trade virtually their only young talent for one of the best sixth men in the league. Lou Williams has been very good this year, and could give the Grizzlies second unit some real punch, though it will cost them in the long run.
New Orleans Pelicans
Current Record: 19-30, 4th in Southwest Division
Expiring Contracts: Jrue Holiday, Tyreke Evans, Terence Jones, Donatas Motiejunas
2017 Draft Picks: 1st round (own), 2nd round (76ers)
Buyers or sellers? Sellers.
The Pelicans have Anthony Davis and…well…not much else. Like several other sub .500 teams, New Orleans is within striking distance of the 8th seed in the Western Conference. Making the playoffs could be important, which means New Orleans might not opt to move impending free agents Jrue Holiday and Tyreke Evans.
Other than the big three (to use that term loosely), the Pelicans roster is full of terrible contracts. Solomon Hill and Omer Asik are virtually untradable. Hill is just as mediocre as he was in Indiana, but at least he gets minutes. Asik might have the worst contract in the NBA relative to his production. The Pelicans need a reboot in the front office just as much, if not more, that it needs on the court itself.
Potential Trade: Three team trade. Pelicans receive Jahlil Okafor, Al Jefferson, Monta Ellis, Joe Young. 76ers receive Jrue Holiday, Tim Frazier, Quincy Pondexter. Pacers receive Tyreke Evans, Omer Asik, Dante Cunningham.
C – Jahlil Okafor, Al Jefferson
PF – Anthony Davis, Donatas Motiejunas
SF – Solomon Hill, Terence Jones
SG – Monta Ellis, Buddy Hield
PG – E’Twaun Moore, Langston Galloway
This trade would shake up the core of the Pelicans, if nothing else. Jahlil Okafor would actually benefit next to a defensive big man like Anthony Davis. Monta Ellis and Al Jefferson are both bad contracts, but are more productive than Omer Asik. Overall, this would allow the Pelicans to play youngsters like Buddy Hield, Hill and E’Twaun Moore more, and to throw a legit offensive big man on the floor to take a bit of pressure off of Davis. In reality, a trade like this would never happen mid season.
San Antonio Spurs
Current Record: 37-11, 1st in Southwest Division
Expiring Contracts: Manu Ginobili, Patty Mills, Jonathon Simmons
2017 Draft Picks: 1st round pick (own), 2nd round pick (own)
Buyers or sellers? Buyers
Different year, same result for the Spurs. San Antonio is chugging along to another 60+ win season, and remain one of a few teams with a realistic chance to win an NBA Championship. The Spurs remain deep, veteran laden, and very consistent. The Spurs never make big in season moves, usually choosing to scoop up a veteran or two after losing teams buy them out.
Potential Trade #1: Spurs trade Jonathon Simmons and Joel Anthony to Knicks for Brandon Jennings and Justin Holiday.
C – Pau Gasol, DeWayne Dedmon
PF – LaMarcus Aldridge, David Lee
SF – Kawhi Leonard, Kyle Anderson
SG – Danny Green, Manu Ginobili
PG – Tony Parker, Patty Mills
As you can see, this trade would not even add to San Antonio’s regular rotation, but any trade would be something like this. Perhaps they can swing Jonathon Simmons, a young talent, but expiring contract for some insurance. Instead, expect the Spurs to sign a bought out veteran, with CJ Watson, Deron Williams or Arron Afflalo as some possibilities.