TRADE DEADLINE COMMENTARY (Part 2).

Commentary:
Part 2 of rumors, ideas and all out uncertainty on my end as teams approach the Thursday deadline.

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Whatcha gonna do, Doc? Kirby Lee – USA TODAY Sports

With the All-Star break done, the focus of the NBA world is now shifting to the Trade Deadline. Who’s moving? Who’s teams are going to make a shakeup?

As with Part 1, we’ll delve in into the hottest rumors, teams that would need a move, and a few other trade ideas coming from wherever.

CHANNING FRYE COULD HELP YOUR FLOOR SPACING:

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Big man shooter. High value commodity. Kim Klement – USA TODAY Sports

Orlando Magic C/F Channing Frye could easily help in any team’s shooting and spacing. Hoopshype.com has reported that multiple teams have inquired about the shooting big man, and for good reasons. The Magic, have a young nucleus to build around, and could go away with their veterans for the right price to help their rebuild.

Several teams could use Frye’s ability to stretch the floor. The Los Angeles Clippers, being one who could really be beneficial. The Milwaukee Bucks could be another team that could use more shooting and floor spacing.

HASSAN WHITESIDE:

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Photo courtesy of chatsports.com

The dilemma continues. Hassan Whiteside has been a revelation, and is due for a big payday that the Miami Heat may not be able to afford. It has also been proven that the Heat can go really well without him.

Miami could certainly be well moving Whiteside now, than lose him in Free Agency for nothing. Little problem here, Hassan is making very little money, which means it’s tough to trade him straight up, but they could easily use him along with contracts they want to move to free money and get some assets back. Another problem is that which teams can use him?

There’s really not a ton of teams remaining that could use a Center who can block shots but clogs the lanes. Portland could be one team who can upgrade their Center position, but would probably not give up assets as they could be in position to just sign him outright via free agency. Other teams doesn’t seem to have the need to trade for him right now, or have any use for him.

The Lakers are a very intriguing prospect for Hassan as well. While they are saving up money for a potential Kevin Durant signing (who knows), Hassan could be an easy Plan B to Los Angeles in case everything falls through. Still young, he would easily fit the young nucleus that the Lakers are going to sport once Kobe retires. They have a big expiring contract in Roy Hibbert as an asset, and while Miami can’t take Hibbert’s contract outright, he could certainly be moved to a third team and get assets along with him. Philadelphia and Portland can take the money and could give away some picks or players in return that the Heat could use.

In any case, the Heat have until Thursday to figure this out, but expect Hassan to stay due to lack of trade partners, and then leave Miami in the summer.

CAN DAVID LEE STILL BE USEFUL?

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Does he have something left to offer? Photo courtesy of sportsworldreport.com

David Lee has been relegated to the bench in Boston, as the young Celtics preferred to develop young talent. But his per 36 numbers are as close to his yearly averages, suggesting that he can still be an offensive option. Are there teams who could use him?

Portland, as with most cases, have the cap room to swallow his big contract. Lee could fit right in and be their starting PF or play off the bench, and be a veteran presence to lead the locker room as they make a Playoff push. The Blazers don’t need to give a big salary coming back, and also may not need to give a big asset to do the trade.

The Washington Wizards could be an interesting place for Lee. Nene has seen better days, and while Lee and Nene has shown similar numbers, David is more healthier and is able to play games than the Brazilian Forward has. Their salaries match, so a straight swap would work, but Boston would probably ask for something more in return. A second round pick could certainly be enough for the Celtics to pull the trigger here. As for the Wizards, another able body to help their post season push should be worth giving up a 2nd rounder.

BLAKE GRIFFIN:

And the final piece goes to Los Angeles Clippers F Blake Griffin, whom the media is suggesting is very much available.

The core of Chris Paul – Blake Griffin – DeAndre Jordan has run for a good 4 years, and it failed to reach the Conference Finals in each of them. The Clippers has shown great results without Blake Griffin, so it’s not improbable to suggest that moving Blake could put the put the Clippers in a position to gain valuable assets, and other players to bolster their god awful bench.

Griffin has been the issue of behavior problems as of late, but he’s a proven All-Star, a definite franchise player and is still young to build around. Denver has been rumored to be interested in Blake at one point, and it makes sense for Clippers to at least consider. Something where they would get a 1st rounder or two, Danilo Gallinari and Wilson Chandler could start the talks. Gallo can play PF, and could easily stretch the floor, something the Clips are at a desperate need, and while Chandler is out for this year, he boosts their SF spot the next for another title run, while being able to play minutes at the 4 to match up small lineups.

The Clippers and Doc Rivers would be absolutely nuts not opening any talks in any Blake Griffin interests. Griffin is indeed a top tier talent, but a chance to compete for a championship could still be in hand with even if he’s traded, seeming as it can upgrade their bench and can still compete with Chris Paul leading the charge, as they have been before the All – Star break.

Which reminds me…

WHO SAYS NO TRADE IDEA:

Boston trades:  
2016 1st round pick (via Dallas), 2018 1st round pick (Boston), 2 2nd round picks (one each year from 16-17), David Lee’s expiring contract, Jae Crowder, Jared Sullinger 

Los Angeles trades:
Blake Griffin, a filler to match salaries

The Brooklyn pick could be negotiable, but let’s start the talking here.

This is a very good package. What this does is help Los Angeles still be in win-now mode, while gaining assets they could use to bolster their 2nd unit or use a trade chips to get another player of quality.

Jae Crowder, I hate to let you go, as you are among the finest of hard working players who could do anything on the court. He fits well with the Clippers, EASILY addresses their needs for the SF spot, and can play small ball 4. Sully provides PF depth, can start, and in a way, can actually space the floor with his streaky, yet capable 3PT shooting. Lee’s contract expires next year, clearing up about $15 million in the books for the Clips to have at least some money to sign free agents that are not veteran minimum guys.

The Celtics get their franchise player, the one guy they’ve been collecting all this assets for.

Who says no?

In any case, we got a few more days of rumors, sources and tweets. Will we see fireworks? One can hope.

TRADE DEADLINE COMMENTARY (Part 1).

Commentary:
I’m changing the format again, I’ll be talking to you this time. Because I want to.

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Boy you’d look so good in Green. Photo courtesy of Hoopshype.com

The NBA is headed to the All-Star break, and while the weekend full of festivities are going to be a load of fun, what follows it is the next few days where all 30 teams will have a few hours remaining to tinker with their teams via trading.

For fans all around the game, the next few weeks are going to be a frenzy. Rumors would be swirling, players maybe moving, and who knows, stars could change addresses and teams could bolster their chances by acquiring new players, if not this season, the next.

With the trade deadline looming, lets break down some of the rumors,  possibilities and along the way, I might suggest a couple of scenarios as well. The Internet, and the league is buzzing with insider information, ideas and all that jazz, in this piece, we are going to dissect a lot of it. This is the time to do it, so let’s get to it. TRADE DEADLINE FRENZY!

MARKIEFF MORRIS:

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Photo courtesy of azcentral.com

The trade deadline could probably put a ton of focus on Phoenix Suns Forward Markieff Morris. He requested a trade early in the season after his brother Marcus was traded to Detroit, and has stayed in Phoenix since. But with the deadline looming, expect a ton of interest from teams to acquire the disgruntled forward.

And why won’t teams do it? He’s the perfect PF in today’s NBA. He’s quick on his feet for his position, he can shoot, and in this era of playing small can be vital, he has enough size to play the small ball Center for any team, and still be able to stretch the floor. He also carries a great contract that with the rising cap, would be vital for any team. The Toronto Raptors would be a great fit, as while they are doing good, they could use a PF upgrade. The Washington Wizards could also use a PF upgrade who can shoot and stretch the floor to help open the court for John Wall.

Here’s the big concern. His trade value may have dropped  significantly due to attitude problems. A pending felony charge, could scare off teams despite what he can offer on the court. He may face a suspension, or worse, jail time, if convicted of the assault charges. While he can be a difference maker in some teams, he could end up not being in the team at all. And giving up assets to acquire a risky player in Markieff could be very tricky.

THE ATLANTA HAWKS SHOPPING:

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The Big Apple could use Jeff Teague. Photo courtesy of scoopnest.com

A ton of rumors are suggesting that the Atlanta Hawks are shopping Al Horford and Jeff Teague.

The New York Knicks could be an interesting trade partner for Teague, who could really use a PG upgrade. The problem is, the Knicks may have to offer a future first round pick, or two to lure Teague to the Big Apple. They don’t have enough expiring deals to match his salary. They have Jose Calderon who’s salary and years are similar to Teague’s, but a straight swap won’t make sense.

Personally, I think it makes a ton of sense to offer a future first and a future second along with Calderon for Teague. Jeff Teague is only 27, relatively young that he still fits the rebuild post Carmelo Anthony while being already a veteran presence. He is a former All-Star who’s still capable of being a second or third option on offense, and give stability on the PG position. Giving up a 2018 first may not be enough, but it should start the negotiation.

As for Al Horford, who wouldn’t want him? Solid all around, added a three point shot to his offensive arsenal. Good defender, good teammate. Problem is, he’s on an expiring deal that may warrant a max deal next summer, when he’s 30. Would there be team that would give up assets for a player who, while very good, could turn out to be a a rental? Well, there is one team in the NBA that could afford to do that, the Boston Celtics.

Horford massively upgrades the Center spot, the rim protection and he absolutely fits the offensive system that the Celtics run. They have plenty of assets they could throw in. David Lee’s expiring could clear money for Atlanta in the next year, they got at least THREE first round picks coming in this year, and a few more the next 3, and while it would be questionable to trade the 2016 Brooklyn pick for Horford, Boston could easily give up one of those, or two, with one being heavily protected. They have young bigs in Jared Sullinger and Kelly Olynyk who Atlanta can develop. And they will have the cap room to be able to resign Horford in Free Agency. Whether or not he warrants a max contract is a total different conversation, but with the Celtics creeping into the top seeds, Horford could be a very good piece to add to Boston’s current magical run.

WILL DWIGHT HOWARD MOVE?

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Dwight Howard, where will he play? Photo courtesy of ischoolguide.com

Another developing rumor is the Houston Rockets considering trading C Dwight Howard.

Howard has a player option on his final year, which means he can walk as a free agent next summer, and the Rockets considering of moving him makes sense, get something than nothing.

Here’s the thing, who would want Dwight Howard? He’s still productive, but he’s on a slow decline. His FT shooting has been a problem, and he’s became and often injured player. And if he opts out, who’s going to pay him more than $20 million per, when he’s already 30 and with shotty knees?

Which teams out there is a Center away from being relevant? The Celtics, also, could be in the running. As with Horford, Dwight massively upgrades the defense from the interior, and possibly add more scoring due the Celtics having capable shooters all around. Beside, Isaiah Thomas and Dwight Howard on the pick and roll, that would be SWEET! But how much will he cost? Will the Rockets require the Brooklyn pick, which would be a massive overpay for someone who may  not even stay in Boston after the season.

The Portland Trail Blazers could also be an interesting place. Another team who could upgrade their rim protection and defensive impact with Dwight. Also, they have an ace in the hole, they are $20 million under the cap, which means they can trade any contract and not worry about salaries matching as they can absorb a chunk of that money. The only concern is they may not have a ton of valuable future assets like draft picks to sweeten the deal. Would they be okay giving up future first round picks for an aging former All-Star that while he fits well, could probably in a steady decline starting now? Assuming he stays healthy, a core of Howard – Lillard – McCollum could be a Western Conference playoff team, and could entice free agents to join. But for how long that window can be open, with Dwight’s injury concerns, and a predictable decline? And is that warranted a future first round pick or two?

WHO SAYS NO TRADE IDEA:

Portland trades CJ McCollum
Milwaukee trades Giannis Antetokounmpo

An idea I had in my head for a very long time. Milwaukee may give away a ton of potential, but they gain a player that helps their spacing dramatically with his shooting, open up the floor for Jabari Parker and Greg Monroe, and still be a capable 20 PPG scorer.

Portland gets a player who’s oozing with potential, can play both forward spots, still developing while already being solid and upgrades their frontcourt.

Who says no?

Stay tuned for part 2. We got more trade rumors and ideas to tackle. 

MIAMI SHOULD RELISH PF LUOL DENG.

Commentary:

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Small ball 4? Why not? (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)

Luol Deng has been an ironman, a great wing defender, and through out his career, a solid NBA player with All-Star recognition.

But it has come to the point where The Man from Sudan has reached his limit at the SF position. His legs have been burned out, mainly due to his tenure in Chicago when he has been a Swiss Army Knife. He slower, due to the injuries he accumulated thru out his career. The player that once one of the best known defenders, being called upon to defend fellow SF’s like LeBron James, Kevin Durant and Carmelo Anthony to name a few has lost a step and could not handle that load.

Luol Deng is past his prime at SF. But what about at PF?

In an age where pace and spacing is becoming king, Miami has the perfect Small Ball 4 in their squad in Deng. While he is not quick enough anymore to guard elite 3’s, he’s still mighty formidable enough to battle against opposing PF’s. He’s got the length to be slotted in the big man spot at 6’9″ and a 7 foot wingspan, he’s a tough competitor who has seen everything in the league at this point when it comes to physicality. Offensively he can spread the floor, being much more helpful since Dwyane Wade and Goran Dragic thrives on penetration. A 35% 3PT shooter this year, he’s enough of a threat to attract defenses and open up the floor for Miami’s rest of the offense to flourish. He may not be able to run against wings, but his activity would be well in display vs Power Forwards, in which most of the league are still adjusting while keeping their traditional bigs in their lineup. And Deng, a guy who has shown time and time again that he plays on both ends could punish slower PF’s on the break.

And it’s not just the eye test that suggests that Deng should be playing the 4 spot. Per Hoopsstats.com, Deng is averaging more points, rebounds, assists, steals and turning the ball over less at PF than when he’s slotted at Small Forward. He’s also shooting at 43% playing the big man spot, better compare to his 38% mark at SF. He’s also averaging a better 3PT at the 4, in part could be because opposing PF’s are a little slower in closing out on Deng than traditional, quicker SF’s.

And just having an extra playmaker at the big man spot, on an open floor would pay dividends. Wade has transformed himself into a great off the ball player, utilizing cuts to perfection. With an another passer coming up from the high post, being able to utilize the space, is available, the Miami offense could be better.

And with Deng at the 4, it opens up a SF spot for prized Rookie Justise Winslow, who’s developing rather nicely as an NBA player, but could use more playing time, especially getting used to playing big minutes.

There’s a dillema here, as to bring Deng at PF, someone has to sit. It’s not going to be Chris Bosh, so it’s possible that it’s Hassan Whiteside who needs to ride the pine. With the numbers suggesting that Miami is better off with Hassan on the bench, and the fact that Dwyane Wade is scoring 6 points per 36 minutes more when he’s off the floor, and Bosh having proved that he can handle the Center spot, there’s no reason why Miami Heat should not consider playing Luol Deng at Power Forward.