Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Trade Watch: Top wings on the block
By Chad Ford
With the trade deadline now less than 10 days away, we're finally entering crunch time. Calls are flying fast and furious.
Here's an updated look at the top wings most likely to be moved by the deadline.
This information comes largely from two sources: GMs who tell us what other teams are offering them, and NBA player agents who often play important roles in getting their clients moved this time of year.
|Matrix. Vinsanity. T-Mac. Big-name wings could be moving before the trade deadline.|
Top wings on the block
Shawn Marion, Heat
Marion has been at the top of the list of players most likely to be traded all season. Since the moment the Heat drafted Michael Beasley in June, it has been pretty clear that the Heat must move Marion this season or risk losing him for nothing in the summer when he hits free agency.
A number of teams are interested in Marion's talent. The question is, are any of them willing to meet his salary demands once summer arrives? The thought of that has scared off a number of would-be suitors. The Raptors have shown the most interest, but the Cavs, Hornets, Bulls and Kings, among others, are also in the hunt. Even the Suns might get involved if it's the right package for Amare Stoudemire.
Chance of trade: 80 percent
Wally Szczerbiak, Cavs
A lot of expiring contracts are out there, but none garners more attention than Szczerbiak's because the Cavs aren't interested in finding cap room right now. They want a championship.
Everyone in Cleveland is crossing his fingers that some desperate GM will pull a Chris Wallace and give away an All-Star for cap relief and late first-round picks. More often than not, it doesn't happen, but with the economy turning sour and a scrum of teams trying to get under the cap in 2010, the Cavs might be able to pull it off.
Chance of trade: 60 percent
Richard Jefferson, Bucks
With Michael Redd out for the season, Andrew Bogut out for a couple of months and Luke Ridnour out for a month, the Bucks' chances of making the playoffs have dramatically decreased. With Charlie Villanueva and Ramon Sessions hitting free agency in the summer, the team must clear some space to sign them.
That need has led the Bucks to explore deals for Jefferson that would allow them to reduce payroll and add an asset in return. The Blazers have had a lot of interest in Jefferson in the past and have the right combo of assets, plus Raef LaFrentz's expiring contract, to make it happen.
Chance of trade: 50 percent
Mike Miller, Timberwolves
Getting Miller as part of the Kevin Love trade this past summer looked like a coup for the Wolves. However, Miller hasn't fit in and has reportedly been on the block. Although the Wolves publicly say there's nothing to the Miller trade rumors, a number of GMs around the league disagree.
Miller's shooting ability and reasonable contract make him one of the most attractive trade candidates out there. With Al Jefferson now out for the season, will Kevin McHale & Co. cut bait and try to save some cash by trading Miller for an expiring contract and picks or young players?
Chance of trade: 45 percent
John Salmons, Kings
Salmons is having a career season, but he doesn't fit into the long-term future of the franchise, and the Kings have been shopping him all season.
His versatility, defense and ability to handle the ball have attracted a number of suitors. But buyers beware -- this guy has to start. If you take him out of the starting lineup, his numbers drop and his pouting increases. Despite his talent, he's never really been known as a chemistry guy in either Philadelphia or Sacramento.
Chance of trade: 40 percent
Vince Carter, Nets
Going into the season, no one predicted that Carter, at the age of 32, would put up All-Star numbers on a rebuilding team. But he has played his heart out and, with Devin Harris, has made the Nets respectable. Which means it's the perfect time for Rod Thorn and Kiki Vandeweghe to throw him a farewell party.
Carter has garnered plenty of interest from a few championship contenders such as Cleveland, San Antonio and Houston, which see him as a nice veteran addition. The Nets should jump on any deal that would give them a combination of cap relief and picks. Getting the last three years and $51 million of his contract off their books has to be a priority right now.
Chance of trade: 35 percent
Marquis Daniels, Pacers
Daniels is one of the more under-the-radar trade prospects on this list. He is having one of the best seasons of his career, and he has a team option on his contract, which, in essence, is an expiring contract. With Mike Dunleavy now back from injury and rookie Brandon Rush waiting in the wings, Daniels is expendable.
Daniels' appeal is twofold. Not only can he help a team now, he also represents no long-term risk. For that reason, a number of GMs I spoke with listed Daniels as a player in which they have some interest. I doubt the Pacers would mind packaging him with one of their other expiring contracts if such a deal could land them a young big man to pair with Danny Granger.
Chance of trade: 30 percent
Allen Iverson, Pistons
Everyone, including team president Joe Dumars, knew the Pistons were taking a big gamble bringing Iverson into the circle of trust. So far, the grand experiment hasn't turned out well. Although the Pistons look like a playoff team, they no longer look like a serious contender for an NBA title.
So, what should the Pistons do next? They can keep plugging along, let Iverson's contract come off the books and have around $20 million in cap space in the summer. Or, they can be proactive and try to turn Iverson into more assets or possibly a veteran big to shore up their front line. Although Iverson doesn't hold the same appeal to many GMs as he used to, he is still a great ticket draw and could make someone a lot of money.
Chance of trade: 25 percent
Josh Howard, Mavericks
Mavs owner Mark Cuban has been pretty adamant that he doesn't want to trade Howard, but there's enough buzz around the league to make you wonder whether some of his talk is a smoke screen. The Mavs are a first-round-exit playoff team at best. I don't think that's what Cuban had in mind when he mortgaged the future to add Jason Kidd at last season's trade deadline.
Although I'm sure Cuban would prefer to move Jerry Stackhouse, Howard is the guy in whom teams are interested. If Cuban wants to make a big splash by the deadline, Howard has to be the guy to go.
Chance of trade: 20 percent
Corey Maggette, Warriors
No one understood what the Warriors were thinking when they showered Maggette with a five-year, $48 million deal in the summer. Not even the Warriors, apparently. (We could say the same thing about Stephen Jackson's deal.) Almost immediately, it became clear that the Warriors wouldn't mind getting out of Maggette's contract, and he has been on the block ever since.
Maggette still is one of the best scorers in the league, but with his price tag, I'm not sure how much interest he will generate.
Chance of trade: 10 percent
Tracy McGrady, Rockets
Once again, T-Mac is on again, off again with injuries and dampening the hopes of Rockets fans everywhere. This time, it seems as though everyone has had enough. The problem is, what GM in his right mind would give up anything of value for T-Mac at this point? Isiah Thomas is no longer running the show in New York.
So the Rockets can try to shop him all they want, but unless they want bad contracts in return or another injury-prone former star such as Jermaine O'Neal, I don't think they will pull it off.
Chance of trade: 5 percent
Others who might be moved: Lamar Odom, Lakers; Travis Outlaw, Blazers; Stackhouse, Mavs; Larry Hughes, Bulls; Andres Nocioni, Bulls; Bobby Simmons, Nets; Linas Kleiza, Nuggets; Rashad McCants, Wolves.
Chad Ford covers the NBA for ESPN Insider.
Chad Ford covers the NBA for ESPN Insider.