The NBA trade deadline rumors for 2016 have been swirling and twirling in a hyperbolic toilet for weeks, and there’s good reason. A few contenders and pretenders are loaded with tradable assets, and a lot of big names are on the chopping block. Will anything happen?
For once, I believe something major will actually transpire. For the past few years, the deadline has passed in the night like a wet fart. But this season has some seriously intriguing developments. A lot of smaller trades might surface, but there’s a seismic shift out there somewhere. It just depends if teams are willing to do something drastic.
So who has the balls to pull the trigger? The most likely earthquake involves Al Horford and a team you might not anticipate.
THE TORONTO RAPTORS HAVE TO TAKE A CHANCE
Let’s start exactly where the NBA left off this weekend. Toronto just hosted a great All Star event despite record setting cold weather that probably scared off any potential free agent they had any hope of signing. As if Toronto’s recruiting problems weren’t bad enough, “eh”?
That actually makes Toronto a dangerous gunslinger when it comes to NBA trade deadline rumors. There’s no way in hell that Toronto is signing major talent in the upcoming free agent class, or any free agent class for that matter. Like everyone else, they’ll clear cap space for Durant but it’s stupid to believe that any superstar would choose to go north of the border instead of New York, Chicago, Los Angeles or anywhere else they damn well please.
You want proof? The biggest splash that Toronto’s ever made is signing Hedu Turkoglu to a five-year, $53 million deal that completely backfired in their faces. DeMarre Carrol was a nice piece to add to the current roster, but he’s now injured until the playoffs.
That puts Toronto in a very intriguing spot. If we can all agree that their ability to sign franchise altering free agents is minimal at best, then they’re perhaps the biggest dark horse in NBA trade deadline rumors because of the assets that they have in play.
NBA Trade Deadline Rumors Are Spinning Out Of ControlToronto has two first rounders in the 2016 draft. One of them is their own and will fall in the low twenties, while the other is the lesser pick between Denver and New York (likely a top-10 pick). Those are good trade chips to work with.
The biggest target they could secure is Al Horford, who has been dangled by the crumbling Atlanta Hawks who fear he may walk in free agency this summer. To get anything for Horford would be a boon to the Hawks, and Toronto would be remiss if they weren’t exploring this option heavily. Horford goes from making Toronto the second seed in the Eastern Conference to an actual spoiler against the Cavaliers.
Why would Toronto make this kind of move? Well first off, they’re absolutely horrible at picking rookies. They drafted a child from Brazil named Bruno Caboclo two years ago, and passed on a bunch of capable players last season to take Delon Wright. Neither guy is in the rotation. Wright is in the d-league.
It’s also the kind of noise that the Raptors have to make in order to substantiate themselves as credible players in the NBA market. You can’t just keep trying to find gold in the draft and bank on high-risk picks like Caboclo. Players and fans need to see you making aggressive moves for actual stars.
Masai Uriji is that kind of madman. He made a daring trade involving Rudy Gay just over two years ago that revolutionized the franchise and turned them in to a playoff team.
Is he insane enough to pull the trigger on deals involving DeMar DeRozan, who is also set to leave via free agency this summer? I doubt it. DeRozan is an icon in Toronto But pair DeRozan, Carrol and Lowry with a guy like Horford and you’ve got something truly special.
Toronto is the team that could really offset the balance of power in NBA trade deadline rumors. The price for Horford has been quoted as “borderline ridiculous” for good reason. But as Thursday inches closer, pressure may force Atlanta and Toronto to do something delightfully insane.
I wouldn’t put anything past Masai. He has the pieces to make a very brave move, and a deep playoff run with a major star like Horford could convince players and ownership to dig deep in to their pockets this summer to keep a new core together. Especially, if it means toppling the Cavs in the Eastern Conference Finals as +600 second favorites in the NBA futures market. (odds courtesy of http://OddsShark.com)
WILL ANYONE CARE ABOUT BOSTON’S DRAFT PICKS?
The last time the Boston Celtics made big moves they became NBA champions. That’s because Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen joined Paul Pierce and Rajon Rondo at the perfect time in all of their careers. The Celtics have the pieces to make another huge move, but they don’t have the core to push them over the top.
So we need to just admit that the Celtics are in a really tough spot right now. They’re decent contenders, sitting at fourth in the Eastern Conference, but nobody is going to tout them as a real threat to go far in the early parts of the summer. Boston also has credible appeal to potential free agents, which is an advantage Toronto doesn’t boast. Ainge doesn’t need to go ballistic in spite of NBA trade deadline rumors because he’ll have cap space this summer to do some damage.
However, that doesn’t mean that Boston’s going to sit on their hands. The biggest chip they have is David Lee, who has a $15 million contract, which would make almost any trade possible. For the record, Horford has a $12 million deal. Dwight Howard has a $22 million contract.
Boston also has a very serious draft pick collection they could deal. In the 2016 draft alone, they have six picks. Three of those are second rounders, but one of those is an unprotected pick from the woeful Brooklyn Nets that currently projects as a top-three selection.
The major issue is that Boston isn’t likely to get a credible return for that draft pick. Very few NBA teams are as willing to trade for picks as they were before because of the crapshoot that the draft itself represents. Teams that are in the trade market will want tangible superstars, not prospects. Those draft picks serve as icing on the cake of a larger deal.
And that’s where Boston falls short. David Lee and Jae Crowder are their only tradable assets, and it’s not like they’re actually building towards something in Boston. Unlike Toronto, they don’t have a formidable core. This is a team built on role players without any discernable identity. If they didn’t steal Isaiah Thomas from the Suns this time last year, they’d be hard pressed to put butts in to their own seats.
Ainge and the rest of the league know full well that Boston isn’t going to make a serious move despite persistent NBA trade deadline rumors. Inevitably, those draft picks mean more to Boston’s future than they will to anyone else’s. Expect Ainge to sit tight unless a desperate suitor comes along.
THE DWIGHT HOWARD TO MIAMI THING HAS LEGS
No team seems better equipped to deal with a guy like Dwight Howard than Miami. They know how to land stars. They know how to keep them (the temptations of South Beach are more than enough, along with Florida’s player-friendly tax laws). Pat Riley doesn’t fuck around.
Managing Dwight’s personality is a big deal when considering a trade for him. He left scorched earth in Orlando that’s just now recovering, while his tenure in Los Angeles should have ruined his career if not for Kobe’s polarizing reputation. Now his time in Houston is coming to an end much in the same way his last two stops in the association have. That’s why NBA trade deadline rumors will focus squarely on Howard.
Fan perspective on Howard is rightfully negative. However, NBA franchises have a much different view of him. He’s posting the worst numbers since his rookie year, but his playoff run last year of 16.4 points and 14.0 rebounds was electric. If you’re gearing up for a run in the post season, and you can get a one-year rental out of Howard then you go for it. He’s going to be motivated.
In the Eastern Conference, he can create plenty of havoc. Miami would have to move a lot of pieces to make it happen, and they frankly don’t have the pieces to make it work. There was a Whiteside rumor floating out there, but that’s not possible given that the block-centric center only makes $981,348 this year but a three-team deal could be in the works. Never underestimate Pat Riley.
The main reason that the NBA trade deadline rumors involving Howard to Miami are going to ignite is because Chris Bosh has suddenly developed another blood clot. He is still undergoing tests to see what his options are, but if things go south this week, then Riley is going to get uber aggressive in the open market. And Howard will be the first guy he targets because he’s the only general manager arrogant enough to believe he can retain him past this summer.
THE SUNS NEED TO DITCH MARKIEFF MORRIS
The Suns apparently made a huge mistake when they separated Siamese twins Markieff and Marcus Morris. In the aftermath, Markieff has essentially sour pussed his way out of Phoenix, who would love nothing more than to rid themselves of an apparent cancer. He’s averaging just 11.6 points and 5.2 rebounds per game.
Markieff is a lot like Dwight Howard without the upside. But his contract is attractive for a lot of reasons. Markieff is very talented and his four-year extension for $32 million just started this season. He’s a lot more than a rental player, and he’s acquirable for a cheap price. The Suns have to be lunatics to think that teams are going to pay a hefty sum for a guy who is a known distraction. His impending lawsuit over aggravated assault isn’t helping matters either.
If you’re Detroit, and sit just outside the playoffs in 9th out east, why not pull the trigger? You can easily dump Brandon Jennings’ expiring contract on them, or package Jodie Meeks and some of the fodder they have lower on the roster. Morris plays way better with his brother, and is a lot happier. If Detroit goes out of their way to reunite the twins, they could have a lethal frontcourt in a conference, which doesn’t have many big guys to speak of.
I’m not suggesting that it’s a good thing that teams bend over backwards to accommodate a malcontent, but the reality is that somebody will. It’s the way this league works. We love players who can ball.
BLAKE GRIFFIN’S NOT GOING ANYWHERE
Apparently, the Clippers made an offer for Blake Griffin that involved sending him to Denver for Faried, Gallanari, Jokic and Barton. The Nuggets flat out rejected the call. And who could blame them?
That’s the kind of move that makes the Clippers a very intriguing team in the playoffs. They’ve gone 15-7 SU in Blake’s absences this season, and an injury to his shooting hand isn’t going to make teams want to rush out and grab him. There’s also the huge concern that Griffin places extra value on living in Los Angeles where it’s easy to grow his brand. He may become downright despondent if shipped to another franchise in a remote location that doesn’t have a chance of competing in the playoffs.
The interesting part is that Doc Rivers is apparently the one who made the offer. The fact that they’re willing to part with Griffin for a heavy price is captivating, especially given that Griffin is still owed $41.5 million over the next two seasons. You could do a lot worse than renting Griffin for two years and turning your team in to an instant contender. For all the negative talk about him, I still see Griffin as a transcendent player.
The success in the playoffs hasn’t been there, but he’s a seriously rare breed in the NBA, and his value to the franchise is more financial than anything else. People pay to see him. The reason these rumors are going to persist is that Chris Paul is the true driving force of the team. If the trio of Jordan-Griffin-Paul isn’t going to cut it against the Spurs and Warriors, then you have to do something radical. As long as you have Chris Paul, anything is possible.
And Griffin can potentially fetch a healthy haul.
The botched Denver deal at least offers a template to other teams who might be tempted to acquire Griffin. Could Portland work a deal to land Griffin? Would Dallas? It’s become an intensely intriguing situation given the blueprint we now have for a Griffin deal.
Blake moving to an existing contender would send shockwaves across the league. Unlike other big names being tossed around the mill, Griffin is apparently one who can be acquired at the right price. Toss any NBA trade deadline rumors involving Cousins, Carmelo and Kevin Love in a pile of kindle and light it on fire. None of those guys are going anywhere.
This is a reprint from calvinayre.com. to view the original, click here.