Now that the Carmelo Anthony trade to the New York Knicks is finally completed, we can finally focus on what the rest of the teams will do at the NBA Trade Deadline. The Anthony saga was very clearly holding up any potential movement that would occur. Now that it's over, we can start to consider which teams may be active this week.
Here is Part 2 of a team-by-team breakdown of what we should expect as the NBA Trade Deadline draws near. We already discussed the Atlantic Division, so we now move to the Central Division.
Record: 38-16, third in the East
Priority: Contend, while maintaining the current mix
Holes/weaknesses: Shooting guard, outside shooting, perimeter shot creation
Trade assets: Omer Asik, James Johnson, Charlotte's 2012 lottery-protected first-round pick.
Other pieces involved in rumors: N/A
Targets: Courtney Lee, O.J. Mayo, Anthony Parker, J.R. Smith, Rasual Butler
Summary: The Bulls have an excellent team that could really use one more upgrade along the perimeter. The problem is they don't have much to trade. Taj Gibson is needed as an insurance policy for Carlos Boozer, and even Asik is young, big and cheap. The guy they seem to want most is Lee, but he's not much of an upgrade, and Asik may be a better asset than him.
If I were GM, I would ...: Think long and hard about O.J. Mayo. It's a risk, given his issues this year, but he's a much better player than Lee. If the Bulls need to trade Asik, they should do it for Mayo before they do it for Lee.
Record: 24-30, eighth in the East
Priority: Make the playoffs while maintaining long-term flexibility
Holes/weaknesses: Offense in general, especially perimeter scoring alongside Danny Granger.
Trade assets: Expiring contracts of Mike Dunleavy, T.J. Ford and Jeff Foster, a $3.4 million trade exception,
Other pieces involved in rumors: Dahntay Jones.
Summary: The Pacers are in eighth place in the East and playing well under new coach Frank Vogel, so they now want to gun for that while maintaining flexibility coming into the lockout. The Pacers have just $36 million in salary committed for next season, and if they can keep that and make the playoffs, it'll be the best of both worlds. Still, they may look to trade their expiring contracts in order to get younger.
If I were GM, I would ...: Try to cash in those expiring contracts now rather than later. The Pacers won't ever be a major free-agent destination, and their cap room will evaporate with a new CBA. Getting some veteran help for those expiring deals will provide a playoff berth and still continue the philosophy of building around youth.
Record: 21-34, 10th in the East
Priority: Unclear, should be sellers
Holes/weaknesses: Scoring of any kind
Trade assets: Michael Redd's expiring, insured contract ($18.3 million), Ersan Ilyasova, Larry Sanders.
Other pieces involved in rumors: Corey Maggette ($21 million owed the next two years)
Summary: The Bucks splurged unnecessarily last summer, and now are paying the price. In an ideal world, they would rebuild, but none of their recently-signed long-term contracts have much value.
If I were GM, I would ...: Talk to teams with large trade exceptions and offer some picks or promising young players to get the three bad contracts acquired or signed this summer (Maggette, John Salmons, Drew Gooden) off your payroll.
Record: 21-36, 11th in the East
Holes/weaknesses: Outside shooting, shot creators on the wing, interior depth.
Trade assets: Tayshaun Prince and his expiring contract.
Other pieces involved in rumors: Rip Hamilton
Targets: Troy Murphy, anyone with an expiring contract, draft picks.
Summary: The Pistons are already done with Hamilton, and they'd like to get something for Prince before he becomes a free agent, but the ongoing transfer of ownership complicates things, likely making them merely a pawn in larger trades like they were in some of the Carmelo Anthony rumors.
If I were GM, I would ...: Talk to teams about Prince. Hamilton is a lost cause, but Prince may be able to help a contender. Dallas, in particular, is someone I would look at.
Record: 10-46, last in the East
Priority: Add young talent, offload veterans
Trade assets: $14.5 million trade exception from losing LeBron James, 2012, 2013 and 2015 first-round picks from Miami, Anthony Parker's expiring contract, Jamario Moon's expiring contract.
Other pieces involved in rumors: Antawn Jamison ($15 million owed next year), Mo Williams ($17 million, but with an early-termination after this year), Ramon Sessions ($9 million for next two years, but with a player option), Daniel Gibson ($9.5 million for next two years, but final year not fully guaranteed).
Targets: Young players, picks.
Summary: The Cavaliers would like to continue their rebuild, both by sending away veterans and using available assets to get more draft picks. There's been some interest in Jamison, but his expensive contract makes moving him difficult. There has been a lot of interest in Parker and Sessions, but not for anything significant. Instead, the Cavaliers' best chance is to use their massive trade exception to acquire high-priced veterans teams are looking to dump with draft picks and/or young players attached to them.
If I were GM, I would ...: Seek out many of those teams with bad contracts and see if they may be willing to surrender draft picks for that trade exception. Some examples: Atlanta (Marvin Williams), Charlotte (Gerald Wallace, Stephen Jackson, Boris Diaw), Denver (Al Harrington) Detroit (Rip Hamilton, who can then be bought out), the Clippers (Chris Kaman), Milwaukee (Corey Maggette) and Phoenix (Josh Childress).