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 3 of a team-by-team breakdown of what we should expect as the NBA Trade Deadline draws near. We already discussed the Atlantic and Central Divisions. Now, we'll discuss the Southeast Division, home of three contenders that have few trade assets.
Record: 41-15, second in the East
Holes/weaknesses: Size, point-guard play, depth.
Trade assets: Nothing
Other pieces involved in rumors: Nobody
Summary: The consequence of the Heat's summer is that they have almost nothing to trade at the deadline, unless they combine some small expiring contracts. Expect them to wait until the deadline passes when players become available via buyout.
If I were GM, I would ...: Wait until after the deadline and scoop up the guys bought out.
Record: 36-21, fourth in the East
Priority: Contend before Dwight Howard leaves
Holes/weaknesses: Size, interior depth, perimeter shot-creation
Trade assets: None, really
Other pieces involved in rumors: None, really
Targets: Troy Murphy
Summary: The Magic desperately need more size, but they have nothing of value to offer, so their best bet is to wait until after the trade deadline and snag someone who is bought out. Murphy is the piece most linked to the Magic, though he doesn't really solve their problems.
If I were GM, I would ...: See what you could get for Jason Richardson's expiring contract. I know, they just traded for him, but that might be the only way to acquire some legitimate size. Orlando could then slide J.J. Redick into the starting lineup. There might be nothing out there, but it's at least worth calling around.
Record: 34-21, fifth in the East
Priority: Contend while maintaining long-term flexibility
Holes/weaknesses: Point-guard play, foul-drawing, interior depth.
Trade assets: Jeff Teague, Jordan Crawford, Maurice Evans' expiring contract ($2.5 million), first-round pick in 2011, $3.6 million trade exception.
Other pieces involved in rumors: Jamal Crawford ($10.5 million expiring contract), Marvin Williams ($16.8 million guaranteed over next two years, plus a team option o $8.8 million after that).
Targets: Ramon Sessions, Devin Harris.
Summary: The Hawks are stuck in neutral as the rest of the East improves, so they'd like to make a move, but they don't have a lot of pieces to trade and they are reluctant to go over the $65 million luxury-tax line. Their biggest need is at point guard, where Mike Bibby's skills have declined. A major trade seems unlikely, though, unless they want to surrender Crawford's expiring contract, which would rob them of a key member of the rotation.
If I were GM, I would ...: Talk to the Houston Rockets about the possibility of renting Aaron Brooks for the rest of the season. Brooks is an impending restricted free agent, and the Rockets aren't inclined to pay him. His price tag is small ($2 million), and the Hawks could offer a first-round pick and filler to ensure the Rockets don't lose him for nothing. Brooks played in a system that runs through the high post in Houston, so he would be a good fit in Atlanta's offense.
Record: 24-32, ninth in the East
Priority: Blow it up
Holes/weaknesses: Outside shooting
Trade assets: N/A
Other pieces involved in rumors: Gerald Wallace ($10.5 million guaranteed next year, player option for the same the year after), Stephen Jackson ($19.5 million for the next two seasons), Boris Diaw (player option for $9 million next season).
Targets: Young players
Summary: The Bobcats seem to want to blow their team up, with their three highest-paid players all being involved in rumors over the past month. However, they are also only a game out of the playoffs, and they could use that home playoff revenue, so there's a chance they end up keeping the band together.
If I were GM, I would ...: Keep talking to Western Conference teams about Wallace, who is the most tradeable of the three. If Dallas changed their policy on taking on long-term contracts, they'd seem to be a good fit for the expiring contract of Caron Butler.
Record: 15-39, 13th in the East.
Holes/weaknesses: Everything, save for point guard
Trade assets: Nick Young (upcoming restricted free agent), Al Thornton (same), Yi Jianlian (same), Josh Howard ($3 million expiring contract, but must agree to trade)
Other pieces involved in rumors: Andray Blatche ($29 million over next four years), Kirk Hinrich ($8 million next season), Rashard Lewis ($31 million over next two years if waived after 2011/12).
Summary: The Wizards are likely to stand pat and wait to see what happens with the new CBA, though they have some interesting pieces. Contenders are lining up for Hinrich and Howard, and the Wizards could consider being proactive with their three upcoming restricted free agents. That said, given owner Ted Leonsis' reluctance to make moves before the summer, don't expect much. That is, unless anyone wants Blatche.
If I were GM, I would ...: Stay quiet unless someone wants Blatche or is willing to surrender legitimate value for Hinrich or Howard. Hinrich and Howard are worth more as short-term veteran leaders than what they likely would receive in a trade on the open market.