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 5 of a team-by-team breakdown of what we should expect as the NBA Trade Deadline draws near. We already discussed the Atlantic, Central, Southeast and Southwest Divisions. Now, let's move on to the Northwest, featuring a young team that's being way too conservative, an older team being too aggressive, a desperate team trying to keep its superstar and, oh yeah, the Nuggets.
Oklahoma City Thunder
Record: 35-19, fourth in the West.
Priority: Contend and maintain the young core.
Holes/weaknesses: Center, interior defense, toughness
Trade assets: Morris Peterson and Nenad Kristic's expiring contract, Jeff Green, James Harden, Cole Aldrich, Eric Maynor, 2011 first-round pick, 2012 first-round pick from the Clippers.
Other pieces involved in rumors: N/A
Summary: The Thunder are once again quiet at the trade deadline, and this time, it's getting a little ridiculous. They desperately need size, and would be an ideal fit for Nene, for example, but they haven't popped up in any trade rumors involving him. They seem to be content to let their young core continue to grow, except the honeymoon stage is going to run out at some point . They have a chest of assets and two great players, but have to make some sacrifices to upgrade right now. However, they seem content to stand pat and hope natural progression pushes their core further in the playoffs.
If I were GM, I would ...: Start trading for some veterans. They, and not the Rockets, should be leading the chase for Nene. They should look around the league and see if there's any size available. They should also try to cash in on Jeff Green now instead of having to overpay him in the summer. I'd also look for a shooting guard upgrade on Thabo Sefolosha, who remains an excellent defender, but is a self-check on offense.
Portland Trail Blazers
Record: 32-24, fifth in the West.
Priority: Unclear. They could try to go for upgrades now, or they could rebuild. A recent winning streak may indicate the former strategy wins out.
Holes/weaknesses: A penetrating wing player who can create offense, point-guard defense.
Trade assets: Joel Przybilla's expiring contract, Andre Miller's semi-expiring contract (non-guaranteed next year), Greg Oden's expiring contract, Rudy Fernandez, Dante Cunningham, Patty Mills, $2.29 million trade exception, 2011 first-round pick, 2011 first-round pick from New Orleans.
Other pieces involved in rumors: Marcus Camby
Targets: Devin Harris, Gerald Wallace, Troy Murphy, Ramon Sessions, Anthony Morrow
Summary: The Blazers are being typically active, though it seems like they just pop up in rumors that have little substance. Still, they're in an interesting spot. A recent winning streak, coupled with the emergence of LaMarcus Aldridge has likely convinced the team they don't need to blow it up in the wake of devastating injuries to Brandon Roy and Greg Oden. They've been interested in Harris for years, and are rumored to want him again.
If I were GM, I would ...: Make the trade for Harris. The Blazers need a point guard that can get into the lane, and Harris is the best one available. They were talking about sending Miller and Przybilla to the Nets, which would be a steal for the Blazers.
Record: 32-25, seventh in the West.
Priority: Rebuild, now that Anthony is gone.
Trade assets: J.R. Smith's expiring contract, Kenyon Martin's expiring contract, a bunch of the guys they just got from New York.
Other pieces involved in rumors: Nene (player option for $8 million next year), Al Harrington (four years, $27 million remaining), Raymond Felton (one year, $7.5 million left)
Targets: Draft picks.
Summary: The Nuggets finally traded Anthony. Now, they want to rebuild, and need to decide on some keepers. They are committed to keeping Nene around, which is a smart move even though he's not getting any younger. Otherwise? Everyone except Ty Lawson is potentially available. The Nuggets could move recently-acquired Danilo Gallinari, Raymond Felton and Timofey Mozgov for draft picks, and they could elect to move Arron Afflalo and Wilson Chandler before they become free agents this summer. Expect them to remain active through Thursday.
If I were GM, I would ...: Keep Lawson, Nene and Gallinari (don't trade him), and commit to moving everyone else for draft picks. New Jersey has several picks, and they may need Felton if they trade Devin Harris.
Record: 31-26, tied for eighth in the West.
Priority: Contend before Deron Williams skips town.
Holes/weaknesses: Outside shooting, defensive rebounding, interior defense.
Trade assets: Andrei Kirilenko's expiring contract, Gordon Hayward, two small trade exceptions (under $1.5 million)
Other pieces involved in rumors: N/A.
Summary: The Jazz are stuck in a rough spot. They are struggling, their star player could flee elsewhere and they don't have much to trade. Kirilenko's expiring contract could fetch them a long-term piece, but he's also a key player right now. They have no pick either, since it went to Minnesota in the Al Jefferson trade.
If I were GM, I would ...: Wait until the offseason. Alternatively, do the trade SBNation.com colleague Evan Dunlap proposes and bring in Rip Hamilton for Kirilenko.
Record: 13-43, last in the West.
Priority: Add young talent
Trade assets: Had cap space, but used it to acquire Anthony Randolph at the cost of taking on Eddy Curry; 2011 first-round picks from themselves, Utah and Memphis.
Other pieces involved in rumors:
Targets: Danilo Gallinari.
Summary: The Timberwolves continue their perpetual rebuilding, playing the role of the money broker while acquiring yet another raw forward in Anthony Randolph. Acquiring Randolph cost them the cap space needed to acquire players in a salary dump, and Randolph, a great talent that has flamed out in two up-tempo settings already, was their only reward. They do have a lot of draft picks that could be used to acquire young players.
If I were GM, I would ...: Trade those latter two draft picks for established young talent like Danilo Gallinari, Marcus Thornton or others.