With the NBA trade deadline quickly approaching, the rumor mill has been taken to new levels following what was a fun All-Star Weekend.
Will Dwight Howard be moved in what would be one of the biggest trade deadline deals in recent history? What about Blake Griffin’s future in Los Angeles? Is he all but done with the Clippers?
These are among the hottest NBA trade rumors leading up to Thursday’s 3 p.m. ET deadline. Check below for information on said trades and whether we are buying or selling each potential deal.
Buying: Dwight Howard to the Miami Heat
— Sportsnaut (@Sportsnaut) February 15, 2016
When it was reported earlier in February that the Houston Rockets had put Howard on the trade block, we listed Miami as one of his potential destinations.
Now comes this report from Frank Isola of the New York Daily News suggesting that the Rockets and Heat have had discussions that would send Howard to South Beach for a package of players including Hassan Whiteside.
Howard had previously indicated that he didn’t demand a trade. Though, that’s not really relevant to the entire situation right now.
One game under .500 heading into the season’s second half, the Rockets have been among the most disappointing teams in the Association. It’s becoming readily apparent that the Howard-James Harden tandem isn’t going to yield the Rockets what they had hoped for when they signed the big man prior to the 2013-14 season.
With an opt-out clause in his contract, the 30-year-old Howard can become a free agent this upcoming summer — something that seems extremely likely at this point based on the salary cap increase set to take place.
If Houston were to hang on to Howard in hopes that it can make a run for one of the bottom two seeds out west, it would risk losing him for nothing.
By engaging in conversations with Miami for the big man, the Rockets are seemingly prepared to look towards the future.
For the Heat, this deal would make all sorts of sense. Howard has a much more polished offensive game than Whiteside. He would also fit the team’s slow-it-down pace.
The only real issue here is getting the salaries to match up. Miami would have to send multiple contracts to Houston to make up the $21-plus million more Howard is making in comparison to Whiteside.
This could set into motion a blockbuster trade of near unmatched impact, including a swap of Goran Dragic for Ty Lawson within the larger deal.
Selling: Blake Griffin available in trade
— Chillin in my Bacta (@DarthAmin) February 14, 2016
Outside of the fight Griffin got into with a member of the team’s equipment staff, this really doesn’t seem to make a whole bunch of sense. Despite Chris Paul’s outstanding play and Griffin’s extended absence, the latter remains the face of Clippers basketball.
You don’t throw that away midstream unless there’s something else going on behind the scenes.
More than that, finding equal value for Griffin in a mid-season trade would be extremely hard to do. That’s only magnified by the fact that any team able to pick up Griffin’s $18.9 million salary might not have the pieces to send to Los Angeles in a deal.
While the Philadelphia 76ers make some sense, is someone of Nerlens Noel’s ilk valuable enough to act as a centerpiece in any Griffin deal? That’s where it gets difficult when looking at potential trade partners.
Any talk of Griffin heading to the Nuggets can now be thrown completely out the window. After all, it’s being reported that the Clippers offered the big man along with Lance Stephenson for Nikola Jokic, Will Barton, Danilo Gallinari and Kenneth Faried in a deal Denver obviously turned down.
Buying: Ricky Rubio out of Minnesota
The Minnesota Timberwolves should be prepared to pull the plug on this project. With Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins acting as the future of the franchise, a point guard that can’t shoot worth a darn might be holding the team back.
In fact, Rubio is shooting just 36 percent from the field in what has been an uneven performance thus far this season.
This isn’t to say the former top-five pick wouldn’t have value on the trade block. Teams with plus-level shooters at other positions could very well show interest in the point guard.
Simply put, while Rubio might not be a fit in Minnesota, he might actually fit well on multiple teams around the Association.
From a Wolves perspective, moving Rubio would also enable the team to insert two-time defending Slam Dunk Contest champion Zach LaVine into the starting lineup as a point guard moving forward.
He boasts much more upside than Rubio and seems to have a place in the team’s long-term plans.
Selling: Ryan Anderson to the Miami Heat
— Doug Mouton (@DMoutonWWL) February 16, 2016
New Orleans may be 6.5 games out of the final playoff spot out west heading into the season’s second half, but it’s not like anyone else is running away with it. In fact, Utah and Portland are currently tied for the eighth seed with .500 records.
The question now becomes whether the Pelicans are prepared to trade away assets as a way to build for the future. In Anderson, they would be moving the Association’s likely Sixth Man of the Year — a player that’s right behind Anthony Davis as the most consistent on the roster.
Anderson is averaging 16.7 points and 5.9 rebounds per game while shooting 38 percent from three-point range this season. Those aren’t numbers that a team simply throws away.
While an argument could be made for the Pelicans to trade Anderson due to the fact that he’s slated to become a free agent, Miami doesn’t necessarily have the assets to get anything done here.
Why would New Orleans want to take on Josh McRoberts and an expiring (say Chris Anderson) to get this deal done? That’s only magnified by the fact that Miami’s first-round pick in this year’s draft is heading to Philadelphia.
Without that being able to act as a carrot for the Pelicans, any potential Anderson to Miami deal makes little sense.
Buying: Jeff Teague for Victor Oladipo
A league source claims that the Magic and Hawks have discussed a deal involving Victor Oladipo and Jeff Teague.
— Frank Isola (@TheFrankIsola) February 10, 2016
This one makes a lot of sense. We already know that Atlanta might be prepared to blow things up after struggling through an up-and-down first half of the season.
We also know that Orlando has struggled since it inserted Oladipo into the starting lineup back in early January. In fact, the Magic boast a 4-18 record since the former lottery pick was promoted to the team’s starting point guard role.
A Teague for Oladipo swap would act as a fresh start for both players.
Most of the specifics surrounding this deal would have to be hashed out after the fact. First off, would Atlanta bring Oladipo in to play the one or the two? Based on his relatively low assist rate (4.1 throughout his career), it would make sense for the young guard to be utilized in a shoot-first role. If so, where does that leave Kyle Korver?
For Orlando, the acquisition of Teague would be a rather seamless transition. He’d automatically take over as the team’s starting point guard with Evan Fournier.
Selling: Carmelo Anthony to the Cleveland Cavaliers
Trades like this don’t go down during the middle of the season, especially when one of the teams involved is considered a title contender.
The three-team trade scenario bandied about in the media last week included Anthony heading to Cleveland with Kevin Love going to the Boston Celtics and a combination of players (cap fillers) and draft picks heading to New York.
It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to understand why New York would want to move Anthony and his max contract. The team is going to be short on draft picks in the coming years and doesn’t possess the cap flexibility to upgrade a below-average roster. That’s not necessarily the issue here.
First off, Anthony plays the same position as LeBron James, meaning one of them would have to play the two. Neither has been utilized in this role throughout their careers.
Secondly, it doesn’t seem to make much sense for the Celtics to give up draft picks while taking on Love’s contract. Here’s a squad that enters the season’s second half as the third seed in the East.
It’s also a team that will have the flexibility to go after big-name free agents when the summer comes calling — players that would fit the team’s model much better than Love himself.
There’s little doubt that Anthony will be bandied about in rumors following the season. It only makes sense for the Knicks to engage in trade talks surrounding the All-Star. It just doesn’t make sense for a trade of this magnitude to take place mid-season, especially considering Anthony has made it clear he is not going anywhere.
Buying: Other Cleveland Cavaliers rumors
While Anthony to the Cavaliers is unlikely to happen before Thursday’s trade deadline, there’s very little reason to believe Cleveland won’t be active this week. It’s just going to be on a much smaller scale.
Reports surfaced Monday that the Cavaliers have pursued Sacramento Kings big man Kosta Koufos. This makes a ton of sense considering the team has been looking into big men throughout the past several months.
Other lesser-known individuals Cleveland could target include JJ Hickson, Brandon Bass and Markieff Morris. While that’s all speculation on our end, the expectation here has to be that Cleveland will find a way to upgrade its roster prior to Thursday’s deadline.
Selling: Brooklyn Nets trade rumors
Not only are the Nets potentially looking to buy out veteran wing Joe Johnson, they have apparently made Thaddeus Young and Brook Lopez available in trade talks.
The major sticking point here is that Brooklyn doesn’t even possess a general manager to help engage in trade discussions. At this point, it’s really anyone’s guess as to who would be on the Nets’ end of the phone should trade talks take place.
As it relates to the players, both Young and Lopez would likely draw some interest on the trade block. Lopez is considered a top-10 center in the Association, and has remained relatively healthy since missing 65 games during the 2013-14 season.
There also promises to be a decent market for Young, who is in the midst of a career season that’s seeing him average 15.1 points and 9.1 rebounds per game.
Outside of Johnson likely being bought out, it just seems to be too far-fetched for Brooklyn to be able to work out a major deal with its front office currently in flux. That scenario will likely have to wait until the summer.