NBA Trade Rumors: Analyzing the Latest Deals and Scenarios
An NBA offseason without a fresh batch of trades and a tightly-packed rumor mill simply isn't an NBA offseason at all.
As the list of available free agents dwindles down to insignificance, teams will look to pursue groundbreaking deals to lead them into the start of next season. In fact, some of them already have.
While not every rumored deal will be actualized, though, every piece of information is of the utmost importance to next season's outlook.
Every trigger that is pulled, every rumor that the mill churns out and every rumbling of any kind plays a role in shaping which versions of each franchise we see take the court come opening night.
The regular season doesn't tip off until the end of October, but the battle for positioning and relevancy through addition, or even subtraction, begins now.
Timberwolves Acquire Dante Cunningham from Grizzlies for Wayne Ellington
Photo via zimbio.com.
The Memphis Grizzlies and Minnesota Timberwolves continued to shuffle their rosters this past week.
Memphis agreed to send forward Dante Cunningham to Minnesota in exchange for reserve shooting guard Wayne Ellington, according to the Memphis Commercial Appeal and subsequently confirmed by Jerry Zgoda of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.
Though the deal was far from earth-shattering, it served crucial purposes for all parties involved.
For the Grizzlies
With a healthy Darrell Arthur and Zach Randolph, in addition to Marreese Speights, Memphis suddenly had a log-jam of forwards, rendering Cunningham expendable.
In return, the Grizzlies brought in another shooting guard to help stretch the floor and spread opposing defenses wafer-thin.
While Memphis' logic makes sense, though, its execution is questionable. The Grizzlies were tied for 25th in the league in three-point shooting last year, converting on just 32.6 percent of their attempts.
Ellington shot just 32.4 percent from downtown last season. That said, he's a 37.6 percent career long-ball shooter overall, leaving Memphis with much to hope for should he crack the rotation.
For the Timberwolves
After missing out on Nicolas Batum, the Timberwolves are in need of holding some experimental procedures on versatile forwards.
Cunningham doesn't have the range that Batum does, but he feasts off pick-and-rolls and has a stellar mid-range jump shot, ensuring he'll thrive alongside Ricky Rubio.
That said, Cunningham is slightly undersized for a forward who doesn't play on the perimeter. His ability to earn minutes will depend on his willingness to withstand the rigors of low-post battles against athletes with much more mass.
Jeremy Pargo to the Cavaliers
Photo via commercialappeal.com.
The Cleveland Cavaliers added some much-needed depth at point guard with the acquisition of Jeremy Pargo while the Grizzlies continued to stockpile swingmen in O.J. Mayo's absence.
According to Ronald Tillery of the Memphis Commercial Appeal, the Grizzlies sent Pargo, a 2014 second-round pick and cash considerations to the Cavaliers in exchange for D.J. Kennedy.
For the Cavaliers
Cleveland had a wealth of wings on the roster, but no clear backup to Kyrie Irving.
Here, however, the Cavaliers get an extremely athletic penetrator with the potential to develop into a sound backup. Pargo was a star in Europe and already boasts enough court awareness to be able to enter the fray immediately.
That second-round draft pick doesn't hurt, either.
For the Grizzlies
With the signing of Jerryd Bayless and the emergence of Josh Selby in Las Vegas, Pargo became expendable for Memphis.
In Kennedy, the Grizzlies receive another combo-guard capable of hitting the long-ball to help stretch the floor. Though he's unlikely to have an immediate impact, Memphis needs all hands on deck in the absence of Mayo.
Saving some salary and luxury tax is yet another incentive.
Three-Team Trade Officially Completed
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The Timberwolves, New Orleans Hornets and Phoenix Suns officially completed a multiplayer three-team trade, according to the Associated Press (via NBA.com).
Per the deal, Phoenix sent the 7-foot Robin Lopez and Hakim Warrick to New Orleans, who sent the contracts of Jerome Dyson and Brad Miller back to the Suns. Minnesota sent forward Wesley Johnson and a future first round pick to Phoenix and will receive three second-round picks as compensation.
For the Timberwolves
This was a move that freed up an ample amount of cap space for Minnesota, allowing them to sign Andrei Kirilenko to a two-year, $20 million deal (via ESPN.com).
Though Kirilenko's contract is a risk in itself, nearly half of it was money they had tied up in Johnson, who proved to be anything but a good investment after being drafted fourth overall in 2010.
For the Hornets
After dealing Emeka Okafor and watching Chris Kaman sign with the Dallas Mavericks, Robin Lopez fills a much-needed hole at center in New Orleans.
Anthony Davis, while 6'11", is best served spending a majority of his minutes at the power forward slot and Lopez's presence takes a lot of the low-post burden off his shoulders.
Warrick's presence only further deepens a Hornets front court that boasts Jason Smith as well. His athleticism, defensive anticipation and mid-range jump shooting should easily find a place in New Orleans' rotation.
For the Suns
Phoenix gains some future financial relief by assuming the retiring Miller's $5.1 million deal.
The Suns also land an unfulfilled wing in Johnson, who has plenty of potential, yet much to prove. If nothing else, he'll inject an air of versatility into the lineup and help stretch the floor with his ability to hit the outside shot.
Minnesota's future first-round pick will also come in handy as the Suns begin a long rebuilding process.
Dwight Howard on the Move Sooner Than We Think?
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With Dwight Howard reiterating his wish to be traded, multiple league sources predict the Orlando Magic will again step up efforts to find their All-Star center a new team.
Several of those sources told FOX Sports Ohio on Saturday they believe Howard could be traded by the end of next week.
What It Means
While we would all welcome an end to the 18-month Dwightmare, we shouldn't hold our breath.
Since the Brooklyn Nets re-signed Kris Humphries and Brook Lopez, and the Houston Rockets lost an significant amount of cap flexibility by signing Omer Asik and Jeremy Lin, a potential Howard deal is now even more complicated.
Though there will be plenty of teams willing to rent Howard, there will be none that will meet Orlando's asking price. The Los Angeles Lakers can offer a package headlined by Andrew Bynum, but will do so only if Howard agrees to an extension.
As we've seen time and time again throughout this soap opera, things could change and heat up rather quickly, but with the even more limited market the Magic are forced to wade through, don't expect a deal to be struck anytime soon.
Willie Green to the Clippers
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The Los Angeles Clippers have announced that they dealt the rights of forward Sofoklis Schortsanitis to the Atlanta Hawks in exchange for shooting guard Willie Green.
As part of the deal, Green will sign a new contract and the Hawks will receive a trade exception in the amount of Green's first-year salary, believed to valued between $1.65 million and $2.75 million, according to ESPN.com's John Hollinger.
For the Hawks
Even in the absence of Joe Johnson, the additions of Kyle Korver and Lou Williams rendered Green expendable.
Though the combo guard has proven he can score, he struggled immensely throughout Atlanta's postseason run this past year.
Schortsanitis will unlikely ever see the light of the NBA—he was drafted in 2003 and has yet to come stateside—but the trade exception created will undoubtedly come in handy.
Still, it's tough to not receive any tangible assets in return.
For the Clippers
Los Angeles has undergone some major renovations this summer, especially in the backcourt where the Clippers have already re-signed Chauncey Billups and added Jamal Crawford.
Though Green's addition does give the Clippers a surplus of combo guards, the team clearly isn't taking any chances after losing Billups for almost all of last season.
And the fact is, Green can score. He's great at attacking the rim, but also adept at moving without the ball. His perimeter defense is also solid.