Any takers for a super talented head case on a team in limbo?
Christmas may have passed, but with the trade deadline approaching in the NBA, bargain shopping will be in full swing shortly. And as we approach the halfway point, it is becoming increasingly more clear who will be looking to buy some gifts and who will be doing the wrapping.
Whether they are strapped by the cap and looking to shed salary, going nowhere and looking to blow things up or simply loitering in the basement and waiting to rebuild, the following teams should find themselves in full “sell” mode as midnight on Feb. 21 looms ever closer.
Just two years removed from a championship, Cuban was probably not anticipating a wave of the white flag and being ready to rebuild when the season began.
But, with an aging roster and zero cap space, it looks like that’s just what they’ll be doing.
That said, either a young team trending upward or a team on the cusp of contention could benefit from the addition of a proven veteran such as Vince Carter, Shawn Marion and Chris Kamen. But the question is whether there’s enough of a need to give up anything of substance to nab them.
It was looking really good there for a while for the Hawks. But when it rains, it pours, and lately, it’s been a typhoon in Atlanta. And the latest news of Lou Williams being lost for the season doesn’t help.
Meanwhile, the team is full of expiring contracts, including a disgruntled Josh Smith and Devin Harris, who’s had a down year and may benefit from a change of scenery.
There's some real talent here, but out of the Hawks' core players, only Williams and Al Horford are signed beyond this season. And since they're over the salary cap, it's a crapshoot as to who else will return unless they shake things up a bit.
The Jazz are stuck where the Jazz have been stuck for several years now: not good enough to contend but not bad enough to score a high lottery pick and completely rebuild.
However, the Jazz have something that many other teams would love to have: a glut of big men. This includes an expiring contract in Al Jefferson who could potentially turn a fringe playoff team (like them, in fact) into a championship contender.
Plus, shipping Jefferson — or even, if the price is right, Paul Millsap— will open up minutes for younger up-and-comers such as Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter.
Considering that the franchise is being shopped around, hell, why not its players too?
DeMarcus Cousins may have officially worn out his welcome in Sacramento (and perhaps, pre-emptively, in Seattle), but his upside is still outweighs the drama. He's only 22 and already averaging a double-double, so it could be a perfect opportunity for both parties to start fresh.
Plus, Tyreke Evans is in the final year of his deal and if anyone is interested in John Salmons, who still has three years left on his, I'm sure the Kings are listening.
After years of being almost great, now is the time to start fresh and ship off some players —especially on a squad stacked with long-term contracts but not one that you could legitimately build around.
However, pieces such as point guard Goran Dragic or center Marcin Gortat (who, frankly, both sound like villains from a Die Hard movie), two serviceable players with reasonable salaries, could make excellent additions to a contender or wanna-be contender, especially considering their respective positions are in need by most of the league.
The Grizzlies look close to being special. Real close. But unfortunately, they play in a conference that features such juggernauts as the Oklahoma City Thunder, San Antonio Spurs and the newly-dominant Los Angeles Clippers. Therefore, a run at a championship this year just isn’t going to happen.
And with both the Thunder and Clippers remaining young and in tact, it may not happen next year either, unless they make a move.
With just one expiring contract of note —Tony Allen— the Grizz have the opportunity to build off of a core nucleus of Rudy Gay, Zach Randolph, Marc Gasol and Mike Conley. Each of the aforementioned are signed for at least the next three seasons, and all except Conley make over $13 million per.
Therefore, not only could the Grizzlies afford to part with one of them in order to continue to develop and, ultimately, advance deeper into the playoffs, they may not be able to afford not to! And the biggest chip trading chip they have is the versatile but inconsistent Gay.
After starting the season at a miserable 7-25, the Hornets have won six of their past eight and can finally see the forest from the trees.
With a solid young core of athletes such as Anthony Davis, Greivis Vasquez and Austin Rivers but no cap room to speak of, they can afford to take offers for a now-healthy but still-pricy Eric Gordon or perhaps even solid-if-not-spectacular Robin Lopez.
It could be addition by subtraction for the young Hornets, who have the chance to cut ties with veterans to give their hopeful rising stars like Rivers a chance to earn more minutes and shine. Plus, the Hornets have already shown earlier this season that they are not averse to some wheeling and dealing when they parted ways with Hakim Warrick.