The 2013-14 NBA season has passed its midpoint, but the real meat of the campaign is still on the horizon.
Once the usual flurry of trading activity happens around the Feb. 20 deadline, we’ll finally have a clear picture of which teams are ready for a championship run and which pretenders decided that it just wasn’t their year.
Until then, there’s going to be plenty of discussion on which clubs need which players in order to make a run. Let’s take a look at the latest buzz surrounding these possible deals in the Association in this Tuesday, Jan. 21, rumor roundup.
Heat Looking to Make One More Deal
The Miami Heat have been constantly tweaking their roster in hopes of becoming just the fourth franchise to win back-to-back-to-back championships in NBA history. They apparently aren’t done tinkering just yet.
According to David Aldridge of NBA.com, the Heat are reportedly still looking to make one more move, likely for a wing, before the deadline passes.
It would be the fifth major acquisition for Miami since the offseason, as the club added Greg Oden, Roger Mason Jr. and Michael Beasley in the summer and recently acquired Toney Douglas in a three-team trade that saw Joel Anthony exit South Beach.
Adding a wing is definitely a wise decision for this team, which is looking to make a fourth consecutive Finals trip this spring. It would give the Heat not only depth for the playoffs but also a body to help soak minutes and keep the stars fresh during the latter portion of the regular-season campaign.
That’s extremely important, as all of these deep postseason treks are certainly exacting a toll on the bodies of the Heat’s core talent.
Don’t be surprised if the front office turns over a lot of stones in the next few weeks and identifies a player it feels can help the team ride out the regular season and potentially even contribute when the best-of-sevens come around.
Udrih Wants Out
Beno Udrih is often praised for his veteran savvy, which is why it’s no shock to find out he’s looking to become the first man to abandon the sinking ship that is the New York Knicks.
As per ESPN New York’s Ian Begley, the 31-year-old reportedly recently requested a trade, and the much-maligned franchise stated it would do its best to honor his wishes.
Earlier in the season, Udrih publicly voiced his displeasure about being the subject of criticism, as per Begley:
I kind of feel like when I do the right thing, it's not the right thing in some people's eyes. It's just tough. It's easy to point fingers when the team loses. But it comes down to, we are a team, we lose together. No matter who makes a mistake or who doesn't, it's still a team loss. So I think all of this stuff should be kept out of the media and not call certain people out or something. We've just got to go out there and fix it and watch video and fix it as a team.
Udrih is averaging a mere 5.7 points, 3.6 assists and 1.9 rebounds in 19.3 minutes per game. He was expected to play a bigger role in a three-guard rotation, alongside Pablo Prigioni and Raymond Felton, but hasn’t seen the floor much when those two are healthy.
The 10-year man from Slovenia holds career averages of 8.9 points, 3.6 dimes and 2.2 boards in 23.3 minutes per contest. He’s won two championships as a member of the San Antonio Spurs (2005, 2007) and likely realized that the Knickerbockers' chances of raising a banner have all but slipped away at this juncture.
It’s unclear what Udrih’s value would be, but he’s immensely affordable with just the remainder of a veteran’s minimum ($1.27 million) one-year deal left to pay. Expect some contenders looking for deep bench insurance for a playoff run to take a look at this disgruntled guard.
Monroe Drawing Interest, Pistons Must Make Tough Decision
The Detroit Pistons are struggling to field a decent lineup with the number of frontcourt parts currently on the roster. It seems that a casualty will soon stem from this conundrum, with Greg Monroe the most likely player to leave town via trade.
As per Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders, the Washington Wizards are extremely interested in acquiring the young big man, whether that stems from a deal with the Pistons or free agency.
Monroe is set to hit restricted free agency in the coming offseason and it may be tough for Detroit to match a pricey offer for the 23-year-old. For that reason, it is very possible that the club decides to get the most value for him now over risking losing him later for nothing.
However, Monroe has been a good player and is still making big strides in his fourth professional season. He’s putting up 14.2 points on 50.2 percent shooting and grabbing 8.7 rebounds in 32.2 minutes per game.
Unfortunately, the 6’11”, 250-pound big isn’t much of a fit with Josh Smith and Andre Drummond in the lineup. It’s tough for head coach Maurice Cheeks to effectively utilize all three, so a decision must be made sooner than later.
At 17-24, the Pistons are far from out of the picture in the awful Eastern Conference. However, it’s clear as day this team isn’t a true championship contender and will likely face a quick first-round exit if it decides to go all-out to make the postseason.
With just under a month left to come up with a plan of action, it will be quite interesting to see what happens with Monroe in the Motor City.