The NBA trade deadline is right around the corner, and there are plenty of big-name candidates that could be changing addresses after February 20.
With so many teams tanking, the lines between the buyers and sellers are pretty distinct. While there are teams like the Toronto Raptors that fall somewhere in the middle of building for the future and trying to win now, most teams have a clear-cut identity heading into the deadline.
That should equate to more trades at the deadline, even though we've seen our fair share sprinkled throughout the year. Teams are also more financially aware than ever before in this new CBA, so many cap cutting deals could be on the way as well.
Point being, this should be a pretty eventful deadline.
For this exercise, B/R NBA editor Joel Cordes sent over three trade ideas involving some of the biggest names that are hot on the trade market right now. Let's break down which team would say no to these deals.
Oklahoma City Thunder Receive: C Spencer Hawes
Philadelphia 76ers Receive: C Kendrick Perkins and a 2014 first-round pick.
Trade Link (sans draft pick)
Why Oklahoma City Does It: Can the Thunder finally let go of the idea that Kendrick Perkins is worthy of his playing time and salary? It at least appeared that some positive steps were taken in that direction when Scott Brooks sat Perkins for most of the game in Oklahoma City's drubbing of the Miami Heat. That's not something he would do even last year.
Of course, one game doesn't cancel out the hundreds of games Perkins has played in, and Dwight Howard still looms in the Western Conference. Perkins is essentially a safety blanket at this point.
Moving him for a non-defender like Hawes would be awfully difficult, but Hawes would make the Thunder so much more dynamic with his three-point shooting ability from the 5 spot.
Even if the Thunder didn't keep Hawes, shedding the $9.6 million owed to Perkins next year would provide plenty of breathing room under the luxury tax and provide some badly needed financial flexibility to sign free agents or acquire other pieces via trade.
Why Philadelphia Does It: What do the Sixers want to do with Perkins? Nothing. This is all about getting a first-round pick that could turn into a productive player.
If the Sixers have no intention of making Hawes an offer as an unrestricted free agent this offseason, it doesn't hurt to turn him into a pick, even if it means taking on Perkins' ugly deal. Philadelphia likely has no desire to compete next year anyhow, as their first-round draft pick will be forfeited to the Boston Celtics if they make playoffs. If the Sixers don't make the playoffs, however, the commitment shrinks to two second-round choices.
Philadelphia has no real damaging long-term salaries on the books, and big expiring deals have value on the trade market. This would be a shrewd move for Philadelphia.
Who Says No?
Oklahoma City. The attachment to Perkins is real, and Oklahoma City is a title contender with him playing a role. Perkins should have more trade value next year as an expiring deal than he does now, and Oklahoma City isn't the type of team to give up first-round draft picks. Thunder GM Sam Presti would have to think about it for a few minutes, but the potential upgrade wouldn't be worth giving up the pick.
Sacramento Kings Receive: SG Eric Gordon, PG Brian Roberts
New Orleans Pelicans Receive: SG Marcus Thornton, PF/C Jason Thompson, PG Jimmer Fredette
Why Sacramento Does It: We know that the Kings are trying to be competitive now, but that's going to be tough without any cap space coming next season if Rudy Gay accepts his player option. Finding other ways to acquire talent is going to be necessary, and that may mean taking on a high-risk, high-reward player already on a long-term deal like Eric Gordon.
Gordon is a plus defender who could help space the floor for DeMarcus Cousins, but he comes with a lot of past injury troubles and a big salary. Sacramento showed the willingness to take on high-priced salary with the Gay trade, so perhaps they'd do it again to solidify their backcourt and make a playoff run next year.
With Isaiah Thomas, Gordon and Cousins, the Kings would be a few solid defenders away from competing. That's an explosive offensive team.
Why New Orleans Does It: The decision to trade for Jrue Holiday and Tyreke Evans has backfired so far due to a shaky fit and injuries, and trading Gordon's long-term deal would rectify a lot of the problems. Thornton could come off the bench as a sixth man, but his primary value would come via his expiring deal next year.
In Thompson, New Orleans would get an unspectacular but solid frontcourt option to play with Anthony Davis. Thompson is on a long-term deal, but it's not nearly as damaging as Gordon's could potentially be.
This is more about the money than the talent coming back, but it might be wise to pull the plug on the Holiday-Gordon-Evans experiment and clear up space to add a better fit.
Who Says No?
New Orleans. While getting out of Gordon's deal may be appealing, this would be too steep of a downgrade in talent to justify. Gordon has stayed healthy and played pretty well this season, so if the Pelicans are going to trade him, getting back equal talent or fully dumping his deal and earning draft picks probably makes more sense. It's close, but it's just not quite sweet enough.
Portland Trail Blazers Receive: Thaddeus Young
Philadelphia 76ers Receive: Thomas Robinson and C.J. McCollum
Why Portland Does It: The Blazers have the looks of a legitimate title contender, and general manager Neil Olshey has never been afraid to push the chips in. In Thaddeus Young, the Blazers would get a legitimate third big man who would bring athleticism and solid scoring ability to the table.
Young may be a little expensive, but the Blazers won't have cap room anytime soon anyhow. Although it certainly seems like LaMarcus Aldridge is willing to stay in Portland for the future, Young is also insurance in case he changes his mind.
This would be a big move to try to win a championship, and it wouldn't require giving up much. Although C.J. McCollum should be a nice scoring sixth man one day, Mo Williams is currently handling those duties for the Blazers. Robinson plays with good energy, but Young is a massive upgrade.
Why Philadelphia Does It: The Sixers are a rebuilding team, and rebuilding teams typically don't hang on to long-term deals worth $9 or $10 million unless they're true stars to build around. Young doesn't qualify for that, and you have to imagine it's only a matter of time before he asks to be traded to a winning team.
“No,” Young said. “My agent has talked to [general manager Sam Hinkie] about different situations and options. I know there have been talks about me being traded and me having a lot of frustrations, but that comes with losing basketball games. People have to realize that when you are in a losing situation like we are now, we are going to get frustrated and everyone is going to tense up a little bit. That is what has been happening.”
As we've seen with the Houston Rockets and Omer Asik, it may be smart to move Young before he becomes more adamant about being dealt. In McCollum and Robinson, the Sixers would get two former lottery picks on controllable rookie-scale deals, while clearing a bit of salary this year and moving forward.
Michael Carter-Williams and McCollum would be an interesting backcourt pair, especially if Philadelphia continues to play at this lightning quick pace.
Who Says No?
Philadelphia. While McCollum is intriguing as a scorer, Robinson looks like nothing more than a role player going forward. While it's certainly not a bad haul for Young, Philadelphia likely desires the high potential a future draft pick provides instead of players who have already been drafted.