As the Feb. 20 NBA trade deadline approaches, each team surely has pondered some type of move to better position themselves for success—either by addition or subtraction.
Unlike in years past, we've already seen a number of deals this season before deadline day, most notably with Luol Deng becoming a Cleveland Cavalier, Jordan Crawford changing coasts and joining the Golden State Warriors, and the Sacramento Kings taking a gamble on volume scorer Rudy Gay.
Now, as teams have a clearer outlook of where they may be headed, we're almost surely in for a number of swaps that could shape the playoff picture on both ends. Teams like the Oklahoma City Thunder are in the market for one last championship piece (via Yahoo Sports), while the meddling, rebuilding teams—namely the Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers—have some assets they'd like to pawn off before trading season is through.
Each team's devoted fan contingent certainly must have a few potential maneuvers drawn up already. Ahead, we break down each team's most fruitful swap, if one was to be made before the deadline.
All stats courtesy of basketball-reference.com, unless otherwise noted
Receive Greg Monroe from Detroit Pistons for DeMarre Carroll, Shelvin Mack and 2015 1st-Round Pick
With Al Horford sidelined for the balance of this season, the Atlanta Hawks have been functioning with a major gap at the center position. Gustavo Ayon and Pero Antic—two serviceable role players—have been logging starts for the team at the 5.
They've gone 9-13 since with Horford out of the lineup, but have managed to stay afloat in a sorry Eastern Conference. Their 25-26 record is good for fifth place.
As the deadline approaches, searching for a short-term replacement at the center spot, with the hopes of nailing down the third seed in the East—and avoiding the Miami Heat or Indiana Pacers in the first round—should be top priority.
One team with a surplus of sizable talent is the Detroit Pistons. Their mammoth front line and incohesive overall roster makes them prime candidates for such a deal. Of their three prime frontcourt players, Andre Drummond is untradeable for positive reasons, and Josh Smith is untradeable for not-so-positive reasons.
This leaves Greg Monroe as a perfect fit for the Hawks' front line.
Monroe has experience at the 5, logging 89 percent of his career minutes there, according to Basketball-Reference. This season, his first at the power forward position, he's scored 14 points on average and grabbed nine boards while shooting a dependable 52 percent.
With Monroe at the center and Paul Millsap at the 4, Atlanta's frontcourt would be nearly as offensively dominant as it was with Horford at the pivot spot. Monroe's contract expires after the season.
Parting with DeMarre Carroll wouldn't be an easy pill to swallow, but adding Monroe would bump Atlanta back up to a bona fide top-four seed in this year's East. Atlanta would be able to afford losing a pick as well, considering it has no other outgoing picks in the near future.
Receive Amar'e Stoudemire from the New York Knicks for Gerald Wallace and Kris Humphies
In a potential swap of albatross contracts, the Boston Celtics may consider trading for perhaps the worst contract in the NBA today. Simultaneously, however, they'd be shedding their own rebuilding-obtrusive salary, which actually stays on the team's books for a year longer.
By bringing on Amar'e Stoudemire from the New York Knicks, Boston would be getting a moderately productive offensive forward—but that hardly has anything to do with the trade itself. They could potentially send Gerald Wallace's three remaining years of eight-figure salary to New York, along with Kris Humphries to make the swap financially legal.
This would put the Celtics on the hook for Stoudemire's $23.4 million dollar salary next season—the last of a five-year deal. STAT would then become a free agent after the 2014-15 season, while Wallace's contract still has another year until its expiration date. The total money guarantee would end up roughly equal. This would essentially condense Wallace's disaster contract into a more easily digestible time frame.
If this sounds like a one-sided proposal to you, well, you'd probably be right. But remember, this is the Knicks we're dealing with. And it's a deal that has been reportedly discussed earlier in the year, according to ESPN's Chris Broussard.
Shedding Wallace's deal could put Boston in position to re-sign Rajon Rondo in the summer of 2015, while still maintaining cap room to add another max-level free agent.
Receive Dionte Christmas and a 2014 2nd-Round Pick from the Phoenix Suns for Reggie Evans
As desperate as the Brooklyn Nets seemed for change just a month ago, it seems as if the only necessary change was an in-house shuffle rather than a trade.
Following a season-ending injury to Brook Lopez, coach Jason Kidd has shifted to a smaller starting lineup, with Kevin Garnett at the center and Paul Pierce playing power forward. Over his last 20 games, Garnett has shot over 50 percent from the field (compared to 38 percent prior), and Pierce has shot 46 percent from the field including 38 from long distance since Dec. 31 (he was shooting 40 and 38 percent prior, respectively).
The Nets are 14-6 since New Year's Day, and shaking up the winning nucleus would make little sense now. The deadline focus, if any, should be on acquiring young talent and a pick or two, since the moves to construct the current roster has left them deprived of those assets.
Rebounding big man Reggie Evans is playing on an affordable deal that expires after next season, and has averaged just 13 minutes in 30 games this year. If the Phoenix Suns, a surprising contender that struggles on the glass, are interested in adding a rebounder for a playoff run, the Nets may be a solid trade partner.
Phoenix may have as many as four first-round picks in this upcoming loaded draft, making their second-round selections—and Dionte Christmas, for that matter—relatively expendable.
Any Nets deal, at this point, should be geared towards collecting as many assets as possible, since the team is essentially locked into this aging roster for the near future, with little to no young talent in the pipelines.
Receive Thaddeus Young from the Philadelphia 76ers for Josh McRoberts, Cody Zeller, Jannero Pargo and a 2014 1st-Round Pick
Surprisingly in the playoff hunt this season under Steve Clifford, the Charlotte Bobcats' future doesn't seem as grim as it has in years past. The defense ranks sixth league-wide in efficiency, per Basketball-Reference, and the team is second in defensive rebounding percentage.
The offense, however, has left much to be desired. Its 101.1 points per 100 possessions ranks 26th, and the team has gotten little offensive output from players beside Al Jefferson, Kemba Walker and Gerald Henderson.
A swap with Philadelphia for Thaddeus Young would create an offensively dominant frontcourt pairing with Jefferson over the next few seasons.
The Sixers are open to trading their assets in their quest for a top lottery pick this season. But don't expect them to be pawned off on the cheap. As per Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders (via Sulia):
The Philadelphia 76ers are open for business. Players like Thaddeus Young, Evan Turner, Spencer Hawes and others are available. Sam Hinkie won't just dump those guys, he wants significant assets back. But don't be surprised if Philly is very active prior to the deadline.
Charlotte owns the rights to Detroit's and Portland's first-rounders in this draft, so parting with one of them in exchange for an extremely reliable scoring threat at the 4 would be fair. Young is just 25, and owed about $20 million through the next three seasons including this one—the last of which is a player option.
Receive Hasheem Thabeet, a 2015 2nd-Round Pick and a trade exception from the Oklahoma City Thunder for Mike Dunleavy
Mike Dunleavy joined up with the Bulls on the cheap last summer under the assumption that he'd be playing for a ring, on a Chicago team led by Derrick Rose.
As we all know, that's not exactly how this season played out.
As a result, Chicago has a superb shooter playing a bit out of his natural role, while playing on an extremely movable two-year, $6.5 million deal. In moving Dunleavy, the Bulls can inch closer to opening up supreme cap space this summer after the amnesty of Carlos Boozer.
All signs are pointing to a deal, and according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports, Chicago may have a perfect trade partner. The Oklahoma City Thunder are looking to add a shooting wing player, and Dunleavy adds just that.
Dunleavy is shooting 38 percent from three-point range this season, and closer to 40 percent since Dec. 31. If OKC is willing to send over one of its trade exceptions and one of their many future picks, along with Hasheem Thabeet, a deal could presumably get done.
Thabeet's deal is fully unguaranteed for next year, so Chicago would be able to completely wipe off the salary for this summer.
Receive Emeka Okafor, P.J. Tucker and a 2015 1st-Round Pick from the Phoenix Suns for Luol Deng
Theoretically, the Cleveland Cavaliers may figure this whole thing out. Theoretically, they still have a shot at cracking the playoffs this season. Theoretically, Luol Deng may re-sign with the team in the offseason, when he's an unrestricted free agent.
But none of those things are likely at all, going by what we've seen from the Cavs to this point.
Mitch Lawrence of the New York Daily News wrote earlier this month that Deng views the entire Cleveland scenario as "a mess." Deng has denied the reported comments, according to Cleveland.com, but the outlet did confirm other aspects of the News report as true.
Regardless of whether or not Deng said it himself, the Cavs are a mess. In a season where the team was purported to become a low-level playoff contender, it has struggled in literally every facet of the game.
As the trade deadline nears, it should be time for newly appointed general manager David Griffin to wave the white flag in 2013-14. Giving up on the Deng experiment would make sense, since there's a very low likelihood that the 28-year-old would re-up with Cleveland after the disaster that has been this season.
A team that could benefit from Deng's skill set, and one that has a plethora of young assets available to trade, is the Phoenix Suns. Phoenix may have as many as four first-round picks in this upcoming draft, and they're operating under the salary cap for this season. At 30-21, they're sitting at seventh in the West, seemingly one piece away from entering the middle of the playoff pack.
Adding Deng to a core of Goran Dragic and Eric Bledsoe would complement the team's skills perfectly. Deng's facilitating ability would only benefit the team's primary scorers, and his defending has always been among the best in the league at his position. He's shot 36 percent from three-point range this season with the Cavaliers.
If Phoenix is willing to part with a first-rounder—in either this draft or the next—a swap would work out for both sides. The Suns have Emeka Okafor's $14 million expiring contract to make the trade financially legal.
Receive Shane Battier from the Miami Heat for Vince Carter
With more than half the 2013-14 season in the books, it's clear that the Dallas Mavericks are playoff caliber. They stand at 32-22, sixth in the West.
They've posted the fourth-highest offensive efficiency this season, paining opponents with the sixth-best three-point percentage in the league. Monta Ellis and Dirk Nowitzki have jelled more conveniently than most imagined, and Jose Calderon has shot an astounding 46 percent from the three-point line.
Defense has constantly weighed Dallas down all season, however. The team ranks 22nd in the league at 107.9 points per 100 possessions allowed. According to 82games.com, the Mavs are getting outplayed at the small forward position, allowing a PER about 1.4 points higher than it's posting at the position.
Considering their strengths and weaknesses, adding a "three-and-D" wing player to the mix would benefit the team's playoff chances. Contacting the defending champion Miami Heat about one of the best such players in the league should be at the top of the priority list before the deadline hits.
Flipping Vince Carter for Shane Battier would accomplish a few things. Although it would eliminate from the rotation a player that can ably create his own shot, it would add a plus-defender who can defend three positions, and a lights-out shooter from distance.
Although Battier's full-season three-point clip of 37 percent is down from last season, he's knocked down 46 percent of his threes since Dec. 27. According to Synergy, he has allowed just 0.71 points per play while lined up against his man in isolation. Carter's number is 0.88.
Both players are playing on nearly identical $3 million expiring contracts.
Receive Raymond Felton and Beno Udrih from the New York Knicks for Andre Miller
It's been clear for months now that Andre Miller's days as a Denver Nugget are numbered. The 37-year-old disgruntled point guard hasn't played since Dec. 30, prior to a suspension from the team for conduct detrimental to the team. The suspension was later rescinded, but Miller has remained away from the team since.
A trade with the Knicks may line up perfectly, as they, too, have a veteran point man on the outs with the head coach. Beno Udrih requested a trade last month, according to ESPN New York, and hasn't played a minute since Jan. 24.
The Knicks are also in the market for a point guard anyway, thanks to Raymond Felton's putrid play this season.
The Nuggets aren't in the playoff hunt this season, but taking on Felton as a backup point guard behind Ty Lawson—a role he filled in the ladder portion of 2010-11—and adding Udrih as a serviceable scoring combo guard would be more desirable than paying Miller $5 million this season to go away.
As a reserve with the Nuggets three seasons ago, Felton averaged 13 points and 7 assists per 36 minutes. Felton's deal runs through 2015-16, like most other key Nugs players, so his deal isn't as obtrusive to Denver as it is to New York, who are trying to create as much 2015 cap space as possible.
Receive Wilson Chandler, Quincy Miller and a 2014 2nd-Round Pick from the Denver Nuggets for Greg Monroe and Kyle Singler
If Detroit is considering making a move to break up the logjam of frontcourt talent, Greg Monroe is the most movable player, and it'd be in the team's best interest to get a two-way wing in return.
The Pistons would first need to find a suitor whose offense favors a labored, post-up style, and obviously a team with a need at the 4 or 5. Thanks to Brian Shaw's offensive philosophy—which is in complete contrast to that of George Karl's—the Denver Nuggets may fit the bill.
The Nugs have J.J. Hickson and Timofey Mozgov at the depth chart at center, but the power forward slot is being maintained by Kenneth Faried, whose skill set directly clashes with Shaw's desires from a big man.
Looking toward the future, the Nuggets will have Danilo Gallinari returning next season to man the 3. Wilson Chandler, playing on a reasonable contract that runs through 2015-16, can then be viewed as expendable.
Chandler, a Michigan native, would slide into Detroit's small forward slot, allowing Josh Smith to bump back up to his natural 4 position. At the small forward, Chandler would help space the floor for Detroit's two interior presences. He's shot 37 percent from downtown as a Nugget, and is a threat to attack off the dribble.
Denver would be able to match any offer sheet for Monroe this offseason, when the 23-year-old will enter restricted free agency.
Receive Kenyon Martin and Raymond Felton from the Knicks for Jermaine O'Neal, Draymond Green and a 2018 2nd-Round Pick
The Golden State Warriors have no clear weaknesses heading into the trade deadline, but reports indicate they're interested in further strengthening the bench. According to Sam Amick of USA Today:
Considering the heightened expectations this season and the fact that Golden State owner Joe Lacob means it when he says he’s trying to build a championship team, it’s safe to say the Warriors aren’t content with their current standing (sixth in the Western Conference).
They have one of the most aggressive front offices in the league, and rival executives are of the belief that anyone not named Stephen Curry or Andrew Bogut is up for discussion.
If the goal is to shore up the reserve squad, they can place a call to the meddling New York Knicks, and attempt to gauge where they feel their season is headed. If James Dolan is uncharacteristically inclined to collect a few future assets in exchange for forfeiting the season, there may be a feasible deal.
Adding Kenyon Martin would greatly benefit the Warriors' frontcourt defense. According to 82games, Golden State allows a higher effective field goal percentage to opposing centers than any other position. Throwing Martin into the mix, although he's 36, would help alleviate these issues. According to Basketball-Reference, he's posted the best individual defensive efficiency of any Knick to play major minutes this year.
Raymond Felton has struggled through a terrible year starting at point, but could be a serviceable backup, allowing Jordan Crawford to play mostly off the ball in a scoring role with the reserve team.
Receive Shawn Marion and a 2014 2nd-Round Pick from the Dallas Mavericks for Omer Asik
By now, we're all familiar with the Omer Asik saga. It's been more than a half-season and Asik remains on the Rockets' books, although he's only played in 20 games this season due to injury and indifference.
Just last season, Asik asserted himself as one of the league's most impactful defensive centers and a capable scorer from point-blank range. He averaged a double-double last season while finishing among the league leaders in rebounding at 11.7 per game.
After signing Dwight Howard, the Houston Rockets have little use for Asik. His name has popped up in scattered trade talks throughout the year, but—partly due to injury, and partly due to Houston's sky-high haul expectations—no deal has come to fruition.
If the Dallas Mavericks are inclined to improve their woeful defense in time for the postseason, a deal with an in-state rival may be in order.
A logical return for the Rockets would be a big with the ability to stretch the floor, creating space for Houston's quick guards to operate. Dallas could include Shawn Marion, who is shooting 37 percent from three-point range this season.
82games.com reports that the Mavs have given up a higher PER to centers—18.1—than any other position this season. Defending 4s isn't a much less daunting task for Dallas, as they've allowed a 17.9 mark to power forwards.
Asik, if healthy, would instantly bolster any team's frontcourt defense. Adding a defensively elite 7-footer isn't an opportunity that rolls around every trade deadline, and a middle-of-the-pack playoff team like Dallas' chances could use that sort of lift.
For Houston, acquiring a player as accomplished as Marion, who has experience playing in fast-paced offenses, while filling a need, would be a very favorable scenario.
Receive Beno Udrih and Metta World Peace from the Knicks for Chris Copeland
The Indiana Pacers may be the least desperate team in the NBA as this year's deadline nears. They stand as the league's second-best team right now at 40-12, and appear destined to take home the East's top playoff seed.
If there's one area the team would like to put a bow on before the postseason, it'd likely be the reserve point guard situation. C.J. Watson has surely been an improvement over D.J. Augustin's play last year, but there's still room on the depth chart for a ball-handler to come in off the bench.
Lance Stephenson's break-out season has made this less glaring of an issue, but it'd still be worth addressing if the price is right.
Indy currently ranks 23rd in assists and 20th in turnovers, so adding a player who can provide a little more direction off the bench, and possibly allow George Hill to get some burn off the ball, is worth looking into.
One low-cost solution could be New York's Beno Udrih, who requested to be moved last month, per ESPN New York's Ian Begley.
Udrih is 31 and, while not bringing any sort of defense to the table, has experience running point and operating with the ball in his hands. He possesses a reliable pull-up jumper and a dependable shot from three-point range, as well as some playmaking ability.
He's averaged six points and 3.5 assists per game in 19 minutes, although he hasn't played since Jan. 24.
In return, Indiana could send little-used three-point shooter Chris Copeland back to the Knicks, where he spent his rookie season in 2012-13. The Knicks have been lacking last year's three-point potency, and reintegrating Copeland could help boost the team's scoring. Copeland has played a team-low 158 minutes this season.
Including Metta World Peace, another veteran who has fallen out of Mike Woodson's rotation, would make the salaries match. World Peace could potentially be asked for spot defense in some scenarios.
Receive Nick Collison from the Oklahoma City Thunder for Reggie Bullock and Antawn Jamison
The Los Angeles Clippers have solidified themselves as one of the West's power teams, though there's still room for improvement in a few key areas.
One of which is the reserve frontcourt, which has gotten next to nothing from the combination of Byron Mullens and Ryan Hollins. Adding a productive piece to hop in off the bench down low would benefit the team's chances come April and May.
A swap with the Oklahoma City Thunder for veteran big man Nick Collison could solve the Clips' big-man problems. Both Hollins and Mullens have mainly fallen out of the rotation, and implanting Collison into that reserve role would certainly benefit Doc Rivers' squad.
According to Basketball-Reference, OKC has outscored their opponents by 10 points per 100 possessions with Collison on the floor this season. At 33, he's played the lowest minutes average since his rookie season at 17.5, but could still be relied on to contribute as a Clippers reserve.
Offering Reggie Bullock would certainly get the Thunder's attention. Bullock would be tough to part with, at just 22. But if the Clippers intend on making a surge into the Finals this season, adding Collison may be the best move to make. His .145 win shares per 48 minutes, according to Basketball-Reference, would rank sixth among all current Clippers.
Receive Emeka Okafor and a 2014 1st-Round Pick from the Phoenix Suns for Pau Gasol
If the Los Angeles Lakers have one objective this deadline, it has to be to move Paul Gasol, and get whatever value for him they can before his contract expires after this season.
Considering LA's rebuilding plans—they've carved out room to afford one max-level player this summer—it seems unlikely that Gasol would be returning to the purple and gold next season, anyway.
There have been rumored conversations with the asset-strapped Phoenix Suns about Gasol. Phoenix has four first-rounders in this upcoming draft to offer up, as well as Emeka Okafor's expiring deal to make the trade work financially. Okafor's deal is 80 percent covered by league insurance.
If the Lakers could land another first-round pick to go along with their own in this year's loaded draft, they shouldn't have to think twice.
At this point, every move the Lakers make should be geared toward the future. If they can move Gasol without adding any long-term commitments, while adding future assets, it's a deal that needs to be done.
Receive Wilson Chandler, Andre Miller and Evan Fournier from the Denver Nuggets for Tayshaun Prince, Tony Allen, Mike Miller and a 2016 2nd-Round Pick
After nearly reaching the NBA Finals a season ago, the Memphis Grizzlies have fallen to ninth place in the West, a game-and-a-half outside of the playoff picture.
Much of the team's struggles have derived from a lack of production at the small forward position. Tayshaun Prince has started all 49 games he's appeared in, but is shooting a career-worst 39 percent from the field and 31 from the arc. His six points, three boards and two assists are all career-lows, outside of his rookie season.
If the team can upgrade at the 3, there's a good chance it'll boost them closer to the middle of the Western Conference playoff scenario. A potential trade with another disappointing 2013 playoff team could help solve Memphis' woes.
The Denver Nuggets are set to have a logjam at the 3 next season with Danilo Gallinari returning from knee surgery, and Wilson Chandler under contract for the next three years. If the right deal comes along, he could be on the move.
Andre Miller has had his ticket out of Denver all but punched for months now. He hasn't appeared in a game for the Nuggets since December.
Behind Mike Conley, the Grizzlies only have Nick Calathes and Darius Morris slotted on the depth chart, so an addition at the point would benefit Memphis as well.
Parting ways with defensively elite shooting guard Tony Allen, and reliable shooter Mike Miller, as well as a future draft pick, could potentially sway Denver into taking on Prince's contract. His deal expires after next season.
To fill the void at the 2, Memphis could call on either Miller or Fournier to replace those minutes, or simply slot Courtney Lee in as the new starter. In their last 20 games without Allen, who has been sidelined with a hand fracture, the team has gone 15-5.
Miami receives Chris Kaman and Jordan Farmar; Lakers receive James Jones, Rashard Lewis, Omri Casspi; Houston receives Wesley Johnson and a 2015 2nd-Rounder from Miami
Here's a fairly intricate swap, but it's simple from a Miami Heat perspective.
Miami is on a fast track to the Eastern Conference Finals this season, especially if Dwyane Wade remains healthy. But adding a reserve big that adds rebounding ability, as well as a backup ball-handler that can be relied upon in case of a D-Wade injury, should be what Miami is on the lookout for this week.
Chris Kaman is a traditional, post-up center who hasn't exactly jelled with Los Angeles Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni.
The 31-year-old is averaging just 18.6 minutes per game this year—about 10 below his career average. On just a one-year deal, a change of scenery should be in store. Kaman has seen legitimate minutes as of late due to Pau Gasol's injury, but one would assume the Lakers would still move him if they can net some assets.
Kaman has averaged eight rebounds per game over his 11-year career, and despite limited minutes with the Lakers, he's posted his best rebounding percentage numbers in six seasons.
The 7-footer has a jump shot that can reach near the three-point line. He's shooting 50 percent on jumpers in between 16 feet and the three-point arc.
In Jordan Farmar, the Heat wouldn't be getting a difference maker per say, but they would be obtaining a seven-year veteran with playoff success. He's averaged just 20 minutes over his career, and has been a dependable reserve combo guard in the past.
This season, his stats normalize to 16 points and eight assists per 36 minutes. He's also a career 37-percent shooter from three-point range
The move would also allow Norris Cole to play a bit more naturally at the 2-guard position and focus more on creating his own offense rather than forcing facilitation.
Receive Jeremy Lin and Aaron Brooks from the Houston Rockets for Ersan Ilyasova, Gary Neal, Brandon Knight and a 2014 2nd-Round Pick
If any team is in need of a direction, it's the Milwaukee Bucks. Trading for one of the league's better all-around young point guards would be a very solid start.
Houston should have interest in shopping Jeremy Lin, what with the emergence of Patrick Beverley as a superior fit with James Harden in the Rockets' backcourt. They'd also presumably like to add a stretch-4 type of player with shooting ability to open up the floor for other weapons.
Ersan Ilyasova is suffering through a brutal stretch with Milwaukee this season. After combining to shoot 48 percent from the field and an astounding 45 percent from three over the last two seasons, the Turkish forward simply can't find the bottom of the net. He's shooting just 38 percent, and under 30 percent on threes.
Unsurprisingly, considering the Bucks' miserable record and poor roster construction, Ilyasova has had enough playing for Milwaukee. According to the Journal Times:
llyasova is arguably the Bucks’ best trading chip and several teams are believed to be interested in him. According to multiple sources, Ilyasova has expressed a desire to be traded, apparently having had his fill of the Bucks’ continual rebuilding project.
Ilyasova downplayed talk about him wanting out of Milwaukee and declined to comment on whether he or his agent, Andy Miller, had requested a trade.
Lin's salary is similar to Ilyasova's, and the Bucks should be interested in acquiring a true point guard. Even with mediocre pieces around him, Lin has proven he can produce—that was the exact scenario that put him on the basketball map, when he was playing with Knicks' reserves two seasons ago in the absence of Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire.
Ilyasova's contract runs guaranteed for one year longer than Lin's. The contract also includes an unguaranteed 2016-17, which essentially includes a $400,000 buyout if waived before that season's free agency (via ShamSports).
According to ESPN, Bucks guard Gary Neal is also seeking a trade to a contending team, and management will try its best to oblige.
This potential deal seems like it'd ease several tensions.
Minnesota receives: Omer Asik from Houston, Boris Diaw from San Antonio
Houston receives: Alexey Shved from Minnesota; Matt Bonner, Jeff Ayres and two 2nd-Round Picks from San Antonio
San Antonio receives: Nikola Pekovic
All three teams here have undeniable talent that could perhaps use a better fit in a different uniform.
In Nikola Pekovic, Minnesota has one of the more offensively gifted centers in the NBA. He's scoring 18 per game this year on 53 percent shooting, while hauling down nine boards. But with Kevin Love at the power forward and acting as the offensive focal point, a more defensively gifted big would better fit Minnesota in the middle, to cover Love's defensive deficiencies.
Omer Asik, disgruntled in Houston while Dwight Howard mans his former pivot spot, would seemingly be a better fit. Though not as worthy a scorer as Pekovic, Asik put himself on the map last season as one of the league's top defensive centers. His 11.4 boards per game were atop the league leaderboards, too.
In return, Houston could take back Alexey Shved from the T-Wolves to add more shooting ability. Clearly that wouldn't be a square deal, but with the San Antonio Spurs involved, we can't find a more well-rounded agreement.
If San Antonio sends Matt Bonner to Houston, it would perfectly fill the Rockets' need for a stretch 4 off the bench. Since 2010-11, he's shot 44 percent from three-point range, including 45 percent this season. Also, the idea of the Red Rocket suiting up for the Houston Rockets is just too tempting to pass up.
Pekovic can then be rerouted to San Antonio, where he can assume the starting center duties and become the focal point of the frontcourt after the Tim Duncan era comes to an end.
After a few fillers are thrown in, this deal works financially and fills several key needs for teams looking to make a splash in the postseason.
Receive Evan Turner, Jason Richardson and three 2nd-Round Picks (two in 2014 and one in 2015) from Philadelphia 76ers for Eric Gordon
It was a strange construction from the very beginning, when the New Orleans Pelicans set up a starting lineup consisting of three players that play roughly the same position.
Interesting as it was at the onset, it hasn't panned out nearly as successfully as the Pels had hoped. They're hardly within striking distance of the playoffs at 23-29. A trade of Jrue Holiday, Tyreke Evans or Eric Gordon wouldn't be far fetched.
Holiday is injured, but had been playing too well to consider trading anyway. Evans' value is at a low point after struggling through much of the first half, shooting just 41 percent and a miserable 15 percent from three.
This leaves Eric Gordon as a prime trade candidate, enjoying moderate success in his sixth pro campaign.
Despite having plenty of league experience, Gordon just turned 25 in December, and would likely be attractive for a rebuilding team to center their future plans around.
In return, the Pelicans could look for a natural small forward, which would allow Evans to bump down to his natural shooting guard spot. According to Basketball-Reference, Evans had played at least 60 percent of his minutes at the 2 in each of his four past seasons.
Ahem, Philadelphia 76ers. Are you listening?
Philly has Evan Turner as one primary trade chip in the form of both a young player and an expiring contract. At 6'7", Turner is a natural 3 and would benefit from playing with his former Philadelphia point man, Jrue Holiday. The familiarity should eliminate any adjustment period on Holiday's end, and Evans would likely be thrilled with moving back to a familiar backcourt spot.
The 76ers are in the midst for a major rebuild, with much of the focus centered around this upcoming draft. A future backcourt duo of Michael Carter-Williams and Gordon would make for an intriguing future, especially if the team is lucky enough to add a wing player the caliber of Andrew Wiggins or Jabari Parker. A big, namely Joel Embiid, would make the Sixers young core a formidable one for years to come.
Receive Ricky Rubio, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute and Ronny Turiaf from the Minnesota Timberwolves for Raymond Felton, Iman Shumpert, J.R. Smith and a 2018 1st-Round Pick
Ricky Rubio has struggled through a discouraging season in many respects, especially in regards to his scoring. He's shooting just 36 percent this year, which unfortunately is higher than his career average.
But if there's a team that's desperate to the point where adding a point guard shooting 36 percent would be an improvement, it's the New York Knicks.
Despite Rubio's shooting woes, he's closer to league average from behind the three-point line this season at 34 percent. New York could value that more than any other team, after they won 54 games last season thanks to a lethal three-point attack.
At this point, the team should try and do whatever it takes to rid themselves of Raymond Felton, who is worse than every point guard in the NBA besides three rookies, according to Basketball-Reference, in terms of win shares per 48 minutes.
Even if it means attaching Iman Shumpert and a 2018 first-rounder—the most recent pick New York can legally trade—ditching Felton is a must.
From the Minnesota side, it's all about proving to Kevin Love that the Wolves are committed to winning. Adding Shumpert and Smith—a 23-year-old with what some call All-Star potential, and a reigning Sixth Man of the Year—surely adds talent to the depth chart. Netting a first-round pick, albeit one that'll come around when Love is 30 years old, is an asset nonetheless.
Ronny Turiaf is a former Knick that could help the team upgrade defensively on the inside.
It's clear that the Knicks need an upgrade at point in order to come within a stone's throw of the playoffs. Kicking the tires on a deal for a struggling young maestro is at least worth a phone call. The team had previous interest in Rubio several times before he made the move overseas to the NBA.
Receive Mike Dunleavy from the Chicago Bulls for Hasheem Thabeet, a 2015 2nd-Round Pick and a trade exception
When Mike Dunleavy joined up with the Chicago Bulls this offseason, it was at a slightly discounted rate in order to contend for a championship. As it happened, Dunleavy has been forced to play more key of a role than he anticipated, and is playing on one of the league's more movable contracts.
The Oklahoma City Thunder, according to Yahoo Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski, are in the market for a shooter as they prime for a Finals run. Chicago is in a playoff position, but may elect to pawn off their assets in an attempt to clear up cap room this summer.
By sending over a pick and Hasheem Thabeet's contract—which is fully unguaranteed for next year if waived before the season—OKC may be able to pluck Dunleavy from Chicago on the cheap. The deal would keep the Thunder under the luxury tax, as an added benefit.
Dunleavy is shooting 38 percent from long distance as a Bull, and up near 40 percent since the start of the 2007-08 season.
Receive Thabo Sefolosha and Jeremy Lamb from Oklahoma City for Arron Afflalo and a 2015 2nd-Round Pick
The Orlando Magic find themselves in the fruitful position of being a rebuilding team with a prospering, valuable veteran who would garner trade consideration from contending teams.
Arron Afflalo is enjoying his best all-around season to date, posting a PER of 17.3 and an effective field goal percentage over 53, per Basketball-Reference. According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports, the Thunder are on the lookout for scoring wing players this deadline. The Magic may be set to cash in on Afflalo this way in the coming days.
Afflalo would be a good fit as the Thunder's third scoring option behind Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. He's also posting his highest defensive rebounding percentage since his rookie season, and the best assist percentage of his career.
If the swap includes Thabo Sefolosha, he could slide in as the new starting 2. However, OKC may have to include Jeremy Lamb in the deal to entice the young, rebuilding Magic. (This would conveniently organize both NBA Lambs onto the same roster, in Jeremy and Doron.)
Orlando would be acquiring a strong defensive guard in Sefolosha who had knocked down threes at a 42-percent clip over the previous two seasons with the Thunder. Lamb would add depth to an already long list of young Magic wings.
Receive Eric Gordon from the New Orleans Pelicans for Evan Turner, Jason Richardson and three 2nd-Round Picks (two in 2014 and one in 2015)
The 76ers should be solely focused on moving their valuable assets, that much is certain. But the team shouldn't rule out the possibility of adding additional talent not only for this season, but also for the long-term. A potential swap with the New Orleans Pelicans could accomplish a few goals.
The Pelicans are in need of a roster shuffle after a half-season of frustration stemming from starting a lineup with three combo guards. Of Jrue Holiday, Tyreke Evans and Eric Gordon, Gordon seems the most likely to be traded for reasons explained in the Pels' earlier slide. New Orleans should be on the lookout for a natural small forward in return—someone sort of like a Sixers' primary trade chip, Evan Turner.
By acquiring Turner, Evans would be able to bump back down to his natural shooting guard spot. Turner would be reuniting with his former Philly point guard in Holiday, to potentially lessen the effect of an adjustment period and make this on-the-fly transition as smooth as possible. The Pels are 23-29 and several games out of playoff contention.
From a Philly perspective, adding Gordon to the backcourt would probably help the team win games this year—which probably isn't ideal—but it's more of a move for the future. A backcourt duo of Michael Carter-Williams and Gordon would put the team in a great position to compete in the coming seasons, especially if grouped with a top lottery pick in this year's draft.
Receive Luol Deng from the Cleveland Cavaliers for Emeka Okafor, P.J. Tucker and a 2015 1st-Round Pick
If the Cleveland Cavaliers decide to essentially forfeit the current season and start fresh next year, moving Luol Deng should be the first domino to fall. Deng is set to be a free agent this summer, and after an already miserable stint with the Cleveland Cavaliers, would almost definitely elect to start somewhere new next season.
One team that should be among the top suitors for Deng is the Phoenix Suns, who seem to be one piece away from entering the realm of serious playoff contenders in the West.
Phoenix is strapped with Emeka Okafor's expiring contract to make the money match, which is 80 percent insured. P.J. Tucker is a solid, gritty player on both ends as a small forward, but would become unnecessary and expendable in a deal for Deng, who is equally formidable on defense while adding much more in other areas.
Phoenix also owns rights to four first-round picks in this year's loaded draft. Cleveland could attempt to force GM Ryan McDonough's hand in including one of the 2014 picks for Deng, but Phoenix would be wise to limit the selection to 2015 or beyond.
Including Deng into a lineup with Goran Dragic and, eventually, Eric Bledsoe, would be a great fit in several facets of the game. He's a proven scorer from anywhere in the halfcourt, and has handled plenty of facilitating duties over the last two season while Derrick Rose has sat out for the Chicago Bulls. He's also renowned as one of the game's toughest matchups defensively at the 3.
Acquiring Deng may not be the piece to boost Phoenix to the top of the West, but it surely wouldn't hurt their chances for this season, either.
Receive Kosta Koufos and Mike Miller from the Memphis Grizzlies for C.J. McCollum and Meyers Leonard
The Portland Trail Blazers have shocked the NBA world this season by going 36-17 through the season's first half. They stand clumped together with several teams at the middle of the Western Conference playoff picture, and have certainly shown no problems scoring the basketball.
Their 112.4 points per 100 possessions ranks first in the league, and they're fourth in three-point shooting at 38 percent. They turn the ball over as infrequently as all but two teams, and they rank fourth in total assists.
It's safe to say that there's nothing worth changing on that end of the floor.
The defense, though, has left much to be desired. They're allowing an eighth-worst 108.1 points per 100 possessions, and are dead last in turnovers forced.
The paint, specifically, is where Portland comes across severe issues on defense. According to teamrankings.com, they're allowing the third-most points in the paint this season, even despite Robin Lopez anchoring the middle fairly effectively on both ends.
If a deal is to be made, one for another post presence is what should be sought after.
The first preference, if you're Portland, would have to be Omer Asik. Though it's unlikely the Blazers would choose to part with several assets GM Daryl Morey would demand in return.
The next big man on the list would be Spencer Hawes of the Philadelphia 76ers, but Hawes doesn't bring the defensive bona fides Portland would be looking for.
There'd need to be some searching involved, but the Memphis Grizzlies may end up as a solid trade partner. The Trail Blazers could target Kosta Koufos, the Grizzlies' reserve center, to play the same role in Portland. In return, they could send two young, little-utilized pieces to a retooling Memphis team: C.J. McCollum and Meyers Leonard.
Leonard has the potential to grow into a reliable defensive center, but that's not his role at this early stage of his career. If the Blazers feel confident in their core moving forward, they may not see a problem in dealing Leonard and a potential scorer in McCollum.
Including Mike Miller in the deal would give Portland another gunner off the bench, and keep Memphis just under the luxury tax level after the trade.
If inserted into the rotation to complement Lopez, Portland could finally have a presence in the middle to deter opponents from driving the lane at will. It wouldn't turn the Blazers into a defensively elite club, but it would certainly put them in a better position to handle the Western powerhouses in a postseason series.
Receive Andre Miller and Quincy Miller from the Denver Nuggets for Jimmer Fredette, Quincy Acy and Ray McCallum
It's fair to assume that any deal the Sacramento Kings might make would have to include Jimmer Fredette, a player who has fair value and minimal use on the current roster—he's averaging under 12 minutes per game.
It may also be fair to assume that the Kings will be active this week, as management has shown no hesitance in pulling triggers, signing off on two trades already this season.
After trading Greivis Vasquez to the Toronto Raptors, the team has no true backup at the point guard spot behind Isaiah Thomas. The Denver Nuggets have a backup point guard who doesn't want to play for them ever again. A match made in heaven.
There'd need to be some other pieces—totaling two Millers and two Quincys, if you're keeping score—thrown in to make the deal work financially, but Fredette-for-Miller is the main idea for both teams. Fredette is leading the league with a ridiculous 49 percent clip from beyond the arc.
Denver could be in the market for a young piece to keep around through this experimental period, and Fredette fits the bill.
The Kings rank 29th in assists, so Miller would certainly help fill that void within the offense. Sacramento could possibly start a lineup with Thomas and Miller in the backcourt, or simply bring Miller off the bench behind Thomas.
Receive Omri Casspi, Ronnie Brewer and Robert Covington from the Houston Rockets for Matt Bonner and Aron Baynes
It seems a little silly trying to discuss potential trades for the San Antonio Spurs, but if there was ever to be a year for them to pull the trigger on a deal, this is likely the one.
With injuries to Danny Green, Kawhi Leonard and Manu Ginobili, San Antonio has been depleted on the wings for some time. Green has since returned, but there's still a void on both ends at the small forward and shooting guard slots.
With in-state rival Houston potentially on the prowl for a stretch-4-type, San Antonio could call with an offer including Matt Bonner, who's shooting 46 percent from downtown this season.
Houston has two similar wing plays available in Omri Casspi and Francisco Garcia, with Casspi probably being the more attractive of the two. Ronnie Brewer could also be a candidate to log spot minutes to defend other wings, though he's mainly acting as a salary filler here.
Casspi's minutes would be made up by a combination of Bonner and Garcia, who has shot 44 percent, including 38 percent from three, in two games since returning from injury.
Receive Iman Shumpert, Tim Hardaway Jr., Raymond Felton, Toure' Murry and a 2018 1st-Round Pick from the New York Knicks for Kyle Lowry and Dwight Buycks
Toronto Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry has been enjoying a career-best season in 2013-14, which happens to be a contract year for the 27-year-old.
With the Raps acquiring Greivis Vasquez earlier in the year, a trade sending Lowry out of Toronto was anticipated, as Masai Ujiri was likely to cash in on his best player before losing him to free agency this summer.
To this point, no deal has been made. Yahoo Sports has reported that Toronto is planning on keeping the prized point man for a playoff run, but it's hard to imagine Ujiri turning down a deal in which he can net assets for a player he's about to lose. Especially if that package is coming from the Knicks.
Sound familiar? That's exactly what Ujiri pulled off as Denver Nuggets GM in 2011, when he netted a return of four starters and several draft picks for free-agent-to-be Carmelo Anthony.
A Lowry move would obviously be a tad lower-profile, but with the same core concepts. If Jim Dolan is ready to part with all three—Iman Shumpert, Tim Hardaway Jr. and the team's 2018 first-rounder (which is the nearest pick New York is allowed to trade)—Toronto has to sign off on the swap with the future in mind.
Though Shumpert is struggling through a down season, many have attributed it to coach Mike Woodson's lack of faith in his 23-year-old swingman. Shumpert's body language since the end of last season, along with constant public remarks from Woodson in regard to Shumpert's poor play, have painted a sad image of the player-coach dynamic in New York.
Tim Hardaway Jr. has turned out to be one of the steals of last year's draft after being selected 24th overall by New York. He's fourth among rookies in scoring at 9.2 points per game, second in field-goal percentage, first in three-point shooting and fourth in free-throw percentage. He has already logged three 20-point games in his first half-season as a pro.
The Raptors would take back Raymond Felton, presumably to run the backup point. There's also a chance Toronto could pry away promising prospect Toure' Murry in the same fashion that Denver demanded Timofey Mozgov be included into the 'Melo deal.
If Ujiri can talk Dolan into including the pick to complete the trifecta of assets, Lowry is as good as gone.
Receive Avery Bradley, a 1st-Round Pick and a 2nd-Round Pick from the Boston Celtics for Gordon Hayward
This chain of events was started earlier this season, when the Utah Jazz couldn't reach an agreement with Gordon Hayward's camp on a contract extension. Hayward is now slated to become a restricted free agent this summer, and the Boston Celtics have been linked to the 23-year-old.
The connection is clearly one between the Butler product and the C's head coach, former Butler leader Brad Stevens. With the school, Hayward almost led Stevens' program to a national title in 2010.
The Jazz backcourt has been infiltrated with a new generation of talent this season, as Trey Burke and Alec Burks have emerged as new, promising guards to spearhead Utah's future. Their reluctance to spend on Hayward earlier in the season could have been a hint at how they'll decide to handle his free agency this summer.
And if the decision is to let him walk, then the most logical course of action would be to trade the young scorer while he's still on the team. If Utah enters talks with Boston, Avery Bradley and a first-rounder would be a good start.
Bradley is also another combo guard to go along with Burke and Burks, but one that specializes in defending. According to 82games, the Jazz are allowing a PER up around 18 to opposing point guards.
Bradley is also due for restricted free agency this summer, but shouldn't command as much salary as Hayward.
Receive Beno Udrih from the New York Knicks for a 2014 2nd-Round Pick
The Washington Wizards appear set to make their first playoff run in six years, but there are plenty of holes to patch up by playoff time. The most important of which could be the backup point guard spot, which had been poorly handled by Eric Maynor when he was a rotation regular.
The Knicks have a third point guard for sale, namely because he and the head coach haven't gotten along very well which never bodes well for a third-string point guard. Beno Udrih requested a trade in January, according to ESPN New York, and has played in just one game since the request.
Udrih was actually the starting point man during a stretch of injuries to Raymond Felton and Pablo Prigioni. As a starter, he's averaged eight points, six assists and 3.5 rebounds while shooting 45 percent. His 42.5 three-point field-goal percentage on the season has surprised many as well. The last time Udrih saw the floor was Jan. 24, a few days after his formal request.
In return, all the Knicks could realistically ask for is a second-round pick. As of right now, they have no selections in the 2014 draft, just one pick in 2015, none in 2016 and a single pick in 2017.
The chances are they'd probably just end up trading this pick to some other team anyway, but it's the least Washington can do.