Players Most Likely to Hit Trading Block After 2014 NBA Draft
There's typically a whole lot of moving and shaking on draft day, but don't discount the aftershocks around the NBA once the draft is complete. With talented young rookies hitting rosters everywhere, players that might not have been so readily available before could be trade bait all the way.
That happens for a few reasons. The first is usually to clear playing time for the young draft pick, but the second is often to clear cap space in free agency. Typically, when both those needs line up, trades can go down.
Even though it's rare for trades to happen immediately after the draft, the wheels start turning on getting moves done. Whether it be a sign-and-trade deal for a free agent or something once the dust settles a bit in early free agency, teams typically have a clearer picture of what the future holds once the draft ends.
Let's take a look at five of the most likely players to hit the trade block after the 2014 NBA draft.
It's not hard to understand why the Orlando Magic would trade Arron Afflalo. This is a young team, and Victor Oladipo looks like the shooting guard of the future. Afflalo can exercise an early termination option on his contract after this year, so Orlando is in danger of losing him for nothing.
All that adds up, but the draft should add fuel to the fire. Orlando has the fourth and 12th picks in the draft, and it seems like there's a good chance a point guard will be taken with one of those selections. That should probably push Afflalo out, and it might do the same to Jameer Nelson, who has his deal partially guaranteed this season.
Afflalo's name is already coming up in trade conversations as well, as Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reported here:
The Chicago Bulls are pursuing a trade for Orlando Magic swingman Arron Afflalo, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
Afflalo, 28, has two years left on his contract – including an Early Termination Option (ETO) provision next summer – and front office executives believe the Magic are prioritizing a trade for Afflalo over working to extend his contract.
The Chicago Bulls won't be the only suitors for Afflalo. Given how young Orlando will be and the need to get those guys playing time, giving up Afflalo for future assets would make sense.
The Utah Jazz are wise to dangle Derrick Favors, if only because this is the year he'll start getting paid serious cash. If Gordon Hayward demands something close to the max in restricted free agency, all of a sudden Utah will have a somewhat expensive roster with no legitimate stars in sight.
That's not to say that Favors can't develop into a star, as he's still just 22 years old. He's shown flashes, particularly on the glass and defensively, of being a big man that can anchor a team.
It just might be hard for Utah to justify paying him around $12 million a year going forward while the rest of the roster remains young and not ready to compete.
That's a big reason why Favors may be getting floated before and during the draft, as well as after it.
Spencer Checketts of 1280 The Zone in Salt Lake City was the first to report trade rumors involving Favors and the Cleveland Cavaliers:
Can confirm Jazz offered #5 and Favors to Cleveland for #1 pick. But source says target is Andrew Wiggins, not Jabari Parker.
If Favors remains with Utah through the draft, the cat might already be out of the bag. Utah won't give him up easily, but it seems very possible that he'll be made available for the right haul.
I don't know if it's possible to put someone even more on the trade block, but the Milwaukee Bucks might finally put a price on Ersan Ilyasova that's a little more palatable for potential buyers.
Ilyasova is already involved in a somewhat crowded frontcourt with John Henson, Larry Sanders and Zaza Pachulia. If the Bucks do end up taking Jabari Parker, who looks more like a stretch 4 to me than anything else, Ilyasova could be pushed out the door rather quickly after the draft.
Here's Gery Woelfel of the Racine Journal Times:
The most likely Buck player to be relocated to a different zip code is Ersan Ilyasova, who is coming off a disappointing season but whose stock remains fairly high. (...)
Ilyasova is a veteran who would probably welcome a change of scenery at this point, and getting a potential malcontent off such a young roster would probably be a good idea for Milwaukee. Here's what Ilyasova told Woelfel of the Racine Journal Times earlier this year:
According to multiple sources, Ilyasova has expressed a desire to be traded, apparently having had his fill of the Bucks’ continual rebuilding project. (...)
“The thing I’m upset about is each year, each season, we go through the same thing,” Ilyasova said. “Last year, we make the playoffs and now we start all over again. That’s really frustrating.
Getting Ilyasova's contract off the books would help the future cap situation, even if Milwaukee shouldn't have big plans of spending this offseason. Trading Ilyasova makes sense now, and it's hard to see how the draft will do anything but make that even more evident.
A lot of this will depend on what the Cleveland Cavaliers do with the top pick. If they go with Andrew Wiggins, Tristan Thompson probably won't be dangled.
But if the Cavs add Jabari Parker after taking Anthony Bennett with the first pick last year? All of a sudden there will be a massive logjam in the frontcourt for Cleveland to deal with. Here's ESPN.com's Jeff Goodman and Chad Ford:
Just two days before the NBA draft, the Cleveland Cavaliers are split on whether to takeJabari Parker or Andrew Wiggins with the top overall pick, multiple sources told ESPN.com.
"They are torn," one source close to the situation told ESPN.com. "They met for three hours, and all they talked about was those two guys."
Added another industry source: "They haven't come to a decision yet."
Of course, Cleveland's free-agency plans should be factored into the equation as well. If the plan is to chase LeBron James, Thompson probably no longer fits in that equation either, as he's a 4 who lacks stretch and doesn't defend well enough to play the 5.
Again, we'll be provided more clarity after we see what happens when the Cavs are on the clock, but there definitely seems to be a good chance that Thompson will be dealt before he gets expensive going forward. He's a nice player, but he's probably not viewed as essential to Cleveland's big picture at the end of the day.
The Sacramento Kings are dealing with one of the league's most confusing and expensive logjams in the frontcourt. Sacramento has Rudy Gay, DeMarcus Cousins, Carl Landry, Derrick Williams, Jason Thompson, Reggie Evans and Travis Outlaw taking up roughly $56.5 million in cap space next season, and all of those players have spent time at the 4 or the 5.
It's a little crazy to spend that much on an unproductive frontcourt, especially since Sacramento should be hovering near the luxury tax this season.
When you consider that the Kings have the eighth pick in the draft and may be in position to draft a promising young frontcourt player like Julius Randle, you understand why there may be a rush to clear some room.
Of the pieces listed above, Thompson is one of the most valuable since he can reasonably play the 5, but he'll also be one of the only players who can bring back something substantial in a trade. Teams will likely balk at Williams, who has been a bust, and Landry, who can't escape health issues. That leaves Thompson as the next big piece to be dealt.
Getting his salary off the books and creating some playing time will help, even though the Kings will need to find someone who can play minutes behind Cousins. To be honest, this is a total disaster, and the fear is that Sacramento may pass on the best player available in the draft because of positional need. Either way, Thompson will likely be put on the block after the draft.