The NBA trade block is a volatile thing that can sink a franchise as quickly as it can uplift one.
For example, look at the rebuilding Orlando Magic. Veteran point guard Jameer Nelson has allegedly been on the trade block for months, if not years. Instead of getting compensation in return for Nelson, the Magic were recently forced to release him.
Sure, the Magic gained $6 million in cap space with the move, but the point is simple—nobody was going to trade for Nelson knowing full well he would end up available on the market anyway.
So the trade block is not always a good thing, which has to scare fans of teams like the Minnesota Timberwolves, smack dab in the middle of the Kevin Love drama.
Let's try to make sense of the latest block updates from around the league.
New Orleans Pelicans Have Options
After finishing 34-48 last season, it is a well-known fact coach Monty Williams and the New Orleans Pelicans have a ton of work to do in order to right the ship at an acceptable pace.
Bystanders as the 2014 draft occurred thanks to a trade a year ago that netted them guard Jrue Holiday, the pressure to add talent has been enormous in New Orleans—hence the deal the team swung with the Houston Rockets to obtain center Omer Asik, per Yahoo Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski:
Houston is finalizing a deal to send Omer Asik to New Orleans, league source tells Yahoo Sports.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) June 26, 2014
Asik is a great get. Despite sitting in Dwight Howard's shadow, he averaged 5.8 points, 7.9 rebounds and 0.8 blocks per game last season and will surely form a deadly duo with Anthony Davis beneath the rim.
But for that to go through, a player like Ryan Anderson or even Austin Rivers must be shipped away, as John Reid of The Times-Picayune explains:
Despite the draft night trade, the Pelicans still need to secure enough cap space to make Wednesday night's trade work to acquire Houston Rockets center Omer Asik. There is a chance they could still look to trade either Gordon or Rivers.A deal could occur in the next few days leading into, the July 1 free agency period.
If the Pelicans make a trade deal, it won't involve forward Ryan Anderson. A league source said on Thursday the Pelicans are not shopping Anderson, who underwent successful surgery on his cervical spine for a herniated disc in April.
While it sounds like Anderson is not available, it makes sense various teams around the league would want to acquire the 26-year-old California product, who has very quietly been a great contributor over the past few seasons.
At some point, a team may come knocking with a deal the Pelicans cannot refuse, especially if the front office has a hard time finalizing the Asik transaction. It was also just a few days ago that Wojnarowski suggested the front office was looking to move both Anderson and Rivers:
New Orleans is shopping forward Ryan Anderson and guard Austin Rivers, league sources tell Yahoo Sports.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) June 26, 2014
Perhaps it is Rivers who will be on the move now that the team also has Holiday and rookie Russ Smith on the roster. He only averaged 7.7 points, 1.9 rebounds and 2.3 assists a year ago and is going on 22 years old, meaning plenty of teams would surely take him as a developmental piece.
Regardless of how it pans out, the Pelicans have a very good thing going at the moment. If healthy, Holiday is a threat, and Eric Gordon and Tyreke Evans make for a strong combo. In the paint, Rivers and Asik round out what is easily a contender in the Western Conference.
Orlando Continues to Retool Roster
Back to the aforementioned Magic, as the facelift after grabbing Aaron Gordon and Elfrid Payton in the first round has breathed new life into the franchise on the mend.
With Nelson out of the picture, the front office is also set to detach itself from backup forward Jason Maxiell one way or another, sooner rather than later, per Yahoo Sports' Marc J. Spears:
The Magic is expected to waive veteran forward Jason Maxiell if he isn't traded in the next couple of days, a source told Yahoo.— Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) June 30, 2014
Maxiell is due $2.5 million next year, per Spotrac, but the brass in Orlando clearly feel there is little room left for the 31-year-old Cincinnati product after the addition of Gordon. He averaged 3.2 points and 2.5 rebounds last year in just 34 games.
Remember the lesson from the intro? No team is going to inherit Maxiell's contract at this point, even if he is quality depth many contenders would love to nab.
Regardless, the stance on the rebuild in Orlando has remained adamant. "What we will do, and we've said this from the beginning, is we'll play team basketball," said coach Jacque Vaughn, per Ken Hornack of Fox Sports.
With the likes of Maxiell, Nelson and even Arron Afflalo out of the picture, it is readily apparent the Magic are serious about running with their young core next season and banking on the team aspect—for better or worse.