In a part of the year that is ordinarily very quiet, NBA teams could complete some major moves on the trade market.
Instead of looking for minor additions to sit at the end of the bench, the next few weeks might see All-Stars, key contributors and top prospects all being moved around the league.
Considering one impact player can be the difference on a championship team, these deals remain something to keep an eye on as front offices wheel and deal.
Eric Bledsoe Finally Getting Traded?
One of the big stories throughout the offseason has been the handling of restricted free agents Eric Bledsoe and Greg Monroe. The Phoenix Suns and Detroit Pistons, respectively, have failed to come to an agreement with their players and now seem unlikely to complete an extension.
While Monroe appears likely to sign a one-year qualifying offer, Bledsoe could be traded before the start of the season. Jude LaCava of Fox 10 explained in an interview on Fox Sports 910 (transcribed by Matt Moore of CBS Sports):
You can take this to the bank, so to speak. The Suns are now discussing trade possibilities for Eric Bledsoe. The reality has kicked into the point that my sources are telling me that if they can accommodate Bledsoe and get something that they want in return, trade possibilities are very real and they have been discussed.
Bledsoe had a breakout year with the Suns, averaging 17.7 points, 5.5 assists and 4.7 rebounds per game last season. However, he and his agent rejected a four-year, $48 million contract extension to remain with the Suns, according to ESPN's Chris Broussard. The guard is reportedly looking for a max deal of $80 million over five years.
With the two sides unlikely to come to an agreement, it seems like a trade would be the best-case scenario to avoid letting him go for nothing.
On the other hand, an anonymous NBA general manager explained to why he would not trade for either Bledsoe or Monroe:
I think any one of us would be wary of getting involved in a trade for either player. Their teams overvalue them in terms of making trades, they don’t want to give them away for nothing. There’s no reason to give up significant assets for players who probably will be available next summer. That doesn’t mean a deal can’t get done, but it is complicated.
If a team does make a deal, they will have to be somewhat confident they can get Bledsoe to sign an extension. Still, the Suns' willingness to part with their point guard means a trade is at least possible.
76ers Eyeing Amar'e Stoudemire
The Philadelphia 76ers are taking a long road toward rebuilding. They have selected high-upside players in the draft and are hoping they can make an impact within a few years. However, they do not have legitimate hopes of contending in the 2014-15 season.
This has kept Philadelphia from making moves that will add significant cost to the team salary. The problem with this is that NBA teams must hit a minimum floor to avoid facing a penalty.
General manager Sam Hinkie explained earlier in the offseason that he wants to keep his options open, via John Gonzalez of CSNPhilly.com:
I think we’ll be open-minded. I don’t know, exactly, what we’ll do there. I think we’ll look for opportunities. And we’ll go from there. Our cap space last year was used in several ways. One is to pick up some of the seconds that we used [on draft night] and other future seconds. Some is to pick up international players like Furkan Aldemir, who we traded for last year. Those are all sort of possibilities.
Among those possibilities is bringing in someone during the season who would get the team close to the salary floor. Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders breaks down a potential in-season trade to acquire Amar'e Stoudemire:
What’s far more likely is that the long rumored Amar’e Stoudemire to Philadelphia deal gets done at the deadline. The Sixers take on Stoudemire’s $23 million salary cap number, which pushes them way over the minimum. They would only owe him roughly 30 percent of his remaining contract, so they’d end up paying him $7 million in cash and likely extract a draft pick or a rookie scale player for their troubles.
Philadelphia will be able to add assets in a trade just for taking on the salary, which the organization will easily be able to do based on the extended room in the cap.
The team does not have to act immediately, but this is something to keep in mind in the coming weeks and months.
Cavaliers, Timberwolves and 76ers on Brink of Blockbuster Deal
The deal that will send Kevin Love to the Cleveland Cavaliers is nearing completion with three teams now involved, as ESPN's Marc Stein reports:
Sportscenter provides a look at what each team gets in the deal:
This trade can be confirmed on August 23 as soon as Andrew Wiggins is eligible to be traded after signing his rookie contract.
The immediate winner in this deal is obviously the Cavaliers, who add an All-Star to a roster that already includes LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and a number of talented pieces. While a championship is far from guaranteed, they are certainly the favorites to go all the way this season.
On the other hand, Minnesota did as well as you can expect for a team losing one of the best players in the league, as noted by ESPN's Jeff Goodman:
Brian Geltzeiler of Sirius XM NBA Radio believes things could get even better for the Timberwolves:
Andrew Wiggins has great upside and could become a star in the league. If he reaches his potential, Minnesota will have ended up with a steal.
As for the 76ers, they were able to add some more salary (remember, that is a good thing) while getting a pair of high-upside players. This will be a win for everyone involved as soon as it is confirmed.
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