Four NBA Trade Deadline Predictions
The NBA trade deadline is always one of the most exciting points of the season. This year the trade winds have swirled especially wild, with big names headlining potential blockbuster deals that would have major implications for the future of entire franchises. But as most NBA rumors, most of this talk ends up being just that…talk. When Thursday’s deadline comes and goes, here is where we will be…
Carmelo Anthony will be a Denver Nugget
The Carmelo Anthony saga has dragged on the entire season with no resolution to this point. Anthony, to his credit (and maybe to his detriment) has been very professional despite being unhappy in Denver. The Nuggets are asking for a boatload for Melo and the Knicks do not want to give up all their assets for the All-Star forward. So why give up a star if you do not like the package you are getting in return?
The reality is that the Nuggets have Carmelo under contract until the summer and have confidence that Anthony will continue to put forth a quality effort and push them into the playoffs. The fear of losing Melo is a concern, but it is not a likely scenario. Remember, technically Lebron James and Chris Bosh were traded to the Heat in a sign-and–trade agreements. Denver could choose a similar route.
The Lakers will not make a significant trade at the deadline
Los Angeles has gone through a rough stretch lately, causing many to question if this rendition of the Lake Show can make a legitimate run to a third straight title. They have looked slow, old and uninspired, and look like a team that is simply going through the motions.
Looking at the situation realistically, however, you will see that the Lakers really have no assets to trade. They moved their first round pick this year in the Sasha Vujacic to New Jersey deal. While Lamar Odom, Ron Artest and Shannon Brown are crucial to the success of the Lakers, they have little value in this trade market. The one piece that the Lakers hold that has value, Andrew Bynum, has been thrown into the rumor mill, but the Lakers are unlikely to break up their mammoth front line.
Expect Steve Blake and Matt Barnes to get more minutes in the stretch, as both can provide some energy to the lineup. The Lakers are a veteran group and are going through the motions, but will be able to focus in the playoffs as constituted.
Michael Redd and Troy Murphy will be bought out
The Nets done a terrible job handling the Troy Murphy situation. Once seen as a key component in acquiring a star, Murphy has withered on Avery Johnson’s bench for most of the season. At this point, Murphy is no longer even traveling with the team. New Jersey’s reluctance to play Murphy has decreased his value on the market, which is a shame because Murphy is not just a contract. His rebounding and three point accuracy could have been a real asset in the Net rotation and his expiring contract would have been very attractive to a rebuilding team looking to unload an overpaid, yet capable player (i.e. Andre Iguodala, Gerald Wallace).
As it stands, there is no interest in trading for Murphy. Unless a trade for Melo is reached, he’ll be a Net after the deadline, leaving no real options but buying out his contract and letting him latch on with a contender.
Word is Michael Redd will attempt to play this week. Multiple knee injuries have derailed his once promising career and the Bucks appear to be moving on. Best case scenario, Redd would have returned before the All-Star break and showcase his long range shooting ability, prompting a team with a hole at the 2-guard position to take a flier on him. This would have allowed Milwaukee to at least get something for him.
Unfortunately, Redd has no games under his belt this season and will draw very little interest at the deadline. Redd has been a victim of circumstance and misfortune. By all accounts, he has worked diligently to return to form. Out of respect, the Bucks will most likely work out a buyout and allow him an opportunity to rejuvenate his career. Look for Chicago and Dallas as possible landing spots for Redd.
The New York Knicks will trade for a backup point guard
When the reality of the Carmelo situation finally settles, the Knicks will look to bolster their current roster with talent that will help them now. New York stands at .500 right now and have glaring holes in the line-up, most notably a need for a back-up big and a back-up point guard. Finding a big-man to trade for by the deadline that will not hamper their plans going forward will be difficult (although Sam Dalembert could still be a dark horse possibility).
It seems more likely, however, that the Knicks will target a point guard to spell Raymond Felton for the final third of the season. Two distinct possibilities are Luke Ridnour and Ramon Sessions. Both were targets of the Knicks in the off-season and both, most likely, could be had in a deal containing Anthony Randolph. Sessions may be the better option of the two, as he has shown ability to play some shooting guard as well as run a team. Ridnour is also capable running the offense. A deal here would probably fetch a first round pick as both Minnesota and Cleveland have multiple first rounders in the upcoming draft.
The Cleveland Cavaliers will be the most active team at the deadline
Cleveland seems like the black hole of the NBA to this point. The team has no identity, have been ravaged by injuries and have a roster full of “C” level talent. The Cavs are in full rebuilding mode, willing to trade anyone on the team for a building block for the future.
That reality makes them a team to be observed at the deadline. Although they have no top level talent, the do have nice pieces for teams looking to compete. Belief is Antawn Jamison, Mo Williams, Ramon Session and Anthony Parker could be moved. Anderson Varejao would probably headline that list had he not suffered a right ankle injury. It would be no big surprise if some or all of these players were moved by Thursday.