With the NBA trade deadline approaching on the 23rd of February at 3:00 PM EST, I thought it would be good to provide some sort of breakdown of what to expect. Lots of moves are bound to happen, but there are five teams to keep an eye on.
#1. New York Knicks (23-34): The New York Knicks have been rumored to have Carmelo Anthony on the trading block. I addressed this topic earlier in the season and came to the conclusion that trading Carmelo Anthony would not be a smart decision. That being said, the Knicks rarely make smart decisions, which means that they may trade Carmelo Anthony anyways. The biggest obstacle to making a trade happen is Anthony's $24.6M contract that increases to $26.2M in 2017 and $27.9M in 2018 before he hits free agency in 2019. I have a hard time believing that some team will be willing to take on his contract, but if some general manager really believes adding Anthony will make his franchise a championship contender, then a trade could happen.
#2. Boston Celtics (37-20): The Boston Celtics are another team that has been discussed as a possible team to make a trade before the deadline. If the Celtics weren't 2nd in the Eastern Conference standings, I would say odds are good they make a move to better position themselves for the playoffs, but so long as this nucleus of Isaiah Thomas, Al Horford, Jae Crowder, and Avery Bradley delivers like they are, I see no reason for them to make a trade. That being said, if an unbelievable offer presents itself, Danny Ainge very well may roll the dice.
It is important to note that DeMarcus Cousins won't be an unrestricted free agent until 2018 while Rudy Gay has a player option on his contract which allows him to become an unrestricted free agent in the summer if he so chooses. If the Kings feel confident that Rudy Gay will exercise his option, then they may be more aggressive in looking to trade him.
#4. Brooklyn Nets (9-47): The Brooklyn Nets are garbage while Brook Lopez continues to put up solid numbers (20.8 points and 5.2 rebounds per game). Brook Lopez hits unrestricted free agency in the summer of 2018, but the Nets might be smart to move him given that his value is high. I would not be the least bit surprised to see Brook Lopez moved before the trade deadline. The Nets are going nowhere and really have no point in having him eat up salary cap space while they continue to spiral downwards into obscurity.
#5. Philadelphia 76ers (21-35): The Philadelphia 76ers have a logjam in the front court with Joel Embiid, Nerlens Noel, and Jahlil Okafor. All three are really promising young big men and there's no need to hang on to all three for the long term. Joel Embiid will almost certainly stay, but it's Okafor and Noel whose names have bubbled up in trade rumors. What the 76ers do at the trade deadline will definitely be something to watch for.
Note: On Thursday, I will post a trade deadline tracker of sorts on here. Definitely check that out to stay on top of what happens at the deadline.
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