The NBA season is about halfway through. The all-stars have been announced, and in the coming weeks, we’ll start to hear names floating around that could be on the move before the NBA trade deadline. Here are some names we’ve already heard going through the rumor mill, as well as some names that we should look out for before the NBA trade deadline on February 18th.
Players To Watch
Markieff Morris – Phoenix Suns
He’s been the obvious name since the day the Suns traded his brother Marcus Morris to the Pistons. The day after the trade, he tweeted that he doesn’t want anything to do with the Suns anymore and it’s been a disaster ever since. The only problem is that his value has never been lower and it’s going to be hard for the Suns to get good value in return. Still, it would be wise for the Suns to trade him before the deadline anyways in order to get rid of the distractions from the locker room; it could be an addition by subtraction move for them. Teams reported to be interested are the Cavs and Rockets, and the Pistons could likely be interested as well.
Jeff Teague – Atlanta Hawks
Reports have come out in the last few days that the Hawks are taking calls about their All-Star point guard, and honestly, it makes sense because they have Dennis Schroeder waiting in the wings. If they can flip Teague for another wing player to fill the void DeMarre Carroll left, the Hawks would be in good shape.
Ryan Anderson – New Orleans Pelicans
Ryan Anderson is set to be a free agent after this season, so it’ll be likely that the Pelicans are going to see what they can get in return just in case he leaves in free agency. His contract is affordable at $8M, but he’s also likely in for a big pay increase next year, which could turn teams off to trading for him. But if you’re a team like Houston, that’s a playoff team that could use a stretch four, Anderson is definitely a player worth looking at.
Kevin Love – Cleveland Cavaliers
Cavaliers general manager David Griffin has repeatedly said that they aren’t looking to trade Kevin Love, but that doesn’t mean he won’t take calls. I don’t think the Cavs are entirely sure that Love fits into what they’re trying to do, and LeBron James is still trying to figure out if Love can play the Chris Bosh role. Love is still valued pretty highly around the league, and they could easily pry some picks and good bench pieces if they want to shore up their lineup come playoff time, similar to what the Raptors did when they traded Rudy Gay to Sacramento two years ago.
Pau Gasol – Chicago Bulls
Just like the Cavs with Love, the Bulls won’t be looking to trade Gasol during the season, especially now that Joakim Noah is out for the year. But I also see a bunch of teams placing calls for him trying to get a half year rental. Gasol is going to opt out of his contract at the end of the year, so the Bulls could lose him, but they fully expect to bring him back and will try to bring him back. If I’m a team like the Raptors though, I’m seeing what it will take to pry him away from Chicago.
Hassan Whiteside – Miami Heat
Whiteside is no doubt on the rise as one of the best young big men in the NBA, but there’s one problem: he’s a free agent next season and the Heat don’t own his bird rights, so they can’t go over the cap to sign him, meaning that Whiteside could be wearing a different uniform next season. Lucky for the Heat, their only contracts on the books for next season are Chris Bosh, Goran Dragic, Justise Winslow, Josh McRoberts, and Jarnell Stokes. That leaves them around $40M under the cap, with Wade and Whiteside both trying to be resigned. Unless Whiteside is willing to take a big time paycut, I see him in a different uniform, especially since he’s almost guaranteed to be offered a max contract this summer. To me, what would make the most sense is the Heat packaging Whiteside and Luol Deng ($10M expiring deal) in a trade.