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The Extra Pass: Five teams to watch closely as the trade deadline nears

Feb 19, 2014, 7:59 AM EST

Kenneth Faried AP

source:

With just more than 48 hours left until the NBA’s trade deadline, it feels like the biggest deals may be behind us — Rudy Gay and Luol Deng have already been moved. Rumors are swirling, but the feeling around the league is it is all a lot of sound and fury signifying nothing.

Still there are a number of teams trying to make deals. While there are more hoping to get something done, here are five teams to watch as they are pushing hard to make something happen in the next two days.

1) Denver Nuggets. They are trying hard to move Andre Miller, who has landed deep in Brian Shaw’s doghouse, and there are certainly a lot of teams that could use a veteran point guard who can start or come off the bench. He is popular in the locker room, his teammates love him. The Nuggets are likely just holding out for the best possible deal here but it’s hard to imagine they keep him past Thursday. The other name to watch is Kenneth Faried — the Nuggets have been shopping him around pretty hard. They aren’t sure he is worth what he is going to get offered as a restricted free agent, so they are trying to move him and let that be another team’s problem.

2) Philadelphia 76ers. They have three players they want to move — Evan Turner, Thaddeus Young and Spencer Hawes — and what is more important they are $11 million under the salary cap so they can absorb more salary than they send out. They are the most flexible trade partner out there. The problem is Philadelphia GM Sam Hinkie wants draft picks in exchange for his players or to take on some salary and teams are incredibly reluctant to part with picks this year. So we wait. Hinkie has not been the kind to cave so we could get through the deadline without a deal, but more likely somebody comes around and presents a deal Hinkie likes.

3) New York Knicks. Their activity stems from this fact: Carmelo Anthony is going to opt out of his contract this summer. He said over All-Star weekend his “first priority” is to remain with the Knicks but he needs to see a plan that will return the Knicks to contender status. Most of that plan will be “look at all this cap space in 2015” but they are trying to make moves now, specifically they want to add a point guard in the face of Raymond Felton’s struggles. The Knicks are calling everyone; they desperately want to make a move (even if it means bringing back Jeremy Lin). The problem is they don’t have picks they can dangle to tempt teams (not for five years, anyway), and the only tradable player they have is Iman Shumpert (other teams keep asking about Tim Hardaway Jr. but New York refuses to move him). The Knicks are trying, it’s just the reality of them getting a deal done is far less likely than flexible teams like the Sixers.

4) Phoenix Suns. They are one of the few potential buyers on the market, and that gives them some leverage. The Suns have been the NBA’s biggest surprise this season and now they want to continue that — at 31-21 they are just 1.5 games ahead of nine seed Memphis, so the Suns want someone to help solidify them as a playoff team in the West (and make them more dangerous in the first round). Also, they have four firsts round picks and are willing to part with one in the right deal — and that deal might yet be for Pau Gasol. That would be the biggest deal of the deadline, by far. The Suns have the expiring deal of Emeka Okafor ($14.5 million) plus those picks to make it work (the problem has been the Lakers demanding one of the Suns two higher ranked picks and Phoenix is only offering something much smaller if any pick at all, they don’t really want to help a team in their division). If it is not Gasol, look for the Suns to make some kind of deadline deal, they may be rebuilding but they are now in for this season and want to make the playoffs.

5) Boston Celtics. It’s not just Rajon Rondo — although he can be had, you’re just going to have to give something of real value up to get him. Boston decision maker Danny Ainge is rightfully concerned about his ability to re-sign Rondo in the summer of 2015 (not that Rondo is looking to bolt, he just wants to keep his options open) and if Ainge can get something for Rondo in a deal he’ll consider it. However, I expect Rondo to be a summer move (after teams have seen him play more post ACL surgery). Instead, look for Brandon Bass to be on the move — he is the kind of solid big that can help a playoff team immediately but isn’t much use to Boston right now. Also, if Ainge can find a sucker… er, team to take on the two years left on Gerald Wallace’s contract he would do it in a heartbeat.

  1. grizzlystrike - Feb 19, 2014 at 8:29 AM

    I’m so sick of every writer saying the Suns need to get Gasol. The suns are NOT giving up ANY picks for that guy

    • stlducks - Feb 19, 2014 at 8:42 AM

      It’s not that they need him, it’s that it is possibly the only big deal to happen so everyone is focused on it. Plus getting rid of Omeka and bringing in someone who has playoff experience would be great.

  2. ryanrockzzz - Feb 19, 2014 at 8:56 AM

    Hopefully the Sixers can unload of those three for a draft pick. I just don’t see it happening becuase Hawes and Turner are just rentals. Hinkie figures the team is awful with them, so he can drive a hard bargin. I am planning on seeeing the 76ers stand pat, but I’d love for them to add a draft pick….or three.

    • sixerstrong - Feb 19, 2014 at 9:21 AM

      I would really hate to lose Thad. He’s such a great veteran presence in the locker room. I would trade Turner for a PB&J sandwich at this point. Moreso because of his negative influence on the younger guys.

  3. phillysports1 - Feb 19, 2014 at 9:21 AM

    I said it before and I’m say it again :

    Thad Young, turner, hawes and first round draft pick ( New Orleans ) projected top 12
    For Kevin Love ..Draft Jabari Parker and make a splash at the free agency and we will have a championship team !

    PG CARTER WILLIAMS
    SG JABARI PARKER
    SF LEBRON JAMES
    PF KEVIN LOVE
    C NERLENS NOEL

    + bring Gordon Hayward from Utah out of free agency ; he can be our 6th man.

    • louderthanwords1 - Feb 19, 2014 at 10:28 AM

      You can say it til your blue in the face but there’s no way Lebron leaves Miami for Philly, no way Minnesota would even think about making that deal and Hayward wouldn’t sign on to be a 6th man. Your overvaluing Phillys spare parts and seem as delusional as Chris Grant was with trade proposals.

      • jcmeyer10 - Feb 19, 2014 at 10:55 AM

        Love might be as untouchable as well.

      • dluxxx - Feb 19, 2014 at 11:30 AM

        No “might.” Love is untouchable.

      • therealhtj - Feb 19, 2014 at 1:46 PM

        When Love leaves your desolate wasteland for nothing, you Minny fans gonna be mad bro?

  4. phillysports1 - Feb 19, 2014 at 9:28 AM

    @ryanrockz

    I can see them trading turner to Charlotte for Ben Gordon and a one of their first round picks ( Detroit pick )

  5. luvmnsports2012 - Feb 19, 2014 at 10:03 AM

    @phillysports1
    Are you high!!

  6. phillysports1 - Feb 19, 2014 at 11:38 AM

    They’re just scenarios lol . Trying make this fun , slow your horses . 😅

  7. phillysports1 - Feb 19, 2014 at 11:39 AM

    Gordon Hayward would be stupid not to sign with a team to be a 6th man with a lineup that.

  8. phillysports1 - Feb 19, 2014 at 11:42 AM

    Sixers have money to spend this offseason. No ones know who will Offer him more money .
    The world said there was no way Cano leaves NY for SEA . #moneytalk

  9. phillysports1 - Feb 19, 2014 at 11:43 AM

    Like * before last comment .

  10. Professor Fate - Feb 19, 2014 at 11:57 AM

    “… (T)hat deal might yet be for Pau Gasol. That would be the biggest deal of the deadline, by far. The Suns have the expiring deal of Emeka Okafor ($14.5 million) plus those picks to make it work (the problem has been the Lakers demanding one of the Suns two higher ranked picks and Phoenix is only offering something much smaller if any pick at all, they don’t really want to help a team in their division).”

    But they expect the Lakers to help them with their playoff aspirations? Good luck in trying to get the best of Mitch Kupchak.

  11. blazermaniac22 - Feb 20, 2014 at 7:39 AM

    Who wants to watch the Knicks do anything? If you like watching garbage burn, maybe.

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