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NBA Trade Deadline Countdown – Southeast Division

By Tamberlyn Richardson
Nov 24, 2015; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Hawks guard Jeff Teague (0, center) greets guard Thabo Sefolosha (25) and center Al Horford (15) during a timeout in the fourth quarter of their game against the Boston Celtics at Philips Arena. The Hawks won 121-97. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 24, 2015; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Hawks guard Jeff Teague (0, center) greets guard Thabo Sefolosha (25) and center Al Horford (15) during a timeout in the fourth quarter of their game against the Boston Celtics at Philips Arena. The Hawks won 121-97. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports
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NBA trade deadline team analysis with a view to roster needs, and whether they should be buyers or sellers.

On the final day of the All-Star break teams prepared to return to the hardcourt to finish the official second half of the season. It’s also a nerve racking 24 hours for players and teams each hour draws us closer to the NBA trade deadline.  Wednesday, (February 17th) there was a marked increase in discussions between teams and several National Media scribes were posting rumors of potential trades to expect prior to the 3:00 PM cut-off today (February 18).

Last year the League witnessed unprecedented activity especially in the final 20 minutes prior to the deadline cut-off.

A look back at 2015

Last year on trade deadline had some specific trends arise:

  • Four of the top five Eastern teams made no trades
  • Five of the top seven Western teams made no trades
  • Only seeded teams in West who were active were Portland, Houston and Phoenix
  • Average number of trades on deadline day is 24, today there were forty trades with thirty-seven NBA players!
  • 14 point guards were traded

What changes in 2016

This season it’s less certain what will occur since the circumstances are so different. First there is little argument regarding the upper echelon of teams who’ll reasonably contend for the title and even those few fall into specific categories:

To wit, if I hand you money right now and tell you to bet on one team to win the title odds are you’ll pick one of two teams: the Golden State Warriors or the San Antonio Spurs.

If I tell you to pick a winner with slightly better odds than the 2 teams above you’ll select either the Oklahoma City Thunder or the Cleveland Cavaliers.  And if I say who has the best odds of upsetting a favorite to get to the finals again you’ll select the Thunder and in the Eastern Conference the Toronto Raptors would get the nod.

Even in selecting those 5 teams my home town Raptors only make the cut because there is so much confusion surrounding the Cavaliers.  Since firing David Blatt the Cavaliers’ defense has been lacking. Furthermore, the sheer number of players, teams and trade talks the Cavs are rumored to be involved in implies there is major concern in Cleveland over their potential of winning a title.

The other 25 teams in the Association are either lottery bound, middling at best or more than one trade away from entering the above upper tier.

Mirror Questions for bottom 25

Again, I’ll reiterate what does this 2 team dominance mean heading into the trade deadline? In seasons past one move could vault a team upward, but given the prowess of the top 2 teams is that move enough this season? The other major factor is next season will see a huge jump in the salary cap as the Television ad revenue gets divvied up and another free agent summer of new contract standards looms.

What this means is entering the trade deadline fewer teams are in need or desire of purchasing albatross contracts like Joe Johnson’s. It also means with the uncertainty of how teams will navigate this period rookies and therefore draft picks become something of a coup as they are the one contract the team can manage with full knowledge of it’s limit.

Sure all teams will have cap to spend initially, but just like the current situation eventually every team will max out their big deals and inevitably someone (or several players) will get paid beyond their worth which will drive up the mid level and subsequently teams will again be scrapping to stay below the tax threshold.

And so the questions each team must ask itself entering Thursday morning is:

  • Do we make a trade knowing it’s unlikely to take us much further than not making one?
  • Do we try to off load ‘now’ talent for ‘prospect’ talent knowing it won’t help until the future?
  • Knowing we might not re-sign a free agent, do we cut that player now to ensure we get value?
  • Is the team as currently constructed have a core we see being intact in 5 years? If not should we blow it up now to grab draft picks or talent we would deem essential for that future core?

And specifically in the East with so many teams jumbled together from seeds 3 through 10 they have an additional group of decisions to make:

Knowing Cleveland is still very much trying to improve and obviously not a cohesive unit there is potential for a rare opportunity to upset them in the Eastern Conference Finals if they don’t get their issues resolved. Further veteran teams like Miami and Chicago have potential injury (Bosh – more blood clots in his leg and Noah gone for season) and chemistry (Rose and Butler) issues. So if you are one of the other teams seeded in that group do you make one or two moves now with the a finals appearance in your sight lines?  It could mean forfeiting your future for a chance now which is something perhaps Indiana or Charlotte may be willing to do.

But for the team sitting with the best shot of upsetting Cleveland (the Raptors) after so many seasons or not making the playoffs and having demonstrated patience building this core they may not be willing to blow up their future. And in fairness it’s almost like they will be adding a trade deadline upgrade since DeMarre Carroll will return sometime in March and he’s been out most of the season. He’s presence will make the team stronger and better on both ends.

So the Raptors have to decide if they want to upgrade the starting power forward via a trade which may hurt their long range plans, cut a player like Anthony Bennett to add Ronald Roberts from the D-League Raptors 905 squad or simply make a shift by starting the ever improving Patrick Patterson and have Luis Scola come off the bench.

That’s the state of where the Association stands with less than 24 hours to the deadline. So, now I’ll give you a bit of a cheat sheet for each team providing you with the current salary and roster, their draft picks, free agents, roster needs and whether (in my opinion) they should be buyers or sellers. Use it to prepare for today’s deadline.

Next up I look at the Southeast Division:

Next: New Flight Pattern?

Nov 24, 2015; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Hawks guard Jeff Teague (0, center) greets guard Thabo Sefolosha (25) and center Al Horford (15) during a timeout in the fourth quarter of their game against the Boston Celtics at Philips Arena. The Hawks won 121-97. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

Draft Picks: As per Real GM here is a complete draft overview.

Salary:

Hawks Salary
Hawks Salary

Free Agents: Al Horford and Kent Bazemore are the big names who’ll be free agents this summer and subsequently Horford is the big name on the block.

Depth Chart: 

Hawks Depth
Hawks Depth
Bottom line

: Almost every core player other than Paul Millsap is on the trade block including Jeff Teague, Al Horford and Kyle Korver. The problem is the Hawks are said to want both talent and draft picks, hence why Boston is rumored to be the main team who will land the center given they can outbid any team who who bids for him.

The main take away is the Hawks appear to be in rebuild mode given they’ve not kept the fact these players are all available. And it also speaks to chemistry issues on a team who made it all the way to the Eastern Conference Finals last season. My how quickly a team’s luck can change.

INJURY UPDATE: @tiagosplitter has elected to have surgery to repair his right hip. Splitter will miss the remainder of the 2015-16 season.

— Atlanta Hawks (@ATLHawks) February 16, 2016

Category:  Suffice to say the Hawks are SELLERS

Next: Prepare To Be Stung

Dec 12, 2015; Charlotte, NC, USA; Charlotte Hornets guard forward Nicolas Batum (5) during the second half of the game against the Boston Celtics at Time Warner Cable Arena. Celtics win 98-93. Mandatory Credit: Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 12, 2015; Charlotte, NC, USA; Charlotte Hornets guard forward Nicolas Batum (5) during the second half of the game against the Boston Celtics at Time Warner Cable Arena. Celtics win 98-93. Mandatory Credit: Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports

Dec 12, 2015; Charlotte, NC, USA; Charlotte Hornets guard forward Nicolas Batum (5) during the second half of the game against the Boston Celtics at Time Warner Cable Arena. Celtics win 98-93. Mandatory Credit: Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports

Draft Picks: As per Real GM here is a complete draft overview.

Salary:

Hornets Salary
Hornets Salary

Free Agents:  Major core pieces hit the market this summer: Al Jefferson, Nicolas Batum and Marvin Williams. Could Batum become a tradeable piece as he would arrive to his new team with bird rights should he chose to stay with them. *see below.

Depth Chart: 

Hornets Depth
Hornets Depth
Bottom line

:Two weeks prior to the All-Star break the Hornets were in free fall and then Michael Kidd Gilchrist returned helping them go on a major win streak. Now he’s out for the season and Charlotte is still making moves to hit the post season via a trade that brought Courtney Lee over from Memphis.

The other notable news heading into the deadline was the Hornets interest in Dwight Howard, but the deterrent to the deal was the Rockets wanting a rumored young talent plus 2 draft picks which Charlotte can’t offer. However as I outlined in my Raptors review could they become the third team involved given they can offer the draft picks the Rockets covet? If Masai Ujiri can get in on the action it makes sense he would do so if he can nab Nic Batum in the process.

Hearing Hornets quite excited to land Courtney Lee, not only to fill MKG void & stay on playoff pace but also since they get his Bird Rights

— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) February 17, 2016

Vertical Sources: Hornets forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist will undergo shoulder surgery, miss rest of season: https://t.co/GhRReqtEX4

— The Vertical (@TheVertical) February 16, 2016

Category:  Charlotte are intent on getting into the post season and shoring up their line-up with a big so they’ll be BUYERS if they can find the right big man or a third team to help them accomplish that goal.

Next: Boiling Point?

Feb 13, 2016; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Eastern Conference forward Chris Bosh of the Miami Heat (1) looks on during practice for the NBA All Star game at Ricoh Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Draft Picks: As per Real GM here is a complete draft overview.

Salary:

Heat Salary
Heat Salary

Free Agents: Veterans Dwyane Wade, Luol Deng, Udonis Haslem, Amare Stoudemire and Gerald Green all enter free agency this summer along with youngsters Tyler Johnson and Hassan Whiteside. Things have become less clear given the Bosh news (see below).

Notably the Heat sent Chris Andersen and 2 second round picks to Memphis in exchange for Brian Roberts.

Depth Chart:

Heat Depth
Heat Depth
Bottom line

:  On NBA TV Ira Winderman reported Chris Bosh has developed blood clots in his leg and doctors have scheduled for him to be on blood thinners for 3 months. This is significant given how much his absence would affect the Heat’s post season plans. What decision Pat Riley makes now will likely tip their hand as to how serious Bosh’s situation is.  Miami basically have 2 choices go with Whiteside with the hope they resign him or trade for Dwight Howard to replace Bosh.

The other person to keep an eye on is Goran Dragic (though no news has been leaked regarding his status) he simply hasn’t gelled with Wade in the backcourt so perhaps he could sweeten a deal with Houston if another point guard (Beverley?) came with Howard.

Category:  This is a tough call given the Bosh situation, but knowing Pat Riley and the core of Wade, Deng and Bosh I suspect the Heat will be BUYERS.

Next: Abra Cadabra

Apr 3, 2015; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Orlando Magic forward Aaron Gordon (00) against the Minnesota Timberwolves at Target Center. The Magic defeated Timberwolves 97-84. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 3, 2015; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Orlando Magic forward Aaron Gordon (00) against the Minnesota Timberwolves at Target Center. The Magic defeated Timberwolves 97-84. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Apr 3, 2015; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Orlando Magic forward Aaron Gordon (00) against the Minnesota Timberwolves at Target Center. The Magic defeated Timberwolves 97-84. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Draft Picks: As per Real GM here is a complete draft overview.

Salary:

Magic Salary
Magic Salary

Free Agents:  Two players Scott Skiles has been extremely fond of this year as utility players are both free agents this summer: Andrew Nicholson and Jason Smith. Brandon Jennings who arrives via the trade will also be a free agent this summer.

The Los Angeles Clippers are nearing agreement on a deal to acquire Orlando's Channing Frye, league sources tell @TheVertical.

— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojVerticalNBA) February 17, 2016

Depth Chart:

Magic Depth
Magic Depth
Bottom line

: Scott Skiles is a coach with a very specific mind set and odds are he wants to get Aaron Gordon some additional playing time immediately given his current confidence level. The players said to be expendable (and based on Skiles either not playing them or bringing them off the bench) are Victor Oladipo and Channing Frye. Remarkably it’s Frye who is getting the most interest with the Clippers and Cavaliers both said to be inquiring about the 3 point specialist.

As per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski trade article:

Detroit had been pursuing a bigger deal with Harris and Orlando guard Evan Fournier, but Orlando didn’t want to move Fournier, sources said.

Category: Look for the Magic to be SELLERS as the build their core and rid the team of players Skiles doesn’t envision being a long term member on his squad.

Next: Join the Space City Scoop Writing Team

Space City Scoop is always looking to add new talent to our writing team. Currently we’re looking for individuals with a specialized focus. The first area of focus is perfect for someone who is constantly surfing the web for breaking news on injuries, trades, insider info etc. This individual would select the top news items and provide timely quick hits to keep SCS readers in the loop.

The other area of focus is someone who possesses a strong social media background who likes to interact with Clutch City Fans. You’ll promote SCS team content on facebook and twitter while also making sure to promote the best content coming from H-Town fans. If you have this capability and are interested check out the link above and fill out an application.

Next: Forming a Wall

Dec 6, 2015; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Wizards guard John Wall (2) grimaces after suffering an apparent leg injury during the second half at Verizon Center. Dallas Mavericks won 116 - 104. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 6, 2015; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Wizards guard John Wall (2) grimaces after suffering an apparent leg injury during the second half at Verizon Center. Dallas Mavericks won 116 - 104. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Dec 6, 2015; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Wizards guard John Wall (2) grimaces after suffering an apparent leg injury during the second half at Verizon Center. Dallas Mavericks won 116 – 104. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Draft Picks: As per Real GM here is a complete draft overview.

Salary:

Wizards Salary
Wizards Salary

Free Agents: Nene Hilario, Bradley Beal, Jared Dudley, Alan Anderson, Ramon Sessions and Gary Neal are all entering free agency this summer. Obviously Beal will be the priority in this group, but for a squad who has been to the second round for 2 consecutive decisions this team appears to be one losing streak away from getting blown up.

Depth Chart: 

Wizards Depth
Wizards Depth
Bottom line

: If it weren’t for the Bucks fall from grace this season the Wizards would be highlighted as the team who’ve been the most disappointing. Granted they’ve dealt with major injuries, but this squad even when close to full health hasn’t come close to resembling their previous brilliance especially defensively.

The problem is they intend on being major players in the Kevin Durant sweepstakes whether this coming summer or two summers from now should KD do what most expect and resign with the Thunder to allow for an increased TV ad enhanced contract signing. Whether its this season or next the Wizards can’t afford to be seen as team in turmoil or one outside the upper echelon in their conference.

Of note social media highlighted the potential for Anderson and Dudley to be moved at the deadline, so look for the Wizards to use these two as trade bait for whichever player they pursue.

Category:   Based on the Wizards rumors circulating Wednesday leading up to the deadline it sure appears like they intend on making a run for the post season, so look for them to be BUYERS.

Next: Trade Deadline Countdown- Southwest Div. Analysis

Next: Trade Deadline Countdown-Atlantic Div. Analysis

Next: Trade Deadline Countdown-Central Div. Analysis

Next: Trade Deadline Countdown- Northwest Div. Analysis

Next: Trade Deadline Countdown- Pacific Div. Analysis

Space City Scoop is always looking to add new talent to our writing team. Currently we’re looking for individuals with a specialized focus. The first area of focus is perfect for someone who is constantly surfing the web for breaking news on injuries, trades, insider info etc. This individual would select the top news items and provide timely quick hits to keep SCS readers in the loop.

The other area of focus is someone who possesses a strong social media background who likes to interact with Clutch City Fans. You’ll promote SCS team content on facebook and twitter while also making sure to promote the best content coming from H-Town fans. If you have this capability and are interested check out this link and fill out an application.

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