By Chris Mannix
February 11, 2010
Team-By-Team Trade Outlook
By Chris Mannix
With a potential lockout looming and multiple teams looking to slash payroll in anticipation of this summer's free-agent bonanza, the trading season could bring a handful of surprises. As the Feb. 18 deadline approaches, here's a look at each team's trading potential. (All payroll figures are from
Western Conference
Dallas Mavericks
Team Payroll: $84.7 million
Potential Trade Assets: C Erick Dampier, G Nick Calathes, $2.9 million trade exception
The Mavs made the first big move of the trading season when they acquired Caron Butler, Brendan Haywood and DeShawn Stevenson for Josh Howard during All-Star weekend (Dallas also dealt Drew Gooden, Quinton Ross and James Singleton). Butler is expected to start at shooting guard and Haywood gives Dallas more depth at center, where Dampier has been struggling with a knee injury.
Denver Nuggets
Team Payroll: $74.9 million
Potential Trade Assets: G J.R. Smith
Denver inquired about Indiana forward-center Jeff Foster before Foster underwent back surgery earlier this week. The Nuggets don't have a lot of options. The assets they have they want to keep, and unless they are overwhelmed by an offer for Smith, they won't try to move him. The two wins over the Lakers this season could have given Denver's front office the sense that this group is capable of winning a playoff series against the defending champions.
Golden State Warriors
Team Payroll: $66 million
Potential Trade Assets: G Monta Ellis, F Anthony Randolph, G Anthony Morrow
Besides Stephen Curry, the Warriors' roster is for sale. Golden State has expressed a willingness in trade talks to part with Ellis, and Randolph has been available all season. The same can be said for Corey Maggette and Vladimir Radmanovic, whom the Warriors would give away for expiring contracts. Word is a deal with Phoenix for Amar'e Stoudemire could be revived if Golden State is willing to part with Curry. But no GM is expecting that.
Houston Rockets
Team Payroll: $73.6 million
Potential Trade Assets G Tracy McGrady, F Shane Battier, G Aaron Brooks
The Rockets hold the biggest piece on the trade market: McGrady, whose $23.2 million expiring contract is exceedingly attractive. The Rockets haven't been overwhelmed with good offers for McGrady so far. They don't want bad contracts and they are holding out for a comparably talented player to pair next to Yao Ming next season. But GM Daryl Morey's preference all season has been to rebuild through trades and not free agency, so expect a deal for T-Mac to get done. Philadelphia (Andre Iguodala) and Washington (Caron Butler, Antawn Jamison) are legitimate possibilities.
Los Angeles Clippers
Team Payroll: $60.1 million
Potential Trade Assets: C Marcus Camby
Camby's consistent D and expiring contract ($9.2 million) make him one of the most marketable players in the league. A source close to the team said the Clippers are not inclined to deal Camby but would agree to a trade if it returned a decent (read: first-round or early second-round) pick. With Blake Griffin penciled in as the starting power forward next season and Chris Kaman earning an All-Star nod this year, the Clips are looking for some value in return for a player they know they will not re-sign.
Los Angeles Lakers
Team Payroll: $91.4 million
Potential Trade Assets: G Shannon Brown, F Adam Morrison
Brown and Morrison have been at the center of trade talks involving the Bulls' Kirk Hinrich, according to league sources. The Lakers have shown interest in Hinrich's game -- he would bolster the bench and give L.A. a capable defender to stop the speedy point guards who have been torching them all season -- but they're unsure if they can take on Hinrich's contract.
Memphis Grizzlies
Team Payroll: $54.7 million
Potential Trade Assets: G Sam Young, C Steven Hunter, F Rudy Gay, three first-round picks
The Grizzlies would love to add a scorer off the bench -- a deal for Jazz guard Ronnie Brewer has been discussed -- and a perimeter defender, but they are limited by the assets they are willing to give up. Gay, who will be a restricted free agent at the end of the season, is the wild card. But the Grizzlies haven't decided if they'll meet his asking price, which could be $15 million per season. Memphis also has three first-round picks -- its own, Denver's and the Lakers' -- to play with in any deal.
Minnesota Timberwolves
Team Payroll: $61.5 million
Potential Trade Assets: F-C Al Jefferson, F Kevin Love, G Ricky Rubio, F Brian Cardinal
If Rubio is dealt to the right team (say, New Jersey), a buyout could be worked out so the Spanish point guard could play in the NBA as early as next season. GM David Kahn has insisted he is not shopping his young big men, but both Jefferson and Love -- who effectively play the same position -- have attracted a lot of interest around the league. Still, many GMs expect the Wolves to stand pat. "Kahn is in an enviable position," a Western Conference GM said. "There are no expectations in Minnesota. He can afford to sit back and do nothing because there is no pressure to win right now."
New Orleans Hornets
Team Payroll: $69.6 million
Potential Trade Assets: C Emeka Okafor, F Julian Wright
The Hornets, who dumped Hilton Armstrong, Devin Brown and Bobby Brown earlier this season, have done enough to cut their payroll so it falls under the luxury-tax threshold, saving the team $5 million. They won't make any deals that put them above the tax, which limits their options leading up to the deadline. Still, they seem open to discussing Okafor, who has four years remaining on his contract after this season.
Oklahoma City Thunder
Team Payroll: $58.3 million
Potential Trade Assets: F Matt Harpring, C Etan Thomas
The injured Harpring, whose contract is being paid by insurance, is an appealing trade chip. The Thunder's conservative GM, Sam Presti, is believed to be interested in making a deal before the deadline before he ties up the team's future payroll with an extension for Kevin Durant. A defensive-minded center is still No. 1 on the Thunder's wish list. The Clippers' Camby is an option.
Phoenix Suns
Team Payroll: $74.8 million
Potential Trade Assets: F-C Amar'e Stoudemire, G Leandro Barbosa
Stoudemire's future remains the Suns' No. 1 concern heading into the deadline. The Suns haven't been bowled over by offers for Stoudemire, whose defensive deficiencies and potential contract demands have turned off a lot of teams. Phoenix, in turn, does not want to alienate its fan base -- not to mention Steve Nash -- by dealing Stoudemire for marginal talent or cap flexibility. If the Suns do deal Stoudemire, two executives believe Barbosa, who has a player option for 2011-12, will be moved as well, either in a multiplayer deal with Stoudemire or a separate trade.
Portland Trail Blazers
Team Payroll: $57 million
Potential Trade Assets: G Andre Miller, G Jerryd Bayless, G-F Rudy Fernandez
GM Kevin Pritchard has been scouring the league for a big man. The Blazers have talked to Washington about Brendan Haywood, but Pritchard has been unwilling to part with Fernandez or fellow second-year player Nicolas Batum in any deal. Further, sources believe that despite Portland's desperate need for frontcourt help, Pritchard will not sacrifice any young talent to help the team this season.
Sacramento Kings
Team Payroll: $63.9 million
Potential Trade Assets: G Kevin Martin, F Andres Nocioni, F Kenny Thomas
While the Kings have received plenty of offers for Martin, they are not yet willing to fork over a 27-year-old shooting guard who is in line for his fourth straight 20-point season. Boston is interested (a deal of Ray Allen for Martin and Nocioni works and would save the Kings $17 million next season), and Houston and Dallas have also inquired.
San Antonio Spurs
Team Payroll: $80.2 million
Potential Trade Assets: G George Hill, G Manu Ginobili, G Roger Mason, F Matt Bonner
The Spurs had internal discussions about Stoudemire but that didn't get very far. San Antonio is expected to stand pat and hope the chemistry between the still-adjusting Richard Jefferson (averaging 12.1 points, lowest since his rookie season) and the rest of the team comes together by April. The Spurs do have the expiring contracts of Mason and Bonner to work with, but both are solid role players in Gregg Popovich's system.
Utah Jazz
Team Payroll: $75 million
Potential Trade Assets: F Carlos Boozer, F Andrei Kirilenko, G Ronnie Brewer, F Kyle Korver, New York's unprotected first-round pick
A source close to the team said the red-hot Jazz are still inclined to deal Boozer, risking any disruption in team chemistry to ensure they get something for the free-agent-to-be who is unlikely to be re-signed after the season. Memphis inquired about Brewer, and the resurgent Kirilenko's name is being brought up in many conversations with GM Kevin O'Connor. So, too, is New York's draft pick, though O'Connor has told everyone that pick is not available.

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