Breaking Down the NBA Trade Deadline, Team by Team
Confused by where everyone stands as NBA trade rumors fly? Mike Prada, along with other SB Nation team bloggers, breaks down the trade landscape as we get closer to the trade deadline.
Feb 3, 2010 - The NBA Trade Deadline is kind of like a game of Risk. You have several territories to conquer (or players to add), some of which are more valuable than others. You have different number of pieces (i.e. trade assets) depending on your performance in the game, and you have the ability to control how you use such pieces. You have to make sure you don't leave currently-owned territories uncovered, which is kind of like making sure you don't lose anything in the present or future with any potential trades. And while there may not eventually be one winner, there is a cost/benefit analysis each team must make that's very similar to what you do in Risk.
With that in mind, let's take a closer look at where every teams stands, what they have to offer, what they need and what players and teams are potentially good trade targets. We at SB Nation have already talked about some trades we'd love to see, but we've yet to take that step back and really analyze the full picture. Here, we attempt to do that in as systematic a way as possible, with five categories to separate teams and a comprehensive breakdown of all the factors that would influence their thinking. I've enlisted the help of several SB Nation team bloggers to help me with this project, so where relevant, you'll see them mentioned or quoted.
(All salary figures are via ShamSports.com, the premier NBA salary site on the Internet. All salary-cap estimates are based on a $53 million salary cap and a $67 million luxury tax line, which may or may not be too high).
Team Weaknesses: Outside shooting, perimeter scoring
Projected 2010 cap room: $15.5 million
Untouchables: Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah
Potentially on the block: Luol Deng ($10.3 million this year, four more years), Kirk Hinrich ($9.5 million this year, two more years), John Salmons ($6.4 million this year, one more year with a player option)
Expiring Contracts: Brad Miller ($12.5 million), Jerome James ($6 million), Tyrus Thomas ($4.7 million)
Prospects: Taj Gibson, James Johnson
Good trade partners: Boston, Houston, LA Lakers, Miami, Minnesota, New York, Phoenix, Portland, San Antonio
Possible targets: Amare Stoudemire, Al Harrington, expiring contracts of any kind
For all the talk about the Bulls being a major 2010 player, we forget that they actually can't guarantee themselves maximum cap room unless John Salmons opts out of the final year of his contract, which is hardly a certainty considering how much he's sucked this year. That's why there's a lot of noise surrounding Kirk Hinrich, who has a long-term contract and is intriguing to several teams.
Trading Hinrich would probably hurt the Bulls this year, because Hinrich's presence in the starting lineup has helped everyone, but you'd think that the Bulls would want to commit fully to the 2010 plan. Problem is, their actions sort of indicate otherwise. They've already turned down a Hinrich for "spare parts" trade from Boston, and those "spare parts" presumably were Celtic expiring contracts. The Lakers also talked to the Bulls about Hinrich, and they also have expiring contracts to offer. I know the Bulls would prefer to move Salmons, but with him playing so poorly, does anyone want him? It's almost as if Hinrich has some mysterious pull within the Bulls organization that makes them decide having him and a first-round playoff exit is more important than putting yourself in the position to grab LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and others.
Chicago's also in the mix for Amare Stoudemire, though they have even less to offer Phoenix than they did last year. They could also make another upgrade for the playoff push, like they did last year with the John Salmons-Brad Miller trade. What they should do, though, is trade Hinrich. Who knows if they actually will.