Luke Ridnour is about as close of a lock to get traded that we have on the docket, as two separate reports have the Knicks interested, joining the Jazz, Celtics, and Sixers as teams that could use the services of the combo guard. I’m considering him a ‘hold’ or a player to target, even if a move to the Knicks would resemble his current role with the Wolves, albeit without the offensive system he currently enjoys under Rick Adelman. A move to the Sixers would resemble a theoretic move to New York, but moves to Utah or Boston would be a boon to his value.
Back in Minnesota, the likelihood that Ridnour gets traded puts both Alexey Shved and J.J. Barea firmly on fantasy radars, as the four-man backcourt will turn to three. Barea might have the more immediate upside with his knack for putting up numbers quickly, but his tendency to get injured and the Wolves’ clear desire to develop Shved make him the player to own between the two in my book. The only thing that could derail a solid bump in fantasy value for both guys would be if the Wolves take back another guard in the deal (Raja Bell has been a rumored component in the Utah deal). The Wolves have also expressed interest in the Knicks’ Ronnie Brewer, who they targeted in free agency. Neither guy figures to be big in Minnesota’s plans if they land there, but they could certainly muddy the waters.
Also in Minnesota’s rumor mill is Derrick Williams, who the Wolves would love to trade but is probably worth more during the offseason, and Nikola Pekovic is a dark horse to get moved if the team decides he’s not in their future plans. Pek would represent one of the better trade chips during this deadline, as he would only cost $6 million to keep around for another year (Writer's Note: I totally blew this one. The site I used, which will remain nameless, listed the $6M as a team option and not a qualifying offer. As a reader correctly points out, he will get a substantial offer as a restricted free agent this offseason). Until there’s more smoke on that front, though, owners can hold off on sell-high offers that bet against negative system impact in a new location for Pekovic.
The Bucks are teetering on the playoff bubble in the Eastern Conference, and just about everybody on the roster is for sale outside of Larry Sanders and John Henson. Brandon Jennings has been under scrutiny for his agent change and the fact that neither he nor the Bucks know if they want to be dancing partners going forward. Jennings is a restricted free agent next season and is likely to get a big offer from somebody, and if the Bucks decide they don’t want to match then he will fetch a healthy return on the market.
Still, all reports have Monta Ellis and Samuel Dalembert as the more likely Bucks to get sent packing, as Ellis has an $11 million player option and is a bad fit if the team is going to wrap its future up in Jennings. Dalembert is a duplicate part with the ascension of my Defensive Player of the Year vote in Sanders, with Henson waiting in the wings, too, so unless the Bucks are understating Sanders’ back issue I can’t see him sticking around after the deadline. If you recently added Dalembert, who should be held until Sanders’ (day-to-day) issue is completely cleared, you’ll want to hope the Bucks can somehow get into business with the Hawks or another big man needy team.
Beno Udrih’s name has been mentioned in the rumor mill, and his $7 million expiring deal and serviceable game could help any number of teams, though none have been identified to date. I like him as a sneaky pickup in advance of the deadline with the starting backcourt possibly getting broken up. Jennings has drawn interest from the Mavs, but anywhere he goes he will be given the car keys and it’s hard to imagine his overall value proposition changing too much in any theoretic trade.
Somewhat surprisingly Ersan Ilyasova’s name has come up a few times, once in a potential deal for Josh Smith and also in Toronto, who has expressed interest. I think it will take a big ticket trade for any team to want to take on his contract, and likewise for the Bucks to give up with the big man starting to return to form. Jennings has also been playing horribly, and with reports of dissatisfaction in Milwaukee and the overall stress the trade deadline causes players, I like him as a buy low candidate right now.
J.J. Redick’s situation hasn’t changed too much since we broached the topic last week, other than a few more teams expressing interest to go with an equal number of reports suggesting the Magic will lean toward keeping him. A report also emerged that the Magic may want him to give them a hometown discount in free agency this summer, which isn’t an impossibility given how much Redick enjoys playing there, but money issues tend to become more important when signing on the dotted line.
If the Magic learn that they’ll have to match an over-market deal, then I think we’ll see these tepid reports turn real hot, real quick. It doesn’t hurt that the Magic are tied into Arron Afflalo going forward, either. The Bucks, Pacers, Bulls, Celtics, and Nuggets are all in the mix, and none of those teams would provide the type of touches and stability he currently enjoys in Orlando. I think owners have to strongly consider selling high here at a slight discount, as the risk of a severe hit is worth mitigating when owners can sell the numerous reports that suggest he isn’t going anywhere. For now.
It’s worth noting that Tyler Hansbrough and D.J. Augustin were offered by the Pacers for Redick, and I don’t think that’s enough to get a deal done, but owners will want to be ready to move on whatever gets sent back to Orlando in a potential deal. Assuming the player can play, they’ll have an excellent chance to produce in the Magic’s shallow rotation.
THE NBA’S TALLEST TWO-GUARD
Andrea Bargnani has been rubber stamped for trade for at least a year, but given his injuries and reputation for being soft his market has softened considerably. He’s only drawing ridiculous offers like the standing offer by Chicago to take on Carlos Boozer’s albatross of a contract, which has been deemed a non-starter now, and offers like a potential deal with the Sixers for Spencer Hawes. Bargnani would work great in either Chicago or Philadelphia as a much-needed stretch four, and if the Philly deal cannot be worked out then I’d expect to see Bryan Colangelo start to look at creative ways to unload the former No. 1 pick.
Still, it’s a bit disconcerting to think of the prospects that Colangelo would end up keeping the big man because he can’t get a decent return, as Jonas Valanciunas and Amir Johnson would suddenly be operating in a crowded rotation, assuming Bargs can stay healthy. I have Bargnani not as a must-stash guy in advance of the deadline, but rather a guy that owners will want to move on if a realistic trade scenario starts to unfold that has merit. If the Raptors were to have a change of heart with Boozer, Nate Robinson would swap places with backup PG John Lucas, and Lucas would be somebody to consider taking a flier on given Kirk Hinrich’s health issues.
FLASH IN THE PAN GORDON
Eric Gordon’s agent clearly leaked a report when Chris Broussard said this week that the Warriors, Mavs and Rockets were interested in his services. After all, who doesn’t want a broken down and freshly extended malcontent? Broussard couched his report by saying there’s a 10 percent chance of this happening, and it’s going to take some serious backroom magic to get another team to take on that risk.
DON’T DRIBBLE WHILE COACH IS COACHING
There is nothing more annoying than a teammate that dribbles while the coach is talking, and Ben Gordon was that guy the other day and when Mike Dunlap took exception to it, Gordon told Dunlap to “humble himself.” Maybe Gordon is trying to force the issue of a trade, as he’s clearly unhappy about playing time, but he’s not doing himself any favors by adding ‘malcontent’ to the brochure at the last second.
A deal between the Bobcats and the Nets swapping Gordon for Kris Humphries has died down, presumably as the Nets wait to see what they can do on the Josh Smith and Paul Millsap fronts. Reports have suggested the Nets believe they can get more for Humphries on draft day, too, so the convenient 1-for-1 swap being discussed last week may have missed its window.
There was dismissive talk about the Raptors’ interest in swapping Andrea Bargnani for Gordon, but as beat writer Doug Smith points out there is no real need for another wing in Toronto and they’ll likely want more in return for Bargs, anyway. Humphries is being dangled in the aforementioned Smith and Millsap deals, and probably many more, but the bottom line for both Humphries and Gordon is that owners can watch this action from the wire in reasonably sized leagues.
FOUR QUARTERS OF FURY
FIRST QUARTER: The Nets are interested in J.J. Hickson and every other quality PF in the league, but Hickson needs to protect his Bird Rights and can refuse any trade. Nothing to see there. The Nets Daily sees MarShon Brooks and Mirza Teletovic as likely trade candidates because other GMs will believe they’re undervalued due to their limited use in Brooklyn. Jason Terry, Courtney Lee, and Brandon Bass are all on the block as the Celtics seek to get under the tax. The Grizzlies have expressed interest in Lee. The Spurs have tried to trade DeJuan Blair to the Pistons, Celtics, Heat, and Blazers, and each of those landing spots would be worth a very speculative add and also represent a good fit.
SECOND QUARTER: Anderson Varejao’s name has died down in the rumor mill since his season ended prematurely. The Rockets aren’t expected to be the big players that they often are at this time of year, as they’re expected to wait and make moves over the summer. Danny Granger is not likely to be traded as his value is at a low point. As mentioned before the Pacers are willing to move Tyler Hansbrough and D.J. Augustin, and you can add Gerald Green to the list, too. The Raptors may still be interested in Pau Gasol, but I’d expect to hear more about it if there was a lot of weight to the rumor. Teams are calling on Zach Randolph and the Grizzlies are saying he’s not available, but we can’t rule out John Hollinger and Robert Pera cleaning house.
THIRD QUARTER: Rick Carlisle has said that Vince Carter won’t be traded, but despite similar comments made about Shawn Marion he has a chance of being moved. The Nuggets sound like a team that doesn’t want to make moves, but they have players in Timofey Mozgov, Wilson Chandler, and Andre Miller that are garnering interest. Will Bynum, Rodney Stuckey, Jason Maxiell and Charlie Villanueva are all squarely in the rumor mill, as the Pistons would love to get rid of any of them if they can get relatively equal value. Of the group Bynum and Stuckey will be the easiest to move. Rumors of a Jared Dudley for Iman Shumpert trade never had a real chance, and they’ve all but been refuted since we last checked in. Josh McRoberts is in the last year of his deal and it wouldn’t be surprising to see him dealt.
FOURTH QUARTER: Evan Turner and Spencer Hawes are being dangled as trade bait, but the Sixers are more or less paralyzed by Andrew Bynum’s situation. They’re going to be very picky with any deal until they know what they have in Bynum, and it doesn’t look like clarity is coming anytime soon. Unless an order comes from both ownership groups in Seattle and Sacramento to shed salary, I can’t see them making any deal of consequence as Sacramento battles to keep its team from being stolen by Chris Hansen and Co. Jordan Crawford is being served a helping of humble pie, but he is a sneaky watch list guy for the chance he gets unloaded on a team that needs scoring. It’s somewhat sad to say, but his defensive issues and shot selection have stalled his career and he has some soul searching to do on that end.