With a couple days off for the Pacers, I thought I’d introduce a series of stories tracking potential trades Indiana could make between now and the March 15th deadline. With roughly a month to go before things start to get frantic, and down to the wire, Indiana will continue finding itself involved in nearly every major trade conversation out there, due to the approximate $14 million the team has in cap space (when you consider James Posey’s off-season amnesty waiver). Before we really delve into realistic trade scenarios that may help the blue and gold, let’s take a trip around the league and see who’s available.
Devin Harris, PG Utah
Contract: 2 years at $17.8 million
Breakdown: There have been some passing mentions of Harris in several trade scenarios involving the Jazz, which doesn’t make a ton of sense need wise. Utah is pretty thin on star point guard talent but has plenty of frontcourt assets. Earl Watson has proven a more reliable offensive floor general for the Jazz than has Harris. Harris still technically starts, but is averaging fewer minutes per game than he has since his second season, and seeing some near career-low win share and PER numbers, to go along with a pretty anemic scoring average. He’ll be 29 in a week, and seemingly can no longer do the one thing he’s always been pretty good at: scoring. Naturally the Jazz could be looking to dump him, and he may be looking for a change of scenery as well.
Likelihood of getting traded: 40%
While Harris looks like a prime trade candidate from Utah’s perspective, he’s certainly not helping his value right now. It may take a transformation to “the expiring contract of Devin Harris” for him to garner any interest, and that won’t happen until next year.
Steve Nash, PG PHO
Contract: 1 year (expiring), $11.6 million
Breakdown: The Suns have all but told Nash that he ought to explore trade options, but there have also been whispers that they’re working out a two year deal for the 38 year-old to retire on. Considering how loyal Nash has been throughout the whole process, it’s unlikely he’ll ever push for a trade. But contending teams interested in adding the still-effective future Hall of Famer, if only for a rental period, may make Phoenix an offer they can’t refuse.
Likelihood of getting traded: %55
There are a handful of teams that would probably overpay for Nash just so he can be that “missing piece,” and another handful who would offer fair value if he agreed to sign at least a two-year extension this summer. That may be the deciding factor. For instance, if you were Steve Nash would you extend with, say, the Charlotte Bobcats?
Chris Kaman, PF/C NOR
Contract: 1 year (expiring) $14 million
Breakdown: Kaman was the most obvious candidate on this list because, well, he was already offered in vague trade scenarios earlier in the season, whereupon New Orleans benched him, asked for too much for him, withdrew him from the market, then let him play (pretty darn well)…in that inexplicable order. After showcasing that he’s still a viable, potentially start-worthy NBA big, Kaman could, and should find himself back on the trade block soon, assuming the ever-so-injury plagued Hornets can even field a roster without him. They’ll be looking for young pieces and/or draft picks, and will receive calls from the usual suspects. Other teams, without the cap space to absorb his pro-rated, yet still huge contract (like Miami) will simply wait and hope Kaman gets bought out so they can sign him for dirt cheap, which is as unfair as it sounds (remember, the NBA owns and partially operates the Hornets).
Likelihood of getting traded: 65%
This was obviously near 90% a few weeks ago, but with the buy-out talk, and New Orleans “withdrawing” Kaman from trade consideration, there’s some degree of confusion as to whether the league wants to: A. get something for Kaman in a salary dump (while also saving a ton of money off of the Hornets’ books for a potential buyer) or B. Get nothing for him (except for maybe a few saved million in a buy out) while simultaneously hand-picking a starting center for their (the NBA’s) best team. Remains to be seen.
O.J. Mayo, SG MEM
Contract: 1 year, $5.6 million (expiring, $7.4 million qualifier)
Breakdown: Mayo’s name has surfaced in several trade rumors since this time last year, when he was oh-so-close to being traded to the Pacers for Josh McRoberts and (maybe?) a pick. Since then, the Grizzlies have moved him on and off the market, and though his stats have tailed off to the same sort of disappointing levels they hit last year, he’s found his niche as a bench scorer for Memphis. Either way, he’s expendable and has garnered attention in trades over the last calendar year.
Likelihood of getting traded: 33%
It all depends, I guess, on how hard the Pacers, or maybe the Timberwolves pursue Mayo. If either of these teams are willing to overpay for him, the Grizzlies may change their strange “untouchable” market lable.
Stephen Jackson, SG/SF MIL
Contract: 2 years, $19.3 million
Breakdown: Jackson has fallen out of favor, and out of the rotation in Milwaukee. Luckily he is yet to charge the stands and fight any fans, nor involve himself in any gun-related altercations. If only the Pacers were so lucky seven years ago. Jackson has talent, but his age, contract and his combustible personality may combine to doom any realistic trade talks.
Likelihood of getting traded: 15%
Jackson may go the tragic way of the too-late-to-amnesty buyout. If that happens, look for him to latch on to a contender (remember, he has title experience). But with all his baggage, the Bucks are going to have to take back a bad contract or two just to get rid of him. Hmm…sounds somehow familiar…
Chris Andersen, PF/C DEN
Contract: 3 years, $13.5 million
Breakdown: Rumblings around the Twitter-sphere are that Denver would have no problem cutting “The Birdman” loose for the right price. Though he’s gotten some burn lately, once Nene fully recovers from his injury, sources speculate Andersen may be just as available on the open market as fellow Western Conference big man Chris Kaman.
Likelihood of getting traded: 40%
Andersen’s contract obviously isn’t as attractive, length-wise, as Kaman’s. But for a 33 year old he’s got low tread on his tires, and still provides plenty of defense/hustle (he averaged over 5 blocks per 48 minutes as recently at 2008-09!). Someone will want him. It’ll just depend on Denver’s asking price.
Pau Gasol, PF LAL
Contract: 3 years, $57 million
Breakdown: We know Gasol is on the market, thanks to the now-famous vetoed trade that almost sent him to Houston this off-season. It’s also well-documented that LA needs point guard help. Barring the unexpected event that their current flirtation with Gilbert Arenas ends well, Gasol could be dangled again for a legit floor general, or as part of a three-way that brings one to LA.
Likelihood of getting traded: 10%
There’s just too much money there. The original Hornets-Rockets-Lakers deal was sort of unfair, but at least it was more fair than the trade that originally brought Gasol to LA. Don’t expect the veteran to be involved in another lopsided one like that.
Rajon Rondo, PG BOS
Contract: 4 years, $46 million
Breakdown: Rondo is a name that we always hear in trade rumors because, for whatever reason, Danny Ainge just doesn’t seem that attached to him. Rondo’s known personality issues aside, he’s one of the five or six best point guards in the league, and is fairly-paid. There are several teams that would gladly overpay for his services, and it looks like it’s only a matter of time.
Likelihood of getting traded: 25%
It may be only a matter of time, but that time won’t be this season, unless a team like Indiana, with salary cap space, makes a run at acquiring him in a salary dump where they give up a pick or two.
Lucas Klipsch is up way past his bedtime. Follow him on Twitter @LukeNukem317