Recapping the Biggest NBA Trade Rumors and Reports Ahead of the Deadline
The NBA’s trade deadline is rapidly approaching. With February 7th right around the corner, let’s revisit some of the most enticing rumors and reports from around the Association. And for more NBA trade content, check out Off the Glass’ NBA Trade Deadline Marathon.
1. Memphis is ready for a new chapter
Beale Street Bears
According to a recent report by Adrian Wojnarowski, the Grizzlies have begun fielding calls centered on trading Mike Conley and Marc Gasol. Doing so would officially close a very proud chapter of basketball in Memphis.
Both Conley and Gasol are elite players, but at the same time, both own rather expensive contracts and are on the wrong side of thirty. Swinging a trade will therefore take a bit of creative math, but there’s little doubt that either could have a big impact on a contender or a team on the bubble.
This is a story to keep an eye on for sure. Not only could a trade coming out of Memphis have major implications for the postseason, but as I said before, it will be a emotional, heavy departure. Marc Gasol’s first Instagram post following Woj’s report says it all.
2. The Lakers are fishing for a star
Los Angeles Daily News
Los Angeles is at a funky crossroad. The team is within striking distance of a playoff spot in the West, especially with LeBron James expected to return from injury shortly before the All-Star break. Even with James in the fold, however, it’s fair to wonder if this team really is any sort of contender.
Bill Oram of the Athletic reported that the Lakers aren’t calling it quits on the 2018-19 season, and are indeed pursuing another elite player to pair with LeBron. LA is, at the moment, just 4.5 games out from hosting a first-round series in the postseason. Could the team close the gap by landing an All-Star ahead of the deadline?
Oram also stated that the team is eyeing smaller moves, specifically to bring in a bit of three-point shooting. The Lakers have a big offseason ahead this summer, and the club may be content simply tightening some screws for now and planning ahead for the future.
3. Bradley Beal staying put?
One problem for the Lakers is that star talent isn’t available in abundance at the moment. The NBA gossips have fingered Washington’s Bradley Beal as a potential target, but as Shams Charania of the Athletic stated, the Wizards are making it clear that Panda isn’t leaving DC any time soon.
The Wizards have survived losing John Wall to injury, in large part because of Beal’s impressive play. Washington would be wise to blow it up in the coming months given the club’s horrendous payroll situation. But for the time being, the Wizards are reportedly standing pat.
4. Firesale in New York
File this away under “no duh,” but the New York Knicks have made Tim Hardaway Jr. and Courtney Lee available to trade. Marc Stein of the New York Times stated that the team is preparing its books for its own offseason aspirations.
That the Knicks are sellers ahead of the NBA trade deadline isn’t all that surprising. Enes Kanter is another name to watch, as he has been frustrated with his lack of playing time. Head coach David Fizdale and Kanter are having a bit of a spat, and the impending free agent is likely on his way out of New York.
Or is he?
5. Cap Space is a major barrier
As I’ve said before, I believe this trade deadline could be a bit of a dud. Some of the most intriguing expiring contracts in the league - Kanter, Nikola Vucevic, Kent Bazemore, Wesley Matthews - are likely too expensive to be moved.
Contenders and even B-list playoff teams often have top-heavy cap sheets. Integrating Wesley Matthew’s $18 million contract, for example, is much easier said than done. And with how loaded the aforementioned 2019 free agency class appears to be, teams may be less likely to take on extra salary to swing or facilitate a trade.
All of the above, goes out the window if one or two dominoes fall. Should one of the league’s best become buyers at the deadline, the proceeding butterfly effect could be an exciting one. Stick with Off The Glass for all of your NBA trade deadline coverage needs.