Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - Ten games into the NBA season and you
can already read the landscape that some trades could be brewing.
Omer Asik of the Houston Rockets took the dreaded DNP-CD collar on Thursday
night against the New York Knicks. He requested a trade when the team signed
Dwight Howard, but the Rockets said, "no thanks."
Now, Asik isn't seeing regular minutes. Aside from the night in warmups
against the Knicks, Asik played four minutes against the Philadelphia 76ers
the night before.
That's a lot of pine time for a player, who not only averaged a double-double
one season ago, but is scheduled to make over $16 million this season and
next. (Actually, he has a weighted deal that pays $15 million next season, but
only counts as a little over $8 million on the cap.)
Asik isn't the only name that's starting to see signs of a move on the
horizon. Let's examine some players who might need the number for a good
moving company in the next few weeks/months.
ASIK, Houston Rockets
The experiment of Asik and Howard starting together went about as well a guy
telling his wife he lost his wedding ring at a strip club. Head coach Kevin
McHale realized as much and plugged Terrence Jones into the starting unit.
There were reports that Asik once again asked for a trade and that same night,
he missed his first regular season game in almost three years. (He had the
longest active streak of regular-season games played.)
The Rockets aren't good enough to just stash Asik on the bench as an insurance
policy for Howard. A legitimate double-double guy who is a good defender is a
hot commodity and a moveable one for a team that needs a massive upgrade at
the power-forward spot.
The name you'll hear most often for Asik is Ryan Anderson of the New Orleans
Pelicans. That's because it makes perfect sense. Anderson is the best-shooting
big man in the NBA with a career 3-point percentage of 38.4.
The Rockets could use a "stretch-4," which is a new trendy phrase I despise
for big forwards who can shoot. Kevin Love is one. So, too is Dirk Nowitzki,
however neither will be available in a trade for the foreseeable future.
The salaries match up for an Asik/Anderson deal. It would help the Pelicans,
who can offer great protection for Anthony Davis. Asik is an upgrade over
Jason Smith, so this deal would make a lot of sense for both sides.
Thaddeus Young of the Philadelphia 76ers could make sense, too. He's improved
his 3-point shooting, but why would the Sixers, whose GM Sam Hinkie worked for
the Rockets, take on salary when they've sold everything but the Liberty Bell
and Pat's and Geno's cheesesteak recipes to shed money?
Speaking of ...
EVAN TURNER, Philadelphia 76ers
Why on Earth would a team want to trade a 25-year-old who is finally coming
into his own? Turner is averaging 23.0 ppg, 6.3 rpg and 3.3 apg. Those are
All-Star numbers, but that's not what this is about.
Hinkie does not appear to want Turner at all. The Sixers didn't sign Turner to
an extension by the Oct. 31 deadline, but they have until June 30, 2014 to
make a qualifying offer of $8.7 million. That would make Turner a restricted
free agent and give the Sixers the right to match any offer.
That certainly exists as a possibility. Anything is possible with Turner, but
the undercurrent of animosity exists. Turner told Jason Wolf of "USA Today"
before the season, "Hinkie is not my GM. He doesn't owe me anything ... We're
going in different directions and everything like that."
Couple that with the Sixers not even discussing an extension prior to the
Halloween deadline and this is not exactly a peaceful coexistence.
But, the Sixers probably didn't think they'd lead the Atlantic Division as of
Nov. 15 and Turner would be the main reason. He is a legitimate All-Star
candidate very, very early in the campaign, so that brings up two schools of
thought: do the Sixers ride with Turner and try to go for something, or do
they go with the initial plan of stinking so bad, they'd assure them a top-
If Turner moves (my guess is he does), a swingman with good overall skills has
a market. Since before the season, I've believed Turner would fit beautifully
as the playmaker extraordinaire off the bench for the Oklahoma City Thunder
ala James Harden and Kevin Martin. Could the Sixers pry Steven Adams (nope),
or Perry Jones (yep) plus a pick for Turner? Probably, if the Thunder really
don't get any bench production.
Spencer Hawes is off to a great start, too, and OKC has gotten nada from the
pivot. Throwing him in would screw this deal up because Oklahoma City doesn't
have a lot of dead salary to throw at Philly and no one, not one team in the
league, let alone the physical universe we occupy would take Kendrick Perkins.
He has $9.65 million on the books next season.
DANNY GRANGER, Indiana Pacers
Granger was supposed to practice with the team after a calf injury, but he was
"He's coming off major knee surgery and then he's dealing with a calf strain,"
said head coach Frank Vogel. "That's not something you want to push and have
linger. We understand that it's going to be a process until he's pain free. In
the meantime, we're doing OK."
The Pacers are 8-0. They are the best defensive team in the league and where
Granger fits in is something of a mystery. He wants to start, but Lance
Stephenson has been incredible in the starting lineup. There's no way Vogel
would sit him, so does Granger accept a bench role? He'd be a fool not to
considering his market as an impactful scorer is behind him and the Pacers are
on course for a deep run in the postseason.
Granger is on the books for $14 million this season and will be a free-agent.
That's a huge chip for someone, especially a team looking to open up space
As for what Indiana could want in return, that's an interesting question. How
much do you want to tinker with a roster that is dominating the NBA? George
Hill has never struck me as a championship point guard, so that area could use
an upgrade. Plus, if Hill became a combo guard off the bench, with Luis Scola
and C.J. Watson, you've got a really good reserve core.
So what point guards could be available? The most obvious is Rajon Rondo of
the Boston Celtics, but there's no way Granger's expiring deal is enough to
pry him from Beantown. Would Granger, Hill and a first-rounder get it done? It
might, but that costs you some of the depth that has helped Indiana.
It also would make the Pacers starting five un-freaking-real. Rondo, assuming
he comes back alright from his ACL tear, would fit in beautifully with George,
Stephenson, Roy Hibbert and David West. Rondo's a great defender and a great
distributor, so he probably wouldn't rock the boat of a stout group of
Rondo/George/Stephenson/Hibbert/West with Scola, Watson and some other
contributor - Orlando Johnson and Ian Mahinmi - could be enough to topple the
So too, could the present incarnation without Rondo and Granger scoring 12
points a night off the bench.
There will be other expiring contracts possibly on the move, or even players
without expiring deals. Anderson Varejao, Iman Shumpert, Kenneth Faried are
just a few, but none with the impact of these players. These three are the
most realistic to be traded and the biggest difference-makers.
- Matt Barnes got ejected for his role in a skirmish with Serge Ibaka
Wednesday night. The worst part was a tweet after the semi-fight that included
some flowery racial language, but Barnes' point that he's tired of standing up
for teammates who get pushed around is valid. Barnes isn't just concerned
about his savings account, but Blake Griffin needs to toughen up some. Players
have pushed him around and he needs to stand up for himself better.
- Again, not interested in Michael Jordan's thoughts on his place in the game.
He's the best ever, so who he would beat 1-on-1, or his version of the best
pickup team, means less than nothing. Run the Bobcats better, MJ.
- Coaches on the hot seat: Randy Wittman, Washington Wizards; Ty Corbin, Utah
- It might be time to panic a bit for the Brooklyn Nets. They look disjointed
and Deron Williams is averaging 11.1 ppg.
- Movie moment - Getting ready for the Christmas rotation of "Vacation," "A
Christmas Story," and "Elf." What can I add? Don't give really old stuff, or
that one where Sinbad and Schwarzenegger fight over a toy.
- TV moment - While doing a radio interview this week, it was brought to my
attention that my complaint about the live "Sound of Music" coming to NBC soon
may have sounded like I was a loyalist to the original. False. No live
musicals on my television.
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