The NBA Trade Deadline is more than a month away but multiple players might be moved in the coming days. After a five-player deal that included Jeff Green being sent from the Boston Celtics to the Memphis Grizzlies, notable players like Denver Nuggets guard Arron Afflalo have been discussed in potential deals, based on recent reports.
The regular season is at about its midway point, and multiple teams, particularly in the Eastern Conference, remain in the hunt for the No. 7 and No.8 playoff seeds. The Indiana Pacers, Charlotte Hornets, Detroit Pistons, and Boston Celtics are within a few games of a final spot in the postseason, which may prompt calls to bolster their lineups. In the West, the New Orleans Pelicans, Oklahoma City Thunder, and the Nuggets still appear to have a shot at the postseason.
The Nuggets, who are just 3.5 games out of the No. 8 spot in the West, appear to be most active team at the moment. But longtime NBA reporter David Aldridge posted on Twitter that Denver would consider dealing forward Wilson Chandler for “future assets,” and ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne claims that the Miami Heat, Los Angeles Clippers, and Charlotte Hornets have discussed Afflalo. The Heat are currently the No. 7 seed in the Eastern Conference, but are No. 28 in scoring (94.0 points per game).
Chandler and Afflalo are among the Nuggets’ best scorers, with Afflalo averaging 15.5 points per game, and Chandler averaging 14.2 points per game. Afflalo is earning $7.56 million this season, while Chandler is earning $6.75 million, and both have player options at the end of this season. Earlier this month, the Nuggets traded center Timofey Mozgov to the Cleveland Cavaliers for draft picks.
"We came into this season expecting to be a playoff team,” Nuggets general manager Tim Connelly told Mark Kiszla of the Denver Post in a Jan. 8 report. “At this point, we're on the outside, looking in. We probably have a couple weeks to change that, be relevant and view ourselves as a playoff-caliber team. I'm hopeful that's the case. But I'm also realistic to know, and honest enough with our team internally, to say: If in a couple weeks, if that's not the case, then we have a new reality."
The Nuggets aren’t the only team considering dealing players to build a winner next season or beyond. The New York Knicks, who have the worst record (5-35) in the league, recently traded J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert, and could be in the midst of making more deals. Marc Stein of ESPN reported that the Knicks are actively looking to move guard Jose Calderon and forward Andrea Bargnani. Calderon is under contract until the end of the 2016-2017 season, while Bargnani is an unrestricted free agent making $12 million this season.
To some surprise, Amar’e Stoudemire is not on the block, according to Stein’s sources. The veteran big man is a free agent at the end of the season, leading many to believe that the struggling Knicks would consider offloading him. However, Stoudemire, who is earning $23 million this season, could return to the club at a lower salary next season. The 32-year-old has battled injuries in recent seasons, but has seen his playing time increase from 22.6 in 2013-2014 to 26.4 this season. He is averaging 13.1 points per game this season.
A minor but rather intriguing potential deal involves the Clippers and Celtics. Recent acquisition Austin Rivers, the son of Clippers head coach Glenn “Doc” Rivers, could be dealt to the Clippers within a few days, according to Mark Murphy of the Boston Herald. Boston acquired Austin Rivers from the New Orleans Pelicans in the Green deal, but has yet to play for the Celtics. The 22-year-old is averaging 6.8 points per game, but is shooting just 38.7 percent from the field. Doc Rivers coached the Celtics from 2004 to 2013.