The 2015 NBA trade deadline remains a month away, but that hasn’t stopped several teams from making deals. Clubs that are looking to clear cap space have traded away some of their best players, while those looking to make a run at a postseason berth have been willing to take on additional salary.
The Cleveland Cavaliers made one of the biggest trades of the 2014-2015 season, dealing Dion Waiters to the Oklahoma City Thunder and acquiring J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert from the New York Knicks. They also dealt draft picks for center Timofey Mozgov. The Los Angeles Clippers and Phoenix Suns have also been active this year, with the Clippers landing Austin Rivers, and the Suns adding Reggie Bullock and Brandan Wright.
With roughly half of the regular season complete, the Cavs, Clippers, and Suns find themselves in the bottom half of their conference's playoff bracket. According to recent reports, each team has an interest in bolstering their squad with the trade deadline just a month away.
After starting the season as favorites to win the title and winning just 22 of their first 42 games, the Cavs are reportedly looking to upgrade. According to Marc Spears of Yahoo! Sports, the team is interested in trading for a backup point guard. Cleveland has multiple shooting guards, following the additions of Smith and Shumpert, but they don't have a reliable point guard to back up Kyrie Irving. They’ve relied on playing Matthew Dellavedova with Irving on the bench.
Because of the way Cleveland’s roster is structured, Irving ranks second among all players, averaging 38.3 minutes per game. The 22-year-old has continued to put up impressive numbers, averaging 21.1 points and 5.3 assists per game, but hasn’t performed as well as many might have predicted. With LeBron James out of the lineup, Irving has led the Cavs to a 1-7 record.
Los Angeles Clippers
Ken Berger of CBS Sports post on Twitter that the Clippers are interested in acquiring Tayshaun Prince. The forward is in the last year of a deal that pays him $7.7 million this season, and was recently dealt from the Memphis Grizzlies to the Boston Celtics. While the Clippers might want to add the L.A. native, they might not try to trade for him. There is speculation that Boston will buy out Prince, who could then make his way to L.A.
In his 13th NBA season, Prince isn’t much of an offensive threat, scoring 7.1 points per game on 41.1 percent field-goal shooting. The Clippers are more interested in his defense, which they might need in order to make a run to the NBA Finals. Los Angeles is weak defensively, especially on the perimeter. They rank 18th in defensive efficiency, allowing 103.8 points per 100 possessions.
The Suns are in possession of the eighth and final playoff spot in the West, looking to hold off a now-healthy Kevin Durant and the improving Thunder. As the team makes a push towards the postseason, they could be on the verge of unloading one of their rotation players. ESPN.com’s Marc Stein reports that Phoenix is actively looking to move Miles Plumlee.
Plumlee was a solid contributor with the Suns to start the season, averaging 23.5 minutes per game in November. Since then, his playing time has slipped, averaging 19.8 minutes in December games and just 12.8 minutes per contest in January. Wright played 24 minutes in the Suns' last game, compared to Plumlee’s seven minutes off the bench. Center Alex Len has also seen his playing time increase, keeping Plumlee on the bench.