As Western Conference teams jostle for better seeds or a spot in the playoffs, a few teams are looking to upgrade before Thursday’s 2015 NBA trade deadline. Leading the way are the Houston Rockets, who are after the biggest prize on the market.
Goran Dragic is the best player that’s been mentioned in recent trade rumors, and the Rockets are reportedly looking to acquire him. According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports, Bill Duffy, Dragic’s agent, has told the Phoenix Suns that the guard won’t re-sign with the team in the offseason. Dragic, in the final year of his contract, is set to become a free agent this summer.
Heading out of the All-Star break, the Rockets hold the No.4 seed in the Western Conference, and are seven games behind the Golden State Warriors for the top seed. Dwight Howard is out with a knee injury and has already missed 21 games, while Patrick Beverley has sat out 12 contests. The team has, largely, been carried by MVP candidate James Harden, and probably could use another scorer to make a more serious postseason run.
Dragic is looking to be dealt to a team that will allow him to play a bigger role. He had a breakout season last year, averaging 20.3 points and 5.9 assists per game on 50.5 percent field-goal shooting. In 2014-2105, he’s seen his numbers decrease since the addition of point guard Isaiah Thomas. With Dragic, Thomas and Eric Bledsoe in the backcourt, Phoenix is looking to unload one of their guards.
Houston, however, isn’t Dragic’s ideal destination. USA Today reports the Suns have been given a list of seven teams that Dragic would be willing to re-sign with, if he is traded this season. Teams like the Los Angeles Lakers and New York Knicks are among Dragic’s preferred teams, but Houton didn’t make the cut. The Rockets would likely have to deal Beverley to land Dragic, and the cost might be too high, if they will only be renting the guard for a few months.
Unfortunately for Dragic, the Lakers and Knicks don’t have much to offer that would intrigue the Suns. Los Angeles already owes Phoenix a first-round pick, and they don’t have much talent on their roster. The Knicks aren’t going to trade their 2015 first-rounder, which could potentially be the No.1 overall pick, and they traded away their top pick in the 2016 draft.
The Los Angeles Clippers trail the Rockets by just two games in the Western Conference standings, and though they aren’t an option for Dragic, L.A. could make a move or two near the deadline. The Clippers are the frontrunners to sign Tayshaun Prince, who could be bought out of his contract with the Boston Celtics. The veteran forward is averaging 8.4 points per game since being dealt from the Memphis Grizzlies. A Los Angeles native, Prince is still considered a solid defender and among the smarter players in the league.
L.A. has also explored the possibility of trading Jamal Crawford, who is a candidate to win the Sixth Man of the Year award. Wojnarowski reports that the team would require a first-round pick in exchange for the shooting guard, which they would hope to flip for a player like Wilson Chandler or Arron Afflalo of the Denver Nuggets.
The Clippers were unable to sign the recently bought out Amare Stoudemire, who has left the Knicks for the Dallas Mavericks. Rajon Rondo is the top player that has changed teams this season, having been traded from the Celtics to the Mavericks two months ago.