A few teams have committed to being sellers at the 2016 NBA trade deadline, looking to unload some of their highest-paid players before Thursday afternoon. That means some big names could change uniforms for the second half of the season.
The Orlando Magic looked like playoff contenders earlier this year, but they are trying to make more deals after sending Tobias Harris to the Detroit Pistons Tuesday. The Houston Rockets are not title contenders after making the 2015 Western Conference Finals, and they have continued to shop Dwight Howard.
Orlando entered the All-Star Break at 23-29, sitting three and a half games out of the eighth and final playoff berth in the East. The team is having their best season in four years, and they are looking toward becoming a postseason contender for next year. The Magic will keep their young core together, according to Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel, committed to holding onto the likes of Nikola Vucevic, Victor Oladipo and Evan Fournier. But they are trying to deal their most established veteran.
The Magic have reportedly talked to both the Los Angeles Clippers and Cleveland Cavaliers about trading Channing Frye. According to Adrian Wojnarowski of the Vertical, a potential deal with L.A. would net Orlando second-year player C.J. Wilcox, a possible second-round pick and Lance Stephenson, who would be waived immediately. Orlando is looking to rid themselves of Frye’s contract, which is worth more than $15 million in the next two seasons.
Frye is an option for teams that are looking to add a big man that can shoot, while Howard is being pursued by playoff contenders that want a presence on the inside. With Howard likely to opt out of his contract this summer, the Rockets are looking to deal the eight-time All-Star.
The Charlotte Hornets are pursuing Howard, according to ESPN’s Marc Stein, as they look to win a playoff series for the first time in 14 years. As the No. 8 seed in the East, Charlotte is just three games in the loss column behind the No. 3 seed Boston Celtics. Howard has also been linked to the Atlanta Hawks and Miami Heat, who are the No. 4 and No. 5 seeds in the East, respectively.
Charlotte and Houston haven’t come close to coming to an agreement, and the Rockets reportedly want at least one first-round pick in return. The Hornets have managed to stay above .500 without center Al Jefferson, who’s only played 19 games this season because of injuries.
There had been speculation that the Celtics might be interested in Howard, since the team is looking to make a trade and has three 2016 first-round picks to deal. But according to Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald, Blake Griffin is the star that the Celtics have inquired about.
The Clippers could trade Griffin in the offseason, perhaps looking to blow up the trio of him, Chris Paul and DeAndre Jordan that has failed to reach the Western Conference Finals after four full seasons together. But head coach Doc Rivers says the team is holding on to Griffin, and it looks like L.A. is hoping to make one more run with their current core of players. In addition to inquiring about Frye, the Clippers are interested in Thaddeus Young, who is averaging 15.1 points and 9.1 rebounds per game for a bad Brooklyn Nets team.
With a 35-18 record at the All-Star break, the Clippers are the No. 4 seed in the West. They trail the Golden State Warriors, San Antonio Spurs and Oklahoma City Thunder, who have established themselves as NBA Finals contenders.