The 2016 NBA trade deadline is just two days away, and a few of the league’s best big men appear to be on the block. Dwight Howard and Blake Griffin have been at the center of the latest trade rumors, and their respective teams are reportedly interested in making deals.
The Houston Rockets are reportedly looking to unload Howard, who is expected to opt out of his contract this summer and become a free agent. Houston has been one of the NBA’s biggest disappointments this season, and they entered the All-Star break out of the postseason. The Los Angeles Clippers are well on their way to having home-court advantage in a first-round playoff series, but Griffin is out with a broken hand. L.A. is a long-shot title contender, and they could be looking to shake up their roster.
For Howard, there seems to be two possible destinations. The Miami Heat are the No. 5 seed in the Eastern Conference, and they have looked into the possibility of acquiring the center. The Atlanta Hawks are one game ahead of Miami in the standings, and they are considered to be a player for Howard, as well.
A potential deal with Miami would also involve Hassan Whiteside, who is set to become a free agent this summer. Whiteside currently makes less than $1 million, while Howard is earning more than $22 million this season. But Whiteside could be in for a big payday with his next contract, averaging a double-double and nearly four blocks per game before the All-Star break.
If the Hawks acquire Howard, it could be in a three-team trade that also involves the Heat. Atlanta has been looking to trade point guard Jeff Teague in order to give Dennis Schroder more playing time. The Hawks are also open to trading Al Horford, who could walk as a free agent in a few months.
I'm told Rockets, Heat, Hawks discussing 3-way. Howard to ATL, Horford and Teague to Mia, Dragic and Whteside, Anderson to Hou.
— Adam Spolane (@AdamSpolane) February 15, 2016
Spolane reports that a potential deal is being held up because the Hawks want Justise Winslow included in the deal. Miami, however, doesn’t want to trade the rookie.
Howard looks more likely to be traded than Griffin by Thursday’s deadline. Griffin cannot opt out of his contract next season, and the Clippers are not nearly as eager to deal the five-time All-Star. Los Angeles has denied including Griffin in a proposed trade package, contrary to reports.
According to ESPN’s Chris Broussard, the Clippers offered Blake Griffin and Lance Stephenson to the Denver Nuggets for Danilo Gallinari, Kenneth Faried, Will Barton and Nikola Jokic. Denver is five games out of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. Gallinari, Barton and Faried are the team’s top three scorers.
The Boston Celtics have inquired about Griffin’s availability, according to the Boston Herald, though the Clippers aren’t interested in making a deal. Boston is the No. 3 seed in the East, and they are looking to move some of their assets to acquire a big-name player. Boston will likely have three first-round draft picks next season.
The Clippers have made the playoffs in each of the past four seasons, but the trio of Griffin, Chris Paul and DeAndre Jordan have yet to reach the conference finals. Los Angeles is 18-5 without Griffin this season.