The latest batch of trade speculation around the league came during the Thanksgiving holiday, with plenty of contending and rising teams looking for both short and long-term help.
Loaded with young talent headlined by superstar point guard Kyrie Irving, the Cleveland Cavaliers were expected to make a run for a playoff berth with their backcourt for the future already solidified.
However at 5-12, the Cavaliers have reached an early impasse in the season, and after words were exchanged between second-year guard Dion Waiters and forward Tristan Thompson, the Cavs were reportedly working the phones to move the former Syracuse star.
According to ESPN’s Chris Broussard, Waiters and Thompson didn’t come to blows but were seperated by teammates. The Cavs either coincidentally or subsequently called the New York Knicks, Philadelphia 76ers, and the Chicago Bulls seeking a trade for Waiters.
The fourth overall pick in the 2012 draft, Waiters has averaged 14.7 points and 41 percent shooting in 76 games as Irving’s running mate.
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All three teams could use some scoring punch, especially New York and Chicago. The 3-12 Knicks are 26th in points scored, and 27th in three-point percentage while averaging the fourth most attempts per game in the league. Waiters is shooting 41 percent from three-point range this year, but the Knicks need more help in the frontcourt, and at best can only offer Iman Shumpert and Amar’e Stoudemire’s huge contract.
While they’re reportedly standing pat on any moves after Derrick Rose’s second major knee injury in less than two years, the Bulls do need an infusion of offense.
The 76ers have been linked to reports shipping leading scorer Evan Turner and his expiring contract out, but Philadelphia likely won’t want to take on any contracts. Instead, they would probably take back another expiring deal and a pick for next year’s draft.
Detroit Pistons guard Rodney Stuckey is also a player who could be on the move to a team in the East. The six-year veteran is averaging a career-high 16.9 points per game, and Detroit still figures to be a year or so away from contending. However, according to CBS Sports, the Pistons aren’t planning on trading away the focal point of their offense. Stuckey represents a solid second offensive option and an $8.5 million expiring contract for any contending team.
The one player the CBS Sports report signaled as most likely to be traded is Houston Rocket center Omer Asik, but the team’s asking price for the disenfranchised double-double machine has been categorized as “delusional.”
Disgruntled since Houston signed Dwight Howard in the summer, the seven-foot Asik sat out two straight games in early November amidst rumors he repeatedly asked the Rockets for a trade.
Asik anchored the middle for Houston last season, and was one of a handful of players to average more than 10 points and 10 rebounds last season. What limits his movement is the remaining $15 million on his contract for next season.
With teams carving out cap space for what could be a free agent bonanza in the summer of 2014, and desperate for picks in a loaded draft class, Asik might have to wait a little while longer for his new uniform.