The playoffs are almost on us. Some teams are jockeying for playoff seeds while others are eagerly looking toward next year. The waiver-wire/buyout players have landed on their new teams.
So naturally the next big trading time in the NBA is the off-season.
Now the word “off-season” means a couple things: One is that the draft is coming up, and the other is free agency. Of course the one constant with those two events is trading. Which also incidentally happens to be one of the subjects I enjoy writing about most.
The draft always brings surprises. A few years back, the Celtics went from cellar dweller to contender. They traded for Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen, the latter of which they picked up by trading their top five pick to Seattle.
(Incidentally the player taken with that pick, Jeff Green, Boston owns the rights to, but that’s a whole different story.)
Last season we saw a mix up of slasher/streaky scorers during the draft. Stephen Jackson went to Milwaukee and Corey Maggette went to Charlotte. Both former Warriors were involved in the same trade as well as draft picks that included Tobias Harris, Jimmer Freddette and Bismack Biyombo.
All three were taken in the top 20.
The trading of draft picks is inevitable, with a particularly strong-ish draft this year, there could be a lot of moving and shaking.
This all ties into big name trades because the new trend that teams are going after is young and relatively cheap. For example, if you’re the Lakers, wouldn’t you love to move Pau Gasol for Anthony Davis and another young piece? You get a terrifying duo of Davis and Andrew Bynum, plus another piece. Davis saves you a ton of money instead of Gasol that can be used on other pieces. Now, that’s all theoretical, but it would be pretty bad for the rest of the league.
Now if the Lakers had a first-round pick, then they could use Gasol to shoot up the draft order, or Bynum even. But they don’t, and so we’ll move on to a team that does.
Portland is set up for a huge off-season. After moving Gerald Wallace for a potential top ten pick, they add that to their already probable top twenty pick as well as a gargantuan amount of cap space.
Portland doesn’t have a ton of assets for trading up, but say they move their pick. That will probably be somewhere in the range of 18 or 19 for say a player to add to their nucleus.
Another plus of having salary cap space is that you have cap room to absorb players. Before the Heat went after their Big 3, they moved Daequan Cook and their first rounder to Oklahoma City for their early second rounder.
OKC added a sharpshooter to help out KD and company while also moving up the draft order. And all because they had the salary cap to take advantage of the situation.
Look out for some big names to be moved this off season, one way or another.
(And-an-NBA-team-in-Seattle cough, cough, David Stern cough, cough)