With just over a week left before the NBA trade deadline, speculation abounds about which players will move and which teams will push over the top in time for the postseason.
The Los Angeles Lakers, Chicago Bulls, San Antonio Spurs, and Los Angeles Clippers are all rumoured to be in the market for additional help. The Lakers and Bulls are both in need of a stretch shooter to flesh out their offence and add a threat from the three-point line. Both clubs are thought to be looking at the Toronto Raptors’ Andrea Bargnani and Orlando Magic’s J.J. Reddick.
The Clippers are allegedly in the market for a big man to complement Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordon on the front court; the most likely option seems to be Kevin Garnett, the Boston Celtics’ power forward. However, the Celtics insist that neither Garnett nor forward Paul Pierce are available for trade.
The teams looking to sell include the Utah Jazz, the Minnesota Timberwolves, and the Orlando Magic. The Jazz have a crowded front court and are rumoured to be offering Al Jefferson or Paul Millsap to create payroll flexibility and make room for Enes Kanter and Derrick Favors, whom they hope to acquire. Since the San Antonio Spurs have a hole in the front court after Tim Duncan’s injury and a strong trade relationship with the Jazz, they are suspected to be interested in buying.
The Magic are reeling following the departure of franchise player Dwight Howard, and appear bound for a lottery pick this season. In light of this, the Magic are reportedly pursuing trades for prospects and picks to supplement their young core and create further payroll flexibility for future acquisitions. Reddick is rumoured to be on the move in Orlando; his contract will expire in the summer, which could net the Magic a decent pick or prospect from a contender in need of a sharpshooter from the perimeter.
Despite completing a major three-team trade a week ago, the Toronto Raptors are reportedly still looking for a big man to pair with Amir Johnson in the front court and a veteran backup point guard to replace José Calderón, who was shipped to Detroit by way of Memphis in the trade. The Raptors and Bargnani were connected to the Lakers and Pau Gasol, but Gasol recently suffered a foot injury that will keep him out of the lineup for the foreseeable future.
More recently, Mark Stein of ESPN reported that the Raptors and Bulls had discussed a potential trade involving Bargnani and Carlos Boozer. Like Gasol, Boozer could fill a spot in the front court for the Raptors.
Among UTM students, Raptors fans are eager to point out which holes the team needs to fill before the deadline.
“The Raptors need to add a pass-first point guard to replace José Calderón. It is a must; John Lucas III is not an adequate backup point guard at this level,” said Afnan Azam, a first-year accounnting student.
“The Raptors have a legitimate starter at the point guard position and on the wings, but there is a hole in the front court with Ed Davis and Aaron Gray,” said Eddie Lorenzo, a third-year life sciences student. “Jonas Valanciunas could develop into a legitimate starting five in the future, but there is little in the way of help at the power forward position, and Andrea Bargnani has proven that he is not the solution.”