The NBA’s Feb. 18 trade deadline is inching closer and the rumours are swirling. Here’s some of the latest buzz from around the league.
Should Clippers move Griffin?
The Skinny: Zach Lowe raised a few eyebrows in a recent story on ESPN.com, citing sources that told him Doc Rivers would be most willing to part with Blake Griffin if he had to deal any of his three major pieces (the other two being Chris Paul and DeAndre Jordan).
Analysis: Griffin has dominated NBA headlines lately after getting into an altercation with a team staffer that resulted in a broken hand during the Clippers’ trip to Toronto. Griffin is Los Angeles’s best overall player and would net the largest return if a trade were to happen. Now in his sixth season, the first overall pick in the 2009 draft remains one of the game’s top talents, averaging 23.2 points, 8.7 rebounds and 5.0 assists on 51 per cent shooting.
Despite the recent drama, a trade involving the five-time all-star is extremely unlikely at the moment and would seem to be an overreaction for the ages. However, Rivers did tell Lowe before the season that a roster shakeup may be necessary if the Clippers were eliminated in the first or second round of the playoffs. If an overwhelming package of players and draft picks comes along, Los Angeles could pull the trigger. Don’t hold your breath on this one, though.
Hawks willing to part with Teague?
The Skinny: On an episode of The Vertical podcast, Adrian Wojnarowski and Chris Mannix of Yahoo! Sports reported the Atlanta Hawks are discussing moving point guard Jeff Teague. Numerous teams have allegedly expressed varying degrees of interest in the former all-star.
Analysis: Dealing with a nagging ankle injury, Teague's numbers are down across the board in 2015-16 and he has become somewhat expendable for the Hawks due to the emergence of backup Dennis Schroder. Schroder is averaging nearly 11 points and five assists per game in just 21 minutes of action. When expanded to a per-36-minute level, the numbers exceed Teague's production. At just 22 years of age, Schroder appears to be the floor general of the future in Atlanta.
However, for a team looking to add an impact player at the trade deadline, it's hard to imagine landing a better asset than Teague. He's still very much in his prime at 27 years old and is just one year removed from an All-Star Game appearance. His salary is team-friendly as he's due to make just $8 million next season.
One of the teams that has reportedly made contact with the Hawks is the New York Knicks, who sit on the outside of the Eastern Conference playoff picture but remain in striking distance. Jose Calderon is having a solid year, but Teague could be the piece to push New York over the hump. However, putting together a package of the Hawks' liking may be tricky for the Knicks.
Pelicans putting another name on the trade block?
The Skinny: After a surprising playoff appearance a season ago, the New Orleans Pelicans have underachieved this season, leading to reports that the team is looking to be sellers come the deadline. Eric Gordon and Ryan Anderson are on the block, and you can apparently add Tyreke Evans to that list, according to Michael Scotto of Sheridan Hoops and Associated Press.
Analysis: One of the league's most versatile players, Evans is able to handle point guard, shooting guard or small forward duties, and that alone would draw interest from teams with championship aspirations. His stats are strong as well, as he is able to contribute through his scoring, rebounding and playmaking. One major knock on the former Rookie of the Year is his injury history. Evans has missed at least 10 games in four of his six full NBA seasons.
If New Orleans decides to move Evans, and some of the others listed above, it would signal a rebuild. Anthony Davis isn't going anywhere, but it seems somewhat counterproductive to waste some of his prime years. That being said, 'The Brow' is still just 22 years old and would figure to have plenty left in the tank if the team could turn things around quickly.
Alternatively, the Pelicans could stand pat at the deadline and push for the eighth seed in the West. Despite their 18-28 record, they sit just three games out of a playoff spot. That may not be the best course of action seeing as how they would almost definitely have to go through the Golden State Warriors or San Antonio Spurs in the first round.
Kings listening to offers on Belinelli?
Analysis: The Kings are another team competing for a playoff berth in the Western Conference, thanks mainly to DeMarcus Cousins and the rejuvenated Rajon Rondo.
Belinelli has struggled with his shot to this point in the year, connecting on a career-low 38 per cent of his attempts. His greatest contribution has always been his three-point shooting, but he's been cold from beyond the arc, shooting just 31 per cent in 2015-16. However, Ham reports that teams are willing to overlook his slow start due to his track record.
A long-distance specialist would be a strong commodity to add for a team in need of help in that department. The Memphis Grizzlies or Miami Heat would be interesting landing spots for the Italian as they rank 25th and 27th respectively in terms of three-point percentage.