Another trade coming? Investigating ways the Celtics can get their roster to 15 players

With less than two weeks until opening night, the Celtics have 20 players in camp, five more than the 15 player maximum that they need to cut down to before their first game.However, four of those cuts are relatively easy to project, as Christian Watford, Erik Murphy, Rodney McGruder and Tim Frazier are all working under non-gauranteed contracts/camp invitations. Whenever the Cs want to release them, they can do so without paying them a dime. So that gets us to 16, but what about the final move? The Celtics are one of only two teams in the NBA with 16 players under guaranteed contracts (weirdly enough, the other is Detroit, the team the Celtics just traded Joel Anthony to in exchange for Will Bynum, which solved neither team’s roster crunch), and they’re going to either need to cut or trade someone before they take the floor on the 29th against the Nets. Here are some thoughts about how the Cs could do just that. Cuts: Barring something truly shocking, here are the players I…

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Celtics trade Joel Anthony to Pistons for Will Bynum

The Boston Celtics have traded center Joel Anthony to the Detroit Pistons for guard Will Bynum. The Celtics made the move to reduce their books.  Anthony is set to make $3.8 million this season, while Bynum will earn $2.9 million, saving the team $900,000. Anthony, 32, was acquired by the Celtics from the Miami Heat in January. “We’re getting a physical, experienced player who has a lot of intangibles and a lot of basketball savvy and strength to help our front line,” Pistons general manager Jeff Bower said Friday of Anthony. It’s unclear if the Celtics will keep Bynum. He appeared in 56 games for the Detroit Pistons last season where he averaged 8.7 points, 1.8 rebounds and 3.9 assists in 18.8 minutes per game. The post Celtics trade Joel Anthony to Pistons for Will Bynum appeared first on Sports Glory.

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Celtics find Rondo sub in trade with Pistons

The Pistons added size, while the Celtics got a short-term replacement for Rajon Rondo.

      
 

 

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Chase Budinger Trade Rumors: Latest Buzz and Speculation on Timberwolves Forward

The Minnesota Timberwolves are making waves on the trade front for the second time in two months, though this one may not cause the same ripple effect around the NBA.     

According to a report from Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports, the Timberwolves are fielding offers for Chase Budinger:

The Minnesota Timberwolves are shopping forward Chase Budinger in trade talks, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

Among talks with several teams, the Detroit Pistons and Houston Rockets have shown an interest, league sources said.

However, as Wojnarowski also notes, neither the Rockets nor Pistons are hungry to take on Budinger’s contract, which includes a $5 million player option for next season:

Houston is reluctant to take on the $5 million player option Budinger’s deal has in 2015-16, as are the Pistons, sources said. Nevertheless, the Pistons are taking a long look at Budinger and considering the possibility of making a deal. No trade is considered imminent for Budinger. 

Detroit lost shooting guard Jodie Meeks for two months because of a fractured back.

One reason the Timberwolves might be keen to get rid of Budinger, and why few teams will have interest, is because of his injury history. The 26-year-old has appeared in just 64 games since 2012-13, and he missed half of last season due to surgery on his left knee. 

Budinger addressed the topic of his health during the preseason, via the Timberwolves’ official public relations staff on Twitter:

Jon Krawczynski of The Associated Press confirmed Budinger’s assessment of his health with this tweet from Minnesota’s training camp:

It’s not a surprise the Rockets would have interest in Budinger, however muted it might be due to his salary. The forward was drafted 44th overall by Detroit in the 2009 NBA draft before being traded to Houston. He spent three seasons with the Rockets and averaged 9.4 points per game. 

Budinger is a valuable bench piece to have if he can stay healthy. He’s shot 35.7 percent from three-point range in his career and shoots 80.6 percent from the free-throw line. Given the amount of time he’s missed since being traded to Minnesota, teams will need to see proof of a resurgence before biting on any deal. 

Fortunately, for Budinger and the Timberwolves, there is still time in the preseason and early in the regular season to show what he’s still capable of doing. If he establishes enough value in that time, then some team is more likely to bite on his salary. 

 

If you want to talk sports, hit me up on Twitter. 


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The Problem with Philadelphia 76ers Pursuing Michael Carter-Williams Trade

Even though Michael Carter-Williams is coming off a season in which he won Rookie of the Year for the Philadelphia 76ers, his spot in the future plans of the rebuilding organization isn’t exactly secure. While he’s filled with upside and could develop into a star point guard down the road, the Sixers are apparently trying to strike while the iron is hot. 

According to Grantland’s Zach Lowe, Philadelphia attempted to find a deal for Carter-Williams during the 2014 NBA draft, and general manager Sam Hinkie may well end up pursuing that route at least one more time: 

They tried hard during the draft, but they couldn’t draw the trove they envisioned or guarantee that the player they wanted with an acquired pick would be there, per several league sources. Expect Philly to repeat the exercise. It’s not a shot at Carter-Williams, or even a signal that the Sixers are dying to trade him. He may well end up a long-term cog in Philly.

The team knows point guard is the most replaceable position in the league today, and it will seek out any deal that adds to its stockpile of high-value draft picks.

Whether the Sixers should deal the reigning ROY is another issue in and of itself, but let’s assume they can continue stockpiling talent, working toward future success and disavowing any notion of competing in the present. While it may seem to some as though trading Carter-Williams is akin to dooming the franchise to a perpetual rebuild, that doesn’t have to be the case. 

Hinkie is just taking his strategy to an extreme. Rather than attempting a quick turnaround that gets Philadelphia into the playoffs as a low seed, he’s not settling for anything less than a team brimming over with top-notch players, even if he’s potentially putting the fanbase through years of futility in order to get there. 

It’s risky, but it could work. As Mike Sielski illuminated in a January column for The Inquirer, the strategy in Philadelphia is all about shooting for those stars, both literally and metaphorically: 

Nevertheless, Hinkie remains confident that the Noel trade will prove a smart one. He’s willing to bank that a 19-year-old can recover from knee surgery and develop into an elite center. And if he doesn’t, well, in Hinkie‘s mind, one failed draft pick won’t destroy a franchise, especially one in the Sixers’ state, just as they have nothing to lose by signing a series of John Does and seeing whether any of them might turn out to be a newly earthed diamond.

‘Nerlens,’ Hinkie said, ‘is indicative of what we’re doing here,’ and that means taking chances on players who can become superstars. It means ignoring the bunt sign and swinging for the fence at every pitch.

Isn’t that what’s happening here, too? Why settle for the reigning Rookie of the Year when you can potentially get even more by removing him from the roster?

So again, let’s assume that trading Carter-Williams is an advantageous strategy. Even if that’s the case, there’s one major problem with the team attempting to find a new home for his immense basketball talents, not all of which manifested themselves during his first go-round in the Association. 

The team knows point guard is the most replaceable position in the league today,” Lowe wrote in that excerpt given in its entirety above. 

While that’s true, it doesn’t prevent many franchises from being satisfied with their starter at the 1. Point guards may be replaceable due to the sheer depth of talent at the league’s deepest position, but how many organizations are actually willing to give up their current starter? 

Carter-Williams checked in as the No. 18 point guard in the league last season, based solely on his 2013-14 production. So while it doesn’t necessarily mean there are 17 floor generals more valuable than him on the open market, it does give a ballpark estimate for his worth at the position. 

The next step in finding a deal revolves around isolating the teams that aren’t satisfied with their current point guard situation. By my count, there are nine. 

The Brooklyn Nets have a potential All-Star running the show for them in Deron Williams, but his contract situation is quite problematic. He’s an albatross for the next few years, preventing the Eastern Conference playoff contender from making any big moves, and the Nets would almost assuredly jump at any opportunity to remove him from the books while getting back a quality package in return. The Minnesota Timberwolves may be in a similar boat with Ricky Rubio, simply because the two sides have had trouble coming to terms on a contract extension. 

Then we have the Dallas Mavericks, whose three-headed monster of Jameer Nelson, Devin Harris and Raymond Felton is a passable option when there’s so much talent surrounding it in the rotation. The Detroit Pistons and Brandon Jennings haven’t exactly been a match made in heaven, and both the Houston Rockets and Indiana Pacers could use a better creator at point guard. Patrick Beverley and George Hill are high-quality defenders, but they’re very one-dimensional players. 

Beyond that, the Los Angeles Lakers don’t have their point guard of the future on the roster, as Jeremy Lin has limited upside and Steve Nash is on the brink of retirement. The Miami Heat would surely love to upgrade from Mario Chalmers and Norris Cole, though the organization has also been remarkably high on Shabazz Napier. 

Finally, there’s the New York Knicks, who have an underrated Jose Calderon running the point in the present but still need to find the heir apparent, preferably one with some star power. 

Those nine teams are the only ones Philadelphia should bother contacting if Hinkie is truly sold on finding a trade. He’ll surely do his due diligence and reach out to the other organizations, hoping against hope that one is willing to add a second high-quality point guard and meet a solid asking price, but his best bets come from the aforementioned group. 

So the first problem is the limited market, due primarily to the same depth at the point guard position that makes it easier to find replacements. However, the second issue is even more troublesome. 

Which of those teams actually has something tempting enough to offer that they can pry the reigning Rookie of the Year from Philadelphia’s clutches, however loose the current grip may be? 

The Nets can offer up Williams, counting on the Sixers using their loads of cap space to absorb his monstrous contract. But what use would his new squad have for an aging floor general with a huge contract who often seems to be made of glass? By the time Philadelphia is ready to compete, there’s no guarantee Williams is anything more than a replacement-level point guard. 

In addition, there are no draft picks to tempt Hinkie with. Brooklyn already owes its 2016 and 2018 first-round picks to the Boston Celtics, and due to the Ted Stepien Rule, teams are prohibited from trading future first-rounders in back-to-back years.

So, how much use would the Sixers have for a 2020 first-round pick? Probably close to none, and that’s the earliest one they could get from the Nets. 

The Knicks are in the same boat, as are the Lakers, Rockets, Heat and Timberwolves. Los Angeles could at least offer Houston’s current first-round pick, but it’s a lottery-protected one, and there isn’t much else to give up. You’re still looking at an earliest unprotected first-round pick of 2019 for the Lakers, 2018 for the Knicks and 2017 for the Rockets, Heat and Wolves. 

Additionally, no member of that quintet has high-upside prospects it would be willing to part with for Carter-Williams. Julius Randle has to be considered off the table, New York and Houston don’t have many high-upside but unproven players and Minnesota just intentionally acquired a bevy of young players to test out during its own rebuild. The Heat have a shallow roster and can’t afford to part with any key pieces.

Strike all five off the list of options, which has now dwindled to only three teams—the Mavericks, Pistons and Pacers. Which of those teams can make a realistic offer?

All three have devalued draft picks because they’re going to be in the playoff hunt, so it all depends on what’s meant by “any deal that adds to its stockpile of high-value draft picks.” Something tells me that selections in the tail end of the lottery aren’t going to cut it, nor will a collection of anything even later in the proceedings. 

Carter-Williams may have earned his prestigious award in part due to the overall lack of elite rookies, but he still displayed plenty of promise while running the show in his first year removed from Syracuse. He has quite a bit of value to the Sixers, and there’s no reason for them to part ways unless there’s a mind-altering haul coming back in return. 

There’s already a limited number of teams that would show legitimate interest in trading for Carter-Williams, and those that might come calling don’t have much to offer. Unless the Sixers drop their estimates of the point guard’s worth, we’re left with two sides whose expectations and desires in a trade are inevitably separated by a yawning chasm. 

As it stands, Philadelphia may be able to take its pick from a selection of second-round picks, first-rounders that won’t be conveyed for at least three years and middling prospects who won’t do much to change the direction of the franchise or at least accelerate the rebuild.

It’s not hard to see the problem here. 

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NBA Trade Rumors: Preseason Buzz on Michael Carter-Williams, Al Horford and More

Exactly two weeks stand between now and the start of the NBA regular season. However, trade rumblings have started well before the opening tip.

Several stars around the league are already being rumored on the market, but some have been talked about for months now.

Michael Carter-Williams was apparently being shopped during the 2014 NBA draft, while Al Horford‘s name was being tossed around last season. Along with those two, Timofey Mozgov has also been a popular target for a while but to no avail for those teams.

Before the regular season officially begins, here’s a look at some of the latest trade buzz from around the league.

 

Michael Carter-Williams

Last season, Carter-Williams won the NBA Rookie of the Year award—and it wasn’t even close. The former Syracuse guard took 104 of the 124 first-place votes as a lone bright spot for the Philadelphia 76ers.

Even with all of that, the team has reportedly been looking to move Carter-Williams since the draft. Zach Lowe of Grantland reported the trade rumors surrounding the Sixers guard:

They tried hard during the draft, but they couldn’t draw the trove they envisioned or guarantee that the player they wanted with an acquired pick would be there, per several league sources. Expect Philly to repeat the exercise. It’s not a shot at Carter-Williams, or even a signal that the Sixers are dying to trade him. He may well end up a long-term cog in Philly.

Currently, Carter-Williams is still recovering from a shoulder injury that was reported in May. But what MCW did prior to the injury was sensational, finishing 2014 with 16.7 points, 6.3 assists and 6.2 rebounds per game.

To think that the 76ers would be willing to trade that type of talent seems outrageous, but Lowe apparently believes the talks will continue. Philly may have several talented young prospects in Nerlens Noel, K.J. McDaniels and Joel Embiid, but Carter-Williams is an emerging star.

He shouldn’t be going anywhere, but that doesn’t mean the Sixers might not look to sell high. If the franchise is going to make a serious push in the future, Carter-Williams should be the one leading the charge.

 

Al Horford

After nearly 10 months off the court due to a torn pectoral muscle, Horford finally made his return to the court on Tuesday night. However, the Atlanta Hawks star might not be remaining with the team this season.

The two-time All-Star has apparently been on the block since the 2013-14 season despite the injury. Lowe shared more on the rumors about Horford in his report:

It happened in stealth mode last season, when the Hawks reached out to a select group and made it known that Horford could be had for the right price — including an unprotected 2014 first-round pick, per several league sources. Nothing materialized, and Horford is ready to return from another torn pectoral muscle. ….

If the ownership situation changes before the deadline, there’s no telling what stance the Hawks might take with Horford, Jeff Teague, or anyone else. Teams will inquire about Horford either way.

Last season was mostly a lost one for Horford as he played in only 29 games, but he had his best statistical season in 2012-13. Averaging 17.4 points and 10.2 rebounds, Horford posted career highs in both categories.

Ethan J. Skolnick of Bleacher Report noted just how important his return is for Atlanta:

Horford returns to a team that finished 38-44 and pushed the Indiana Pacers to the brink in the playoffs. Having the franchise’s leading rebounder and second-leading scorer from the previous season back, the Hawks have a chance to make serious noise in the East.

With the possibility of making a playoff run, Horford should be a staple for the team this season and moving forward. Unless a huge offer is on the table or a meltdown occurs, the 28-year-old’s future should be in Atlanta.

 

Timofey Mozgov

Teams have been calling, but the Denver Nuggets haven’t budged on moving Mozgov since last season. The 7’1″ center stepped up last season, and apparently the rest of the NBA took notice.

Christopher Dempsey of The Denver Post reported recent rumors on Mozgov

“During the past calendar year, Mozgov arguably has been the Nuggets’ most-coveted trade asset,” Dempsey wrote. “Teams called last winter and throughout the summer. That’s not likely to change, because with a $4.6 million salary, Mozgov is one of the best bangs for the buck in the NBA.”

In 2013-14, Mozgov proved to be a viable option down low for the Nuggets. His 9.4 points and 6.4 rebounds per game were both career highs when given the chance to start in 30 games.

Nuggets coach Brian Shaw referenced the depth at the center position and Mozgov‘s talent, via Dempsey:

We have the luxury of having big guys that I think can grow into being pretty good in the traditional way of playing, if we need to play that way. … 

[Mozgov]‘s been my favorite. Just because as a coach, he’s kind of like a coach’s dream. He does everything that you ask him to do. It’s nice to see when it pays off.

It’s clear what Shaw thinks of his two centers, so he would love to have the rotation of the big men. But with the rest of the league constantly calling, an enticing package might put that duo in jeopardy.

If both players are healthy, the Nuggets have two great centers 28 years old or younger at their disposal. Having a tandem like that will prove difficult for the Western Conference, so keeping Mozgov in Denver is clearly the better choice for the team.

 

Follow @RCorySmith on Twitter.

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5 Reasons The Taj Gibson Trade Talk Needs To Stop

Taj Gibson has been mentioned in trade talks again, but a lot of people think Chicago can win with who they have. If the Bulls trade Gibson, it would be a mistake.
Who Would Chicago Get Back?
Two names have been mentioned lately, Kevin Martin and Avery Bradley. Reports indicate that if Derrick Rose were to get hurt again, Gibson would be the first player shipped out simply because Chicago has depth at the power forward position. Pau Gasol and Nikola Mirotic will also play at that spot, some are convinced it’s only a matter of time until Mirotic grows up and then Taj will be traded.
“I think that it’s time to move Taj Gibson to get some more fire power out on the wing, where I feel they’re lacking, around Derrick Rose. His value around the league is greater than it is for the Bulls right now. Kevin Martin would work this year, but he’s 31 and has three years left on his deal at about $7 million per. It’s a bad long-term move for the Bulls, especially considering his lackluster defensive abilities,

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Los Angeles Lakers: A Trade For Rajon Rondo

Los Angeles Lakers: A Trade For Rajon Rondo
By Mike Elworth: Owner and Publisher/Hoopstuff…
Los Angeles Lakers Get: Rajon Rondo
Boston Celtics Get: Steve Nash and Julius Randle
The Celtics have a franchise player that is about to be a free agent, isn’t a fit with their incredibly talented young roster and isn’t staying and the Lakers are desperate for another All Star and have the players and assets in prized rookie Julius Randle and Steve Nash’s expiring 9.7 million dollar contract to make a very strong trade for one of the best point guards and players in the NBA, Rajon Rondo. This trade would likely have to made at least 20-30 games into the season because Rondo has a hand injury and Randle has to prove himself as a professional player, but this is an excellent trade for the Lakers.
Yes, trading Randle would be difficult, but this team isn’t building their team using the draft and with the cap space coming to them, they will be signing their core in free agency. This could help t…

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Timberwolves’ Kevin Martin Claims He Learned of Kevin Love’s Trade a Month Late

NBA All-Star Kevin Love’s move from the Minnesota Timberwolves to join LeBron James on the Cleveland Cavaliers was one of the biggest transactions of the offseason (actually, second only to LeBron’s), but one former teammate claims he learned about it more than a month later.

In an interview with Jerry Zgoda of the Star TribuneMartin claims he first heard of Love’s trade when he arrived at training camp:

“I didn’t know Kevin Love got traded until yesterday,” Martin said with a straight face at Monday’s annual media day at Target Center that preceded a midnight start to training camp in Mankato. “I’m not big on looking at blogs and all that.”

The “blogs and all that?” You didn’t talk to your teammates, coaches, any fans or turn on a computer or television during the entire offseason?

We’re not buying it. Either Martin is the most off-the-grid athlete in all of professional sports or he’s attempting to pull a fast one on us (that really has no benefit other than to mess with the media).

 

[Star Tribuneh/t USA Today‘s FTW, Ball Don’t Lie)

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10 NBA Players Most Likely to Be Trade Targets This Season

The wheeling and dealing that took place over the 2014 NBA offseason dramatically reshaped the basketball landscape.

The 2014-15 campaign could have a similar effect if teams are able to pry these 10 trade targets away from their current clubs.

It takes two teams (at least) to get a deal done, but one having interest in another’s assets is sometimes enough to open the lines of communication. Considering the talent level of the players on this list, that interest shouldn’t be hard to find.

Whether that dialogue will lead to anything more substantial won’t be known for some time. With so many moving pieces just now falling into place at the start of training camp, it could take a while for teams to make the self-assessments needed to willingly part with a promising, productive player.

But that won’t keep the phone calls from coming in. Not when teams can bolster their ranks, fill a void or, in some cases, even change their fortune by acquiring one of these coveted commodities.

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