It's deadline week, Pistons fans. With just three days to go before the trade deadline, the pulse of the NBA trade rumors is pounding. It appears that Orlando will not be moving Dwight Howard this season, and once that sinks in for GMs around the league, some last-minute trades are likely to happen. Will be Detroit be amongst those buying and selling? Let's take a look at potential deals with Minnesota, Portland and Utah.
- NBA Trade Rumors 7: New Orleans, OKC, Denver
- NBA Trade Rumors 6: Memphis, Dallas, Houston
- NBA Trade Rumors 5: Washington, Charlotte, San Antonio
- NBA Trade Rumors 4: Miami, Orlando, Atlanta
- NBA Trade Rumors 3: Milwaukee, Cleveland, Indiana
- NBA Trade Rumors 2: New Jersey, Toronto, Chicago
- NBA Trade Rumors 1: Philadelphia, New York, Boston
Minnesota Timberwolves | Northwest Division | 21 - 21 Record
Despite losing Ricky Rubio to a season-ending ACL injury, the Timberwolves are in a pretty solid position at point guard. Sure, Luke Ridnour is no Ricky Rubio, but he's quite serviceable in a way that isn't flashy. JJ Barea is behind him in the depth chart, and while his shooting and health have been poor this season, he'll do just fine for the remaining 24 games of the season. Minny is likely to miss the playoffs this season and doesn't need to do anything drastic to move forward without Rubio.
Trade Status: There are players that the Wolves would like to move, or at least market. Michael Beasley is the biggest name on the block in Minnesota, but sources have said that the team is gauging interest for Anthony Tolliver and Wayne Ellington. Sweet.
As for Mike Beasley, he's been chased by LA, Orlando, Golden State and Boston thus far. LA can offer the Lamar Odom trade exception, but won't part with their late first round pick. Boston can offer Ray Allen's expiring contract, Golden State can offer Kwame Brown's expiring deal and Orlando would only be involved by sending longer term talent.
Trade Likelihood: 4/10
Pistons - Timberwolves Trade Options: There's not a lot of wiggle room for a trade between these two teams. Detroit should at least make a phone call about a Beasley / Prince swap, but it's doubtful the Wolves would bite. They do need veteran help and they are in bad shape on the wings, but this is a surprisingly well-managed roster that avoids committing long term money to anyone who isn't on a rookie scale deal. Ultimately, you'd think that the Timberwolves would want either Derrick Williams or Wesley Johnson starting at the 3 anyway. Yet it can't hurt to make a phone call and try and sell Minnesota some veteran glue. If the plan is to extend Michael Beasley, however, forget about it.
If not Michael Beasley, Detroit could ask about Anthony Randolph and Martell Webster. Randolph is about to hit restricted free agency and Webster is having a poor season. Detroit should see both players as those to stash on the roster and hope for an improvement, as both are still young with upward potential.
Portland Trailblazers | Northwest Division | 20 - 21 Record
If you've been listening to the news, things sound ugly in Portland. This is surprising, since the Blazers are one game back from .500 and a game-and-a-half out of the playoffs. Even then, their name is all over the trade rumor wire, and there are few players on this team that aren't actively for sale. The mood is gloomy in Portland (despite the dream of the 90s being very much alive), and seven-year head coach Nate McMillan is currently on the hot seat.
Trade Status: Jamal Crawford is a daily trade rumor subject. Apparently the team will listen to offers for Gerald Wallace and Raymond Felton. We know what they're selling, but what are they interested in buying? Apparently the team would like a change at point guard. They could use some youth up front, especially at center. From my perspective, one clear weakness with their roster is the lack of a scoring big to back up Aldridge and Camby. If you're paying attention, Detroit really doesn't have any of these items to give up...
Trade Likelihood: 5/10
Pistons - Trailblazers Trade Options: Years ago, Detroit should have done just about anything to get ahold of Gerald Wallace. Today, he's nearly 30 and will have little left in the tank by the time Detroit is relevant again. Pass on Wallace. Same for Jamal Crawford, who is 31 and wouldn't give Detroit much it didn't already have in Rodney Stuckey. Raymond Felton is on an expiring deal, and could actually help Detroit if management wanted to make a push for the playoffs. That would be a dumb risk, given the value in the draft this season and the narrow hopes of actually connecting with the 8th seed.
That doesn't mean there aren't trade options between these teams, as there certainly are. Two players should have interest to Detroit: Elliot Williams and Greg Oden. Greg Oden may never play another NBA game again. He underwent surgery again this season, and is being held in Portland on a $1.5M one-year deal after which he'll become a free agent. He might fetch offers this summer, or the news might be so bad that he'll be left alone. For Detroit, it'd be wise to take a risk and adopt his $1.5M salary to grab his Bird rights and let Arnie Kander see what there is to work with.
As for Elliot Williams, he put up 18, 4 and 4 for the University of Memphis with a really nice, efficient scoring touch. His college numbers were nearly identical to Brandon Knight, minus the turnovers and missed shots. What's more, Williams has the height to play shooting guard in the NBA. The 22-year-old has only played 149 minutes for Portland this season, buried in the depth chart under Nicolas Batum and Wesley Matthews.
What could Detroit offer that might bring back Williams and Oden? That's the tough part. Such a deal would have to include at least one second round pick, cash and a lower-tier role player. Williams and Oden have a higher potential value than a second round pick would, so let's assume Detroit sends two future second rounders in the deal. If Portland has any interest at all in Will Bynum, a deal involving him as their backup point guard should be offered. But one "spin-the-wheel" option that Detroit might want to think about: sending Brandon Knight and Detroit's 2012 second round pick for Portland's first round pick (likely pick number 13), Greg Oden and Elliot Williams.
Utah Jazz | Northwest Division | 19 - 21 Record
The Utah Jazz' frontcourt is one of the most stacked in the league. They've got Enes Kanter backing up Al Jefferson at center and Derrick Favors backing up Paul Millsap at power forward. This team is big, tough and littered with guards and wings who totally suck. Okay, that's unprofessional of me. Let's say they're productively-challenged.
This team could use a change at all perimeter positions, one through three. Starters, backups, everything. Gordon Hayward and Devin Harris are slightly below average, and that's about the best they've got.
Trade Status: Here's the rub. If Utah wants a chance to upgrade any of their perimeter players, they're going to need to move one of their bigs. Consider Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter untouchable, followed closely by Paul Millsap. If Utah would be willing to part with any of their bigs, it'd likely be Al Jefferson given his relative age and contract.
Who is buying Jefferson? There hasn't been much talk of that on the trade wire. I would imagine Golden State would certainly be interested, given their often-yet-ignored offers for just about every center on the market. If there haven't been talks between these teams based on an Al Jefferson for Monta Ellis swap, I'd be shocked. They're about equal in value, fill the opposing team's main needs and are in range of eachother's salaries. If it would take pick swaps, secondary contracts or whatever else to make this work, I would imagine they'd at least try to get something done.
Trade Likelihood: 2/10
Pistons - Jazz Trade Rumors: There's not much that can be done between these teams. Yes, Detroit needs big men and Utah needs guards, but Detroit doesn't have much to offer. It would possibly cost Detroit's first rounder and Brandon Knight to bring back Derrick Favors, but that price tag is too high. At present, there isn't much room for dancing between these two teams.