The trade deadline is now less than two weeks away, and the NBA trade rumor chatter is increasing in volume. We're examing all 29 potential trade partners in the league to determine what kind of value the Detroit Pistons can find on the trade market. Today, we'll take a look at the Southeast Division teams in Miami, Orlando and Atlanta. Are these teams in a position to make a deal with Detroit? Let's find out.
- NBA Trade Rumors: Milwaukee, Cleveland and Indiana
- NBA Trade Rumors: New Jersey, Toronto and Chicago
- NBA Trade Rumors: Philadelphia, New York and Boston
Miami Heat | Southeast Division | 28 - 7 Record
Unlike the New York Knicks, the Miami Heat have built a Big Three team in free agency while maintaining a healthy collection of mid-level contracts (and even a late first round pick in 2012). While Miami has the pieces to adjust their squad prior to the deadline, they're not going to be in bad shape if they don't. The one thing Miami could use is a back up center to play limited minutes on defense if the rotation players wind up in foul trouble. While those are usually always available in free agency, Miami could execute a trade for better value.
Trade Status: Miami has only came up a handful of times in trade rumors, most recently with interest in Hornets center Chris Kaman. That's probably the best option for Miami (so long as Kaman isn't used on offense), but it's not entirely realistic. Miami has nothing but long-term mid-level deals available, mostly on older players. New Orleans can certainly do better. In total, Miami will have to dig deeper to replace Joel Anthony in the starting lineup, but in all likelihood they'll only find someone to back him up.
Trade Likelihood: 2/10
Pistons - Heat Trade Options: Given the Pistons limited trade assets, it's likely Detroit would only offer Jason Maxiell or Ben Wallace to the Heat. Wallace is a perfect fit given his cheap, expiring contract and the ability to step on court and defend like someone ten years younger (albeit in limited minutes). Maxiell can hang with NBA centers, but largely duplicates what Miami has in Udonis Haslem. If Miami were to want Wallace (and Ben would okay the trade), Detroit could ask for a young prospect (Terrel Harris, Dexter Pittman) and Miami's second round pick in 2013.
As a fan, I certainly wouldn't want Ben Wallace to spend his final days with the Miami Heat. But if Ben was offered the opportunity to play 6-8 minutes a game for what might be a sure-thing championship, he might opt in. Sending Big Ben off right and taking in a pick and a prospect in return could be a win for all.
Orlando Magic | Southeast Division | 23 - 14 Record
Orlando clearly has bigger priorities than to make a mid-level trade with Detroit. They would like to do whatever they can to keep Dwight Howard in Orlando, but partnering with Detroit won't do anything to keep Dwight any longer. Orlando has superior talent at all five positions, and their bench isn't bad either. Right now, Orlando is too busy listening to offers for Dwight to consider anything else. For what it's worth, this team is in a holding pattern and until the Dwight Decision happens, Detroit can ignore them.
Trade Status: I don't know, I haven't heard any rumors about Orlando making any trades every single day for the last two years. Anyone else hear anything every single day for the last two years? Anyone else completely F-ing annoyed?
Trade Likelihood: 6/10
Pistons - Magic Trade Options: The funny thing is that if the Pistons wanted Dwight Howard, they could have him. Greg Monroe, Brandon Knight, Rodney Stuckey and Detroit's 2012 first rounder would probably be a no brainer for Orlando. That would be franchise suicide, of course. Howard will leave at the end of his contract for a bigger market and Detroit's roster would be decimated. A 21-year-old Greg Monroe on a rookie scale contract is a better value than a 26-year-old Dwight Howard on an $18M contract. Especially when one of them appears to be whiny star humper, the other a quiet and collected underdog stud. It'd be best if Dwight Howard just found somewhere else to perpetually come up short and blame somebody else. That's what makes him special.
Atlanta Hawks | Southeast Division | 20 - 15 Record
What an unhappy bunch. Sure, Tracy McGrady is expected to complain, but apparently Marvin Williams and Josh Smith aren't happy either. There have been rumors of trade demands in Atlanta for years, and maybe the team is finally ready to do something about it. They're once again in the middle of the playoff pack, and unless they change something, that picture is only going to get darker and darker.
Trade Status: Marvin Williams, Josh Smith and Kirk Hinrich are on the block, whether the team admits it or not. Atlanta's primary interest is cutting salary and, in most cases, going young. There are options aplenty for the Hawks, and the Pistons are one team that Atlanta should have a chat with.
Trade Likelihood: 4/10
Pistons - Hawks Trade Options: Which of Atlanta's trade assets would Detroit have an interest in? Take your pick. Marvin Williams is unhappy, he's more productive than Tayshaun Prince and has a shorter contract. Kirk Hinrich has an $8M expiring deal and is valuable on the defensive end. Josh Smith... well let's just say there may not be a better player in the NBA to match with Greg Monroe (and before you hurry to the comments to defend Serge Ibaka, consider that I considered that).
There are many ways in which these two teams can make a deal. In the case of Hinrich, the problem is that Atlanta wants to move him for a trade exception and a pick-- they don't want to take on salary and they want a pick in return. Detroit can't accommodate that. The problem is the same with Marvin Williams. If they move him, they want to offload his contract, but he doesn't present enough value to upgrade the receiving team. This whole "something for nothing" philosophy is caused by the ridiculous contract Atlanta gave Joe Johnson, which they are apparently unwilling to resolve via contract amnesty. It's silly-- they're overvaluing their own trade assets in hopes to cut salary because they grossly overvalued their own free agents. Good luck with that, Atlanta.
Josh Smith is where it gets interesting. Atlanta is likely looking to bring back a lottery pick, Lebron James, Dwight Howard and Chris Paul if they send out Smith. Oh, and they need a few expirings too. Apparently, Atlanta turned down a swap of Smith for the #2 pick in 2011. The Pistons can beat that. Detroit could trade Rodney Stuckey and the Pistons 2012 first round pick for Josh Smith. Atlanta would get another combo guard to start next to Joe Johnson (crazy, but that might actually work out okay), and a first round pick to try to replace Smith on the cheap. I don't know why Atlanta would say no to that. Sure, it is probably the best hope Detroit could have in trading that first round pick, given that Smith is an amazing pairing with Greg Monroe. Smith is 26, and Detroit should prefer cheaper and younger, but this is one case where opting for a proven veteran just makes sense.
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What are your thoughts? Miami, Orlando and Atlanta actually present some viable trade options on the pre-deadline trade market. Detroit has coveted Josh Smith for years, and it's apparent why. If guys like Sullinger are on the board, it'd be difficult to trade that pick regardless of finding the ideal prospect. For now, there are real options in play here.