Trade targets wraps up just ahead of the 2013 NBA Draft with the Southwest division.
Up first are the Southwest division and Western Conference champions, Los San Antonio Spurs:
- They have $40 million projected on the books right now, but that number will rise or fall depending on what happens with Tiago Splitter’s and Gary Neal’s restricted free agencies. Also, DeJuan Blair and Manu Ginobili are unrestricted free agents. If the 2013 playoffs were any indication, R.C. Buford should be in for quite a discount if San Antonio elects to re-sign Manu.
- You don’t make the playoffs 16 years in a row and go 4-for-5 in Finals appearances over the same stretch without one hell of a system and coach. The Spurs draft deliberately, acquire players concordantly. It’s not often they’re looking to trade. Just when you’ve convinced yourself they’ve finally petrified, they flip George Hill to trade up and draft Kawhi Leonard. Are they targeting such a player?
- Of course, (rationally speaking) nothing stands a chance of turning Ernie Grunfeld’s head unless Splitter is involved. And the Wizards would still have to overpay him.
It feels like the Spurs haven’t picked high since they drafted Tim Duncan and would they ever love to do so again. Kawhi Leonard would likely not be sufficient inducement for the Wizards and the Spurs won't do that anyway.
Second are the Memphis Grizzlies, fresh out from the obligation of Rudy Gay’s contract and eyeing Zach Randoph’s next:
- They have $60 million on the books, and with Randolph available, little-used big man prospect Ed Davis is on tap. Lionel Hollins may have tabled Davis, but newly-minted head coach Dave Joerger will find minutes as the Grizz looks to the future.
- Davis probably isn’t available, and with Marc Gasol on a reasonable deal, there really isn’t anything to interest the Wizards.
Memphis is built to contend now and has a dearth of perimeter scoring, which doomed them in the playoffs. Another team with really nothing to offer the Wizards but a single prospect.
- What is Daryl Morey's backup plan if chasing Dwight proves fruitless? Josh Smith?
- The Rockets still have to figure out their point guard situation. The whole Jeremy Lin-James Harden pairing had growing pains last year that may not be overcome. If you expected two ball-dominant backcourt players to mesh seamlessly, think again.
- Chandler Parsons has been a hell of a steal, but it beggars belief the Wizards would accept a trade package built around him. Even if Donatas Motiejunas is your dewd.
This team is pushing hard for contend now status, and while they'd enjoy the luxury of the No. 3 pick, the next step for this team as constructed is acquiring another star talent. No deals here.
Another team looking to land DHo is the fourth-place finishers in the Southwest, the Dallas Mavericks:
- Next year's team: Dirk Nowitzki, Vince Carter, Jared Cunningham, Jae Crowder. Sure, it's unthinkable Shawn Marion won't opt in with nearly $10 million on the table. Of course, he may be flipped to the Cavs ... also, O.J. Mayo is a free agent. Darren Collison and Rodrigue Beaubois are facing their qualifying offers, to boot.
- The Mabs have a lot of flexibility, which they put to use last season as to condense a competitive squad from the ether which still missed the playoffs in a tough Western Conference.
- The Mavs have made their draft pick eminently available and don't really command any assets the Wizards might be interested in, unless you want Darren Collison backing up John Wall. (I'm not going to get into that ... and I don't.)
I don't know how the Mavs can avoid rebuilding if they fail to land Dwight this offseason. We'll see what happens, and Dallas has surprised me before, but I don't think they can pull a trade package for the No. 3 pick out of their hat.
Rounding out the trade targets series are the New Orleans Pelicans:
- The Pelicans are the popular destination for point guard Trey Burke, but this is a team with a need at small forward as well. Greivis Vasquez has been doing work, while Al-Farouq Aminu is an unrestricted free agent
- There's $34 million in guaranteed salary on the books this season (courtesy #OkAriza), so there's no salary pressure.
- No chance the Wizards are interested in Eric Gordon. The Pelicans also love Ryan Anderson.
- Chances are very good one of Trey Burke or Alex Len drops to NOLA.
New Orleans has healthy books, a possible franchise defensive big man in Anthony Davis and no expectations next season. They can afford to sit back and draft whoever falls. No deals here.