“What’s complicating trades is that people want to get off those $30 and $35 million contracts,” said one personnel man who’s been working the phones.
“There’s a lot of teams that really want that $13 million check for the non-taxpayers,” he added, citing the expected payout endowed by the league’s big spenders.
One agent pointed toward Greg Monroe’s brief stay in Minnesota, saying, “He’s not my guy, but he was perfect for them, both for how he could help on the court and just the toughness he could bring to a young team. They should have signed him to a second 10-day contract and then signed him for rest of the year. But they wanted to stay flexible in case they make a move before the deadline. They definitely had their eyes on the luxury tax threshold.”
Josh Richardson NOT on the Market?
The Celtics are said to be willing to pay the cost if the right deal presents itself, but an opportunity at this time to acquire a player who could dramatically improve their prospects appears remote.
Most likely they remain in a position where they try to move off Dennis Schroder’s $5.89 million. Teams that thought Josh Richardson might be very available, as well, are finding that’s not necessarily the case.
The $17 million Evan Fournier trade exception (expiring July 18th) and the $9.7 million Tristan Thompson trade exception (expiring July 7th) remain among their most expected to be used trade tools when the offseason arrives and teams have a better idea of what they are — and what they are not.
Meanwhile, Charlotte is still looking for a new home for P.J. Washington. The Celtics got a nice look at him on Wednesday when the sturdy 6-foot-7 forward showed off his range with four 3-pointers. But we’re being told the Hornets want in on Indiana’s Myles Turner.
“Charlotte hasn’t been to the playoffs in years (a first-round loss in 2016), and unless something crazy happens, they’re going to be there this year,” said one league exec. “But going out in the play-in round isn’t going to cut it down there. It’s obvious from the conversations they’ve been having that they really want a big man.”
The NBA Playoffs: ‘No Clear Favorite’
While the top echelon has been reasonably well established in the Eastern Conference, no one is being seen as out of reach.
“There’s no clear favorite in the East,” said a Western source. “Miami has proven it can beat Milwaukee. Milwaukee has proven it can beat Brooklyn. It’s all about matchups and health. Atlanta looks like they’ve gotten their act together, and, hell, they may be the best situated for the playoffs with the guy out front (Trae Young) and the way they play. And they may still make a move, too. They did the (Cam) Reddish deal (to New York), but they’ve been looking to do something else for a big.”
Things are a bit more defined in the West, with Phoenix and Golden State emerging from the pack and Memphis just outside the party throwing stones at the window.
It’s been a tougher go for Utah this season, and Joe Ingles season-ending injury will make it more difficult for the Jazz, who came into the year believing they needed to make good on the promise they’ve been showing over the last few years. Fifty-two wins and the top seed in the West got them just a second-round loss to the Clippers in six games.
“They’ve been really looking,” said one GM. “They’re not THAT deep a team. If they can find someone they think can help, I think they’ll spend the money and make that move.”
According to opposing front office sources, Utah has been looking to trade Ingles’ expiring contract ($13 million) and a draft pick for someone it can plug into its rotation.