2013 NBA Trade Deadline: Five Teams With Big Decisions To Make

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The 2013 NBA trade deadline is Thursday, February 21 at 1:00pm MST. That means there’s roughly nine more days for teams to decide whether to make a run at the championship this year, stay pat or blow things up and begin their rebuilding. What should these five teams do? Should they stay pat, blow up the team or somewhere between?

Milwaukee Bucks

The Milwaukee Bucks are 25-25, good for the No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference. They have a decent amount of talent, with Monta Ellis and Brandon Jennings leading the way. One thing they didn’t count on was Larry Sanders emerging as a defensive stalwart.

One would reason that financially, there isn’t room for both Ellis and Jennings. Ellis has an early-termination option, while Jennings will be a restricted free agent. Both players will receive annual contracts in the eight-figure range, with Ellis’ option valued at $11 million and Jennings likely to receive at least that much.

Decision: Trade Ellis. They must protect themselves and can’t afford to lose him for nothing.

Boston Celtics

It’s been a solid year that this talk has been going on. Some thought the Celtics would blow up the team after losing to the Miami Heat in the 2012 Eastern Conference Finals. As Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo and Doc Rivers embraced on the sidelines, it certainly seemed like things were over.

Then the Celtics surprised everyone by re-signing Garnett and reloading with Jason Terry, Courtney Lee and a solid 2012 draft. After a topsy-turvy start to the 2012-13 season, it again looked likely that the Celtics would go another direction. When Rondo partially tore his ACL, it seemed inevitable.

Then, the Celtics ran off  a seven-game winning streak to get back to 27-24, good for seventh in the Eastern Conference. Avery Bradley has shown that he’ll be a big part of the Celtics’ future and can fill in until Rondo comes back next year.

Decision: Stay pat. They’re deep and talented enough to compete as-is.

Utah Jazz

This season has been pegged as a major fork in the road for the Jazz franchise. Their top three scorers are all unrestricted free agents at the end of the year. Al Jefferson, Paul Millsap and Randy Foye  all come off the books, leaving the Jazz with just over $26 million in commitments for the 2013-14 season.

It’s not as simple as re-signing them for the Jazz. Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter are waiting in the wings and at some point, they’ll need to step into the starting lineup. With Gordon Hayward, they look to be the future of Jazz basketball. Both Jefferson and Millsap have significant value, but the Jazz won’t receive fair value in return.

They’ll likely have to accept potential in return as opposed to an established player. It’s better than rolling the dice and hoping they re-sign during the offseason.

Decision: Trade both Jefferson and Millsap and stockpile assets, while using cap room to lure free agents.

Los Angeles Lakers

What a nightmare for the Los Angeles Lakers. Things haven’t exactly gone as planned for the Lakers as they currently sit 3.5 games back of the Houston Rockets for the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference. Chemistry has been a tremendous issue and nobody seems happy in a Lakers’ jersey.

Pau Gasol was the asset that the Lakers had been dangling in an effort to change the makeup of the team. Then, he suffered a plantar fascia injury that will keep him out six to eight weeks. Now, he’s worth next to nothing for trade value. Kobe Bryant has a no-trade clause, so that leaves Dwight Howard.

Howard isn’t happy. He hasn’t shown the joy on the court that he has previously. He’s an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season. The pressure continues to mount and it’s all going to fall on his broad shoulders. Although Laker management has sworn that they won’t trade Howard, they’d be foolish if they didn’t at least consider it.

Decision: Trade Howard. He’s got a lot of value and they could actually get some (other) building blocks for the future.

Sacramento Kings

Now that the Sacramento Kings will be moving to Seattle, they should consider all of their options so that they can put a quality product on the court. Seattle fans will be foaming at the mouth at the thought of professional men’s basketball in their town, so the first year will be a hot ticket.

After that, they need to think about the character of this team. DeMarcus Cousins is as talented as any big man in the league, but he also plays with a non-existent basketball IQ. Tyreke Evans is starting to come back around, but he’s a shell of the player that won the 2009-10 Rookie of the Year award.

No player on this team averages more than 3.3 assists per game. They’re undisciplined, horrible on defense and not terribly good on offense.

Decision: Blow the whole thing up. Start from scratch with a new city and a new identity.

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