It’s the common thought that in any trade for contending teams, there is to be a return that can bring value immediately.
Teams who are looking to win a championship, or at least set themselves up for one in the very near future, look for trades to acquire players who can help starting that season. Teams who don’t abide by that, such as the Oklahoma City Thunder when dealing James Harden for prospects and picks, are seen as taking a step back unnecessarily. However, with Dec. 19 coming up, take a moment to assess any trade that occurs with the possibility of a follow-up in February.
Keep Dec. 19 in mind. That is the last day players who have been traded can be traded once again this season. Teams, such as the Houston Rockets with Omer Asik, are seen as rushing with this date in mind to add a potentially key piece to whatever the current goal is. It slips through the mind of many that there may be pieces moved by this deadline that may easily be flipped again for other pieces in February.
The reason why this “second” trade deadline exists is because with Feb. 20 set as the actual trade deadline and the rule that a player cannot be traded until two months after the first trade, that makes the two-month early mark set on Dec. 19. It basically sets up as either a chance for a team to take on a traded player, now that he would be coming from a team with better assets or salary cap situation, or another bailout for teams who are wishing to dump the player(s), just as the previous team did.
So far, the only notable players that have been traded are Rudy Gay and Derrick Williams to the Sacramento Kings, meaning the Kings now can decide, if they wish, to trade either of the players by this season’s trade deadline. Teams who are looking to acquire all-star caliber players on the block are looking to get a deal done quick so they can have at least a two-month evaluation of the player.
Whoever trades for Asik or Rajon Rondo, as well as Jeff Green and Zach Randolph–who have to a lesser extent been rumored in trades–will most likely carefully evaluate the following two months, considering they’re making the move less than two months into the season. The teams on the other end may also be looking for players and assets to flip again, especially if the aim is a rebuilding process.
Players who signed contracts this summer are now eligible to be traded with the Dec. 15 date already passed, though the list doesn’t contain plenty of players who there is a likelihood of being traded. There are few players already ready to be dumped, yet the fact remains that it does open trade possibilities.
So Dec. 19 is coming soon and with it will most likely come a transaction or two. However, when taking a look at the impact it has on the parties involved, just remember Feb. 20. NBA teams plan ahead to these types of things. Or at least I think they do.