There are enough articles out there in the rumor mill discussing who might or might not move. Here we will look at which teams should be in the market to make a move. The NBA trade deadline is Thursday, Feb. 21 at 3 p.m. Eastern time.
Kevin Garnett is a popular target as the NBA trade deadline nears. (Photo Credit: TheMikeLee, Flickr.com)
Golden State Warriors
It was not long ago that the Golden State Warriors were the surprise team of the league. Stephen Curry and David Lee were leading the way. Curry averages more than 21 points per game and Lee is a double-double threat every night.
The rest of the team really stepped up this season. The team defense was much better and the emergence of players such as Klay Thompson, Jarrett Jack and Carl Landry really helped the team. Despite not having Andrew Bogut in the middle for most if the season, the team found themselves just behind the Los Angeles Clippers in the standings.
The team has fallen apart recently. It is on a six-game losing streak and only has three wins in its past 11 games. Golden State has dropped to sixth in the Western Conference.
The main culprit seems to be their lack of defense. After being a top-10 defense for the early part of the season, they have now been a bottom five team since Jan. 2, according to Yahoo Sports. Bogut’s return has not been the boost the team hoped it would be. While not his fault, it seems that the team seems to rely on him to clean up their mistakes too much. Without him in the lineup, players seemed to be more defensive minded. They need to get that focus back.
They should be looking for one of two things as the trade deadline approaches. They need another big man and some type of defensive minded player. Perhaps they get one player that fits both areas. Bogut is still limited in minutes and only recently has been cleared to play in back-to-back games, according to Yahoo Sports. A defensive-minded player will not disrupt the offensive flow of the team and can hopefully help steer the team back towards its early season success.
Oklahoma City Thunder
The Oklahoma City Thunder are sitting near the top of the league and look to make another deep run in the playoffs. They do have a weakness at center that they need to address.
The team is not worried about points out of the center position as Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook handle the scoring load. What the Thunder do need is a stronger rebounding presence. Their current starter, Kendrick Perkins, is barely beating point guard Westbrook in rebounding average (5.9 to 5.1). Luckily the team does have other players that crash the boards well. Still, a stronger rebounder in the middle will help open the offense up for the rest of the team.
Another area they need is a defensive stopper. Now this really comes down to a matchup issue with the Miami Heat. In their game on Feb. 14 LeBron James just toyed with the Thunder. While there is no one player out there who can stop James, especially with his recent play, they need to find a quick footed player who can at least stay with him. Again, this may be more of a dream player but the Thunder would be wise to look for a defensive specialist. Much like the Detroit Pistons used Joe Dumars to help lead the defensive effort against Michael Jordan, the Thunder need to find that player to counter James.
Los Angeles Clippers
Anyone still in shock that the Los Angeles Clippers are among the favorites to make a title run this year and the Los Angeles Lakers look like they will miss the playoffs? Owner Donald Sterling’s 22-year rebuilding plan is finally paying off.
The Clippers resemble the Thunder in many ways but are just a step behind them. Like the Thunder, they need rebounding help. They may have already made their biggest “acquisition” when Chauncey Billups returned from injury. In his last two games he is averaging 20 points. The team is among the leaders in offense and adding a healthy Billups will make them even harder to stop.
There have been rumors that the Clippers are trying to snag Kevin Garnett. This is exactly the type of player that they need; a defensive-minded stopper to clog the middle and grab some rebounds. DeAndre Jordan currently plays center for the team. While he is a decent rebounder and shot blocker, his numbers have dropped in both of those categories this season.
If the Clippers truly believe that they are contenders right now, then a move like this makes sense. Even if it’s not Garnett, they do need to find some type of rebounding beast and a player who can match up with Tim Duncan and Marc Gasol. Players like Nikola Vucevic, J.J. Hickson and Nikola Pekovic could fit this role, but are likely untouchable.
The Boston Celtics are caught between what they were and what they can be. Aging Garnett and Paul Pierce are on the downsides of their careers. While they still will hold value to contending teams, they should not be leading a team.
Since Rajon Rondo’s injury, the Celtics have surprised everyone by going 7-2. They hold the seventh spot in the Eastern Conference. While making the playoffs is nice, if you really have no chance of winning then what is it worth? The team is far below Miami, New York and Chicago and likely would have little chance against Indiana or Brooklyn as well.
They need draft picks and youth. Garnett would help fill some needs for both the Thunder and Clippers and could garner some help in return. All is not lost for the Celtics, they do have some promising young players in Fab Melo, Bradley Avery, Jeff Green, Jared Sullinger and of course Rondo.
They need to make some a move while their aging parts; Pierce, Jason Terry and Garnett still have some value.
Needless to say the next few hours will be filled with many rumors and hopefully several deals.
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