Can Isiah pull off another blockbuster?
By Chad Ford
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Thursday, February 19
NBA Insider Chad Ford will be chatting live on ESPN.com today at 1 p.m. ET about the NBA trade deadline. Click here to submit your questions.
This just in. . .
Jerry West refused to confirm or deny the exisitence of the "so-called trade deadline."
Danny Ainge was just sent a thank you note by Nextel Wireless.
Juwan Howard, who has been traded in two of the last three trade deadlines, has gone into hiding. He was last seen with Chris Gatling, the patron saint of trade deadline deals.
League sources say the Knicks are offering the Hawks an autographed photo of Isiah for Rasheed Wallace.
Allen Iverson is already feeling disrespected by the 28 teams that haven't traded for him. "I'm not going to put up with it," Iverson said. "Our relationship is over."
The Pacers promise to include Larry Bird in any Austin Croshere trade.
Donald Sterling just sold his Clippers season tickets.
Mark Cuban claimed there was a 99.9 percent chance that the Mavs won't make a trade unless they're offered Erick Dampier, Rasheed Wallace, Brian Grant, Zydrunas Ilgauskas
, Kurt Thomas or anyone else for that matter.
It's the trade deadline, baby. The crap coming from teams smells a lot like the Magic and the Hawks. The truth, as the Knicks have reminded us all season, is that good trades can still happen in the NBA. And sometime after the 3 p.m. ET deadline, we can all go to bed. . .
Until then, ESPN Insider breaks down what is and isn't going down as we head into the homestretch. . .
Nothing like waiting until the last minute
The flurry of trades already this season has thrown conventional wisdom out the window. Normally, all of the really good deals don't happen until today. The thinking behind the theory is that as teams get more desperate and understand what offers are real and what aren't, the offers get sweeter.
That may not be true this year. With so many blockbuster trades already going down, many of the would-be players at the deadline look a little weary. Offers that a team could've snagged a month ago are off the table because folks have moved on and made their trade.
As of late, late Wednesday night, no trades were imminent. Several GMs were up late, still working the phones but, to my knowledge, nothing got done. That doesn't mean that talks won't heat up again this morning as teams slog toward the deadline, but it does mean that all of the really big stuff may be over.
Here's what we do know.
If Allen Iverson is traded, it will most likely happen this summer.
The chances of superstars like Allen Iverson, Steve Francis or Kobe Bryant getting traded are slim to none at this point. If they need to be moved (and the Philly media is already pushing AI out the door), then the summer is probably a better time to weigh the offers.
It's also pretty unlikely that we'll see Rasheed Wallace moved at this point. While Hawks GM Billy Knight is claiming that he's narrowed the field down to two teams, the three teams in the running for Rasheed -- the Pistons, Knicks and Mavs -- probably don't have what it takes to get a deal done now. The Pistons have the best chance, but as Insider first reported here on both Tuesday and Wednesday, they won't pull the trigger until they find someone to take either Chuck Atkins or Corliss Williamson off their hands.
As of Wednesday, the Pistons were still talking with the Magic, Celtics and Bulls about deals for either Atkins or Williamson, but the hold-up is that those teams want the same first-round pick (the one Milwaukee owes Detroit) that the Hawks do to part with Wallace.
Joe Dumars has a magical way of pulling of miraculous deals, but it's hard to see how they get both of them done together. If they can't, the team's priority, as we've been writing for weeks, is clearing cap space for Mehmet Okur.
The other suitors have a bigger problem. King wants expiring contracts, draft picks and young prospects, and Dallas and New York have little of either. Unless they can get a third or fourth team to take some of their leftovers (Utah perhaps?) it's tough to believe that the Hawks will pull the trigger.
What happens if the Hawks don't trade Wallace? Two things could happen. The team could decide it doesn't want the distraction and waive Wallace. After Wallace cleared waivers he'd be free to join another team, which would likely be the Knicks. The other solution is to hold onto him and try to work out a sign-and-trade deal this summer that gets Wallace more money than he'd get on the open market.
The other prize that seems to be highly coveted is the Warriors' Erick Dampier. The team is trying to package Dampier with Nick Van Exel in an effort to get cap relief. The Knicks have the most interest in Damp, but again, can't offer the Warriors the relief they're looking for.
Reports out of New York had the team offering Kurt Thomas, Dikembe Mutombo and Shandon Anderson for Van Exel and Dampier. I can't imagine the Warriors biting on that deal . . . then again, we are talking about the Warriors.
Memphis has been after Dampier since this summer, but as Insider has already reported, the asking price is awfully high for Jerry West's blood. As of Wednesday night, the Warriors were asking for Stromile Swift, Jake Tsakalidis and Shane Battier for Dampier. That's a lot of young blood for a center with creaky knees.
Detroit's interest in Dampier is more passing. The Pistons would try to use him in a larger three-way deal to get more cap space. Something could be worked out with Memphis here, but it would still likely cost the Grizzlies Swift and Battier at the very least.
Despite reports to the contrary, a source in Indiana claims that the Pacers are not pursuing Dampier.
If none of the big, blockbuster deals are likely to happen, what is going down? Right now you see a bunch of smaller names being floated as teams wrestle for cap space, or the missing piece in a playoff run.
Insider takes a look at several trade "hot zones" that we'll be watching closer as the deadline gets nearer.
Knicks: Even if the team can't land Rasheed or Dampier, we expect Isiah to make one more move before the deadline. Teams like Kurt Thomas, Frank Williams and to a lesser extent, Michael Sweetney. Isiah has even received inquiries on Penny Hardaway and Shandon Anderson. Isiah is always thinking out of the box and he's still not happy with his team.
Sonics: GM Rick Sund sounds like a guy willing to make a deal. As reported on Insider on Wednesday, the team has talked to the Raptors about a Brent Barry-and-Vladimir Radmanovic
-for-Donyell Marshall-and-Morris Peterson swap. However, as of late Wednesday, it sounded like those talks have stalled. The Sonics have also discussed a swap with the Grizzlies that would land them Stromile Swift and Jake Tsakalidis for Jerome James and Vladimir Radmanovic.
The Sonics are still in the running for Juwan Howard as well, though that deal appears to be less of a priority. The Celtics have made a hard charge at Barry, but what they're offering, expiring contracts, doesn't really resonate considering Barry comes off the books anyway. If the Celtics were willing to offer Chris Mills and Chris Mihm for Barry and a salary drain like Calvin Booth, Seattle might just get interested.
Pistons: Joe Dumars is motivated to get either Chucky Atkins or Corliss Williamson off the books. Armed with two first-round picks, you've got to believe the Pistons will come up with something.
Celtics: Danny Ainge is working the phones, and he has two coveted pieces to offer -- the expiring contracts of Mills and Mihm. A league source claimed on Wednesday that the team was considering a couple of offers that would land it another point guard and a first-round pick. There is also talk about the Celtics swapping Mills for Malik Rose. It sounds like the talk about Juwan Howard coming there is pretty much dead.
Blazers: The benching of Zach Randolph and fining of Qyntel Woods on Wednesday raised a few eyebrows around the league. Shareef Abdur Rahim got the start over Randolph after Randolph skipped practice. Randolph responsded by spinning a ball into Randolph. Cheeks got in a heated arguement with Randolph during a team huddle and was overheard saying the phrase "throw the ball at me like that". With Abdur Rahim now on board and Randolph not taking the change well, could Randolph be on the way out? Or alternatively, could the Blazers be interested in the offer the Sonics made to Atlanta. Would the Blazers be interested in Brent Barry, Vladimir Radmanovic, Jerome James and Ronald Murray for Rahim. Remember, a player can be traded again as long as they aren't packaged with another player going out. This deal works straight up for Rahim.
The team would still like to move Dale Davis, Ruben Patterson and even Damon Stoudamire. The thinking early on was that Davis would be pretty easy to move, but the Blazers have hit stumbling blocks. Bucks GM Larry Harris said that he will not trade Toni Kukoc for Davis. The Blazers were also trying to get involved in talks with the Sonics and Raptors, but haven't gotten anywhere there either.
The only team with interest in Patterson appears to be the Knicks, who have discussed a Shandon Anderson-for-Patterson swap. Stoudamire will be easier to move next year, though you wonder whether he might not be a bad fit on a team like Boston if the Blazers were to send out a No. 1 and be willing to swallow the last year of Yogi Stewart's deal.
Magic: Juwan Howard, Gordan Giricek, Steven Hunter . . . actually anyone not named Tracy McGrady is on the block. Lots of teams are interested in Giricek, who also happens to be in the last year of his deal, but after that things begin to wane just a little bit.
Sixers: Talking about trading Allen Iverson has dominated the air waves, but don't expect that to happen until the summer. More likely are trades that send Eric Snow or Aaron McKie packing. The problem is that their proposed replacements, including Juwan Howard, Malik Rose and Jerome Williams, don't really sound like huge upgrades.
Bulls: By most accounts Eddy Curry, Tyson Chandler and even Jamal Crawford are safe. The center of attention is on Marcus Fizer, whose contract expires this summer. The Pistons, Magic and Sonics have all been mentioned as possible destinations.
Raptors: They've been busy trying to get something down. It seems like they've cooled to the possibility of landing Brent Barry and Vladimir Radmanovic or, in the alternative, Dale Davis and Radmanovic as part of a three way trade. The Knicks offered the Raptors Dikembe Mutombo on Wednesday if they were willing to be part of a three way deal that lands New York Rasheed Wallace. It's still unclear why the Raptors would want to help the Knicks do anything. The Suns are trying to get the Raptors to take Jahidi White off their hands and may be willing to give them a first round pick to do it. In every case, the expiring contracts of Michael Curry, Michael Bradley and Morris Peterson appear to be the bait.
Clippers: The team has been trying to get someone to take Melvin Ely off their hands so that they can get further under the cap to make a run at Kobe Bryant. Point guard Keyon Dooling is also available. Talks with the Bulls seems to have fizzled however.
Nuggets-Jazz: Both teams have cap space, which allows them to facilitate trades. The Nuggets have received a lot of interest in Marcus Camby and Rodney White, but have been reluctant to pull the trigger unless something blows them away.
The Jazz are trying to use their roughly seven million in cap space and the expiring contract of Keon Clark to land themselves another draft pick or prospect. The team has shown some interest in the Magic's Gordan Giricek. The Suns (for Tom Gugliotta and first-rounder) right now seem like the only legit contender. though the Jazz have the power to get involved in potentially any deal out there.