Trade Watch: Top PGs on the block
- Getty ImagesMonta Ellis, Raymond Felton, Nate Robinson are scoring point guards on the block.With the trade deadline now less than 10 days away, we're entering crunch time. Calls are flying fast and furious.
Here's an updated look at the 10 point guards most likely to be moved by the deadline.
This information comes largely from two sources: GMs who tell us what other teams are offering them, and NBA player agents who often play important roles in getting their clients moved this time of year.
Top PGs on the block
Raymond Felton, Bobcats
Felton is a talented point guard, but he doesn't fit the pass-first mold that Larry Brown wants running his offense. With rookie D.J. Augustin looking like the point guard of the future in Charlotte, the chances Felton heads somewhere else are pretty high.
The Bobcats would like to get something for him before he hits restricted free agency this summer, so they've been shopping him since before the 2008 draft. They tried to swap Felton for T.J. Ford twice in June -- once with the Raptors and once with the Pacers. More recently, they almost had a deal completed with Dallas a few weeks ago, but Augustin's abdominal strain forced them to pull back. Now that Augustin is back in the starting lineup, the Bobcats could be ready to pull the trigger again.
Chance of trade: 55 percent
Earl Watson, Thunder
Watson may not be the most talented player on the list, but there are two big reasons he is coveted. First, his contract expires in the summer of 2010. Second, the Thunder aren't asking for much.
Oklahoma City has its point guard of the future, Russell Westbrook, and is primarily interested in getting below the salary cap. So an offer of an expiring contract or a young player who fills a need could get a deal done.
Chance of trade: 50 percent
Leandro Barbosa, Suns
Barbosa has played an important role off the bench for the Suns for years, but the team is sputtering and now practically everyone appears to be on the table in Phoenix.
Barbosa's long contract and his diminished role on the team are telltale signs that he could be gone at the trade deadline. While Suns sources insist they'd like to keep him, he may be, next to Amare Stoudemire, their most movable asset. Barbosa is young and has value: He isn't the pure point guard that some teams covet, but his scoring ability, energy and reasonable contract make him a hot name. It appears the Suns would be willing to part with him in return for an expiring contract and a young player with a smaller contract.
Chance of trade: 50 percent
Mike Conley, Grizzlies
Eighteen months after the draft, Conley still hasn't found his groove in Memphis. But new coach Lionel Hollins is starting to get through to him. Still, will it be enough motivation for the Grizzlies to keep him?
Conley is a good distributor and an excellent defender, but his shaky shooting has made him a liability. The Grizzlies would like to move O.J. Mayo to the point or at least get another guard who can stroke the basketball. They turned down the Blazers' offer of Travis Outlaw for Conley this past summer and have generally been looking for more. I'm not sure they'll be able to get it.
A rumored trade of Ramon Sessions and Joe Alexander for Conley never materialized, in part because Sessions is a better player right now. But long term, Conley still has a lot of value in the right system.
Chance of trade: 35 percent
Nate Robinson, Knicks
It might surprise some to learn that Robinson is second only to rookie Danilo Gallinari in plus/minus for the Knicks at the moment. Watch a Knicks game and you'll see why. Robinson is well-suited for head coach Mike D'Antoni's up-tempo style and has played a critical role off the bench this season.
The problem for the Knicks is that Robinson hits restricted free agency this summer and the Knicks aren't inclined to pay him. They are trying to free up as much money as possible for the summer of 2010 and Robinson isn't worth risking that flexibility to lose out on a shot at LeBron and friends. If the Knicks can get a future first-round pick or use Robinson to sweeten an Eddy Curry package for an expiring contract, they'll have to consider dealing him.
Chance of trade: 30 percent
Jamaal Tinsley, Pacers
There is no denying that Tinsley is on the block. The Pacers did not allow him to join the team during training camp and have been working with his agent, Raymond Brothers, to move him all season. According to all parties involved, Tinsley is totally healthy and in decent shape. Given his undeniable talent, that should have a number of teams seriously interested.
However, the issue is twofold. One is his contract: Tinsley still has two years and $14.7 million left on his deal after this season. Second is the combination of his injury history and off-court track record. In the past six seasons, he has started more than 43 games only once. And his well-publicized off-court issues have given a number of teams pause. Still, Tinsley could be the answer for teams -- such as Miami -- that are looking for help.
Chance of trade: 25 percent
Andre Miller, Sixers
Miller may be the most attractive player on the list for two reasons. One, he's a talented veteran who can immediately step in and contribute on a number of contenders. Two, he's in the last year of his contract, which means teams don't have to commit long-term.
With the Sixers hovering around .500 and not looking like the title contenders we thought they would be, it might be time for the Sixers to make a move for the future. While Miller won't bring them back an All-Star in return, he could get them a future pick or another player who could help them down the road.
It's not hard to see that the Sixers' future looks brighter with their youth, not their veterans. Miller might be the first to go, especially with Elton Brand out for the season.
Chance of trade: 20 percent
Monta Ellis, Warriors
Ellis' infamous mo-ped injury got him in hot water with Golden State, which is still holding out the right to terminate his contract if he doesn't fully recover. That hasn't set well with Ellis' camp, which would jump at the opportunity to part ways.
A lot of teams will have interest in Ellis if the Warriors want to cut ties. The problem for him is that he's a base-year compensation player and will have to be part of a larger deal to be traded before the deadline.
Chance of trade: 15 percent
I doubt Mike Dunleavy would hesitate to move him if he could. In fact, sources insist they've already offered him back to Golden State for Corey Maggette. On the right team -- a contender -- Davis obviously has a lot to offer. But who's picking up that extra four years and $53 million on his contract? In this economic environment, the Clippers will struggle to find takers.
Chance of trade: 10 percent
Kirk Hinrich, Bulls
By most accounts, Hinrich should be higher on the list. The Bulls have their point guard of the future in Derrick Rose, and Hinrich has real value in the league. The problem is, I don't think John Paxson can pull the trigger because he's a Hinrich fan. And on a team that's loaded with youth, Hinrich is a rare veteran presence.
I think the Bulls will most likely hang on to Hinrich for the rest of the season. However, the chances he gets traded will go up this summer, especially if there's a new GM running the show in Chicago by then.
Chance of trade: 5 percent
Chad Ford covers the NBA for ESPN Insider.
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