Most basketball fans were rather disappointed with the activity – or rather, inactivity – at last season’s NBA trade deadline. High-profile names such as Josh Smith and Paul Millsap were thrown around the rumor mill, but in the end, the biggest transaction was J.J. Redick getting traded from the Magic to the Bucks.
With this summer’s upcoming draft expected to include some of the best young talent of all-time, the 2014 version of the NBA trade deadline has the possibility to be very eventful, and the Philadelphia 76ers’ Spencer Hawes will undoubtedly be a prominent player on the move.
There are a number of teams already in “tank mode”, and they will be looking to further increase their chances at more lottery balls by trading away players with decent value and salary-cap friendly contracts. Just as there are many teams who have been all but mathematically eliminated from playoff contention, a handful of teams are right on the cusp of making it into the postseason.
One of those teams is the Dallas Mavericks — who will almost always be “buyers” as long as Mark Cuban is running the show. The Mavericks are currently in a three-way tie for the sixth (or seventh and eighth seed) out West with the Golden State Warriors and Phoenix Suns. They can also hear the footsteps of the red-hot Memphis Grizzlies, who are just three games behind them and have won 10 of their last 13. If Cuban wants to make the playoffs – and you know he does – there’s no doubt in my mind he’ll be doing whatever that takes.
This is where Hawes comes into the picture.
The Sixers are lottery-bound. At 15-38, they have the league’s second-worst record. Only Milwaukee is worse. Since the start of the season, the Sixers have been at the forefront of almost every possible trade scenario. This is because they only really have two “untradeable” assets – Michael Carter-Williams and Nerlens Noel – and also because they do have a few talented players that could help another team down the stretch. Evan Turner, Thaddeus Young and Hawes have all been connected to trade rumors at some point this year, but the latter is most likely to find his way out of the City of Brotherly Love.
Unlike Turner — who is set to become a restricted free agent — and Young — who is signed through next season, with a player option for 2015-16 — Hawes will be an unrestricted free agent at season’s end. That palatable notion is in fact good for both parties involved in a potential trade. The Sixers would be able to receive expiring contracts and/or draft picks in return for a player they’d have no intention of re-signing in the offseason anyway, and the Mavs would be able to add a player with per game averages of 13.3 points, 8.6 rebounds, 1.3 blocks, and 1.6 3-pointers. It’s not every day you have the opportunity to acquire a 3-point shooting seven-footer with shot-blocking capability. Making Hawes even more enticing to them is that he’s still just 25 years old, and with just $26.5 million on the books for 2014-15, the Mavs are set to have a very large amount of cap space this summer.
A possible deal would almost automatically include the Mavericks’ second-round pick this summer, which they received from the Boston Celtics. With the Celtics owning one of the worst records in the league, that could very well be one of the first few picks of the second round. One or two future first-round pick are likely to be involved as well. The Sixers may also request a young player with a rookie salary like Ricky Ledo or Gal Mekel in any deal, and ideally the Mavs would also send them one of the many players on their roster with expiring contracts. Jae Crowder and Devin Harris are more likely to go than the likes of Shawn Marion, Vince Carter and DeJuan Blair, who would probably want to be kept around for a playoff run.
It’s been rumored that impending free agent Chris Bosh would like to sign with Dallas, being that he grew up in the area, but Cuban won’t want to wait to find out, and landing Hawes gives them a shot at winning now. After all, with some maneuvering, and free-agent to be Dirk Nowitzki possibly re-upping for a cap-friendly hometown discount, there’s no reason the Mavericks can’t have all three.
Philadelphia 76ers receive: Ricky Ledo, Jae Crowder, Vince Carter, Bernard James, Devin Harris, 2014 second round pick (via Boston), 2015 first round pick, 2016 first round pick (any one of three Dallas owns)