The NBA trade deadline is approaching fast, at 3 P.M. ET February 18, 2010. There's already been a lot of speculation on some other Spurs-centric web sites. With that in mind, it's time for some discussion of our own. Nobody really knows what the Spurs brain trust is thinking right now, so we can safely assume that some of us will be wrong, but it's always fun to think about.
So, what kind of trades are most likely?
Salary Dump Trades
A lot of teams in the league want to be players in the big free agent feeding frenzy this summer. A lot of other teams want to get below the luxury tax this season. The Spurs have some trade assets that could help those teams.
So, what are the Spurs' most valuable trade chips? Why, expiring contracts, of course. Let's see whose contracts expire for the Spurs this offseason, along with how much the Spurs are on the hook for.
Manu Ginobili - $10.72 M
Roger Mason - $3.78 M
Matt Bonner - $3.25 M
Michael Finley - $2.5 M
Ian Mahinmi - $990 K
Marcus Haislip* - $885 K
Theo Ratliff - $825 K
Keith Bogans - $825 K
Malik Hairston* - $736 K
* = team option
A couple of notes on expiring contracts
Obviously, Manu is the most attractive asset to other teams - but trading him is not something I'm willing to discuss here. If you're brave enough to face the wrath of bellasa, you can discuss it in the comments.
Also, Richard Jefferson has a player option, so technically, he could be an expiring contract. But the likelihood of him turning down $15.2 M next season is... well, almost zero. Especially if he's traded to a crap team.
Most Likely Trading Partners
Some teams that appear likely to be in fire sale mode with the trade deadline approaching are the Hornets and Wizards. Both teams are getting hit with the luxury tax if they don't dump salary by the end of the season, and the Hornets are in the especially ugly position of being hit with the tax again in 2010-11 if they don't move some of their bigger contracts now.
Here's a list of players that are probably on the block, if these teams get a good enough offer, along with the salary those players are drawing this year.
Peja Stojakovic - $13.39 M
Emeka Okafor - $10.79 M
David West - $9.08 M
James Posey - $6.03 M
They won't trade Chris Paul - they're desperate, not stupid.
Gilbert Arenas - $16.19 M
Antawn Jamison - $11.64 M
Caron Butler - $ 9.78 M
Arenas' contract is poison - no way in hell the Spurs(or anyone else) takes that on. Besides, the Wiz have a chance to void it anyway. As of right now, they look to save almost $5M in tax with Arenas suspended.
Another team that hasn't been mentioned as much in media speculation, but is also well over the tax, is Utah.
Andrei Kirilenko - $16.45 M
Mehmet Okur - $9.0 M
Start the Discussion
Of course, salary dumps aren't the only kind of trade around. They're just the most likely kind of trade to happen this time of year. This is where you come in. Here's some good resources to use:
ShamSports NBA salaries page - Click on a team to see all player salaries.
Tim Varner's trade speculation thread - There's some gems in the comments.
Show us what you can come up with, so that we can mock you mercilessly discuss all the great suggestions you have. Happy speculating!