Feeling Lucky? Try 7 GMs With Decisions

HANG TIME, Texas — The clock ticks down, the trade deadline draws near and all 30 NBA general managers are burning up their phones with possibilities realistic and absurd.

Some need to make deals to solidify playoff teams, others simply can’t bear the thought of sitting still. As Thursday gets closer, here are seven GMs with big decisions to make:

Danny Ferry, Atlanta Hawks

Is it finally time to give up on the hope that Josh Smith can be more than a numbers-gatherer in Atlanta? Ferry, the first-year Hawks’ GM, wasted no time in moving out Joe Johnson’s big contract. Part of the decision was that J-Smoove would blossom without Iso-Joe taking up a big part of the offense. Instead he’s averaging 1.4 fewer points and one rebound less than a year ago, his efficiency rating is down from 21.14 to 19.90 and he’s shooting only 50 percent from the free-throw line. The sense is that it’s “just time.” Still, that doesn’t mean Ferry has to move him. He’s positioned the Hawks so that they could afford to keep Smith and still sign a pricey free agent next summer. But that won’t stop the likes of the Bucks, Suns, Celtics, Wizards and Sixers from making a run. The Rockets have long had eyes for Smith, but might be more inclined to wait to make their moves in free agency.

Danny Ainge, Boston Celtics

Despite their 8-1 record since Rajon Rondo’s season ended due to torn knee ligaments, it’s too hard to see the Celtics making a serious and deep playoff run on the aging legs of Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce. The obvious move would be with the 36-year-old Garnett and making that long-rumored deal to the Clippers (Eric Bledsoe). The challenge is getting K.G. to waive the no-trade clause in his contract. Can Ainge appeal to Garnett’s own best interest to get another ring or his loyalty to the Celtics organization to help them start over? Even if Rondo’s knee injury isn’t as severe as first thought and he’s able to get back on the floor for the start of training camp, the rebuilding in Boston has to start sometime. It might as well be now.

Billy King, Brooklyn Nets

If King could know for sure that Deron Williams will shake off the injuries and inefficiency and return to the All-Star form he showed in Utah, then he’d be more inclined to sit back and put his feet up. Or maybe not in the realm of Mikhail Prokhorov. The Russian billionaire owner is willing to shell out big bucks, but also expects immediate results and does not handle mediocrity well. See Avery Johnson, who was fired with a 14-14 record, a Coach of the Month title pinned to his resume. The Nets will likely try to get Paul Millsap from the Jazz and could be in the running for the popular Josh Smith. Last year’s All-Rookie team member MarShon Brooks is on the block. Would Charlotte’s offer of Ben Gordon for Kris Humphries be enough? The Nets have been so inconsistent that with the possibility of a first-round bounce due to a bad matchup looming, you have to believe King won’t sit still.

Donnie Nelson, Dallas Mavericks

“The Bank of Cuban is open.” That was team owner Mark Cuban’s declaration last month, but what must be determined is in which direction the Mavericks are headed right now. They enter the post-All-Star stretch six games under .500 and 4 1/2 games out of the last playoff spot in the West. If the Mavs decide they’re better off reloading with a fully-recovered Dirk Nowitzki next season, they certainly have a good trade chip in Vince Carter, who’d be a wonderful addition to any playoff contender. He could also bring in future assets for Shawn Marion, Chris Kaman and Elton Brand.

Daryl Morey, Houston Rockets

You put him in this slot just because Morey lives with an itchy trigger finger and might be inclined to make a deal just because he can. But with the James Harden steal under his belt and the free agency hits on Omer Asik and Jeremy Lin, the Rockets will probably strike only if it’s a chance at a home run. With the youngest team in the league, a position in the West playoff race and a payroll that could make them big, big players in free agency, next summer is probably when they’ll make their move. But Houston is now big-game hunting for talent to play with Harden. If a chance to scoop up a true All-Star comes their way, Morey won’t hesitate.

Mitch Kupchak, L.A. Lakers

It’s almost obligatory to put the Lakers on any potential trade deadline list, despite Kupchak saying publicly that he’s not at all interested in dealing Dwight Howard or breaking up his All-Star group of underachievers at this point. He can’t trade Pau Gasol as long as the possibility exists that Howard walks as a free agent next summer — which it does. Besides, the Lakers problems are not about needing more players but getting the ones they have to play every night with passion.

Dennis Lindsey, Utah Jazz

Paul Millsap or Al Jefferson? Al Jefferson or Paul Millsap? With the contracts of both of the frontcourt veterans expiring, it was assumed since Day One of this season that the rookie GM Lindsey would have to deal one of them by the deadline, if for no other reason than to make room and more playing time for Derrick Favors. It would seem to make sense, but only if the Jazz can get a bonafide star in return. That’s what the 30-24 team lacks right now. But there is no reason to make a deal just to make a deal. The future is based on a young core of Favors, Gordon Hayward, Enes Kanter and Alec Burks. Millsap is the more likely one to go, but maybe only for another expiring contract in return. Salt Lake City is not a desired location for free agents. But as the effects of the new collective bargaining agreement are felt and big names teams try to avoid the increasingly punishing luxury tax, players will want to simply get paid. Don’t expect a panic move here.

56 Comments

  1. @ harry-you damn right about that! build around The Truth & KG! It can work when it’s done the right way! A lot of the outside Boston commentators keep saying building around them vets won’t work for the long run & remember what happended early “90′s w/ Letting Bird”92 & McHale”93 stay & retire instead of trading them for younger players & then them same commentators harp on the ensuing not winning drought was because of that. They don’t have any idea what they’re talking about. The Celts losing drought had nothing to do w/ not trading the vets! It was rather eerie travesties that occurred to 2 families & the Celts-Len Bias-RIP”86-22-(much respect), Reggie Lewis”93-27-(much respect)-both of these 2 gentlemen would have carried the Celts real well thru the “90′s-definitely 2 all stars & both would have been hall of famers. Those following years in the Boston sports world of the “90′s just had an eerie gloom over it-i know cause i live here & felt it w/ those 2 travesties in a 7yr period-it was just reeeal weird. The point-in college, Bias was compared as being as dynamic as MJ & we saw Lewis’ all starness-a team is not going to come across special players like that strait out of college 1yr back to back once in a blue moon. Like i said it was just real F!!??N eerie. It seemed as bad luck came there after. Keeping vets aboard working w/ young players works when done right-it’s not like it’s a team full of vets, just 2 Pierce & KG, then add few more young w/ the already young Celts have.

  2. LAKERBOY says:

    TRADE HOWARD and WORLD PEACE in DENVER for Mcgee, Gallinari, Faried

    LAKERS STARTERS:

    Mcgee
    Pau
    Gallinari
    kobe
    nash

    DENVER STARTERS
    Howard
    Wilson Chandler
    MWP
    Iguodala
    Lawson

    Pretty good?????

  3. CBFor3 says:

    I would love to see the Suns make a move seeing how im a Suns fan. Now I’ve heard of them going for Rondo and Josh Smith. I feel they should go for Josh Smith and give the Hawks a talented center in Gortat. If they were to get Rondo, where goes Goran? Goran’s just gonna get better but I do think the Suns need to make a move!

  4. More Depth says:

    Cavs? If the Cavs finish in the bottom three of the league. You could really get lucky and aquire Cody Zeller and move Tyler Zeller down to the back up (now you have more chemistry between your two bigs) which will solve your Center problem. Maybe if you would trade Alonzo for a draft pick and get James Mcadoo or Shabazz in the draft you would have good young starting five, and in the off season get some more depth on your bench.

    • More Depth says:

      Oops my bad move cody zeller to pf and tristan thompson as back up now more deph on your bench. I thought Anderson was gone due to blood clot.

  5. More Depth says:

    Bulls? We need to get in this deadline too we dont have a good center off the bench. We need to strive for Derrick Favors or Malcom Thomas, they are real good young players. This is how 13-14 should be Pg’s Drose Kirk Sg’s Jimmy Butler Nate Sf’s Deng ( maybe Shabazz or James Mcadoo if we trade Teague up for a 1st round draft pick) Pf’s Boozer Derick Favors C’s Joe Malcom Thomas. If we could get that line up Championship.

  6. KG & Pierce-Celts for life!!!

    • harry says:

      I second that, Boston had nothing and Pierce rode it out with em… thru ricky davis, sczerbiak, mark blount.. lol.. all those horrible ainge contracts. Build around them dudes and give em a couple more cracks at it. They always perform when the chips are down. Celtics for life

  7. Dr C.Goode says:

    Lakers should trade Howard to Hawks for Horford, Petro and Morrow. Lakers get a center who plays hard every night and Hawks can pair two guys together who think they’re better than they are in Howard with Smith.

  8. Nagehunter says:

    Dallas definitely needs to shake the roster. I think the mavs should get a center player that can defend, Kaman is more of a offensive threat than a inside defender. Where should they get that missing piece?

  9. CHINA MAN says:

    Howard to deron plus lopez?

  10. CHINA MAN says:

    Hiward to kg and rondo? Or gasol and howard to k.g pierce and rondo?

  11. hamed says:

    i would take Harden& Oask over Koby&D12 any day any time. even JordanHill is better than D.12

  12. Simon Templar says:

    I would like Boston Celtics acquire OJ Mayo in trade at deadline or summer, pairing him with Rondo. In addition, Celtics craft deal to get DeMarcus Cousins or acquire Dwight Howard in summer, if Howard can perform under pressure of Boston playing for Doc Rivers.

    If Dwight Howard doesn’t sign with Chicago or Boston in summer, Dallas is best option for him. He won’t be leader on team and Mavs could acquire Tyreke Evans pairing with OJ Mayo. They would contend in NBA Western Conference next season.

  13. jazz lov'in says:

    i think the nets will trade away kris humphries and so the jazz should trade al jefferson not paul milsap, and also trade earl watson and a draft pick to the nets for deron williams, good for both sides

  14. The Truth says:

    Why can’t we just start fresh. Every player is in FA and every team picks balls for a draft spot and teams start drafting their players. Every team gets a star and look what we have here real competition night in and night out not 3 teams only. After every 10 years we start all over and get different looks.

    • Jimmy Lean says:

      Worst idea ever.
      Thats the whole fun of basketball, being smart enough to find players in odd places and get great teams together. Stars dont make teams, management and great personnel make teams. Look at the lakers.. How many stars do they have? Look at the spurs, my point exactly. Finding players that gel together is just as important. IF we look at the clippers, they have a lot of stars, but they all trust each other and have fun together, and they win games because of it. Teams sometimes wait 30 years or more to become “good” (look at the clippers) and that just makes it that much sweeter for the fans. To the clippers fan who has been waiting since ’84 to see their team win, this season is the sweetest tasting thing. If you randomly take what a team has worked on for years and years, and give it to other teams, they might not be able to harness what that first team did with those players. I dont think the Spurs would win so many games with their team they have now if they were not under greg popovich, I love the NBA, and i love it how it is.

  15. JOSH SMITH TO ROCKETS

  16. joey boy says:

    KENYON MARTIN for LAKERS…. pls sign him

  17. Bernard says:

    1- Lakers should get rid of Gasol AND Howard. That’s enough $$ to get a top player that could be the key to a solid team just in time for the playoffs (if they can win enough games before it’s too late).
    2- As the Raptors are on a winning streak (Last 5) they have room to send Bargnani to a team that needs a rounded player that can provide an average of 15+ points any game. They have a team with talent and youth and drive. I am not saavy enough to say which position they could ask for but trading Bargnani and Landry Fields and Pietrus could bring in someone that would make them a solid contender for a playoff action… Nowitzki ? Could be a leader with experience…
    Howard ? (Just kidding !!! He’s a spoiled star…).
    Gotta love that game !

  18. celticspride says:

    Lakers problems started when they didn’t hire bryan Scott as head coach after phill Jackson left. That was the biggest mistake the front office made, after that it all went down hill real fast.

  19. jake s says:

    Lakers need to get rid of Kobe and Nash. All L.A. has done this season is made an old team older. Let me be clear that I am not saying Kobe and Nash are bad players. Howard is the future of LAL and they need to rebuild the team around him. I’m not a Laker fan, but my biggest objection is in the management. LAL management has been irresponsible to say the least. 1- They tried to force a new team on a whim. 2- GM fires Mike Brown for something that HE DID. 3- They hire a downhill coach that was fired from NY for a reason. 4- They try to force the issue whilst ignoring the fact that the management is responsible for the whole mess. We all knew the demise of the Lakers would come… but no one thought it would be like this.

    • Ron Artest Peace says:

      True enough. Dwight is the future of the team yet the team should also know how to execute such a beast. Get the right players involved around him maybe. Nash? I’d easily let him go but Kobe? I’ll stick with him until he retires. Kobe is arguably the best Laker ever and he is a key to Howard being one of the Laker greats after a disappointing first half.

      GO LAKERS. GO DWIGHT. STOP THE HATING ON HOWARD.

      • Badgers says:

        Dwight isn’t the future of the Lakers, he didn’t choose to go there he got traded, plus with all the hate hes getting for D’Antoni’s coaching and Kobe’s poor shot selection, do you really think he’s going to stay come free agency time?

  20. Joao says:

    No way the rockets trade Harden, besides what would the lakers do with him they have nash and kobe at the guards and im pretty sure he would want to be put back in the bench.

  21. LAL True Fan says:

    James Harden and Marcus Morris and a 1st round draft pick For Dwight Howard?

    • Beavis says:

      would be interesting but do you think HOU will trade Harden after just trading to get him?

      • Breeezy says:

        No. Why trade for Howard when he has been so inconsistent and injury prone? Harden is a star and has so much room to grow still. He is going to be a top 5 player in the league in a few years, and at the moment is not so far off. I’m an OKC fan and was sad to see him, but am happy to see him prosper. Still smile at my Harden OKC jersey. A trade that had to happen for him, too damn good to be a third option, even too good to be a second option, at his age as well.

        It is ludicrous to think Houston would even for a second play with the idea of trading the beard.

  22. JB says:

    The only teams that need to make trades are Lakers, Hawks and the nets. 3 way trade maybe ????

  23. TTKIN says:

    I wish Kupchak would blow up the roster now. Keep Bryant, Nash, Clark, Hill and Meeks, the rest of the roster can go. I’d rather get our rebuilding process over with now as opposed to first and second round exits for 5 years before realizing theyre screwed.

  24. LAL True Fan says:

    James Harden and Marcus morris and 1stround draftpick for howard?

  25. Costa says:

    Houston will wait for next summer? How about pitching for Howard this summer?

  26. Vinsanity says:

    Elton Brand can’t be traded. He was picked up off of amnesty waivers by the Mavs.

  27. peatbg says:

    What about the Suns? Yes its not a rich team but they have to react before the fans start to boycot the games. They need some star to bring the guys together, a leader and scorer. Nash is gone, Hill is gone.JD is a real hustle player but still no old dog enough to lead the team. Need some consistency desperately. Why not with 1-2 trades? Kylie Erving is the best option for young PG. But dont know what they can trade for him….

    • Doug says:

      You will not get Irving for the entire suns roster and cash…….keep dreaming. There are only 4 or 5 guys that Cleveland would consider trading him for and they dont play for the suns. The reality is those 4 or 5 guys dont want to play in cleveland – one of them already left.

      Its nice to dream and I would love him on my team but its not going to happen.

  28. V says:

    Andrea Bargnani?

  29. TrueCeltic says:

    i dont think Smith would fit in the celtics but if the celtics could aquire him that would be kinda cool

  30. Patty says:

    DERON WILLIAMS IS A GOOD PLAYER. DERON WILLIAMS BRINGS CONFUSION TO ANY ORGANIZATIONS. I WOULD NOT WANT DERON WILLIAMS ON MY TEAM.

    DERON WILLIAMS LIKES TO GET THE COACH OR GENERAL MANAGERS FIRED.

    GET RID OF DERON WILLIAMS.

  31. LS says:

    I sure hope Ainge isn’t thinking the way you’re thinking. KG is the heart and soul of the Celtics.

  32. Robert says:

    There is a lack of rumours over Andrea Bargnanis future, which is strange.

    • dd def says:

      it seems like there’s an overall silence which is beyond astonishing for this time of year. kinda feels empty.

    • BIGMatta23 says:

      I believe/read somehwere that Colangelo told Bargnarni that he wasn’t going to trade him now until the summer.