The big trade rumor news from the past couple of weeks has been the availability of Atlanta Hawks forward Paul Millsap. Multiple teams were rumored to be interested in the three-time All Star. However, on Monday, Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical reported that Atlanta had taken Millsap off the trade block:
Sources: Atlanta GM Wes Wilcox has started informing teams today that Paul Millsap is no longer on the trade market.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojVerticalNBA) January 9, 2017
Chris Vivlamore of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that “the Hawks took a ‘long, hard look’ at trading Millsap but ultimately decided he is too valuable to the franchise and they want to keep him, according to one person familiar with change of decision.” Vivlamore said the change in direction may have come from ownership.
Atlanta had won seven in a row before losing to the Boston Celtics on a last second shot on Friday night. They currently sit in the four-seed in the Eastern Conference. It’s likely that some combination of their recent success and the lack of a compelling offer for Millsap caused them to rethink parting ways with their leading scorer.
The fact that they took him off the table for now doesn’t completely rule out a potential deal for Millsap before the February 23 trade deadline. Speaking on The Ringer NBA Podcast on Friday, Wojnarowski said the Hawks would revisit moving Millsap as the trade deadline approached:
I don’t think there’s any doubt they’ll revisit this closer to the trade deadline—see where they are as a team, make some decisions about going forward. Do they want to re-sign him this summer? If they don’t—if they want to reshape this roster—they probably move him. But I think, for the Hawks, they have time to make that decision. They’re really playing well right now.
The Miami Heat were in the news this week when Zach Lowe said “literally every player” would be available on the trade market. While much of the discussion focused on center Hassan Whiteside, who Lowe specifically mentioned, it appears point guard Goran Dragic is more likely to be traded. This week Lowe reported that the Orlando Magic were among the teams showing interest in Dragic:
Teams will express interest in Dragic ahead of the trade deadline -- a bunch, including the Magic, already did, per league sources -- but Miami can hold out for a hefty return. They gave up a ton for Dragic, and they'd need to save face in any teardown trade.
Trading Dragic for a combination of picks and younger players would help Miami facilitate a rebuild, but the Heat might be asking for too much. ESPN’s Marc Stein reported last week that Miami’s asking price was too high to encourage any serious trade discussions.
Philadelphia 76ers center Nerlens Noel has frequently been discussed this season as someone likely to be traded. Basketball Insiders’ Steve Kyler reiterated that several times on Twitter this week and added that he thinks the 76ers will also move center Jahlil Okafor:
Noel is going to be moved. The question is will Okafor be moved too. I think both are likely. https://t.co/o1z13OESWS— Steve Kyler (@stevekylerNBA) January 10, 2017
I think Noel is moved, mainly because of his pending free agency. Not as much urgency on Okafor. https://t.co/QH10DObNZl— Steve Kyler (@stevekylerNBA) January 10, 2017
Okafor, the third overall pick in the 2015 draft, has started 14 games this season but has had several recent DNP-Coach’s Decisions. The second-year player has averaged 15.1 points and 6.3 rebounds per game for his young career.
Another center who may be on the market is New Orleans Pelicans big man Alexis Ajinca. Ajinca, who has started 10 games for the Pelicans this year, has only appeared in one game since Christmas. The French-born player aired his frustration to L’Equipe on Tuesday:
It’s very frustrating because I want to play, bring something to the team. I worked a lot and I got back in shape early in the season. It was noted by the coaches and the general manager. And then it came overnight ... At first, I was told it was stories of match-ups and then afterwards, I was a little forgotten. Afterwards, when I play, it’s for five minutes and it's hard to do a lot of things
Like the 76ers, New Orleans has a log jam at center. Omar Asik has also seldom seen playing time in the past month. Ajinca told L’Equipe that the solution was to trade him. The 27-year-old signed a 4-year $20 million contract before the 2015 season. Asik is in the second year of a 5-year $58 million contract.
A couple weeks ago the Houston Rockets were floating Corey Brewer in trades. This week Marc Stein reported that K.J. McDaniels has emerged as the player the Rockets are most likely to move this trade season. The third-year guard is averaging 3.0 points in just under 9.0 minutes per game.
Today marks the day that final group of players become trade eligible. That means players like Allen Crabbe, Maurice Harkless, Meyers Leonard, and LeBron James can now be traded! Check back next week to find out all the latest rumors.
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