Derrel “Jazz” Johnson appeared on The Bottom Line Sports Show last night to talk NBA Trade deadline details about many of the NBA teams. Here are some of the questions that were asked, and some of his answers.
1. Could Josh Smith be on the only star traded today?
It is possible for Josh Smith to be the only one traded, as it appears the Atlanta Hawks are determined to get rid of him, as they won’t offer him the max deal he is expecting and don’t want to lose him for nothing. If I was Atlanta’s GM Danny Ferry, I would try to get the Los Angeles Clippers involved in the deal, but they seem to be set on trying to land Kevin Garnett from the Boston Celtics, who has a no-trade clause. But we all know Danny Ferry isn’t the best GM, shown by his inability to surround LeBron James with talent in Cleveland.
2. How surprising will it be if Smith is not traded?
It would be surprising, as they are almost certain not to resign him, and would risk seeing him leave without compensation.
3. What will the Oklahoma City Thunder need in the trade market?
There are rumors about the Thunder and the Phoenix Suns talking about a trade involving Kendrick Perkins and Marcin Gortat, but I don’t see that happening. He is a better scorer than Perkins but I’m not sure if I would give up the size and the experience, especially with the Memphis Grizzlies, Los Angeles Clippers and San Antonio Spurs, though I see the desire to add more scoring and get a little more mobile if they face the Miami Heat in the finals again.
4. Do the San Antonio Spurs have enough to make a deep playoff run?
Yes, especially with the Oklahoma City Thunder trading away James Harden, who averaged 18.5 points in the six-game series against the Spurs last season. I’m not confident that Kevin Martin will be able to replace that production against the solid Spurs defense, so they could make a Finals run.
5. What will Golden State need to do in order to make the playoffs, do they need to make a trade?
At 30-23, the Golden State Warriors need to stay pat and grow as a team. Though they don’t have the same talent as the Thunder, they can make some of the same steps season-to-season as they grow as a unit with a potential star like Stephen Curry, young talent like Harrison Barnes and an All-Star in David Lee.
6. Will Memphis have enough time for them to develop chemistry with Austin Daye and Tayshaun Prince?
Austin Daye is averaging double figures over his last four games, and Prince is a solid pro who is averaging just under 10 points and he has championship experience, so I think they will be fine in Memphis. I think the Grizzlies will miss Rudy Gay more in the postseason than the regular season, but I do see where they were going with the trade, improving on the defensive end.
7. Will the Dallas Mavericks need to start all over?
If Dwight Howard is not traded, Mark Cuban and the Dallas Mavericks are going to make a run at him, so Dirk Nowitzki get one more championship run. If Howard is traded and/or they are unable to sign him in the off season, we may not see Dirk surrounded with enough talent to make another title run.
8. Is it too late for the Minnesota Timberwolves this season?
Yes, the T-Wolves would have to pass Portland, Dallas, and the Lakers and an additional team just to make the playoffs as the eighth seed, and I don’t see that happening. However, look for them to be a tough team next season when Kevin Love, Ricky Rubio, and the big man in the middle Nikola Pekovic, who looks like one of the villians from Superman 2, are all in the lineup.
9. Do the New York Knicks have enough to make a trade that will make them better?
Marginally better. I don’t see Atlanta entertaining a deal in which they get back Iman Shumpert and Amar’e Stoudemire, and a deal for Paul Milsap of the Utah Jazz would make the Knicks marginally better, but not sure if they are willing to give up Shumpert for that move, and you can say the same thing about JJ Reddick from the Orlando Magic.
10. Are the Lakers making a mistake not trading Dwight Howard?
Yes, but let’s face it, Dwight Howard changes his mind more than a PMSing teenager, so if the Lakers don’t deal him, they are banking on him changing his mind. I don’t see it happening. I don’t think he likes his teammates or the pressure of being in Los Angeles, so he will not resign.
11. Is Josh Smith too much of a gamble to trade for if you are the Brooklyn Nets?
Absolutely not. Obtaining Josh Smith would be a good alternative and backup plan if the Nets are not able to get Dwight Howard. Smith is very athletic, and is one of the few guys in the league who can match athleticism with LeBron James. He would elevate the Nets above the Knicks and give them a solid chance of facing the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals.
12. Do the Los Angeles Clippers have to make a trade?
No, the Clippers don’t have to make a trade, and would be a solid bet to come out of the West as is. However, with Vinnie Del Negro in the last year of his contract and Chris Paul a free agent after the season, the pressure to win is in Los Angeles, and for the first time ever, it is with the Clippers, not the Lakers.
13. Will teams trade for Rajon Rondo and Pau Gasol even with them injured?
I don’t see Boston trading Rondo or the Lakers trading Gasol, but obtaining Rondo for next season would be a great move if a team was able to lure him away from the Celtics. Gasol will be back this season, but I think if you are the Lakers, you must keep Gasol, who has the ability to play the four and five, as insurance in the case Howard leaves.
14. Will there be any trades today?
There will definitely be trades. I think a Josh Smith trade is the most certain to happen. And remember, two years ago, when the Carmelo Anthony trade happened, which was heavily discussed, the Deron Williams trade also happened, which surprised everyone. There may be a deal or two out there that is under the radar, so we’ll keep our eyes open for that.