We are 48 hours away from the NBA trade deadline. Deals are being discussed, deals are going to happen, and deals are going to fall through.
Happens every year.
What makes this year different is the new collective bargaining agreement, with harsher luxury tax penalties on the horizon beginning with the 2013-14 season. The luxury tax line is going to act as a hard cap for all but the wealthiest owners – like guys who own gold mines in Siberia.
So expect to hear a lot of financial gobbledygook on Thursday night and Friday morning as NBA executives explain the moves they made.
Until then, it does no harm to look at the NBA landscape and make some educated guesses at trades that could or should happen.
We have five of them for you:
Why it Makes Sense for Brooklyn: They’ve been after Howard for more than two years. They know he still wants to get there. They have more assets that can help the Lakers down the road than any other potential trade partner, and they know it. But they would need the Lakers to make a side deal beforehand – or turn this into a three-team deal – for LA to clear roster space to get down 11 so they could absorb the four NBA players in this deal. They play Brook Lopez as a 4-5 instead of strictly as a center. If they can hang onto Teletovic or Bogdanovic, all the better. They’d prefer to sacrifice future No. 1s.
Why it Makes Sense for the Lakers: They take on no long-term salary beyond 2014, and they go into the summer of 2015 with Steve Nash’s partial guarantee the only number on their books, allowing them to go after LeBron James if/when he becomes a free agent. There will be others, good ones. If they believe they will lose Howard for nothing over the summer, this deal at least allows them to rebuild for the future. Teletovic is a perfect stretch 4 for the Mike D’Antoni system. Taylor can be Nash’s understudy. If they can get Brooklyn to throw in a future No. 1 pick, it makes the deal even more palatable.