NBA trade deadline guide: What deals can each team make?

The clock is ticking to the Feb. 8 NBA trade deadline.?

While not every team will make a deal in the next four weeks, each franchise has questions it will need to address not only now but for the future.

How will the Rockets' management weight the recent slide but also factor in injuries to key players? Do the Thunder keep an eye on the summer of 2018 and look to shed salaries to reduce a possible $100 million luxury tax bill? Will the Pelicans take a win-now approach, but at the cost of the future?

We break down what to watch for all 30 teams, and what kinds of moves they can make.


Atlanta Hawks

What to watch

The expiring contracts: Keep an eye on veterans Ersan Ilyasova and Marco Belinelli. Both players have expiring contracts and relatively low salaries ($6 million and $6.6 million, respectively) and could be a valuable addition coming off the bench for a playoff team.

Restrictions/notes

  • Ilaysova and? Mike Muscala have one-year bird restrictions and can veto any trade.
  • Isaiah Taylor?cannot be traded until Jan. 17.
  • Tyler Cavanaugh cannot be traded during the season.
  • Atlanta only accepts $687K in cash in a deal.

Boston Celtics

What to watch

Roster spot 15: The Celtics can be proactive leading up to the deadline or wait until a veteran is bought out of his contract. The $8.4 million disabled player exception that expires on March 12 is a tool for Boston to add a player without giving up a player in return. One name to keep an eye on is the Mavericks'? Nerlens Noel. Though the Dallas center is injured, Noel's $4.2 million salary fits into the exception.?

Restrictions/notes

  • Boston can trade its own second-round picks from 2020 on.

Brooklyn Nets

What to watch

The value for Joe Harris:?The former second-round pick is having a career season and will be an unrestricted free agent in July. If Brooklyn is looking to optimize Harris' trade value, the window is now. If they hold onto him past Feb. 8, the Nets will either have to sign Harris to a contract that starts in the $5-6 million range or lose him for nothing.

The market for Harris is lukewarm based on his expiring contract. Teams feel that they can sign Harris in the offseason with cap space or one of their exceptions without giving up an asset.

Restrictions/notes

  • The Nets still have $3.7 million in cap space available.

Charlotte Hornets

What to watch

The Rudy Gay model: Back in 2013, Toronto traded starter Rudy Gay to Sacramento for a package of role players, including Patrick Patterson. The move turned a 7-12 team that had lost its way into a squad that finished the season 48-33.

Even after a successful road trip that saw Charlotte go 3-1 -- including a win over the Warriors -- the Hornets are 15-24 and five games out of the last playoff spot. Could the Hornets turn a starter like Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Marvin Williams or Nicolas Batum into a package of players that turn their season around? If they do, it could have long-term implications, especially with All-Star Kemba Walker set to hit free agency in 2019.

Restrictions/notes

  • Charlotte is currently $1.8 million below the luxury tax. Going into the tax would cost the Hornets $2.3 million in tax reimbursement.

Chicago Bulls

What to watch

The $15.8 million in cap space: A 12-7 record over the past month should not deter the Bulls from being buyers at the trade deadline. Chicago can take advantage of teams (like Oklahoma City) looking to shed contracts to get under the tax or a team looking to open up a roster spot. Because the Bulls are in the early stages of rebuild, taking back a contract that does not expire at the end of the year should be considered if a draft pick is attached.

Restrictions/notes

  • The Bulls are $5.9 million below the salary cap floor.
  • Nikola Mirotic and Cristiano Felicio?cannot be traded until Jan. 15. Mirotic has veto power based on the one-year bird restriction.
  • The Bulls are limited to $2.6 million cash that they can acquire in a trade.

Cleveland Cavaliers

What to watch

The Brooklyn pick: ESPN's Basketball Power Index projects this pick to land at No. 6.3 on average. The potential of an impact player in a strong June draft should outweigh what Cleveland could obtain on the trade market.

Unless LeBron James is willing to commit long term before the Feb. 8 deadline, Cleveland should put the Brooklyn pick in a vault and lose the combination.

Restrictions/notes

  • James has a no trade clause, Kyle Korver cannot be traded until Jan. 15.
  • Cleveland only has $2.1 million cash remaining to send out in a trade.
  • Cleveland does have $5.8, $2.5 and $1.3 million trade exceptions available.
  • The Cavaliers are a repeater tax team and will see their league-leading $43.1 million tax bill increase if they take on additional salary.

Dallas Mavericks

What to watch

Cap space and Nerlens Noel:?Acquired last February, Noel is on a one-year contract and would need to approve of any trade. However, since he's sidelined with a thumb injury and out of the rotation this season, a fresh start (sound familiar?) could be the best option.

The rebuilding Mavs also have $13.5 million in cap space. The goal for the Mavericks in the next month is to target teams looking to shed contracts but with a draft asset attached.

Restrictions/notes

  • Dirk Nowitzki cannot be traded without his permission.
  • The Mavericks cannot take back cash in any transactions.?

Denver Nuggets

What to watch

Will Barton: Barton is a 26-year-old, 6-foot-6 guard who can start or come off the bench playing at a below-average salary ($3.5 million). He is on the verge of a possible Sixth Man of the Year award and about to enter unrestricted free agency in July.

Even with the Paul Millsap?injuries, Denver has stayed afloat in the playoff race (currently fifth in the West). Barton is likely to command a salary in the $8-10 million range (and he's extension-eligible now to sign a four-year, $42 million contract) in the offseason. He should be in a Nuggets uniform post Feb. 8, even if the cost pushes the Nuggets into the luxury tax next season.

Restrictions/notes

  • Mason Plumlee (Jan. 15) and Richard Jefferson (Jan. 17) will be eligible to be traded in the next week.

Detroit Pistons

What to watch

Value of their first-round pick: History has shown that Detroit is not afraid to dangle a first-round pick to upgrade its roster, and the Pistons will be aggressive when it comes to the trade front.

Though an 8-12 record in their past 20 games has now pushed the Pistons from a top-four team in the Eastern Conference to one fighting for the playoffs, Detroit management can still be aggressive shopping a lottery-protected first. However, the Pistons will need to be careful with this approach. With $106 million in salary for 2018 and Avery Bradley hitting free agency, Detroit will have roster restrictions in the offseason. Retaining its first-round pick could be the big free-agent addition along with retaining Bradley.

Restrictions/notes

  • Detroit has one roster spot open.
  • Detroit needs to pay attention to the luxury tax. The Pistons are $3.5 million below the line right now.

Golden State Warriors

What to watch

Post Feb. 8 trade deadline: Golden State has typically been busy after the trade deadline, picking up James McAdoo (2015), Anderson Varejao (2016) and Matt Barnes (2017) in recent years.

Adding a player would come at the cost of waiving or trading a player and increasing the Warriors' current $32 million tax bill.

Restrictions/notes

  • Kevin Durant, David West, JaVale McGee and Zaza Pachulia have one-year bird restrictions and cannot be traded without their consent.
  • Shaun Livingston and Andre Iguodala cannot be traded until Jan. 15.
  • Stephen Curry cannot be traded for one year (July 6, 2018).
  • Golden State still has $5.1 million to send or receive in a trade. In the past, the Warriors have saved their money until the June draft.

Houston Rockets

What to watch

Locker-room chemistry vs. tweaking the roster: Even with a 4-7 record in the past 11 games, Houston will need to weigh on-the-court and locker-room chemistry versus making a change to the roster.?The Rockets can compete with the top teams when healthy, but can they get to mid-April in one piece?

The Rockets do have an open roster spot and could add a player post deadline. A move like that should not disrupt Houston heading into the playoffs.

Restrictions/notes

  • James Harden cannot be traded for one year (July 7, 2018).
  • The Rockets are only $2.6 million below the luxury tax and $8.8 million below the hard cap.
  • Houston has signed Demetrius Jackson to a 10-day contract and will have a roster spot available once that deal expires.

Indiana Pacers

What to watch

The cost of surpassing expectations: No one would fault the Pacers if they were in the bottom of the standings in early January. After all, Indiana traded its franchise centerpiece? Paul George?and?added eight new players, including three new starters.

Now one months before the deadline, Indiana is at a crossroad with its roster. Be aggressive with cap space ($5.8 million remaining) and a potential draft pick to make a strong push for the playoffs or look to move a veteran like Thaddeus Young for a draft asset?

Restrictions/notes

  • With one open roster available, the Pacers could utilize their room and be a facilitator to a team looking to cut costs without touching any of their veterans.

LA Clippers

What to watch

The expiring contracts: There is a misconception that Clippers management is under pressure to move DeAndre Jordan and Lou Williams before the deadline. While nobody should be deemed untouchable -- especially two players who could be free agents this summer -- why move either if the return in draft picks or players does not present fair value?

Both players also could be in a Clippers uniform next season based on the harsh reality of the free-agent market: Jordan opting into his $24.1 million contract and Williams' new deal mirroring his current $7 million salary (or the possibility of an extension after the deadline). The future of both is also muddied by the Clippers still being in position for a playoff spot, even while riddled with injuries. If Williams is moved, don't expect it to be until right at the deadline.

Restrictions/notes

  • Blake Griffin?has a Jan. 15 trade restriction.
  • The Clippers have a roster spot open but are only $122K below the luxury tax.
  • Prior trades have limited LA to only $432K in cash to send out in a trade.

Los Angeles Lakers

What to watch

Julius Randle: For the Lakers to optimize Randle's trade value, the former lottery pick would need to be traded by the Feb. 8 deadline. The obstacle that Lakers management will face is finding a team willing to trade away a key asset (like a draft pick) for a player they could sign as a restricted free agent in July.

Randle's Bird rights (carrying the ability to exceed the cap) have appeal based on the majority of the teams not having cap space next summer. If the Lakers fail to trade Randle, they run the risk of losing him for nothing in the offseason.

Restrictions/notes

  • The Lakers have an open roster spot.

Memphis Grizzlies

What to watch

Brandan Wright, Tyreke Evans and James Ennis: Like the 2016 trade deadline when Memphis was in playoff contention and traded the expiring contracts of Jeff Green and Courtney Lee for draft assets, history should repeat itself with all three of these veterans.

They are on expiring contracts and Memphis is headed toward the lottery for the first time since 2009-10. Grizzlies management should be in seller mode during the next six weeks,?but only at the right price for Evans.

Memphis is restricted based on not having Bird rights but could use its $8.6 million midlevel exception on Evans this offseason, a salary the guard should see on the open market.

Restrictions/notes

  • JaMychal Green cannot be traded until Jan. 15.
  • Memphis is $7.1 million under the tax and also has a $3.4 million trade exception.

Miami Heat

What to watch

Hassan Whiteside:?When Whiteside signed a four-year, $98 million contract in 2016, the thought was that the center would be a foundational piece for the Heat for at least the length of the deal. Though last season produced a career year on the court, Whiteside's role this season has been inconsistent based on a reoccurring left-knee injury, the Heat going small with Kelly Olynyk at center to close games recently and the continued development of rookie Bam Adebayo. There are some nights when Whiteside was dominant and other games that he seemed lost on the court, especially in crunch time.

While there are no talks for Miami to move Whiteside now, keep an eye on his role the rest of the season (including the playoffs), especially if his minutes at the end of games are sporadic.

Restrictions/notes

  • Josh Richardson is not eligible to be traded until after the season.
  • Udonis Haslem is signed to a one-year contract and must approve of any trade.
  • The Heat cannot send out any cash in a trade.
  • Miami also cannot trade any first-round picks until 2023.

Milwaukee Bucks

What to watch

Patience with Jabari Parker: The Bucks are expected to add a core piece of their roster before the deadline and will not have to give up a player or draft pick to do so.

On path to a potential All-Star berth last season before being sidelined with a second ACL injury in three years, Parker is expected to return in late January or early February. Like the 2015-16 season when Parker returned from his first ACL tear, Milwaukee will need to monitor his minutes (only played 30 minutes twice in the first 14 games) and show patience. The final three months of the season should be a baseline for how the Bucks handle his restricted free agency.

Restrictions/notes

  • Tony Snell cannot be traded until Jan. 15 and recently signed Sean Kilpatrick cannot be traded. Jason Terry has veto power based on signing a one-year contract.
  • The Bucks are $4.3 million below the luxury tax and can only send out $3.2 million in a trade.
  • The trade for? Eric Bledsoe has Milwaukee restricted on trading a future first-round pick. Because the protection to Phoenix extends to 2021, Milwaukee would not be allowed to trade a first until 2023 or two years after the pick to the Suns is conveyed.

Minnesota Timberwolves

What to watch

Using the OKC pick to keep the starting five fresh:?Through the first two months of the season, the Timberwolves' five starters have averaged a minimum of 33 minutes a night, with Andrew Wiggins and Jimmy Butler hovering right around 37. The heavy minutes are an indication of the cap restrictions of building a bench along with Tom Thibodeau's stubbornness to trust the reserves (though Minnesota has used the bench more frequently lately).

While the Timberwolves are restricted from trading their first-round pick this season (owed to Atlanta), Minnesota does have the Thunder's lottery-protected first.?Like New Orleans, the Timberwolves will have roster restrictions this summer and will be close to the luxury tax. Unless Minnesota can bring back a contract with length, a short-term rental like what Washington did last season with Bojan Bogdanovic would not help for the future.

Restrictions/notes

  • Shabazz Muhammad cannot be traded without consent because of the one-year Bird restriction.?Wiggins has a poison-pill restriction in his contract.
  • Minnesota cannot trade its own first-round pick until two years after the conditions to Atlanta are met. By earning a playoff spot and losing this pick, the Wolves would be eligible to trade their own first again in 2020.

New Orleans Pelicans

What to watch

Their own first-round pick: Even with the Pelicans hanging on for a final playoff spot, GM Dell Demps should not entertain any offers when it pertains to their first-round picks. The Pelicans' future cap situation will force New Orleans to use the June draft to build the roster.

New Orleans' flexibility for the next three seasons (2018-19 to 2020-21) will be limited, especially if All-Star DeMarcus Cousins returns on a max contract. The Pelicans will have $120 million in committed salaries in 2018-19 with Cousins signed and will be limited in free agency based on luxury tax restrictions.

Restrictions/notes

  • Dante Cunningham?has veto power on any trade based on his one-year bird restriction. Jrue Holiday cannot be traded until Jan. 15. Jameer Nelson cannot be traded until Jan. 21.
  • New Orleans is $789K below the luxury tax and $1.4 million below the hard cap.
  • The Quincy Pondexter trade to Chicago has left New Orleans with $2.5 million to send out in a trade.

New York Knicks

What to watch

The backup centers: Even with the Joakim Noah's 12-game suspension to start the season, New York was facing an overload at backup 5. As Knicks beat writer Ian Begley has reported, Knicks management has discussed trade possibilities involving Kyle O'Quinn and Willy Hernangomez. Both players have value but come at a risk that teams and New York will need to weigh.

O'Quinn, with a $4.3 million player option for next season, is likely to opt-out of his contract but can help a playoff team off the bench now. Teams acquiring a rental are less likely to give up a significant asset. Hernangomez is more of a developmental project for the future, but he is on a cap-friendly contract ($1.5 and then $1.7 million) through 2019-20. If the Knicks move Hernangomez, they run the risk of having a shortage at the center position next season, especially if O'Quinn becomes a free agent.

Restrictions/notes

  • Ron Baker has a one-year Bird restriction and cannot be traded without his approval.
  • The Knicks have $4.7 million cash to send out in a deal.

Oklahoma City Thunder

What to watch

The backup wings: Despite the recent losses to Phoenix, Portland and Minnesota, the Thunder's 12-8 record over the past month has quelled rumors that Paul George will be moved before the trade deadline (for now). Now with George likely in a Thunder uniform post deadline, eyes should turn to the backup wings Alex Abrines and Kyle Singler.

GM Sam Presti has been known to shed salary to reduce the luxury tax in the past (see: the Randy Foye trade in 2016) and that approach should be no different with Singler. While the Thunder have $5.1 million in cash to send out in a trade, the lack of first-round picks to attach, coupled with Singler being under contract for next season, will make it extremely difficult.

On the other hand, Abrines has struggled this season and recently his role diminished at the expense of rookie Terrance Feguson. On a value contract of $5.7 million and 5.2 million through 2018-19, moving Abrines could replenish OKC's diminished assets and reduce the current and future tax bill significantly. It would also have an impact on the future of unrestricted free agent Jerami Grant. The small forward is likely going to see a salary in the $6-7 million range this summer. If Oklahoma City retains George, Grant will probably be in another uniform next season.

Restrictions/notes

  • The Thunder are not permitted to trade a first-round pick until 2024. Oklahoma City has picks owed to Minnesota and Orlando over the next four years.
  • Andre Roberson cannot be traded until Jan. 15 and Russell Westbrook Sept. 29. The no-trade clause that Carmelo Anthony had in New York has carried over to OKC.
  • Nick Collison is signed to a one-year contract and must approve of any trade.
  • Oklahoma City -- currently with a $24 million tax bill -- does have one roster spot open. However, adding a player would see the luxury tax increase.

Orlando Magic

What to watch

The front office: It would be easy for new president Jeff Weltman and GM John Hammond to make a rash decision on the Magic roster they inherited, including the coaching staff. Orlando is 12-29 (after starting 6-2) and headed to the lottery for a sixth consecutive season. While they will certainly be active in the next four weeks, the Magic's front office is not vulnerable to make a move just to save the season. Don't expect a major overhaul to occur until after the season, when both execs have completed a full audit of the roster.

Restrictions/notes

None


Philadelphia 76ers

What to watch

  • One open roster spot: Trade deadline addition or March 1 buyout deadline.
  • The role and integration of Markelle Fultz.
  • The Joel Embiid workload: Averaging 30 minutes per night so far. Do not risk the future for short-term success.?Embiid has played 936 minutes this season and is on pace to reach the 1,650 minutes criteria in his contract. Reaching the criteria is one of many benchmarks for years 3-5 of his extension to be guaranteed, even if he is injured.
  • Preserving cap room for 2018 or 2019.

Restrictions/notes

  • Robert Covington cannot be traded until after the season.
  • Embiid has a poison-pill restriction in his contract based on signing a rookie extension in October.
  • Trevor Booker's $9.1 million contract cannot be aggregated until Feb. 7, one day before the trade deadline.
  • Philadelphia cannot receive any cash in a trade.

Phoenix Suns

What to watch

Greg Monroe, Tyson Chandler and Alex Len: Phoenix, under the cap by $9 million, has a decision to make about its three centers. With Monroe and Len set to enter free agency and the veteran Chandler now starting, Phoenix will need to weigh who stays and what player is eventually traded or bought out.

Monroe offers value to a playoff team based on his ability to either start or come off the bench. The challenge is Monroe's $17.8 million salary and the Suns' reluctance to give up cap flexibility in the future. The veteran Chandler still has $13.0 million and $13.6 million left on his contract over the next two seasons.

Restrictions/notes

  • Alex Len has veto power on any trade based on the one-year bird restriction.
  • TJ Warren has a poison pill restriction in his contract.
  • Bledsoe's $14.5 million contract cannot be aggregated until Jan. 7.
  • Recently signed Isaiah Canaan cannot be traded during the season.

Portland Trail Blazers

What to watch

  • Luxury tax: $2.8 million below the line and $5.1 million in cash to send out. Use the money at the draft or now?
  • March 1 roster buyout: Using roster spot 15 would mean additional luxury tax.
  • Evaluating the restricted free agents: Jusuf Nurkic, Shabazz Napier, Noah Vonleh and Pat Connaughton
  • With $111 million in guaranteed contracts next season, Portland will have tough decisions to make in the offseason for financial reasons.

Restrictions/notes

None


Sacramento Kings

What to watch

  • The development of young player at the expense of the veterans?on the roster.
  • Have something to sell in 2019: Importance of player development

Restrictions/notes

  • Sacramento can receive $4.7 million cash in a trade.

San Antonio Spurs

What to watch

  • The health of Kawhi Leonard
  • The Cleveland approach: Worry about being fresh when the playoffs start instead of seeding.
  • Keeping Rudy Gay fresh for the stretch run: Keep minutes in the 20-22 range when he returns from injury.

Restrictions/notes

  • LaMarcus Aldridge cannot be traded until after the season.
  • Patty Mills cannot be traded until Jan. 15.
  • San Antonio is $2.3 million below the luxury tax.

Toronto Raptors

What to watch

  • Keeping the backcourt fresh: Kyle Lowry (32.8 MPG, lowest since 2012-13) and DeMar DeRozan (34.6 MPG, lowest since his rookie season)
  • Balancing the budget: $1 million below the tax with one roster spot open
  • The continued role and development of the recent draft picks

Restrictions/notes

  • Kyle Lowry and Serge Ibaka cannot be traded until Jan. 15. Norman Powell cannot be traded during the season.
  • The Raptors can send or receive up to $5.1 million in a trade.
  • Toronto cannot trade a first-round pick until two years after its first is conveyed to Brooklyn (likely 2020).

Utah Jazz

What to watch

Derrick Favors. List the top 15 centers in the NBA and you might be surprised to see Favors' name. Still only 26, Favors has cracked the list largely due to the fact that he has been healthy this season (he missed 52 games the past two seasons), found a more developed role and improved his low-post presence while taking advantage of playing time with starter Rudy Gobert injured. The Jazz will have a difficult choice to make as Favors is set to hit free agency, since they've already committed $94 million to Gobert. Even if Favors returns on a pact similar to his current contract ($11.7 million annually), the Jazz would have $33 million tied up at the center position.

Restrictions/notes

  • Joe Ingles cannot be traded until Jan. 15.

Washington Wizards

What to watch

The first-round pick: Does GM Ernie Grunfeld go for the hat trick before the trade deadline?

For two consecutive seasons, Grunfeld has traded away a first-round pick to improve the roster for a playoff run. With a top-5 salary and roster restrictions in the future based on the luxury tax, Washington will need to be cautious when entertaining offers involving current or future picks. Though Bojan Bogdanovic gave the bench a boost last season, the small forward was a short-term rental.

Restrictions/notes

  • Otto Porter Jr. cannot be traded until Jan. 15 and must give permission if Washington elects to trade him. Porter cannot be traded to Brooklyn during the season.
  • John Wall cannot be traded until July 26, 2018.
  • The Wizards have a roster spot available but are $5.8 million over the luxury tax with a current $8.9 million tax penalty.
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