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The NBA Trade Deadline Fire Sale Has Begun

Atlanta Hawks v Washington Wizards

I hope you have your Twitter notifications on because we are quickly approaching the part of the season where we simply cannot go to sleep. With the trade deadline less than a month away we’re going to start seeing more and more of these type of reports come out as teams start to prepare for the stretch run. We have the Hawks up first with this report of Stein that three rotation players are currently on the market. This is how you tank the second half folks. As of now they have some serious ground to make up in order to catch CLE/CHI/NYK/PHX, so it’s time to get rid of all their good players for draft picks. That’s tanking 101. So since these guys are about to hit the market, let’s take a look at each one.

Jeremy Lin

2018-19 Season Stats: 10.8 points, 2.4 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 47/37% splits

Contract Status: Last year of deal at $12M

Sadly, Jeremy Lin may be one of the best players available at this year’s deadline. He’s come back from his injury and is having one of the most efficient seasons of his career in his 20 minutes a night. If you’re trading for Lin you know what you’re getting. He’s one of the best reserve guards in the league, has starting experience so you can spot start him if you need to, and given that he’s an expiring deal it’s not as if you are committing long term money to a player on the back 9 of his career.

That’s why the Kings do make a lot of sense for Lin, they have the contracts to make the money work, and outside of Frank Mason III and Yogi Ferrell they don’t really have all that much in terms of a reserve guard behind De’Aaron Fox. He brings veteran leadership to a young team and fills a need. Seems like a no brainer.

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Dewayne Dedmon

2018-19 Season Stats: 9.8 points, 7.6 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 46/36% splits

Contract Status: Last year of deal at $6.3M

Are you interested in a 30 year old big man at a good price that can stretch the floor and make threes while also being a decent defender and rebounder? Well then Dewayne Dedmon is your guy. He’s been a pretty good Hawk in his two years in ATL after coming from the Spurs system, and it was just two summers ago that he was one of the more coveted reserve big men in the league. He has experience both coming off the bench and starting, and like Lin you know what you’re getting with him. He has a decent REB% at 16.2%, a good BLK% at 3.5% and given his age and contract status he can for sure be good big man depth for those who need it. Maybe Houston? Maybe Boston? He’s shown that if you actually play him he can be serviceable, and who knows what the big man market might look like. Might be worth a low 1st rd pick or something along those lines.

Kent Bazemore

2018-19 Season Stats: 14.0 points, 4.0 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 44/32% splits

Contract Status: Current salary is at $18M, has a player option for next season at $19.2M

In my mind, the only way the Hawks are going to be able to move Kent Bazemore is if they also take bad a really bad contract in return in addition to picks. Not only is whatever team that trades for him taking on a shit ton of money, but you bet your ass he’s opting into that $19M for next year and that’s not great. You are going to really have to want Kent Bazemore to do a deal like this, so really the only possible teams are ones that have their own trash to get rid of.  Would someone like the Knicks unload Kanter since the money lines up? Probably not because they don’t want to cut into their cap space moving forward. What about ORL with Mozgov and his big contract? If ORL also moves Terrance Ross this deadline they could have a need for a wing and get out of Mozgov’s $16M for next season. What about Washington and Ian Mahinmi and his $16M? They did trade Kelly Oubre so there is a role for Bazemore there, so that’s something to keep in mind as well because it gets them out of his $15M for next season too. CHA has Bismack Biyombo and his $17M this year and then a $17M player option next year and have a wing need, so as you can see there are a number of teams out there that could make a move, it all just depends on what picks they are willing to give up.

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Obviously, none of these guys are huge franchise altering players, but all three are for sure legit depth pieces that a buyer at the deadline would benefit from if they were to bring them in. While we have no idea what the buyout market might look like, it may make more sense for contenders to kick the tires with ATL because these are three veteran players that you could ideally rely on for short stretches in a playoff series. Yes the Hawks are bad, but that doesn’t mean that these pieces couldn’t help. I now look forward to hearing what the rest of the tanking teams make available, because as we know this time of year is always wild. Be prepared for emojis, social media hints, the works. We can sleep after, it’s time to prepare for a series of Woj bombs.