Dan Favale | Thu 08/02/2018 - 13:12 EST

NBA Trade Deadline 2018: Atlantic Division Preview

NBA Trade Deadline 2018: Atlantic Division Preview
The NBA is never more hectic than it is right now. Free agency and the playoffs, plus the start of the season, rival the current level of action, but nothing outright beats the craziness attached to the trade deadline. This year's cutoff for movement is set for Thursday, Feb. 8. In advance of the action to follow, we're breaking down the impact every Atlantic Division's championship odds have on their trade-deadline projections.

Championship odds for each Atlantic Division team are from TopBet and remain accurate leading into games for Monday, Feb. 5. Given the turbulence attached to the NBA’s competitive hierarchy right around the trade deadline, make sure you’re remaining up to date on these numbers, along with single-game lines, as they are subject to sudden alterations.

Stat ranks and record projections for every team come courtesy of Basketball-Reference or NBA.com and are accurate leading into games being played on Feb. 5. Atlantic Division teams will be presented in order of increasing winning percentage, and not necessarily the likelihood that they’ll win the title.

Brooklyn Nets (+200000)

nets

  • Offensive Rating Rank: 26
  • Defensive Rating Rank: 22
  • Net Rating Rank: 25
  • Win-Loss Pace: 29-53
  • Buyers or Sellers: Sellers
  • Biggest Need: More picks and prospects

The Brooklyn Nets don’t technically need to be sellers. They’re not making the playoffs, but they also don’t have their own first-round pick in this year’s draft. And so, they have no incentive lose. 

Still, they have expensive decisions to make in the summer. Joe Harris is slated for free agency, as is Jahlil Okafor and Nik Stauskas (restricted). Both Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and D’Angelo Russell will be extension-eligible as well.

That’s a weird spot to be in when your team isn’t ready to compete. The Nets try hard while playing fast and free, but they’re only about to get their first-round obligations back next season. Knowing Russell—and, maybe, Spencer Dinwiddie—are the only players on their roster with a foundational ceiling, they cannot necessarily justify re-investing even market-level money in guys who have proved to be valuable contributors.

General manager Sean Marks probably wants to see how the Dinwiddie-Russell backcourt plays out, so those two should be safe. Caris LeVert also has two more years left on his rookie-scale deal, making it unlikely they send him anywhere either.

Everyone else, however, should be considered up for grabs. And the Nets, as a direct offshoot, should be considered open for business.

New York Knicks (+50000)

Knicks

  • Offensive Rating Rank: 19
  • Defensive Rating Rank: 15
  • Net Rating Rank: 21
  • Win-Loss Pace: 35-47
  • Buyers or Sellers: Sellers
  • Biggest Need: More picks and prospects

This is a fast and loose interpretation of the “sellers” designation. 

Indeed, the New York Knicks should absolutely, without question, be auctioning off veterans like Courtney Lee, Lance Thomas and Kyle O’Quinn in search of cap relief, picks and prospects. But they’re also the Knicks. They never act in a rational fashion.

Take your pick of their blunders over the past two years alone, with hat tips to both the Phil Jackson- and current Steve Mills-led front-office regimes: overpaying Joakim Noah; allowing Jackson to shop Kristaps Porzingis ahead of last year’s draft; overpaying Tim Hardaway Jr.; burying rookie point guard Frank Ntilikina on the bench behind a combination of Trey Burke and Jarrett Jack; and, finally, we have the current Willy Hernangomez debacle.

The 23-year-old center, who is known to be Porzingis’ best friend on the team, wants out of New York. And for good reason. He’s basically out of the rotation despite earning All-Rookie honors last year because the Knicks are more inclined to play Enes Kanter and O’Quinn—two players who don’t realistically factor into their big picture.

Any rational team would look to move O’Quinn or Kanter instead of Hernangomez. The latter will earn roughly $3.1 million over the next two seasons, while the other two will be ticketed for free agency in 2019. But, again, these are the Knicks. They should be sellers, but they could just as easily view themselves as buyers and subsequently do something to compromise their long-term flexibility.

If you haven’t already, steer clear of any and all Knicks-related bets until further notice.

Philadelphia 76ers (+8000)

Sixers

  • Offensive Rating Rank: 16
  • Defensive Rating Rank: 4
  • Net Rating Rank: 10
  • Win-Loss Pace: 41-41
  • Buyers or Sellers: Buyers
  • Biggest Need: Reserve Wings

The Philadelphia 76ers come pretty close to receiving an honorary “Idle Bystanders” label. They’re concerned with conserving cap space this summer, which could lead to them watching the trade deadline unfold from the sidelines.

At the same, getting off the final year of Jerryd Bayless’ contract (2018-19) only helps their free-agency endeavors. They also might be able to kill two birds with one stone: using his salary and their own first-rounder to bring back a player or two who addresses their lack of bench depth on the wings.

Right now, Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot and Justin Anderson are the primary perimeter pests coming off the pine. That’s not good enough. And Bayless, likewise, isn’t a good enough placeholder as a secondary playmaker. It wouldn’t be such an issue if Markelle Fultz was healthy, but he’s not; he’s appeared in just four games this season, and no one has any idea whether he’ll play again before 2018-19.

Building an offer around Bayless and a pick puts the Sixers in contention for impactul acquisitions like Lou Williams and Tyreke Evans. They could even make a run at Rodney Hood if they’re willing to take back some extra salary from the Utah Jazz.

Count on them exploring these options. And though their championship appeal will improve accordingly, you shouldn’t expect any demonstrative leaps. They’re a nice long-shot play to perhaps win a single playoff series, but they don’t yet have the depth or experience to wage war with the Boston Celtics, Toronto Raptors and Cleveland Cavaliers. 

Toronto Raptors (+2000)

raptors

  • Offensive Rating Rank: 4
  • Defensive Rating Rank: 3
  • Net Rating Rank: 3
  • Win-Loss Pace: 57-25
  • Buyers or Sellers: Buyers
  • Biggest Need: Switcher defenders

On some level, the Raptors’ biggest need feels stupid. They have a top-three defense in the NBA right now. Toss in their league-best bench, plus a top-five offense, and they don’t have any glaring needs.

Toronto could use some extra switchability on the perimeter anyway. This team doesn’t really have that guy who can shimmy between 3s and 4s with ease. C.J. Miles and Norman Powell top out at guarding 3s, while Pascal Siakam probably shouldn’t be asked to chase around anyone who isn’t a 4 or 5. Serge Ibaka can barely rotate around the rim if he’s not playing the 5, and the Raptors are lucky to get what they’re getting from Jakob Poeltl when he’s forced to pester the occasional 4.

Rookie OG Anunoby can cover both small forwards and power forwards, but the Raptors need someone else. And while they shouldn’t be giving up someone like Delon Wright to get him, surfing the expiring-contract market for a low-end flier isn’t the worst idea.

The question is: Does any of this matter? Not in the grand scheme of things. The Raptors are so good that any move they make will have a microscopic impact on their chances this season. Do not let anything they do at the trade deadline substantially differentiate how you’re betting on them now. 

Boston Celtics (+1000)

celtics

  • Offensive Rating Rank: 17
  • Defensive Rating Rank: 1
  • Net Rating Rank: 4
  • Win-Loss Pace: 59-23
  • Buyers or Sellers: Buyers
  • Biggest Need: Another self-sufficient scorer

As per usual, the Celtics are a truly fascinating trade-deadline study. They have the best record in the Eastern Conference and a wealth of assets yet no real sense of urgency to do anything in the coming days.

Some believe team president Danny Ainge will dump Marcus Smart at the deadline to avoid paying him in restricted free agency this summer. That’s certainly possible. But the Celtics won’t deal him just for the sake of offloading him. They actually need a player who earns a little more money as salary-matching fodder for future trades; rookie Jayson Tatum is their fourth-highest paid player at the moment for crying out loud.

Re-signing Smart this summer to a market value contract—or short-term overpay—would give them ready-made flotsam in the event another top-25 superstar hits the chopping block. If they’re going to move him, then, it’ll be for an actual asset—another self sufficient scorer, or a pick who helps them get said scorer.

Keep your eyes peeled on Tyreke Evans in Memphis and Rodney Hood in Utah. The Celtics would drastically improve with either on the roster, having acquired someone who can help make Kyrie Irving’s life easier in crunch time.

Category : Sports Betting News

Tag : basketball , boston celtics , brooklyn nets , nba , new york knicks , philadelphia 76ers , toronto raptors

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