Josh Cohen’s Analysis: Kevin Love is out until March. There is undeniable turmoil and tension between he and management. It’s very unlikely Minnesota will make the playoffs this season. It just seems rational for the Timberwolves to explore trading the All-Star forward. The longer they wait, the less value they will probably get.
Cohen’s Analysis: It would have been unimaginable to believe a few months ago, but Dwight Howard is just simply not the same electrifying, unconquerable and menacing player we witnessed for many years in Orlando. It’s possible that he and Kobe Bryant can’t coexist. It’s viable that the back injury hindered his progress. Even if Howard wanted to stay in L.A. when he becomes a free agent over the summer, is it worth paying him well over $100 million for five years?
Cohen’s Analysis: It was obvious before the season started. If Atlanta exceeded expectations, Josh Smith’s attitude toward the franchise would be more encouraging. If the Joe Johnson trade resulted in a setback, Smith’s outlook would probably relapse. After a scorching start, the Hawks have suddenly stumbled. With Josh about to be a free agent, this is a very intricate decision for new GM Danny Ferry. One source told me Houston is extremely interested in trying to swing a deal for the athletic forward.
Cohen’s Analysis: He’s become the darling of the trade market, but according to one source, Rudy Gay is not as wanted as one would assume. With another two seasons worth about $38 million remaining on his contract, most teams are hesitant to trade assets for a subsidiary star that would immediately jeopardize a team’s payroll. Memphis is concerned about the luxury tax penalties. It wants to deal Rudy, but it is apprehensive to take a giant step backwards in the standings.
Cohen’s Analysis: You would assume Danny Granger is on the trading block, considering how well the Pacers have played, particularly defensively, without him. Granger’s absence has allowed Paul George to evolve into a potential All-Star. But come playoff time, Indiana’s offensive limitations may deny them from advancing far. Granger is expected back in early February from a knee injury. Should Indiana look to move him with the concern that when he returns George will revert back to his substandard ways and the team’s chemistry will disintegrate? Or will DG’s versatility and stat sheet stuffing only help its chances?
Cohen’s Analysis: Al Jefferson is difficult to grade. He posts marvelous stats, but his teams are never outstanding. Utah is a fringe playoff contender. It knows its best-case scenario is one and done in the postseason. Big Al, along with teammate Paul Millsap, will be a free agent over the summer and if the Jazz decide not to shell out big cash, he likely will go elsewhere. It would seem rational for either Jefferson or Millsap, if not both, to be dealt at the deadline.
Cohen’s Analysis: Who wants Pau Gasol? There was a time, even as early as three months ago, that several teams would have lined up to try and acquire him. But now, with tendonitis in both knees, Gasol’s value has plummeted. One NBA executive recently told me if any team does want Pau, it is for the purpose of getting a big expiring contract for next year. Gasol’s contract expires after next season. This could help a team be under the cap for the summer of 2014.
Cohen’s Analysis: The Bucks are an extremely difficult team to assess. They are likely to get in the playoffs this season, but nobody expects them to advance past the First Round. Both Monta Ellis (unrestricted) and Brandon Jennings (restricted) will be free agents this summer. The question is: does Milwaukee prefer to be in the best position possible to make the playoffs this year or does it want to use one of its assets to renovate more rapidly? This is always one of the more convoluted assignments for any NBA general manager.