Knicks, Nets Look to Make Moves at NBA Trade Deadline

Photo courtesy of Keith Allison

The NBA’s annual trade deadline is scheduled for 3 p.m. today and, as usual, there are many teams interested in both trading and acquiring new players.  New York’s two teams, the Knicks and Nets, are both looking to be active before the deadline, with the Knicks trying to both trade and acquire talent, while the Nets are hoping to move two high-profile players.

The Knicks have already made one of the biggest moves of the trade process thus far, reaching a buyout agreement with injury-prone, highly overpaid forward Amare Stoudemire. Stoudemire just signed with the Dallas Mavericks, a playoff-bound team that will try to get one more productive playoff run out of him.

The Knicks are also trying to trade point guard Jose Calderon, while at the same time attempting to acquire Phoenix Suns guard Goran Dragic. Calderon has been a disappointment this season on a Knicks roster full of underachievers, and acquiring Dragic would clearly be an upgrade, both in terms of building toward the future and youth. Dragic is 28 years old while Calderon is 33.

As for the Nets, while their season has not been quite the disaster that the Knicks’ has been, it is becoming apparent that last year was the Nets’ best chance to get to the NBA Finals. They were led by head coach Jason Kidd and the team had a definite swagger about them. Of course, the team did not make the Finals, and despite currently holding the eighth and final playoff spot in the East, there’s a chance that the Nets will deal two of their franchise cornerstones, Deron Williams and Brook Lopez.

Williams is currently getting paid nearly $20 million to be a part-time player, a scenario that will only get worse if he stays with the team. As recently as last year, Williams was thought to be a player that would be instrumental in leading the Nets to the Finals. Clearly, that notion has passed, and the Nets would be wise to trade him while he still has some value.

Meanwhile, Lopez has had a somewhat similar past few years to Stoudemire; he simply cannot stay on the court, missing at least 20 games due to injury each of the past four seasons. When healthy, though, he is still regarded as one of the better centers in the league, and several playoff-bound teams would certainly be interested in him.

Outside of New York, three likely trade candidates are the Charlotte Hornets’ Lance Stephenson, the Denver Nuggets’ Kenneth Faried and the Sacramento Kings’ DeMarcus Cousins. Though Stephenson just signed a free agent contract with the Hornets seven months ago, his attitude and lackluster on-court performance already has ownership itching to trade him to a contender. Faried and Cousins are both young All-Star level players, and their availability on the trade block is primarily due to their teams’ losing records and the likelihood of coaching changes.

 “Goran Dragic will get traded to the Lakers, Cousins won’t get traded and Stephenson might,” said senior Justin Gianelli. “I think the Oklahoma City Thunder have the best chance at acquiring Lopez, but it’s not the most ideal fit.”