As we all know, the next CBA is a mystery. I think we can all agree that the cap's going to get a little harder, no? So for the Pacers, who should (hopefully) still have a crap-load of cap space, this coming trade deadline could be an early (or late, depending on how you look at it) Christmas. Then again, the Pacers could stand pat, scared to death not to take on too much salary. Either way, there's a chance the Pacers can cash in. Here's a list of teams that could be close to the salary cap to the point that they're scared, and want to unload some long deals (and it'll help if they suck by the deadline too, and have given up on making the playoffs). I'll also take a look at any players we might be interested in from each team.
I apologize in advance for how long this thing's going to be.
Cap outlook: The Celtics have only 8 guys signed for next year and look like they're already going to be over the cap by $20 million or more (remember, we have no idea how the CBA will change things).
Players we might have a shot at: None. Rajon Rondo's the only one we'll want, but after last post-season, he's effectively untouchable (damn, I wish we could've traded for him right before they signed him to his extension!). The Celtics might go even deeper into luxury tax territory if they extend Kendrick Perkins, who will be a free agent (and we don't want).
Cap outlook: As of this instant, the Bobcats are paying the luxury tax for a squad that just barely made the Eastern Conference playoffs last year...plus Tyrus Thomas (go figure). Next year, barring any big trades before deadline, they'll need to field half a roster and will be less than $10 mil under the salary cap.
Players we might have a shot at: Really Thomas is their only terrible contract, and they just signed him (for too much). Stephen Jackson could be available but I'm sure he's still exiled from Indy. The two I'll have my eye on are Gerald Wallace and Boris Diaw. Diaw's the more realistic, and safer option. He's only got two years and $18 mil left on his deal, and we'd get him with a year and a half left at deadline for, say T.J. Ford (who the Bobcats have tried to trade for in the past). Does Diaw help us much? No. I don't even think he's that much of an upgrade over Murphy, if he's an upgrade at all. He's not a natural PF, and doesn't rebound well enough to compliment Hibbert. As Jay-Z says, "on to the next one..."
Cap outlook: The Cavs, by next deadline, will still be trying to dig themselves out of the financial hole they got themselves in trying to appease LeBron. As of now they have basically half a roster to fill with anywhere from $10-$15 million to spend. They could be frugal and sign all short-term cheap contracts next off-season, or they could dump some salaries this deadline and be even more frugal.
Players we might have a shot at: Maurice Williams, Anderson Varejao and Antawn Jamison are all holdovers from the LeBron ass-kissing era, and could probably all be had in a Cleveland house-cleaning effort. I don't really like any of them, but I'd take all of them if the carrot was J.J. Hickson. Like the four of them (approx $31 mil) for Murphy/Dunleavy/Ford (approx $30 m).
Cap outlook: The Mavs are almost certainly going to again be luxury tax payers, as they've already committed what will probably be more than (or equal to) the 2011 salary cap to just seven players. However, Mark Cuban is not likely to be a deadline dumper, as he always assumes he can be a title contender (and he's usually right).
Players we might have a shot at: I think this really depends on how the Mavs approach next year's free agency period. If they're as aggressive as they were this off-season (remember when they were talking to LeBron?) they could try to shave off some space for a run at Carmelo Anthony. In doing so, they could kick us Shawn Marion and Jason Terry for Murphy and Dunleavy, or Marion and Rodrigue Beaubois for Dunleavy by himself. That would have to be considered a steal, even if Marion is approaching "dead weight" territory in his career.
Cap outlook: The Pistons are in the same sort of trouble the Cavs are in; bad contracts and very few good players. They will, however, need some space to make some extension offers, probably to Tayshaun Prince and Rodney Stuckey, and almost certainly to Jonas Jerebko.
Players we might have a shot at: None of the ones they'll be willing to part with (Richard Hamilton, Charlie V, Ben Gordon) are that good. I like Jason Maxiell, and he's on the block. A combination of him and WIll Bynum for Ford would be fair, but wouldn't really make us that much better. I'd take Hamilton for Murphy if they threw in Jerebko, but that's unlikely.
Cap outlook: This is an interesting one because Golden State is actually not in too bad shape, cap wise for 2011-12. They'll need to be frugal to fill out their lineup, but likely won't come close to the cap, thanks to the Maggette trade. I include them because they've actually mentioned they might be interested in dealing at the deadline. If they want to build around Steph Curry, David Lee and, say, Carmelo, they could clear space immediately by shipping off...
Players we might have a shot at: ...Andris Biedrins and Monta Ellis. Those are the Warriors' only two remaining lengthy contracts (not including Lee). If they're convinced they can land a true star in free agency next year (and again, it'll be hard to tell since the CBA situation is so up in the air) they might ship us those two for Murphy and Ford. I expect a draft pick would have to be involved.
Cap outlook: This is a tough one, because Yao might retire. If he doesn't, the Rockets will go into next season with he, and Aaron Brooks (who won't play for his qualifier) unsigned, and still be approximately $15 mil under the cap. That's not good for them.
Players we might have a shot at: Trevor Ariza and Kevin Martin are both possibilities, if Houston wants (and is able) to keep Yao and Brooks. I'd take Martin in a heartbeat, but it might involve a draft pick. I don't think Ariza can play the 2, so I don't really want him. It might be possible to land Brooks in a sign and trade next summer, but at the deadline, Ariza for Ford might be the only option with Houston.
Cap outlook: Their situation isn't terrible, but the Clips are traditionally tight wads, and they'll need to sign around 7-8 players and will only have probably $15ish million to do it. It would help them out a lot to get rid of a bad contract.
Players we might have a shot at: Chris Kaman and Baron Davis come to mind, but with each one's injury history, I would expect a draft pick as a throw-in compensation. I'd give up my own draft pick if they sent Davis and Eric Gordon for Dunleavy and Foster.
Cap outlook: I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that the Lakers are astronomically deep into the luxury tax, have been for years, and will be in 2011-12.
Players we might have a shot at: That said, none of the players they may be willing to deal will be worth anything to us, or simply won't be welcome here. Start praying now that Bird doesn't trade for Luke Walton at the deadline...
Cap outlook: Even after Peja Stojakovic expires, the Hornets will be in need of some cap relief. Though they probably won't be near the luxury tax (if there still is such a thing) they will need to make some changes if they ever expect to appease Paul. If they're completely rebuilding, they might be even more willing to part with some contracts. Right now they're looking at what will be close to a $50 million payroll for a team that's far from contending, and still needs 4-6 roster pieces (and may be looking to longterm Marcus Thornton, depending on how good he is in 2010-11).
Players we might have a shot at: As everyone here knows, Okafor, Posey and Paul are pretty much the only long-term deals, and Okafor/Posey are the ones that have been hampering the Hornets for the last year. The Pacers could, as many here have discussed, take back either or both of those contracts along with Darren Collison for Murphy and Foster, or Ford, Foster and Rush (or something along those lines). One possibility that hasn't been talked about much is going after David West, and agreeing to take back Posey in the package. Murphy and Solomon Jones would work financially, though its doubtful they'd give up West unless they'd already resigned themselves that they'd trade Paul elsewhere, since unlike Okafor and Posey, West is actually worth the money he's being paid.
Cap outlook: At $92 million against the cap for 2011-12, as of this writing, the Magic are the NBA team that could be most desperately looking to save money at this coming deadline or before. They're unique, however, in that they will probably be willing to part with some big deals, but will most certainly want to stay competitive and remain players in any trade that could bring back Paul. They'll almost certainly renounce Vince Carter's $18 million team option. I can't imagine a situation where they don't. Even so, they'll still be significantly over the cap, I would think.
Players we might have a shot at: Jameer Nelson, Marcin Gortat, Brandon Bass and even Rashard Lewis may become available in the coming months if Orlando thinks they can get better (or stay the same) and save money with the same move. Nelson and Bass have been discussed a lot on this site, but Lewis is the one who might be most attainable. The Magic have to realize they dramatically overpaid him, and a Ford/Murphy for Lewis deal might seem pretty attractive if they think they have a shot at Paul and/or Carmelo in the future. I don't know what position Lewis would play here, but hell, he's a former All-Star who can score with the best of them. He may be worth a look.
Cap outlook: Not good. The Sixers basically have about 85% of what I estimate the new salary cap to be, wrapped up in five players, and three of them pretty much play the same position (Lou Williams, Evan Turner and Andre Igoudala). They'll get discounts on Jrue Holiday and Marreese Speights by picking up team options on each, but meanwhile it's going to be their top priority to have enough cash in hand to make a competitive offer for Thad Young, who will be a RFA. When it's all said and done, if they don't make some changes before long, they will be in a dire financial situation next summer, and my guess is they won't become championship contenders between now and then, so the LT money's not likely going to be worth it.
Players we might have a shot at: Take your pick. Really, anyone on their team, minus Turner and probably Holiday, could end up on the trade block between now and next summer. My personal favorite, as we've discussed here before, is Andre Igoudala (and his name flew around in trade rumors earlier this off-season). The Sixers were so desperate to rid themselves of Elton Brand's atrocious deal they considered giving up the #2 overall pick for virtually nothing, so they still might...really anything is possible. I'd be happy to take back Holiday (who was very good as a starter last year, especially on defense), Speights and Brand for Murphy and Ford. I'd throw in the necessary filler (Dunleavy and Solomon Jones) and a protected pick if they added Andre Igoudala to that package. But then, we'd be pretty much swapping rosters with a team that was actually worse than us last year...
Cap outlook: The Spurs' cap situation mirrors the Sixers', only they have some winning seasons to show for it. Five players comprise the vast majority of the Spurs' cap space. They're lucky, in that they'll most likely have no RFAs that are too good to let walk, and they'll get discount team options on Dejaun Blair and George Hill, who at that point in their careers, will be playing for much lower than market value. I don't understand the Jefferson situation. He was smart to re-sign, even though he lost $6 million in 2010-11 when he could have just picked up the player option, but he got some long-term security. I just don't know why the Spurs gave it to him. He's not really that good anymore.
Players we might have a shot at: Myeh.
Cap outlook: Again, five players=most of the Jazz's cap. And two of them play the same position. Those who know me, know where I'm going with this...
Players we might have a shot at: Paul Milsap should be feeling like the odd man out already. If Utah decides he's expendable, and God, I hope they do, he could be available for cap relief and maybe a second rounder (or, worse case scenario, a highly-protected first). Foster and the pick, or Sol Jones, Dahntay Jones and Brandon Rush and the pick would work financially. Milsap, to me, is one of the best values in the league at $6.2 mil a season, and those are the types of contracts we should be going after, considering the CBA and what may change with max deals.
Cap outlook: They're actually not in bad shape. Without Gil Arenas's contract, the Wizards look like a young, rebuilding team with loads of potential (and a refreshing lack of locker room gunplay). It's a blemish on their payroll that they might do anything to erase. But they know that Gil has to behave himself and actually play a full season without getting seriously hurt before anyone will touch the remaining three years and $60+ million on his deal.
Players we might have a shot at: It's only Arenas, and I don't want him at that pricetag (though I did hope he'd get bought out and sign for cheap). But if the Wizards were really desperate to get rid of him at the deadline for some reason, and were willing to offer him, Andray Blatche and Nick Young for Murphy, Dunleavy and Rush (or Dahntay Jones) I'd have to consider it, if it were up to me. Especially if he had just played a half-a-season at his old level. While I'm not sure why the Wizards traded for him, I doubt Hinrich gets put back on the trade block.
Sorry for the length. Any I missed? Any you agree or disagree with? Comment away.