For a second consecutive season, the NBA’s trade deadline will fall earlier in the calendar year than it has in the past. The February 7 deadline arrives well before the All-Star break, whereas as recently as 2017, the All-Star Game took place several days before the deadline.
As Danny Leroux of The Athletic writes, the earlier deadline could have some unintended consequences. For one, the buyer/seller ratio is one-sided — so many teams are still within striking distance of the top eight in their respective conferences that there may only be a handful of full-fledged sellers, while most of the rest of the league’s teams will be buyers.
Leroux points to the Magic as one example of a team that could be impacted significantly by the early deadline. Despite an underwhelming 19-27 record, Orlando is still just three games out of the No. 8 seed in the East. With a couple extra weeks to evaluate their playoff odds, perhaps the Magic would be more inclined to sell off pieces like Nikola Vucevic, Terrence Ross, and Jonathon Simmons. If the team is still in the postseason hunt by February 7 though, those players may stay put.
If trade activity is somewhat tepid at this season’s deadline, the NBA should consider re-evaluating its calendar for future seasons, Leroux writes.
Here are more odds and ends from around the basketball world:
- Which teams will have cap room during the summer of 2019? In an Insider-only piece for ESPN.com, Bobby Marks previews the market, identifying the clubs that figure to have the most flexibility – like the Mavericks, Pacers, Hawks, and Kings – along with a few teams that could be “wild cards” (the Pelicans, Jazz, and Bucks).
- Elsewhere in ESPN’s Insider-only section, Jonathan Givony recently published a two-part feature examining several of the top international draft prospects, including Georgian big man Goga Bitadze and Lithuanian forward Deividas Sirvydis, among others. Bitadze and Sirvydis rank 31st and 33rd on Givony’s most recent big board for 2019.
- In the wake of the NBA’s annual trip to London last week, Mark Woods of ESPN.com explores the effect that a homegrown British basketball star might impact the perception of the NBA in the United Kingdom. As Woods outlines, British basketball is still waiting for its first high-profile star, while other European countries like Germany (Dirk Nowitzki), France (Tony Parker), and Spain (the Gasol brothers) have had major NBA success stories over the last couple decades.