Quality wings are in high demand as the NBA nears its February trade deadline. But while the list of teams chasing upgrades on the perimeter is lengthy, a few could-be buyers are expressing more interest in making a move than most.
Among them, according to ESPN.com’s Adrian Wojnarowski: The New York Knicks, New Orleans Pelicans, Portland Trail Blazers and Detroit Pistons.
Here’s the skinny, courtesy of Woj:
There are far more teams chasing wing players — shooting guards/small forwards — than quality talent available at those positions. Drafts have been lean on those spots in recent years, and they’re in great demand now.
Detroit, New Orleans, New York and Portland are a few of the teams most interested in upgrades, but the true list is much longer.
The Blazers are most likely to make a move more so than any other team in this gaggle.
Though the Pistons have some assets, their hard-cap situation makes finding a workable deal very difficult. The Pelicans are perhaps the most desperate of the bunch, but they have neither the salary-matching nor youthful pieces to entice the league’s primary sellers. The Knicks have a bunch of assets they can dangle, but many of them are bigs, such as Kyle O’Quinn and Willy Hernangomez. Wing-for-big swaps are hard to come by these days, and New York, as a fringe playoff team at best, has no business throwing the kitchen sink at a midseason upgrade.
The Blazers are in an entirely different situation. They need to make playoffs, and though they’re on pace to do just that now, nothing is guaranteed near the bottom of the West. They have a nice collection of younger bigs, a couple of wings on reasonable contracts (Al-Farouq Aminu, Maurice Harkless), all their own first-rounders and a good bundle of salary-matching fodder to make something happen. Whether they’ll do anything with the expansive assortment of unimpressive-to-middling assets at their disposal likely depends on where they sit in the West as the trade deadline draws closer.