The Carmelo Anthony trade that did (finally) happen could turn out to be good news for the Hawks, because the trade that didn’t happen gives the team a potential trade partner of its own.
After missing out on Anthony, the Nets are likely looking to shed salary with any potential deals, and they have in Devin Harris a very desirable trading chip for any team which is looking to upgrade at the point guard position. Sound like any team you know? Thought so. As Michael Cunningham writes, Hawks GM Rick Sund is actively scouring the trade market for potential guard help, and that search includes the Harris:
Harris, who turns
2728 on Sunday, would meet Atlanta’s desire for a capable defender who also can push the pace and create shots for others. But he makes $9.3 million in 2011-12, and adding his salary to the roughly $65 million Atlanta has committed for next season would push Atlanta’s payroll above the current luxury-tax threshold (which could change in the new CBA). Harris also is owed $8.5 million in 2012-13.
It’s not clear whom the Hawks would offer for Harris. Jamal Crawford seems to be the obvious candidate because his expiring $10.1 million contract would allow the Nets to carve out even more cap space for next season–they have just $37 million in committed salaries.
With the salary differences, it wouldn’t be so simple as a straight Crawford-for-Harris swap. Assuming the Nets would take that deal to begin with (obviously, Atlanta would), that trade fails the all knowing ESPN Trade Machine.
This is the best I could do in matching up the salary figures without involving a third team.* Damion James was originally drafted by the Hawks this summer and swapped for the Jordan Crawford pick, so I don’t know if the Nets would be thrilled to include him in any deal. But hey, if Renaldo Balkman can return to the Knicks, anything can happen.
* – I revisited the Trade Machine and managed to work this one through the filter. Jeff Teague/Crawford for Harris and small forward Quinton Ross. It’d hurt a bit to give up on Teague this soon, but Harris is only 28, already an established player and has another 1.5 years left on his deal. I would do this move in a heartbeat.
Another possible scenario in the post-’Melo world: Denver could turn around and flip one of the newly acquired former Knicks, Raymond Felton. Felton was having a career year in New York, with with the young Ty Lawson ready to take over for the departing Chauncey Billups, the Nuggets appear set at point guard. The speculation around the league is that Felton will be dealt before the deadline.
So, Felton or Harris? Which would you prefer? The correct answer, of course, is “anyone but Mike Bibby.”
So yeah, the Knicks made a huge splash Monday night, but the ripple effects have provided the Hawks with options of their own.