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Trade guide: Can the Lakers continue to rebuild?

·The Vertical
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The Vertical Front-Office Insider Bobby Marks, a former 20-year executive with the Nets, looks at each team’s roster and trade assets, as well as examining the track record of each team’s general manager during previous trade deadlines.

Previous trade guides: The title contenders | West teams pushing for playoff spot | East teams eyeing home court | Teams that shouldn’t focus on playoffs

A look at three teams in the rebuilding process that have limited assets as the Feb. 23 trade deadline approaches.

Player Value Insider info
1. Julius Randle Top Starter
2. *Brandon Ingram Key reserve/development
3. *D’Angelo Russell Key reserve/development
4. Jordan Clarkson Key reserve
5. Lou Williams Key reserve
6. *Luol Deng Rotation
7. Ivica Zubac Rotation/development
8. *Nick Young Rotation 2017-18 player option
9. *Timofey Mozgov Rotation
10. *Larry Nance Jr. Rotation
11. Tarik Black Rotation 2017-18 no protection
12. Thomas Robinson Roster Expiring contract
13. Metta World Peace Roster Expiring contract
14. Jose Calderon Roster Expiring contract
15. Marcelo Huertas Roster 2017-18 no protection
*Has started during the season but best suited coming off the bench for a team competing for a playoff spot.

Trade assets
Brandon Ingram, Ivica Zubac and D’Angelo Russell are still in the early developmental stages of becoming consistent NBA starters.

Excluding the former lottery picks – including Zubac, a second-round pick – leaves the Lakers with a limited pool of players from a trade perspective.

Though Nick Young and Lou Williams could contribute to a playoff team, trading either one in a salary dump to create cap space would not be prudent.

D’Angelo Russell, left, and Brandon Ingram, No. 14, were both drafted No. 2 overall. (Getty Images)
D’Angelo Russell, left, and Brandon Ingram, No. 14, were both drafted No. 2 overall. (Getty Images)

Draft assets

May’s draft lottery will determine the Lakers’ trade assets this year and in 2019.

Los Angeles, headed toward the lottery for a fourth straight season, will lose its 2017 first-rounder to Philadelphia and its 2019 first to Orlando if it finishes outside the top three.

If the pick is in the top three, the Lakers’ first-round obligation to Orlando in 2019 would be extinguished and the Magic would receive second-round picks from L.A. in 2017 and 2018.

Philadelphia would then receive the Lakers’ unprotected first-round pick in 2018.

Los Angeles is not permitted to trade a first until 2021 at the earliest.

Although the Lakers’ second-round assets are in flux, they also have a second-round pick in 2018 from Denver and one in 2019 from Chicago.

GM history at the deadline

Not since 2014 has Mitch Kupchak made a trade at the deadline.

In that deal the Lakers sent Steve Blake to the Warriors for Kent Bazemore and MarShon Brooks.

Before the 2014 trade, Kupchak made two deals in the 2011-12 strike-shortened season.

The Lakers sent two 2012 first-round picks (their own and the Mavericks’) to Cleveland and Houston in separate transactions.

As part of the Cleveland trade, the Cavaliers had the right to swap their own first-rounder or the Miami first acquired in the 2010 LeBron James trade with the Lakers in 2013.

The 2013 first was eventually traded to Phoenix four months later in the Lakers’ sign-and-trade for Steve Nash.

The Dallas pick, obtained in the 2011 Lamar Odom trade, was sent to Oklahoma City by Houston as part of the James Harden trade.

The Lakers received a combination of Jordan Hill from the Rockets and Ramon Sessions and Christian Eyenga from Cleveland.

Post-trade deadline roster movement

The Lakers have 15 guaranteed contracts.

One intriguing buyout candidate could be veteran Jose Calderon. Calderon is in the last year of a $7.7 million contract.

Player Value Insider info
1. Brook Lopez Key starter
2. Caris LeVert Top reserve/development
3. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson Top reserve
4. *Bojan Bogdanovic Top reserve 2017-18 RFA
5. *Isaiah Whitehead Rotation
6. *Sean Kilpatrick Rotation 2017-18 No protection
7. *Trevor Booker Rotation
8. Joe Harris Rotation 2017-18 No protection
9. Randy Foye Roster Expiring contract
10. Quincy Acy Roster 2017-18 no protection
11. Luis Scola Roster Expiring contract
12. Justin Hamilton Roster
13. Chris McCullough Development
14. Spencer Dinwiddie Development 2017-18 no protection
15. Jeremy Lin Starter/injured
*Started during the season but best suited coming off the bench.

Trade assets

The Nets’ assets are cap space and manageable contracts.

Brooklyn’s $15.8 million in cap space can be used to obtain key assets for teams looking to shed contracts.

As Portland proved last season when it obtained a first-round pick from Cleveland to take in the contract of Anderson Varejao, cap space could be advantageous.

Brook Lopez is an attractive trade asset. (AP)
Brook Lopez is an attractive trade asset. (AP)

Should be off the table

Though the Nets do not have control of their 2017 first-round pick (Boston can swap picks) and 2018 first (Boston owns it outright), Brooklyn does have a roster filled with manageable contracts.

Starters Brook Lopez (two years, $43 million) and Trevor Booker (two years, $18 million) are under contract through 2017-18 and offer good value for playoff teams looking for a starter and quality backup in Booker.

The Nets also have three players on expiring contracts (Bojan Bogdanovic, Luis Scola and Randy Foye) with salaries below $5.5 million.

Bogdanovic will be a restricted free agent and an acquiring team would have the right to match any offer.

The Nets also have begun the early stages of rebuilding their depleted stock of draft picks.

Young players Caris LeVert, Isaiah Whitehead, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Sean Kilpatrick should be non-starters in trade talks.

GM history at the deadline

Sean Marks was hired at the trade deadline last February.

He is not afraid to move a veteran player if it benefits Brooklyn’s future. He acquired LeVert in a draft-day deal for veteran Thaddeus Young.

Post-trade deadline roster movement

The recent signing of Quincy Acy puts the Nets at 15 guaranteed contracts.

Brooklyn is currently $6.4 million below the salary cap floor and has the top spot to claim a player based on its record. The Nets could be active during the post-deadline waiver period, but they would need to waive a player to make room.

Player Value Insider info
1. Hassan Whiteside Core
2. Goran Dragic Core
3. *Tyler Johnson Top reserve
4. *Josh Richardson Top reserve 2017-18 no protection
5. *Dion Waiters Top reserve 2017-18 player option
6. James Johnson Rotation Expiring contract
7. Wayne Ellington Rotation 2017-18 No protection
8. *Rodney McGruder Rotation/development 2017-18 no protection
9. Willie Reed Rotation 2017-18 player option
10. Okaro White Rotation/development 2017-18 no protection
11. Luke Babbitt Rotation Expiring contract
12. Udonis Haslem Roster Expiring contract
13. Josh McRoberts Roster 2017-18 player option
14. Chris Bosh All-Star/injured
15. Justise Winslow Top starter/injured
*Has started during the season but is best suited coming off the bench.

Trade assets

The Heat are in a similar situation as the Nets.

Though Miami controls its own pick this June (Brooklyn does not), prior trades have depleted Miami’s draft assets.

The Heat cannot trade a first until the 2023 season and do not have a second-round pick available to trade until 2022.

From a roster viewpoint, the new CBA values player retention (along with the draft) and less rebuilding with cap space.

The Heat’s two top players, Hassan Whiteside and Goran Dragic, have player options for the 2019-20 season. They should not be involved in trade discussions unless Miami can replenish its draft assets and add core players that would not allow Miami to take a step back.

Front office at the deadline

President Pat Riley and general manager Andy Elisburg have made trades at three straight deadlines that at the time benefited the roster and shed salary to reduce potential luxury-tax bills.

Last February the Heat traded Chris Andersen, Jarnell Stokes, Brian Roberts, cash and future second-round picks in three separate trades.

The transactions, along with the buyout of Beno Udrih, allowed Miami to fall below the tax threshold.

In 2015, Miami traded a 2018 first (protected Nos. 1-7) and a 2021 unprotected first to Phoenix in exchange for Goran Dragic.

Dragic signed a five-year contract in the offseason, and the core pieces of Dragic, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade helped Miami return to the playoffs.

But with Bosh’s health issues and Wade’s departure, the Dragic trade set up Miami for an unpredictable future.

Post-trade deadline roster movement

Though Feb. 9 is the date when Miami could exclude Bosh’s current and future salary, the paperwork process will likely start after March 1, when Bosh would not be playoff eligible.

Removing the salary after March 1 would eliminate the chance of Bosh’s $25.3 million salary for 2017-18 returning to Miami’s cap sheet for this summer.

If the removal of salary is granted before March 1 and Bosh signs with a new team and plays 25 games, including the playoffs, the amount owed would be added back to Miami’s cap sheet.

For the current year, the Heat would have $16 million in cap space but would not fall below the cap floor because Bosh’s salary is included toward the minimum team salary requirement.

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