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Trade season heating up in NBA

The NBA trade deadline is Feb. 19, and after an early flurry of moves, all was quiet on the trade front. That changed on Tuesday, with the Minnesota Timberwolves involved in two separate deals.

Photo Credit: BleacherReport.com

Photo Credit: BleacherReport.com

The first trade had Mo Williams and Troy Daniels going to the Charlotte Hornets in exchange for Gary Neal and a 2019 second-round pick acquired from the Miami Heat in the 2014 NBA Draft.

This deal makes some sense for both sides. Williams is set to be a free agent this summer, and he was of little use to the Wolves for the remainder of this year. The return of Neal and a second-rounder well into the future isn’t great, but Minnesota could look to flip Neal for another asset. If a trade can’t be made, the Wolves may look to buy out the shooting guard, who’s having the worst season of his career.

For the Hornets, they get the upgrade they’ve been searching for at point guard since Kemba Walker had surgery to repair a torn meniscus in late January. Brian Roberts had been playing big minutes as the starter in place of Walker, and while Roberts is a serviceable backup, he wasn’t shooting the ball well as a starter. With Williams in the fold, the minutes can be split more evenly until Walker gets back, which will hopefully be sometime in March.

Charlotte is currently 22-29, which is seventh in the Eastern Conference. The Miami Heat hold the same record as the No. 8 seed, and the Brooklyn Nets are a game back of both teams.

Photo Credit: PeachtreeHoops.com

Photo Credit: PeachtreeHoops.com

The second deal of the day involved the Wolves and Atlanta Hawks. Minnesota acquired Hawks 2014 first-round pick Adreian Payne for a protected 2017 first-round pick. The pick is lottery protected from 2017-2020, according to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst.

Payne wasn’t getting any playing time with the Hawks, and while trading away a first-round pick in his rookie season isn’t ideal, this is a good move for Atlanta. With this trade, the Hawks open up a roster spot, which could potentially be used on Ray Allen or another player. Atlanta has about $5 million in cap space, so Allen can be offered more than the minimum. The veteran shooting guard is expected to make a decision about his future after the All-Star break.

Trading a first-round pick for an unproven player like Payne is a steep price for the Wolves, but the young power forward has upside and the front office liked him during the draft process. With Thaddeus Young likely gone soon and Anthony Bennett still a major question mark, Payne could have the opportunity for significant playing time in the future as the Wolves rebuild.

Hopefully these moves set the wheels in motion for a busy trade season. With so many teams in the mix for both the playoffs and the championship, there could be a lot of activity.


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