ESPN.com reported less than a week ago the Orlando Magic were working with third-year big man Andrew Nicholson's agent to find him a new home. Nicholson, who's struggled to get on court consistently for each of the last two seasons, has shown flashes when he's played, and could be a nice buy-low candidate for a contender looking for some scoring from their bench. With another year at $2.4 million on his contract, it could be a bit tougher for the Magic to move Nicholson, and with his limited amount of court time--he hasn't appeared in a game since January 10th--the return could be very minimal for the former 19th overall pick.
With the NBA's trade deadline looming Thursday, here are a handful of teams to watch as possible destinations for Nicholson.
The Clippers are in a position right now where they just need competent big men. Once you get past their starting frontcourt of Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan, it gets ugly, and fast. Spencer Hawes, whom the team signed with the mid-level exception during the offseason, has underwhelmed, and the likes of Glen Davis, Ekpe Udoh and Hedo Turkoglu have given the team nothing.
One of the biggest issues for the Clippers, however, is their cap situation. Because of some of their personnel moves--mainly the cutting of Jordan Farmar, whom the team signed to the bi-annual exception--the team has hard-capped itself, thus making roster changes challenging. To make any significant moves, the Clippers would likely have to move one of Jordan, Jamal Crawford or J.J. Redick, which would hurt the team more than it would help.
Should they make a call on Nicholson, they could offer a package of guard C.J. Wilcox and second-round picks, which could get the attention of Magic general manager Rob Hennigan. Wilcox, a rookie, has appeared in 11 games, averaging 2.8 points per game. Most of his miinutes come in garbage time, but has shown an ability to score at a high level during his time in college, and could give the Magic a scoring punch off the bench that they currently lack.
Generally, making a deal with a division rival doesn't happen. Add in in-stare rivals, and it's even less likely.
That being said, the Heat could be a team that Nicholson would be able to join and make an immediate impact. With Josh McRoberts out for the season, and Udonis Haslem not producing much in his limited time, Nicholson could jump in and give them a boost scoring in the front court off the bench. Having a defensive anchor like Chris Andersen next to Nicholson, and it could be a perfect situation for him to turn things around.
With the Heat's supposed interest in moving point guard Norris Cole, the Magic could be a sensible trade partner. A package of Cole plus a pick for Nicholson and veteran point guard Luke Ridnour could be a deal worth considering for both parties. It would give the Magic a chance to audition Cole for their backup point-guard role moving forward, and give the Heat some added depth and scoring in the frontcourt, along with a veteran to help stabilize their offense off the bench.
I know the Sixers aren't anywhere near contending, and they don't want to be. But kicking the tires on Nicholson seems to be something that general manager Sam Hinkie might do.
The Sixers, much like the Magic, are in the midst of a multi-year rebuild, trying to collect as many assets as possible. While his value may be at an all-time low, Nicholson could still be considered an asset, no matter how meager his production.
Philadelphia also has the cap space to take Nicholson and not have to give up more salary, which could, in turn, open the door for a more complex, three-team trade. The Sixers could take back salary from a team looking to make a bigger deal, with the Magic getting an asset back from either the Sixers or the third team.
A deal with the Sixers could also open the door for the Magic to move a contract like Ben Gordon. Gordon, who signed a two-year deal this offseason, has given the Magic some good minutes this season, but has fallen out of the rotation over the past few weeks. With the 2015/16 season a team option, the Sixers could acquire, and then immediately waive, the veteran shooting guard and allow him to try to find his way onto a contender for the remainder of the season.
In the end, it might be extremely tough for the Magic to find a home for Nicholson. His value is so low that other teams may not be willing to part with much, which could turn Hennigan away. It's also possible that the team could still view Nicholson as a piece of the future, and are waiting on hiring a new coach in the offseason to see if they can turn Nicholson's career around.
Whether they keep him or not, Nicholson's name will be one of the main ones tossed around heading into Thursday's deadline. These are some deals I think make sense. What are your ideas?