The NBA trade deadline is still more than two months away, but there has been some speculation the Brooklyn Nets could look to move DeMarre Carroll.
There hasn’t been a lot of rumors surrounding the Brooklyn Nets in the early part of the season, but the Feb. 7 trade deadline is still more than two months out.
One player getting a bit of buzz is veteran forward DeMarre Carroll, who could prove difficult to move without a turnaround on the court.
Last week, Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer wrote that Carroll could be a potential fit for the New Orleans Pelicans, whose lack of depth quickly took the shine off a 4-0 start to the season.
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The Pelicans lost their third in a row Saturday night, falling to 10-10 on the season with a 124-114 loss to the Washington Wizards with All-Star Anthony Davis sidelined with a right hip strain.
New Orleans has been wildly streaky this season — four straight wins to open, followed by six straight losses, then six wins in seven games and now a three-game slide.
Depth is the issue for the Pelicans, even within the starting lineup.
New Orleans began the year starting journeyman E’Twaun Moore at the small forward spot, but he shifted back to the 2 guard slot he held for 80 starts last season after new point guard Elfrid Payton went down with a broken finger.
O’Connor’s piece detailed the Pelicans’ need for a wing who can shoot and defend, which is a description that fits Carroll — provided he can get his shooting touch back.
Carroll went down on the eve of the regular-season opener after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his right ankle. In nine games since his return, Carroll is averaging 8.7 points and 4.6 rebounds in 20.6 minutes per game as a reserve, but is shooting a miserable .313/.303/.875.
The Nets got Carroll in July 2017 from the Toronto Raptors — who were looking to move salary in order to be able to re-sign free agents Kyle Lowry and Serge Ibaka. Carroll spent two years with the Raptors after signing as a free agent in July 2015.
But injuries and ineffectiveness after signing the four-year, $60 million deal made Carroll a target for a salary dump and Brooklyn obliged, getting Toronto’s 2018 first-round pick as well as a 2018 second-round selection that originally belonged to the Los Angeles Lakers along with Carroll.
The Nets sent the expiring contract of Justin Hamilton to the Raptors in exchange.
Carroll responded by taking on a veteran leader role in Brooklyn and putting up the best numbers of his career, averaging career-highs of 13.6 points, 6.6 rebounds and 2.0 assists in 29.9 minutes per game, shooting .414/.371/.764 after putting up a slash line of .396/.354/.713 in two years with Toronto.
The Pelicans could use a wing — particularly a veteran — with 3-and-D skills, but Carroll’s trade value could be hurt if he’s not adding the “3” to the equation.
It’s a complicated season for trades, with almost every team in the NBA over the salary cap. That makes eating a bad contract impossible; instead, the salaries have to have a match within 20 percent of value one way or the other.
Carroll’s expiring deal carries a $15.4 million cap hit and New Orleans would have to either give up a legitimate asset or cobble together some smaller salaries — which doesn’t make sense if the goal is to improve the team’s depth.
Luke Adams of Hoops Rumors laid out some of the particulars on Carroll in a speculative piece on potential trade targets that included Terry Rozier of the Boston Celtics and Markelle Fultz of the Philadelphia 76ers.
New Orleans, at 10-10, is tied with the Houston Rockets and Dallas Mavericks for ninth place in the Western Conference, a half-game behind the surprising Sacramento Kings for the eighth spot.
Chris Sheridan, in a piece for Get More Sports, reported that the Pelicans — is they remain in the middle of the pack or worse — could look to move their superstar, Davis, at the deadline in February, citing the Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers as the favorites to land him.
The Nets may also be a complicated trade partner in a deal for Carroll because they would likely be reluctant — extremely reluctant — to agree to a trade scenario which would commit any cap space beyond this season.
And as long as Carroll is struggling to find the range on his shot, his trade value will be suppressed.