The first quarter of the NBA season is now over. Some early favourites have performed well, whilst some way below expectations. While it’s interesting to see what the teams are doing, bettors can also learn a lot by analysing the players. Who are the most untradeable players in the Eastern Conference? Read on to find out.
While most bettors will focus on the game, various stats, and league standings when analysing a basketball match up, you really shouldn’t forget specific players and in particular, as this article shows, the untradeable players.
Some people will bet on a game-by-game basis but if you’re thinking ahead and playing the long game, especially looking to the playoffs and finals, looking at how contractual deficits can affect a team’s performance is a must. You might think knowledge about what a team pays out to its players is merely interesting to know, but it also matters when considering betting.
Here is a list of the most untradeable contracts in the NBA Eastern Conference.
Miles Plumlee (four years, $50.0 million)
Thus far this season, the Hawks big guy Miles Plumlee has played 161 total minutes in 17 games, scoring 76 points and securing 37 rebounds. What’s more, the Duke graduate is on his third year of a four-year, $50 million deal. It’s very unlikely that the Hawks could pitch him to others for any potential deal any time soon.
Even though they are in the early stages of a rebuild, Atlanta is in no rush to deal Plumlee. But even if they wanted to, it would prove mighty difficult, unless they were willing to attach a secondary major asset to go along with his contract
Gordon Hayward (four years, $127.8 million)
In truth, it may not be fair to count Gordon Hayward as the Boston Celtics’ most untradeable contract. He is in comeback mode from a terrible injury and still working his way back into form. His play has now recently started to resemble the 2016-17 All-Star version he built up a reputation from.
Even so, his overall numbers this season of 10.6 points and 5.0 rebounds per game and averages of 40.6/32.5/88.9 in terms of shooting splits are a pretty low rate, and with his contract still having three years and $98.1 million left on it, the Celtics would have trouble dealing Hayward without attaching other assets to the trade, if they were to decide that that’s what they wanted to do.
There is no need for Celtics fans to worry about it, though, as Hayward still very much figures into Boston’s grand plan, both for this year and for the future. There’s probably little to worry about when it comes to Hayward getting moved on or what a potential trade option would look like.
Allen Crabbe (four years, $74.8 million)
Nets GM Sean Marks has done an admirable bit of work in navigating a muddled situation and brightening the outlook for this Brooklyn team. As such, choosing the most untradeable contract on the Nets’ roster is a much more difficult exercise than it would have been at this point last year.
Brooklyn already managed to move one of their worst contracts when they dealt Mozgov, who iscurrently in Orlando. Their other two least team-friendly deals, belonging to Allen Crabbe and DeMarre Carroll, both of whom are a year older, mean that Brooklyn are almost free of those cap anchors.
At the end of the day, neither Crabbe nor Carroll’s contracts can be seen as anything but bad, so choosing the more untradeable one wasn’t exactly a piece of cake. Carroll’s contract is expiring after this season, while Crabbe has a player option (worth a whopping $18.5 million) on his deal for 2019-20, making his the more immovable deal out of the duo.
Nicolas Batum (four years, $120.0 million)
When looking at this list, it’s worth keeping in mind that not all the players are benchwarmers or second rate players. There are some, like Nicolas Batum, that still get above average play time and contribute to their team.
Batum is on his third year of a five-year deal worth $ 120 million. He is still a very good two-way player that is more than qualified to set up plays as well as provide reasonable defenc.the major issue is his age, given that he is in his 30s and competing with the younger generation. On a game average basis, he’s posted up 8.9 points per game (PPG) with 45.6% shooting this season.
By the time he goes into the final year of his deal, Batum will be 32 and with the player option attached it’s very unlikely to consider it as a case worth $27.1 million. It’s also unlikely that he would opt out of such a lucrative option and that’s what makes it hard for the Hornets front office to pitch.
Cristiano Felicio (four years, $32.0 million)
There are a few things that make Cristiano Felicio’s contract seem worse than it actually is. One thing is his cap hit gets lower each of the next three seasons, starting at $8.5 million from this year, ending at $7.5 million by the 2020-21 season.
In addition to the above, it should be considered that in the modern landscape a salary cap increasing exponentially every year, along with the annual average value of $8.0 million is becoming ridiculous. At the same time, Felicio is currently averaging 3.1 points and 3.3 rebounds this season at the age of 26 (he’s played 256 minutes across 23 games).
So the Bulls are just going to have to eat this contract over the next few years, unless they’re able to include it as a salary filler in a greater deal moving forward. Other than that, it’s hard to see Chicago being able to trade it (some would argue whether they should even bother trying to).
Kevin Love (four years, $120.4 million)
Before going down with yet another injury, Kevin Love was still performing at close to All-Star level. Averaging 19.0 points and 13.5 rebounds over four games. Love looked rejuvenated and thrived on being the focal point of a team for the first time since his days in Minnesota.
Unfortunately, he ended up going down to injury again, continuing a troublesome trend of missing dozens of games. Heading into this season, Love had sat out 55 regular-season contests over the last two years due to a plethora of different ailments.
As a player who has never been all that durable, with plenty of extra mileage on him from three straight Finals runs (Love missed most of Cleveland’s first Finals run), this will be a concern for the Cavs. When you factor in that his max extension doesn’t even kick in until next season, when he’ll be 31, it’s a difficult situation to be in.
Even despite his still-impressive level of play, there are a lot of troubling factors when determining the outlook of his contract - it may be one that Cleveland eventually ends up regretting.
Jon Leuer (four years, $42.0 million)
The Pistons have a couple of contracts that could be considered not too team-friendly, but none of them have as many question marks as Jon Leuer’s. Due to injury, he missed 74 games last season and thus far this year, he’s seen action in 20 games, for an overall total of 199 minutes.
Leuer could be used as salary-filler in a bigger trade, but other than that, it’s hard to see Detroit being able to move just him without placing in an asset to the deal. There’s really no point for them to do so, either since his contract expires after next season and only takes up under 10% of their salary cap.
Doug McDermott (three years, $22.0 million)
For the most part the Pacers’ have clean books. Two of their major deals are for the aging Young and Collison who both expiring contracts this season. The remainder of their cash flow is tied into a young and talented core. While none of their core are making eight figures, Doug McDermott would be deemed the most untradeable player on their books when you consider the lesser paid players.
New York Knicks
Tim Hardaway Jr. (four years, $71.0 million)
The Knicks are set up solid like both LA teams going into the 2019 offseason, and they have very few bad contracts on their books. By far the biggest contract that is considered questionable is that of Tim Hardaway Jr. who has three years $54.5 million left to run.
It’s good to take note that THJ is producing career high numbers averaging 20.7, and knocking down 34.5% of his threes. The positive for the Knicks is that at least the performance matches the paycheque.
Timofey Mozgov (four years, $64.0 million)
Timofey Mozgov in part with regards to this write up is a rare case. Traded twice in the last season and now on the untradeable list, he really holds a bad contract (there’s two years and $32.7 million left on it). Orlando will likely buy him out and trade him, but you never know. So far he has not played this season.
Markelle Fultz (three years, $25.1 million)
With Wilson Chandler being among the nominees in this category, the fact that his contract ends at the end of the season makes Markelle Fultz our prime candidate for the 76ers. He’s had injuries and issues so far, and now being indefinitely out with his most recent shoulder injury brings back the number one draft pick struggle.
Considering a possible move from Fultz, it’s clear that they would not get a good enough return. He had been doing well this season while playing and had worked out well in the off-season but that’s just not enough - you need to take his position on the roster for what it is.
Norman Powell (four years, $42.0 million)
When Normal Powell was given a contract extension by the Raptors it seemed like a nice fit however given the current roster and player quality it’s become so obsolete that it’s quite remarkable.
The past two seasons have not been too good for him, averaging 5.4 points and 1.7 rebounds in about 15.1 minutes. While this season he is at least shooting 40.9% of his 3-pointers, overall his production has gone from bad to worse and this has been a major reason for his contract to be seen as untradeable.
Ian Mahinmi (four years, $64.0 million)
The Wizards are in a really tight spot this season. John Wall, Bradley Beal and even Otto Porter have all recently been on the chopping block.
A case could be made for any one of these three to be included in this section but the big man Ian Mahinmi has been below average and has not been able to live up to expectations - so much so that he has to be the Wizards most untradeable player.
His career numbers sit at 5.1 points and 4.3 rebounds per game (dropping to 3.9 and 3.3 this season) - the fact that he gets a yearly $16 million is quite difficult to comprehend. In addition to that, he is in the final two years of his current contract and there is no protection by the team at all.