NBA Rumor: Wayne Ellington Trade?

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Wayne Ellington, Delon Wright, Mason Plumlee have received most trade interest on Pistons

Wayne Ellington, Delon Wright and Mason Plumlee. Per sources, these three veterans have received most of the legitimate interest from opposing teams up to this point. Despite his struggles as of late, the 33-year-old Ellington is still shooting over 40 percent from 3 on 6.0 attempts per game. Contending teams looking to add shooting have inquired about his services.

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Any deal for the hot-shooting Morris likely would have to include a third team to absorb the contract numbers. The Hawks are under the salary cap and could be a facilitator in multiple deals. According to an NBA executive, the two shooting guards mostly on the outs in the Knicks’ rotation, Allonzo Trier and Wayne Ellington, have value and perhaps could net a distant-future second-rounder. Ellington surprisingly played five minutes at Phoenix, perhaps as a showcase.

The Heat, with their limited trade assets, have mostly remained on the periphery of such conjecture, although their position against the luxury tax has given rise to the notion of a possible trade of Wayne Ellington to a contender in need of additional 3-point shooting. “It’s always crazy around this time of year, so I’m sure that won’t be the last one that comes across my phone,” Ellington said Friday of the Porzingis trade. “It’s part of this business.”

But that doesn’t mean the Nuggets don’t have some flexibility to work with. Denver currently holds three traded-player exceptions they could use to acquire players at the deadline or, perhaps more likely, next summer. Each of the three TPEs — gained from last summer’s trades of Chandler, Faried and Arthur — are worth between $7.4 and 13.7 million. The Nuggets could use exceptions to trade for a player without having to send out matching salary in return. (They can’t, however, combine exceptions to trade for, say, a $20 million player.) In a theoretical example, if the Nuggets thought Ellington could help them off the bench, they could acquire him in a trade with the Heat by using the $7.4 million traded-player exception they gained by trading Arthur last summer.

Ellington told the Miami Herald previously that he would not rule out going to Heat management and asking to trade him to a team where he can play more. Ellington, signed to a one-year, $6.3 million contract, has the right to approve any trade. Dealing Ellington might make sense for Miami because the Heat’s current tax bill would be $9.7 million if payroll isn’t lowered by the final day of the regular season. But there is no ownership edict to get back under the tax line and that would be difficult to achieve anyway. One challenge with dealing Ellington is that Miami might need to take a contract back. Only a few teams can absorb a contract such as Ellington’s without sending money back to Miami. One is Sacramento, which has $11 million in cap space. Detroit, Denver and Charlotte have trade exceptions exceeding $6 million.

“Come off your best season in your career to this situation, of course it crosses your mind,” Ellington said Wednesday of how his situation has so dramatically changed. “I’m human, at the end of the day. It’s a tough situation. A lot of things cross your mind.” But he said he has yet to approach Spoelstra or the front office regarding his situation, as he plays out the one-year, $6.3 million contract he signed in July. “Anything is a possibility,” he said. “I can’t sit here and say yes or no to a question like that right now. But at the same time, I want to play but I want it to be with these guys, with my brothers. Hopefully we can work it out.”

Wayne Ellington a trade target?

Q: Why do we even have Wayne Ellington, if Erik Spoelstra is too stubborn to play him? — David. A: Again, I believe “stubborn” is too strong a word, because with every player you add to the rotation, it means fewer minutes for others, or perhaps being removed from the rotation entirely. So less Justise Winslow? Less Josh Richardson? Less Tyler Johnson (who has been shooting 3-pointers at an Ellington-like pace)? Less Derrick Jones Jr.? Less Rodney McGruder? And the thing is, Ellington hasn’t been in the rotation even with Dion Waiters and Goran Dragic out, with it looking like Waiters could be back as soon as Wednesday in Cleveland. Considering the number of contenders who covet shooting, it would appear the value play would be a trade. And perhaps that’s where this is headed, because I would think Wayne would rather be elsewhere playing than with the Heat and watching, a key factor considering he has veto power on any trade. I’d say at this point that the odds are just as strong that Wayne realizes playing time elsewhere as he does with the Heat.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the Lakers would like to pluck small forward Trevor Ariza, who played 106 combined games for Los Angeles in 2008 and 2009, from the Suns. Ariza may be the top option, but there are other possible targets. Among them, a source told Sporting News, is another former Laker — Heat guard Wayne Ellington, a 3-point specialist who would help LA’s struggles from the 3-point arc. Ellington is on a one-year deal with the Heat, and he has the right to veto a trade.

So assuming you also are asking about the roster, the move that makes the most sense would be flipping Wayne Ellington for a draft choice or younger, lower-cost prospect, as a means of also working toward getting out of the luxury tax (not because of the cash implications, but rather the pesky longer-term ramifications of the luxury tax). In many ways, Wayne, with his professionalism, sets up as the perfect specialist for a contender one 3-point shooter away from a higher level of competiveness. That said, there are two factors at play: 1. Wayne cannot be dealt until Dec. 15, after signing this offseason as a free agent. 2. As an impending Bird Rights free agent on a one-year contract, Wayne has the right to veto any trade. That said, I would be believe that playing for a contender, and therefore showcasing himself for a contender in advance of his next entry into free agency, could prove enticing enough to acquiesce. Otherwise, it’s not as if there are many tradeable contracts on this roster, at least ones that could fetch a draft pick or prospect.

“I woke up to a lot of phone calls and texts,” Ellington said Friday, before the Heat played the Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena. Those contacts came after a Twitter report from The Vertical about the Heat attempting to move Ellington and sidelined forward Josh McRoberts in a package deal, ostensibly to unload the $6 million player option on McRoberts’ contract (Ellington, by contrast, is non-guaranteed at $6.3 million for next season). “It’s part of the business. It’s part of what we signed on for,” the 29-year-old 3-point specialist said. “But I’m happy I’m still here, obviously.”
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