Why aren’t the Eagles trading for [Player Z from Mars]?

Why aren’t the Eagles trading for [Player Z from Mars]?

Two-time All-Pro safety Jairus Byrd is stuck in Buffalo playing on a one-year deal thanks to the franchise tag, and he seemingly wants out. The Eagles are desperate for so much as a capable safety, so why doesn’t general manager Howie Roseman pick up the phone and make that call?

The Cleveland Browns just shipped out running back Trent Richardson last week, and if the third-overall pick of the 2012 draft is available, why not freakish wide receiver Josh Gordon? Riley Cooper is a distraction and can’t get any separation from opposing corners anyway, so it seems somebody like Gordon could help.

It’s not uncommon for fans to look around the league and identify players that might better the team they root for. Some thoughts are better than others—you do realize Kennry Britt only has five receptions for 43 yards this season, right?—but there’s no question there are players on the trade block who might be able to help the Birds right now.

The Eagles have pieces they aren’t making much use out in the form of Nick Foles, Bryce Brown, and Vinny Curry for example, not to mention next year’s draft picks. So enough beating around the bush, just what is this front office waiting for?

While he isn't allowed to delve into specifics per league rules, Roseman did address some of these questions on Monday, as reported by Zach Berman for the Inquirer:

"I wouldn't say anything is a non-starter for us," Roseman said. "If there's an opportunity for us to improve our team now and going forward, we're open to doing that. I think it's hard to trade draft picks. We want to build this the right way. We want to get our own players. But to make a statement that we won't trade draft picks - if it makes sense, we'd be open to anything for our team."

"We want to keep our talented players on our roster," Roseman said. "We're not looking to move our players. We want to compete right now. We're trying to build it the right way, but we're trying to be competitive."

The problem with swapping for a player like Byrd or Gordon is they won’t come cheap. Teams want high draft picks in return, not players—all of Foles’, Brown’s, and Curry’s limbs put together aren’t worth as much as a second-round pick at this moment in time—which means the Eagles would have to give up one or multiple valuable selections to acquire a quality player.

Keep in mind the Eagles no matter what else Roseman said in that interview have a rebuilding mindset at the moment. Nobody thought the team was a Super Bowl contender coming into this season, and I doubt any of those potential moves would change many minds. Meanwhile, they need those picks next year to continue improving the roster.

Byrd, 26, and Gordon, 22, could improve the Birds now and for the future… in theory. But Byrd will be a free agent at season’s end, which means he could possibly be had without giving up picks, or he could potentially leave. Gordon meanwhile still has a lot to prove at this level, plus he violated the NFL’s drug policy and is one strike away from a one-year suspension—let's not forget Jeremy Maclin could be back in midnight green next season as well.

It’s a lot more complicated than making the call. There’s a good chance neither of those players will move for less than a second-round pick, and as it stands today, the Eagles could have a good one come April.

You’re just going to have to be patient, Eagles fans. Not that this season is over, but you have to look beyond these next 13 games and think where the roster could be one or two years from now after a couple of drafts and a little more free-agent spending. They have a better chance of getting back to being a perennial contender by staying the course than they do hauling off other teams’ unwanteds.

But hey, the NFL trade deadline is still over a month away, and Howie did say there aren’t any non-starters. So he’s saying there’s a chance.

>> Don’t count on any Eagles trade, Roseman says [Inq]

Best of NBA: DeRozan scores career-high 43 points in Raptors' win

Best of NBA: DeRozan scores career-high 43 points in Raptors' win

TORONTO -- DeMar DeRozan scored a career-high 43 points and the Toronto Raptors rallied from a 17-point deficit to beat the Boston Celtics 107-97 on Friday night.

DeRozan shot 15 of 28 from the floor as he surpassed his 42-point effort against the Houston Rockets on March 30, 2015, helping the Raptors overcome the absence of fellow All-Star Kyle Lowry. Lowry sat out with a right wrist injury.

Serge Ibaka, acquired by trade from the Orlando Magic last week, scored 15 points in his debut, while fellow newcomer P.J. Tucker, picked up from the Phoenix Suns on Thursday, had a game-high 10 rebounds and nine points in his first game for his new team.

Isaiah Thomas scored 20 points for Boston, which also got 19 points each from Jae Crowder and Marcus Smart (see full recap).

Westbrook triple-double lifts Thunder over Lakers
OKLAHOMA CITY -- Russell Westbrook scored 17 points in his 28th triple-double of the season, and his new teammates fit in seamlessly as the Oklahoma City Thunder defeated the Los Angeles Lakers 110-93 on Friday night.

Westbrook also had 18 rebounds and 17 assists for the 65th triple-double of his career.

It was the first game for new Thunder players Taj Gibson and Doug McDermott, acquired Thursday in a trade with the Chicago Bulls. Gibson scored 12 points and McDermott added eight, even though they arrived Thursday night and weren't even available for shootaround on Friday.

Alex Abrines and Andre Roberson each set a career high with 19 points, and Steven Adams added 15 points and 10 rebounds for the Thunder.

D'Angelo Russell scored 29 for the Lakers (see full recap).

Pacers beat Grizzlies to snap six-game skid
INDIANAPOLIS -- CJ Miles made five 3-pointers and scored 17 points, Paul George had nine points and nine rebounds after remaining with Indiana following the trade deadline, and the Pacers snapped a six-game losing streak with a 102-92 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies on Friday night.

Monta Ellis finished with 16 points, Myles Turner scored 12, and Lavoy Allen, Jeff Teague and Thaddeus Young each added 10 for the Pacers.

The Pacers outscored the Grizzlies 64-42 across the middle two quarters and never relinquished their lead, leading by as many as 27 points in the second half. The Grizzlies finished the game shooting 41 percent from the floor (35 for 84).

Troy Daniels had 13 points for Memphis and Marc Gasol scored 12. Indiana outrebounded Memphis 50-39 and scored 29 points off 17 Grizzlies turnovers (see full recap).

Thrust into bigger role, Sixers' Holmes stars in win over Wizards

Thrust into bigger role, Sixers' Holmes stars in win over Wizards

BOX SCORE

For as much as the Sixers’ bigs are talked about, Richaun Holmes often is left out of the conversation. 

He’s not the centerpiece of the team like Joel Embiid nor was he heavily involved in trade talks like Nerlens Noel and Jahlil Okafor. He is the backup center who bides his time on the bench and quietly stays ready when he gets the nod.

And on Friday, he was the standout player in the Sixers’ 120-112 win over the Wizards (see Instant Replay)

“He’s been sort of the person that people forget about because of the logjam of five men,” Brett Brown said. “We all sort of think, ‘Well, he should just accept it because he’s behind Joel and Nerlens and Jahlil. Good ol’ Richaun. Go to the D-League and it’s OK.’ And that doesn’t work. He’s a pro, he’s competitive. He’s handled it. He’s really been a wonderful teammate.”

Holmes was bumped up in the rotation following the trade of Noel to the Mavs. He moved into the second-unit role while Okafor started in place of the injured Embiid. 

Holmes recorded his first double-double with 12 points (6 for 9 from the field) and 10 rebounds (three offensive). He also blocked a career-high five shots, tying Embiid for the most by a Sixer this season. The second-year big man put together this impressive performance in 26 minutes off the bench (see feature highlight).

“Just play hard,” Holmes said of his approach. “Just go out there, show what you’ve been working on, play hard every second you’re out there. That’s the motto I’ve got.”

Holmes is averaging 16.1 minutes and has appeared in just 32 of the Sixers’ 57 games. This season, he also spent time with the Delaware 87ers of the Development League to get playing time. Holmes embraced an opportunity similar to Friday’s a month ago when he scored 18 points in as many minutes against the Clippers. 

“I try to approach every game this season the same way, whether everybody was playing or people were hurt,” Holmes said. “Prepare like I’m going to play 30 minutes a game. I think having that mindset helped me to stay ready at all times and be aggressive when I had a chance.”

Brown did not rule out the possibility that Holmes could start at some point if he continues this production. The Sixers are limiting Okafor to 20 to 24 minutes per game, according to Brown. That, combined with Embiid’s injury, could lend itself to an increased role for Holmes. 

“I think in that environment, it wouldn’t seem out of the ordinary for Richaun to get a start from time to time,” Brown said. 

Even if he remains on the second unit, Holmes proved he can provide a spark off the bench. Dario Saric noted how Holmes’ impact on both ends of the floor bolsters the frontcourt in addition to a more offensively-minded Okafor (11 points, two rebounds). 

“I think he played unbelievably good in both ways,” Saric said. “Everybody knows he’s an elite guy finishing around the rim, and he stepped in Nerlens’ place, he replaced him unbelievably good. I hope he will get the same minutes for the next game because we have Jahlil, who is more like a post-up player, who likes more to score from the low-post block, and we for sure need some guy like Richaun who will play in both ways." 

Perhaps the person least surprised by Holmes' game was Holmes himself. It was the result he puts in long hours to produce.

“It’s all about the grind,” he said. “All about keep working, keep trying to move up, keep trying to get better every second and it’ll pay off.”