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NBA Trade Deadline Potential Target: Channing Frye

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Orlando's little-used veteran forward could be a player to keep an eye on.

Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Channing Frye is a veteran stretch 4 for the Orlando Magic, who's rumored to be very available at the trade deadline.  His minutes have sharply decreased since Aaron Gordon broke out earlier this season, and Orlando's interested in moving his contract, which has one year remaining after this one at $7.5 million.  His contract could be conceivably swapped for either of the Clippers' movable pieces: Jamal Crawford and Lance Stephenson, who both give Orlando an expiring deal.  For Crawford, the Clippers would also have to include a minimum contract (Branden Dawson makes too little).

Why Orlando says yes:

They don't need or use Channing Frye, and a young, building team can use that cash this off-season instead of paying it to a returning player who will be 33 years old next summer.  Jamal Crawford provides them with the veteran scoring they're reportedly coveting and Crawford is an excellent locker room guy for their young players.  Alternatively, Stephenson gives them a potential long-term contributor along with the same benefit of an expiring contract.

Why Orlando says no:

Channing Frye is an important veteran leader in Orlando's locker room, even though he's getting less playing time.  The Magic are rumored to want more of a veteran presence, not less of one.  Additionally, Frye could have more value around the league--they'd have to be desperate to ship him off for an expiring contract instead of seeking a more substantial return.

Why Los Angeles says yes:

Frye would be a great fit in Los Angeles--he brings the shooting pedigree that they've been looking for as a stretch 4 (let's be honest, while Spencer Hawes was a disappointment, he had nowhere near the shooting pedigree of Frye).  While a veteran, Frye's three years younger than the soon-to-be 36 Jamal Crawford.  He'd be a massive upgrade in the current Griffin-less starting lineup (39% career on over 2,000 attempts compared to Hawes' 35% on 900 career attempts) to Paul Pierce, who's shooting just 31% from deep on the season while playing as an undersized PF.  When Griffin returned, Frye would be the fit at third big that Doc Rivers has been searching for--spacing the floor for Griffin or Jordan with the size and versatility to play alongside either.  Then Cole Aldrich, instead of being relied upon heavily in the playoffs, can play in a fourth-big role that he's more suited for--providing good depth and serving as a big body with fouls to use.

Why Los Angeles says no:

Especially in the absence of Austin Rivers, the Clippers would have a hard time losing another perimeter player.  In this scenario, Frye would play PF, moving Pierce to the bench and allowing Wes Johnson to play his normal position of small forward with the second unit.  Then, whoever doesn't leave in the trade (Crawford/Stephenson) could play the backup SG spot until Rivers returns and adjustments are made.  These adjustments could work but the Clippers would be very short on perimeter depth.  Long-term when Griffin returns, there's a possibility that Doc Rivers doesn't want to commit big nightly minutes to a third big man, since he's invested big-time in playing small this season and wing players will be more valuable in a potential match-up with the Golden State Warriors down the road.