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Join Date: Dec 2007
ESPN Insider: 5 Trades That Should Happen
It's by Chad Ford, but it's a fun read.
The NBA trade deadline is one week away, and we're in the proverbial calm before the storm. While trade discussions continue around the league, most GMs are frustrated. Deal parameters remain vague, with teams still overvaluing their assets and undervaluing the assets of others.
As we've seen in past seasons, one big trade can have a domino effect on others. It tends to narrow the options, focus the discussion and turn up the pressure on teams to make moves.
Given the gridlock, perhaps some fresh ideas will help. In that spirit, here are five hypothetical trades that I think could and should happen. While none of these trades have been specifically discussed, to my knowledge, all of them include teams looking to deal and players on the market.
Miami gets: Amare Stoudemire (from Phoenix), Acie Law (from Charlotte), Stephen Graham (from Charlotte), Ronald Murray (from Charlotte)
Phoenix gets: Michael Beasley (from Miami), D.J. Augustin (from Charlotte), James Jones (from Miami), Dorell Wright (from Miami)
Charlotte gets: Udonis Haslem (from Miami), Daequan Cook (from Miami)
Would Miami do it?
The word out of Miami is that the Heat have been pushing to make a deal. While Miami is considered a potential destination for LeBron James and Chris Bosh this summer if the two become free agents, the danger with doing nothing now is that Dwyane Wade might walk if the team fails to get James, Bosh or another top player or two.
This trade would set up the Heat to go in a couple of directions:
(1) It could be a pre-emptive strike on the free-agent market and still provide the salary-cap space to sign another free agent or two in addition to Stoudemire. If Stoudemire were to opt out of his contract and re-sign with the Heat for a contract starting at $13 million to $15 million, the Heat would still be able to sign one max-level player, such as LeBron James, or a couple of players with a starting salary of $8 million to $10 million.
(2) If Stoudemire were to opt out and leave, the Heat, thanks to this trade, would have enough cap room to sign two max-level free agents, such as James and Bosh.
One dangerous scenario is that Stoudemire could decide not to opt out of his contract, leaving the Heat with more limited resources in the 2010 free-agency market. And of course, they'd be giving up on Beasley, a potent scorer who just turned 21.
Would Phoenix do it?
The Suns have been shopping Stoudemire but want more than just cap relief -- they want assets. This deal would provide a little of both.
Beasley is an athletic 4 who should be able to put up similar numbers to Amare in the Suns' run-and-gun system, or perhaps even better numbers, given the rebounding prowess he showed in college. The Suns would also get Augustin, a young point guard they could groom to eventually take over for Nash. Jones should be able to step right back into the system he left in 2007, and if he doesn't work out, his 2010-11 contract is only partially guaranteed. Wright has upside, and his contract is expiring, giving the Suns options with him, as well.
While I believe the Suns would prefer to add Andre Iguodala and Samuel Dalembert, this might be a better, more affordable deal for them in the long run.
Would Charlotte do it? Augustin has had a disappointing season and fallen out of favor with Charlotte coach Larry Brown. And the Bobcats have been active on the trade market, looking for a power forward who can rebound and defend; Haslem would fit the bill and he's in the last year of his contract. While Cook hasn't become the player the Heat hoped he would, he could see some minutes at the 2 for the Bobcats.
Detroit gets: Carlos Boozer (from Utah), Josh Howard (from Dallas), Matt Carroll (from Dallas)
Utah gets: Tayshaun Prince (from Detroit)
Dallas gets: Richard Hamilton (from Detroit), Kwame Brown (from Detroit)
Would Detroit do it?
Yes. The Pistons want to move Prince, but not for expiring contracts -- they want a big man back. The Pistons flirted with the idea of spending their cap space last summer on Boozer, but they started looking in other directions and Boozer decided to stay in Utah. But he would be an ideal addition, assuming he would re-sign with Detroit this summer, now that the team's lack of interior talent has been exposed.
The Dallas part of the equation could happen separately -- to execute a Prince-for-Boozer swap, the Pistons don't need the Mavs. But in any case, moving Hamilton for Howard, who has a nonguaranteed contract for 2010-11, would work well for the Pistons, for whom Hamilton's contract has become an albatross. This trade would give them the opportunity to pursue a free agent this summer. And while they would be reluctant to swallow the three years remaining on Carroll's contract, that's also the length of Hamilton's contract, which they would be shedding.
Would Utah do it?
That's less clear. Jazz GM Kevin O'Connor has rebuffed offers for Boozer that would give the Jazz only cap space, since Boozer himself has an expiring contract. Of course, that means that few teams are willing to give up a lot for Boozer, who could walk away this summer.
The Jazz like Prince, but he has another year on his contract at $11 million, he's been hurt this season and his effectiveness has declined. Still, he's a long, athletic wing who can defend and doesn't need the ball to thrive.
At the moment, the Jazz look like contenders in the West. Will they mess with a good thing? I think it's a 50-50 proposition at this point.
Would Dallas do it?
The Mavs would trade Howard, but they'd prefer to get someone younger than Hamilton in return. They've looked at Kevin Martin, Caron Butler and Andre Iguodala, but so far the Kings, Wizards and 76ers don't want to give up those players for mere cap relief. But Dallas doesn't have its first-round pick this year and owner Mark Cuban has said he's not trading rookie point guard Rodrigue Beaubois -- and the Mavs don't have much else to offer in terms of inexpensive assets. So Hamilton might be the best they can do.
His contract is ugly -- he has $34 million in guaranteed money owed to him over the next three seasons after this one. At the same time, the Mavs would be ridding themselves of the remaining $12 million due Carroll over the next three seasons. Looking at it that way, Dallas would be getting Hamilton for about $7.5 million per year for the next three seasons. While that's not a bargain, he would help them offensively, stepping in as the starting 2-guard and providing another veteran shooter in the backcourt.
Chicago gets: Matt Bonner, Roger Mason, Michael Finley, draft rights to Tiago Splitter
San Antonio gets: John Salmons, Tyrus Thomas
Would Chicago do it?
On the surface, it might seem that the Bulls would get killed in this deal because the Spurs would be getting the two best players in the trade.
But the Bulls have good reason to move Salmons and Thomas, neither of whom is in the team's long-term plans: The Bulls want the cap space such a trade would provide. Chicago can set itself up to be a serious player in free agency this summer, given the appeal of the market and the foundation of Derrick Rose, Luol Deng and Joakim Noah.
Bonner and Mason, who have expiring contracts, could contribute this season, and Splitter is a good prospect who could come in and help the Bulls in the middle next season. As a former first-round draft pick who has established himself in Europe, he might fit the bill if the Bulls are looking to get talent and/or picks in return for Thomas.
And then, if they can pull off trade No. 4 (see below), the Bulls could be in great position going into the summer shopping season. Chicago could be an attractive destination for the likes of James, Wade and Bosh or, at worst, players like Joe Johnson and David Lee.
Would San Antonio do it?
Maybe. The team needs immediate help, as they get older and fall behind the rest of the West. Both Salmons and Thomas would give the Spurs some younger legs, with Salmons also providing offensive punch and Thomas some defense and rebounding.
Thomas' problems in getting along with his coaches have been well-documented, but perhaps he would respond better to a coach like Gregg Popovich and a veteran team led by Tim Duncan. If so, Thomas could become a huge asset to the Spurs over the long haul.
The Spurs rarely make trades like this, but I can't think of a better one for them right now.
Chicago gets: Jordan Farmar, Adam Morrison, Josh Powell
Los Angeles gets: Kirk Hinrich
Would the Bulls do it?
John Paxson has been reluctant to give away Hinrich even though he's been in a funk since Derrick Rose arrived. But the time to move him is now. The team would be much better off next summer with the extra cap space, and Farmar would be a serviceable back-up for Rose in the meantime.
If Chicago could pull off this trade and the one above, it would be very much in the running for the top free agents this summer, with perhaps only Miami as well-positioned to enter the market.
Would Los Angeles do it?
Derek Fisher is struggling, Farmar hasn't progressed as the Lakers hoped, and Shannon Brown isn't really a point guard. So the Lakers need an upgrade at point guard and they don't have a lot of good options.
Hinrich might not be ideal, given his protracted offensive slump and sizable contract, but he is a smart player who should be a good fit in the triangle, and he can defend. And who else could the Lakers get? Look around the league and you'll see there doesn't appear to be a good trade partner for the Lakers other than Chicago. The other available point guards -- including Luke Ridnour, Chris Duhon, Ramon Sessions and T.J. Ford -- wouldn't fit as well as Hinrich.
The major concern about Hinrich appears to be the additional two years and $17 million on his contract after this season, which is a lot for a tax-paying team to take on. But are the Lakers really that strapped for cash? Even with the largest payroll in the league, they're still turning a profit.
Los Angeles gets: Andre Iguodala, Samuel Dalembert
Philadelphia gets: Marcus Camby, Al Thornton, DeAndre Jordan, Rasual Butler, Mardy Collins, Ricky Davis
Would Los Angeles do it?
The Clippers could just let Camby walk, get under the salary cap, and then attempt to clear more cap space to get a max free agent. Furthermore, as Bill Simmons, J.A. Adande and I have said, the Clippers, on paper, would be a great fit for LeBron James. But that appears to be the furthest thing from LeBron's mind, and the team seems to know it, as general manager Mike Dunleavy continues to talk about making a trade now rather than waiting to see what happens in free agency.
Given that, adding Iguodala and Dalembert might be about as good as it gets for the Clips. Iguodala, in particular, would be a perfect fit as an athletic, multifaceted wing player who can handle the ball or thrive without it while defending at least two positions. Dalembert would be a nice one-year replacement for Camby as an athletic shot-blocker and rebounder to back up Chris Kaman.
The Clippers could become quite a factor in the West in 2010-11, with Iguodala running alongside Baron Davis, Eric Gordon, Kaman and presumably a healthy Blake Griffin.
Would Philadelphia do it?
While the 76ers are looking to move their big contracts, they also want assets in return. In this case, they would get both cap relief and talent.
Thornton and Jordan could step in and help, now and down the road, and this trade would also knock an enormous amount of money off the payroll this summer when the contracts of Camby, Butler, Davis and Collins expire.
To make this deal work, the Sixers would have to waive three players from their current roster to accommodate the extra four players that are coming in the trade, but that's not impossible. They have a number of players with small, one-year deals they could waive.