With the NBA season winding down and teams looking to win the upcoming off-season, I have constructed four trades I would love to see happen (if for no other reason than shaking up the status quo). I tried to avoid the boilerplate trade-talk involving Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum, Rudy Gay, and Josh Smith, and attempted to come up with my own original scenarios. Enjoy.
*For two of the trades I had to make an educated guess at the values of the players involved so they could be used in a sign and trade*
Scenario #1 – Miami Heat and Phoenix Suns
MIA: Steve Nash (sign and trade – $10.00m), Marcin Gortat ($7.25m), Markieff Morris ($2.06m), #13 overall pick, and future conditional 1st round pick
PHX: Dwayne Wade ($17.02m) and Mario Chalmers ($4.00m)
Why for Miami:
If Miami doesn’t win the title this year, changes may be in order. Next season, the Big Three will a year older and will have endured back-to-back grueling playoff runs – all while Wade’s body has already showing signs of deteriorating. With this trade, Miami gets arguably the best shooter in the game (Nash), the solid big man they desperately need (Gortat – 15.4ppg, 10.0 rpg, 1.5bpg), and a solid, young big man off the bench (Morris). On top of that, with the #13 pick, the Heat could add shooting guard Jeremy Lamb or Dion Waiters to round out their new starting five.
Starting Five: Nash, Lamb/Waiters, James, Bosh, Gortat
Bench: Cole, Miller, Battier, Morris, Haslem, Anthony
Why for Phoenix:
A poorly constructed roster has left the Suns without a point guard or shooting guard to build around. Sacrificing depth at the only two positions they can, power forward and center, the Suns fill two gapping holes while maintaining coveted salary-cap flexibility. Even with Wade’s salary tacked on, the Suns would go into the free agency period with only $39m on the books, allowing plenty of space to make further acquisitions (Spencer Hawes? Chris Kaman?). More importantly, the Suns would have a new cornerstone to build their franchise around, as well as a better, younger replacement at point guard than restricted free-agent Aaron Brooks. Who knows, maybe Wade could even convince Deron Williams to come to Phoenix and be his running mate? (Sorry, getting ahead of myself with that one…)
Starting Five: Chalmers, Wade, Dudley, Frye, Lopez
Bench: Brooks, Childress, Warrick, Free Agent
Scenario #2 – New York Knicks and Golden State Warriors
NYK: Stephen Curry ($3.95m), David Lee ($12.74m), Andris Biedrins ($9.00m), and 2012 2nd round pick
GSW: Amare Stoudemire ($19.94m), Jeremy Lin (sign and trade – $5.00m), and future conditional 1st round pick
Why for New York:
Carmelo Anthony and Stoudemire have proven they have difficultly co-existing. If the Knicks truly want to make Anthony the face of the franchise, then they must surround him with players who can play off of him and do not demand the ball to be effective (as Stoudemire and Lin both do). Curry’s shooting provides a great compliment to Anthony’s point-forward skill-set, while Lee is not afraid to do the dirty work Stoudemire shies away from. Biedrins, while thrown in for cap reasons, would be a slight upgrade off the bench behind Tyson Chandler.
Starting Five: Curry, Shumpert, Anthony, Lee, Chandler
Bench: Douglas, Fields, Novak, Biedrins
Why for Golden State:
After this season’s proclamation of making the playoffs ended with the team going into full-blown (alleged) tank-mode, Golden State needs to do everything it can to win back its devoted fan base – even if that means taking on Stoudemire’s contract. While the risk of Stoudemire’s uninsured contract is considerable, the reward would be substantial if he stayed healthy. Teaming Stoudemire with newly acquired center Andrew Bogut would provide the Warriors with one of the most formidable front-courts in the Western Conference. Lin would not only provide scoring from the Warriors’ backcourt, but his addition would be a marketing bonanza for the team based in the Bay Area. Consider the addition of front-court depth like John Henson or Perry Jones with the #7 pick in the draft, and the Warriors might finally be ready to compete for a playoff spot – albeit a year too late.
Starting Five: Lin, Thompson, Jefferson, Stoudemire, Bogut
Bench: Jenkins, Rush, Wright, Henson/Jones
Scenario #3 – Utah Jazz and Philadelphia 76ers
UTA: Andre Iguodala ($17.71m)
PHL: Al Jefferson ($15.00m) and Raja Bell ($3.48m)
Why for Utah:
The Jazz use their front-court depth to bolster a limited wing position (especially limited considering CJ Miles may depart as a free-agent). Having babied Enes Kanter (#3 overall pick last year) this past season and already having future star Derrick Favors (#3 overall pick two years ago) on board, the trade provides more playing time for the two of them to develop their vast potential. Adding an elite defender like Iguodala to the lineup would allow youngsters Gordon Hayward and Alec Burks to worry about what they do best – score the basketball. By including Bell in the deal, the Jazz are able to shed a bit of ‘per-year’ salary as a result of taking on Iguodala’s extra year.
Starters: Harris, Hayward, Iguodala, Millsap, Favors
Bench: Watson, Burks, Kantor, Free Agent
Why for Philadelphia:
The 76ers front-court depth has long been an issue. Considering center Spencer Hawes is a restricted free-agent this off-season, acquiring a quality big man will likely have to be done via trade. Iguodala is expendable not only because of his large contract, but because former #2 overall pick Evan Turner emulates much of his game at the same position. Acquiring Jefferson (and his 19.2ppg, 9.6rpg production) would be just what the doctor ordered for the 76ers. Even after the trade, the 76ers would only have about $50m on the books (depending if they re-signed Jodie Meeks), allowing them to make additional moves this off-season.
Starting Five: Holiday, Meeks, Turner, Brand, Jefferson
Bench: Williams, Bell, Young, Allen, Vucevic
Scenario #4 – Houston Rockets and Sacramento Kings
HOU: Tyreke Evans ($5.25m)
SAC: Kyle Lowry ($5.75m)
Why for Houston:
This season’s breakout of fellow point guard Goran Dragic makes the underrated Lowry expendable. Evans could fulfill Bill Simmons’ wet dream by coming off the Rockets’ bench as a monster scoring combo-guard. Having the size and experience to play both guard positions, Evans could provide minutes at both guard spots while Dragic and starting shooting guard Kevin Martin rest. The addition of Evans would also give the team added leverage to prevent themselves from overpaying for the solid, yet unspectacular Courtney Lee. With the #14 pick, the Rockets could always select a guard (Austin Rivers/Terrence Ross) to replace Lee or a backup center (Tyler Zeller/Meyers Leonard) to replace Marcus Camby. Depending on whom they choose to resign, the Rockets could be players in the free-agency market or have the ability to take on salary in an additional trade.
Starting Five: Dragic, Martin, Parsons, Scola, Dalembert
Bench: Evans, Lee, Budinger, Morris, Patterson, Zeller
Why for Sacramento:
As much of a surprise as rookie point-guard Isaiah Thomas was this past season, he is not at Lowry’s level and would be better suited as a ‘spark’ guy off the bench. Lowry, along with enigmatic yet talented DeMarcus Cousins, would give the Kings a solid foundation to build around. If the Kings were able to land Kansas power-forward Thomas Robinson with the #5 overall pick, Kings’ fans may finally have something to cheer about in the near future. The departure of Evans will create more touches for the rest of the team – a good thing for the ongoing development of also-underrated Marcus Thornton.
Starting Five: Lowry, Thornton, Outlaw, Robinson, Cousins
Bench: Thomas, Fredette, Garica, Greene, Thompson, Hayes
*Thanks to HoopsHype.com for the salary information*