When I worked at EA Sports a number of years ago, I was involved heavily in `Franchise Mode’. It was a natural fit for me and I loved it. Though gameplay was fun, it was managing the roster that I found the most fun. Making trades, drafting etc. What the game never achieved, however, was the hype surrounding this time of year in the NBA. I know I should probably take Doug Smith’s tact and hate this time of year because it’s not about the game, and involves innuendo and rumours, the bane of his existence, but I can’t help it. It’s fun.
Yes, it can be fun for the fan, but for the players it must be torture. Imagine you’re busy going about your job when you keep hearing your name popping up in rumoured transfers to other branches in different cities. It must be difficult.
So with all due respect to the players, this post is dedicated to discussing every rumoured deal, and maybe proposing a new one or two. There are simply too many deals to discuss every single one, so I’ll focus on a few that seem to have legs. First off, though, I’m going to look at Toronto’s situation.
For the first time in a while, the Raptors are virtually a non-entity on the trade rumour mill. It’s a good sign. Making a deal might end up backfiring for the Raptors, unless it seriously upgrades their talent level. Still, there are a couple of moves they could make that might improve them.
In an earlier post, I proposed including Calderon in a trade for Iguodala, in this one, he’s not included, but Philly gets more salary relief. Banks’ contract isn’t great, but it’s 3 years less than Iguodala’s. Including Amir gives them another young prospect, as well as an expiring contract. Obviously Iguodala would be a great fit for the Raptors, and might be enough to entice Bosh to re-sign.
While Amir Johnson is having a great season for the Raptors, and fills a need, the fact that he’s a free agent this summer makes it a real possibility he won’t be back. Why not use his expiring contract to try and get something in return. Biedrins is underutilized in Golden State and overpaid, but his rebounding, shot blocking and mobility would be a great replacement for Johnson, and the fact that he’s got a long term contract means that he’ll be around for a while. The biggest plus, though, would be that he would be a better insurance policy for Bosh than Johnson.
AROUND THE LEAGUE
Antawn Jamison is the perfect PF on the market to play with LeBron. He can score outside and inside, and would more than likely get them to the Finals. On the downside, he’s 33, so you’ve got to question how much longer he can play at such a high level. With LeBron not even being 25, the best way to keep him around is to surround him with guys who will be around for a while. Of course, Washington apparently doesn’t want to deal with Cleveland because of the history between them.
This would be the trade that would bring the best player, and since he’s indicated he won’t opt out, he’ll probably be with the team for at least another season and would be a huge enticement for LeBron to re-sign. Unfortunately, I don’t think he’s a good fit, and I think he might not like to be LeBron’s second fiddle. On the court, the Cavs currently have LeBron and Shaq to play inside, and I don’t see there being much room down there. Add Stoudamire, and if these guys don’t bump into each other, I’d be surprised. There are also conflicting reports that he my not want to be traded to Cleveland.
Phoenix would be getting Hickson, who is a talented, young big man, as well as Iguaskas’ expiring contract. If I was Phoenix, I’d keep looking.
Troy Murphy might be the best PF for the Cavs to trade for. He’s younger than Jamison and a better outside shooter than Stoudemire. Plus he’s a better rebounder than either of them. I also think he might be cheaper to trade for. He’s the least sexy option, but I wouldn’t be surprised if this is who they end up getting.
A salary dump for Indiana, plus they get a good young prospect in Hickson. This might be the best deal out there and the best chance to rid themselves of Murphy’s contract. On the plus side, it opens up playing time for rookie Tyler Hansbridge.
Now, I haven’t actually heard Bell’s name in any proposed deal, but it works and makes sense. Maggette is having possibly his best year as a pro, and he’s probably more what Cleveland needs. He’s that second scorer that Mo Williams and Shaq simply aren’t. With both him and LeBron on the floor together, opposing teams couldn’t have a weak defender defending Maggette, as they can with Parker. If I was Cleveland, this might be my first choice of the rumoured deals.
Another salary dump, and considering that no one wanted to touch Maggette a year ago, getting Hickson might be a huge bonus. Golden State has too many wing players, too many scorers and not enough healthy PFs. This is a no brainer, in my opinion.
Now, I have only heard Stoudemire’s name, and no one from Miami, so this is purely conjecture. It would completely kill any cap room they would have this summer, but the question is, would they be able to get anyone better than these two? A lineup of Amare, Beasley, Richardson (either Jason or Quentin) and Wade would be pretty offensively potent. The rim would certainly get a workout. I don’t know how good they’d be defensively, though. Possibly even worse than the Raptors.
The latest rumour is that Miami is looking for a third team to trade with, which makes sense, because I don’t see the above trade going down. Despite their desire for Stoudemire, the only thing they really have of any value they are apparently willing to trade is O’Neal and his expiring contract. I’d be surprised if Amare lands in Miami because apart from the above deal, where they get rid of all but Nash’s big contract, there’s nothing Miami has that the Suns would want.
I don’t know who’s reluctant to make this deal, but it had better be Philadelphia. I know Houston would be taking back salary, and Dalembert would have to move to the bench when Yao returned, but how could you not do this deal? Adding Iguodala to Ariza and Battier would be potent, and having Dalembert would allow Yao to play limited minutes, possibly extending his career. Quite frankly, I think Philadelphia might be looking for a little more than McGrady for Iguodala, and so they should.
This is the latest rumour and it makes a little more sense for both teams. Houston gets New Yorks 2009 lottery pick, Jordan Hill and Hughes’ expiring contract, so they still save money. New York gets more cap space and can try McGrady out for a couple of months. If I was Houston, though, I’d ask for a draft pick as well.
Injuries have really hurt Portland’s chances this year, and this trade highlights just how much. Outlaw and Blake are valuable, but they’re free agents this summer, and might not want to re-sign onto Portland’s loaded roster. Camby gives them a real center so they can remain competitive the rest of the season. The Clippers get a good backup for the rest of the season and maybe re-sign outlaw, who could end up starting for the Clippers, when healthy. Really, it’s a short term deal for both, but Portland has the chance to benefit the most. If I were the Clippers, I’d try and get more for Camby and his expiring contract.
Those are the main rumoured trades around the league, at least ones that I see even remotely happening. Here are a few that I think make sense, but I haven’t heard mentioned.
This is one I haven’t heard, and considering Washington’s feelings about dealing with Cleveland, probably wouldn’t happen. It is probably the best deal Cleveland could do, however. Miller is the outside shooter and scoring threat the Cavs need at the wing position, and while Oberto’s best days are behind him, and hasn’t been playing much in Washington, he’s got playoff experience with the Spurs, which looks good on anyone’s resume. Besides, he’d only be needed to play a few minutes here and there.
Mike Miller was traded for when it looked like the Wizards might be a playoff team. They are not. Getting Hickson would be a plus. In the end, it’s a low risk deal that makes sense for both teams.
The Bulls want to clear more cap room to try and get a big free agent, and the Lakers weakest position is PG. Hinrich is made for the triangle offense and would become their best PG. He doesn’t need to handle the ball to be effective but is a better passer than any of the present Laker PGs, is a very good defender and has lots of playoff experience. The Bulls clear cap room, but also get a couple of nice, young bench players.
I know the Bulls are hoping for Wade to sign, but that’s unlikely, and what they need more than anything is an inside scorer. They discussed trading for Amare last season, but nothing happened. He’s now healthy and would give the Bulls another scorer, which they have lacked. Tyrus Thomas has struggled in his time in Chicago, but he’s not made for that kind of ball. If anyone would benefit from playing with Nash, Thomas would. If the Suns do trade Amare, I think Thomas is the best prospect they could get for him. Miller’s expiring contract means it’s basically Amare for Thomas, which, considering the circumstances makes sense.
Now, although Orlando has not really been mentioned in any trade talk, I think they need to make some sort of deal. The only reason they beat Cleveland last year is because they matched up well against them, but this year that isn’t so. Trading for Vince hasn’t worked out as well as they hoped, and could use a creative wing player who can do what Turkoglu did, which be the initiator. The player who would be absolutely perfect would have been Iguodala, but Orlando has absolutely no pieces that Philadelphia would want. That might mean bringing a third team into it, but I can’t see who.
Boston’s window is closing, if it isn’t already closed. Danny Ainge has to figure out if the team is still a contender, and may want to use Ray Allen’s expiring contract to get younger.
Minnesota is apparently interested in Tyrus Thomas, but I don’t know who they want to send back in return. The question is, why on earth would they want Thomas? Thinking about it, though, it makes perfect sense. They drafted two starting PGs in the last draft, so might as well deal for another PF when their two best players are PFs. They’re very big on redundancy in Minnesota, and if the GM continues to make moves that don’t quite make sense, he’s going to find himself redundant.