JT is the newest writer to hit the pine for NBAMate. A Brett Maher-like streak shooter in his heyday, JT now finds time to break down the fundamentals of the round-ball game in between changing diapers and other fatherly duties.
Typically an NBA trade produces a winner and a loser, but here are five trade scenarios that could achieve a win-win outcome. These deals aren’t pure fantasy; they all work under the NBA’s salary cap.
* Expiring contract or a contract that can be bought out after the 10/11 season (team option)
Golden State’s Monta Ellis, Vladimir Radmanovic* and Charlie Bell to Utah for Andrei Kirilenko* and C.J. Miles*
Aim: To start over in Golden State with Steph Curry at the controls, and to make them major free agent players in 2011; for Utah to acquire the ‘third banana’ they so desperately need to be a contender in the West.
With Monta Ellis dominating the ball Steph Curry’s development will suffer, therefore Ellis and his hefty contract must be moved. But the market for a 6-3 shooting guard on a big contract, who has never seen a shot he doesn’t like and plays no defense, is limited. An expiring contract and/or a promising young rotational player is the best they could hope for in return. Enter Utah with Kirilenko’s massive expiring deal ($17.8m) and a big young wing in Miles to pair with Curry. The Warriors could also dump Charlie Bell’s contract in the trade.
For the Jazz, it seems like an odd fit but it could work. The hole in this team has always been a legit third option that can put up 20 points on a nightly basis. With a 25.5ppg average, Ellis could fill this role and then some. But he’s a 6-3 shooting guard in a point guard’s body, so for defensive purposes he must be paired with a big point guard who can defend the opposing 2 if necessary. At a bulky 6-3 and 207 lbs, the bullish Deron Williams fits the bill. Raja Bell would also play a role here.
With Jerry Sloan at the helm I couldn’t think of a better coach to reign in the undisciplined Ellis. In Utah poor shot selection will get you benched in a nanosecond, and that’s exactly what he needs. Under this trade scenario defense would be a concern for the Jazz, but if they can surround Williams/Jefferson/Ellis with defensive minded players, they could be dangerous.
Atlanta’s Josh Smith to Boston for Kendrick Perkins*, Glen Davis* and Nate Robinson – ** trade can’t be completed prior to Dec 15 due to Robinsons FA signing
Aim: To transition Boston towards a youthful core; to give Atlanta a frontline that can compete in the playoffs.
This is a tough one for me because I am a Boston guy. Perkins is the gold standard for post defense, I love what Baby brings to the floor and I think Josh Smith is a knucklehead. So why the proposal? Because Boston’s championship window has closed – there I said it. Don’t get me wrong, they will still be an elite team this year and would beat 27 of the other 29 teams in a playoff series. But if they are relying on the ‘Big 3’ to carry them to another title, which they are, then they’re ignoring the slippage in their games – Paul Pierce included. Yes, they took LA to seven games last season but for mine LA were clearly the better team. With an Andrew Bynum on two legs, Boston wouldn’t have even come close. Remember, Boston is my team so I am not ragging on them here, I am just facing facts.
Rajon Rondo is the future for Boston and their best player hands down, so I would look to re-work the roster around his talents. A Rondo/Smith duo would be a good place to start the transition, and at the same time they would still be an elite team in the East. Under strict direction and veteran leadership Josh Smith’s immaturity could be reigned in, and this could finally see him reach his potential as the ‘mini KG’. Smith would eventually be Garnett’s replacement at the 4, but in the meantime they could play in tandem.
For the Hawks, they need to move Al Horford to power forward and acquire a legit NBA center. With Perkins and Horford starting upfront, and Baby off the bench, this would be a nasty frontline and one that could make traction in the postseason. Nate Robinson is merely the filler to facilitate the deal. And Smith’s arrival in Boston only affords one knucklehead in town.
Philadelphia’s Andre Iguodala to Chicago for Taj Gibson, James Johnson, Ronnie Brewer and TPE (roughly $4.5m) – ** trade can’t be completed prior to Dec 15 due to Brewers FA signing
Aim: For Chicago to take a seat at the big boys table; to get Philly off the fence and into a full-scale rebuild.
A starting five of Rose, Iguodala, Deng, Boozer and Noah would be a fearsome unit, especially on the defensive end. Under this deal depth would be an issue, but the opportunity to add the multi-talented Iguodala would trump these concerns.
For Philly, as currently constructed they aren’t going anywhere, especially with Iguodala as the lead guy owed $56m over the next 4 years. The reality is Iggy would be a second or third option on a championship team. This move would allow them to clean up the duplication on the wing, cementing Turner as the 2 and Young as the 3, with Brewer and Johnson the backups. And slotting the impressive Taj Gibson into the starting power forward position would give nice balance to the roster. Winning ballgames will be a challenge for this team, but with a talented young core (Holliday, Turner, Young, Gibson and Hawes) they will finally be moving forward with a bright future. Whether Doug Collins is the right coach to handle such a young group is debatable.
Cleveland’s Mo Wlliams to Portland for Andre Miller*, Patty Mills* and Luke Babbitt
Aim: To provide Portland with a point guard better suited to their system; to enable Cleveland to clear some cap space and get some young talent (and an expiring contract) in return.
Although most astute NBA minds already knew it, William’s lacklustre play in the last two postseasons proved beyond doubt that he is not a high level player in this league. On a championship squad he would ideally be your fourth option. Such a miscalculation by the Cavs is one of the main reasons (if not the reason) why LeBron skipped town. In light of this, and with the recent acquisition of Ramon Sessions, I would look to offload Mo and the $26m still owed. With Miller’s expiring contract (minimal buyout for next season), and two nice young pieces in Mills and Babbitt, Cleveland could move forward uninhibited by Williams inflated price tag and ego.
For Portland, Andre Miller has been solid at the point but his dodgy outside shot weakens their system where perimeter shooting is key to supporting Brandon Roy. Mo Williams is a better spot-up shooter than Miller, and on the deep blazer roster he wouldn’t be asked to perform above his capabilities, as was the case in Cleveland. In regard to Mills and Babbitt, neither is likely to see the floor this year due to the Blazers depth, making them surplus to requirements.
Washington’s Gilbert Arenas to Orlando for Vince Carter*
Aim: To free Washington from the Arenas albatross; to enable Orlando to acquire a prime-time scorer before their hands are tied.
Granted, this is a huge risk for Orlando, but if you understand what lays on the horizon you will see my angle. Orlando is massively over the salary cap, and even with Carter’s contract coming off the books next year (minimal buyout for next season), they will still be over the cap. So what does this mean? It means their hands are tied in terms of their ability to improve the team – the only acquisitions they can make are through an MLE deal (or smaller) or trade. And with the impending lockout and subsequent tightening of the cap that will surely follow, the situation will only worsen for the Magic.
Let’s be honest, the Magic don’t have anything on their roster that could fetch another star (i.e. Melo or CP3), and that’s what they need if they wish to compete with LA and Miami. They are in need of a big-time scorer and Arenas may be the only realistic option. He could play alongside Jameer Nelson at the 2. The risks are obvious but it is a risk they must take if they want to keep pace.
For Washington, they can get out from under Arenas’s albatross and move on. Vince Carter the player (or lack thereof) is irrelevant in this deal.
To read more of JT’s stuff, check out his blog at NBAozblog