Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Trades That Won’t Happen But Should Because They Are Awesome, take one.

With perhaps the most discussed free agency class of all time coming up in the summer, and an economy that necessitates cutting costs, many predict that the NBA trade deadline, only a few weeks away, will produce an inordinate amount of movement. While we have already been treated to some bombastic trade rumors, though, history shows that deadline deals tend to be a disappointment. Rarely do we get the deals we want, with many teams preferring to take the safe route and stay put, and maybe cut a little salary.

Still, a fan can dream.

Therefore, I hereby announce the debut of everybody’s favorite segment (though nobody knows it yet): Trades That Won’t Happen But Should Because They Are Awesome. In this segment, I will throw out random trade ideas that I like, and will never happen. The criteria: the trades must be somewhat realistic for both teams (no Pau Gasol for Kwame Brown here, though I’m sure the Pistons would love that); the trades can’t be realistic enough to have a chance of happening; and at least one team has to come out of the trade with their roster look totally awesome.

First up, a sweet three team deal with the Jazz, Warriors and Mavericks, and an unnamed cameo to be declared.

Golden State sends Monta Ellis to Dallas, Speedy Claxton and Devean George to Utah, Utah sends Andrei Kirilenko and Kyle Korver to Golden State, Dallas sends Josh Howard to the Utah.

Why this is realistic: The Warriors are reportedly listening to Monta Ellis offers, while contemplating whether he works well with Stephen Curry; the Mavs are one of a select few who are willing to add on long term salary for a chance to contend; the Jazz want to save money in a desperate way.

Why this will never happen: Come on. Just look at the names involved. NBA GMs just don’t have the necessary cojones.

Why Golden State does this: Because Andrei Kirilenko was born to play Nellieball power forward. It’s as simple as that. He has more value to the Warriors than he has to any other team in the league. Also, the Monta Ellis era is going nowhere – he is not a franchise player in any way, and will refuse to be anything less as long as he is on this team. He may be putting up monster numbers this season, but there is just too much bad blood between him and the Warriors for them to keep this charade going. What line-up scares you more, Curry-Ellis-Maggette-Radmanovic-Biedrins, or Curry-Morrow-Maggette-Kirilenko-Biedrens? They also get to add another sweet shooting rotation player for two throw ins with Korver. Not to mention, that with Kirilenko’s contract (16.4 million this year, 17.8 next year) coming off the books in the summer of 2011, the Warriors will either have actual, honest to god cap space in said summer, or a workable trading chip in a huge expiring contract.

Why Utah does this: The Jazz are the tricky part with this deal, since the team is playing some of the leagues best basketball lately, with a rejuvenated Kirilenko playing a big role. Moving Kirilenko to help a fellow borderline contender in Dallas is risky. But how far can this Jazz team actually go? Second round of the playoffs, at best? How can you go into win now mode when you aren’t going to win now? With this deal, the Jazz take a flyer on Josh Howard, a former all-star with an expiring contract, who is playing some terrible basketball. If he finds new life on a new team, he is a better player than Kirilenko, albeit not as well-rounded. If not, they just let him go after the season. With Kirilenko’s contract off the books, the Jazz are only committed to 38 million dollars in payroll, giving them enough cap space to resign Carlos Boozer, or replace him with a near-max free agent. Not to mention the immediate financial help – this deal saves the Jazz 4 million this year, and that’s before including the luxury tax (which they will now be under), and Speedy Claxton’s insurance paid (I believe, correct me if I’m wrong) contract. The long term/financial benefits are just to big to ignore here, even if it means going one round less deep in a meaningless playoff run.

Why Dallas does this: Now, this is where I really like this deal. The Mavericks are in full win-now mode, with their top five guys on the wrong side of 30, and two more guys not far behind (Drew Gooden is 28, Howard 29). This deal gives them a young stud in Ellis, who is already a very good player, helping both their immediate plans and their dark, Dirkless future. Furthermore, Dallas is probably the best fit for Ellis in the entire league: they already employ two shot first, defensively inept, shooting-guard-in-a-point-guard’s-body guys in J.J. Barea and Jason Terry. Ellis does the same things as both of these guys, only better. And with a veteran team that doesn’t need him to run the offense, Ellis can go back to being an efficient scorer (20 ppg on 58% true shooting during his breakout 07-08 campaign), and not just a high-volume one (26 ppg on 52% TS this year). It’s a perfect fit. Just plug Ellis into the starting line-up for Barea, and you’re good to go.

This deal has just one clear shortcoming for the Mavs: it leaves them short at the small forward position. As bad as Howard has been this season, Dallas’ other 3s are two tweeners in Shawn Marion and Tim Thomas. Which is where the Mavs now get some assistance from our special guest:

Dallas sends Erick Dampier, Drew Gooden, J.J. Barea and James Singleton to Philadelphia for Andre Igoudala and Samuel Dalembert

“Wait a minute, why would the Sixers do that?!” Because they are going absolutely nowhere. This isn’t as far-fetched as it seems: the Sixers seem willing to move Igoudala if they can get rid of Dalembert’s contract, and reportedly already had discussions with the Houston Rockets involving those two for Tracy McGrady. Well, why not, instead of bringing in a broken down primadona, when you can bring in 3 rotation players that make less money? This deal saves the Sixers 5 million this year, before luxury tax, and then a whopping 24 million next year, with 4 expiring contracts replacing Dalembert and AI2 (technically, Dampier has conditionally unguaranteed contract and not an expiring one, but the effect is the same). It’s obviously a salary dump, but Philly was headed that way anyhow – Igoudala is not a franchise guy, and this team is not a playoff squad. Simple as that. Might as well build round quality youngsters Jrue Holiday, Lou Williams, Thadeous Young and Marreese Speights, while bottoming out for draft picks.

As for the Mavs, well, this is where these two deals go from “intriguing” to “AWESOME”. Dallas immediately becomes a bonafide contender. Imagine Jason Kidd running the fast break, with Monta Ellis/Andre Igoudala/Jason Terry/Shawn Marion streaking down the court, and Dirk following from behind for the trailer jumper. That’s some mouth watering stuff right there. This team has everything now: defensive stoppers (Iggy and Dalembert are very underrated defenders, Marion can practically guard anyone, and even Quinton Ross can get them some stops off the bench); long range shooting (Ellis and Iggy don’t have great percentages, but they will knock them down if open, Kidd has been lights out since joining the Mavs, Terry is Terry and Dirk is Dirk); a traditional lineup (Sammy, Dirk, Marion/Iggy, Iggy/Ellis/Terry, Kidd/Terry) and a small ball one (Dirk, Marion, Iggy, Terry/Ellis, Kidd). Not to mention, suddenly this team has a long term core, with Igoudala, Ellis, and the Tricolour Turbo, Frenchman Roddy Beaubois. Add another buyout bigman after the deadline, and this team can definitely win a title – not only win it, but win it with some truly amazing basketball.

And there you have your answer to the third criteria. With these deals – deals that won’t happen, but that aren’t utterly preposterous – you get a brighter financial future for Philly and Utah, a better fit for Golden State, and a staggeringly awesome team in Dallas that blows the Western title race wide open. These are trades that will never happen, but should, because they are awesome.

No comments:

Post a Comment