NBA had quite the eventful All-Star Weekend. A dunk contest with some actual dunks that people will remember, a relatively unknown beating two Celtics at the three point contest, and the NBA skills challenge...we'll leave that alone. The All-Star game was ok. Not really my cup of tea but seeing the NBA's best take the court together is always fun, if it never really lives up to it's potential, but what all star-game does? At least it's no Pro-Bowl.
The biggest event of the weekend was of course the trade of Carmelo to the Knicks. Finally the long wait is over and this should hopefully be domino that allows the trade market to open up. Feel like the Knicks didn't really overpay as Felton and Chandlers numbers were inflated in D'Antonio's run and gun system, but I don't know if a Amare/Melo core wins a championship. On one hand stars win championships, but on the other they'll still need some interior defense and rebounding and they'll be hard pressed to do it with little cap room, no draft picks, and the possibility that the mid-level exception and/or luxury tax could be gone by next year. One point that everyone seems to be making is that a Amare/Melo PF/SF combo is horrible defensively, but lets not forget that Carmelo is replacing Gallinari, who's not exactly the second coming of Scottie Pippen.
Speaking of trades, currently there are four teams capable of winning the championship now, and four more that could win the title if they make the right moves. Lets look at each of the eight teams needs and possible moves.
Need: Scoring Swing Man
Trade: Marquise Daniels, Avery Bradley, Jermaine O’Neal, 1st and Round Pick to Bucks for Corey Maggette and Mbah a Moute
With the Celtics second unit offense often dissolving into Nate Robinson jacking up wild 22 footers Maggette could be a nice isolation option for the Celtics. He would be an expensive the gamble but the Celtics go through enough scoring lulls to consider taking a chance on a guy like Maggette. Magette could give the Celtics a solid 15-20 minutes off the bench with the second unit and produce enough offense by himself to make a difference in a seven game series. An added bonus for C’s is Maggette is great at getting to the line which could help the Celtics get into the penalty and could be a big factor late in games. The Celtics also receive LR Mbah A Moute, a stand out defender with no offensive game who would help the Celtics shut down point guards to power forwards.
For the Bucks, this is strictly a salary dump as they are dangerously close to the luxury tax and with the Knicks and 76ers playing well the Bucks are looking at the lottery this year. Since they’re already paying Bogut, Gooden (ugh), Salamons (double ugh), Magette (oh my) and seemingly Jennings in the next few years they’ll need to shed one or more of these players sooner rather than later. They get a decent prospect in Avery and a 1st round pick from the Celtics.
Needs: Player that can create his own shot, while playing some defense. I know everyone says more size, but size up front is hard to get and it’s strictly and insurance for Dwight. Let’s be real if Dwight goes down the Magic aren’t winning anything. Still a little size might be nice.
Trade: Jason Richardson to Bobcats for Stephen Jackson and DeSagana Diop.
The Magic are in a tough spot. They have to be considered championship caliber if only because they have a dominant Center, but the rest of the team is lacking. Agent Zero (based on production, not jersey number) looks finished and it appears that he barley belongs in the NBA and Richardson and Turkalou are decent enough at offense but both are horrible defenders making for an interesting and often losing proposition. Their trade with the Suns looks like a good one, but the Gilbert trade looks worse by the day. Lewis' deal was for a year less and the last year was only partially guaranteed which means they could have possible used his deal to overpay for someone who might have helped. Maybe a Lewis for Baron Davis trade could have happened but now they’re stuck with Gilbert as he has the worst contract in the NBA. Nobody is touching that thing. With severe limitations in place, I could only think of one serious trade for the Magic.
Jackson would create offense a better than Richardson can, albeit at a less efficient clip, and plays much better defense. This would also give the team two de-facto ball handlers outside of Nelson in both Jackson and Hedo. It probably wouldn't be enough to get them past the Celtics or Heat, but the Magic should do something if they want to win a championship. Plus Jackson’s contract isn't going to be the reason the Magic are over the cap for years to come anyways. Diop would give them another giant body to lean on people for the five minutes a night while Dwight is resting.
For the Bobcats, this trade doesn’t make the significantly worse this year, and saves gets them out of two more years for Jackson and another year of Diop.
Needs: Size up-front.
Trade: Mario Chalmers, Eddie House (to be cut), Juwan Howard, and Jamal Maglore to Houston for Brad Miller
This will give the Heat some more size up front, and he could potentially have some offense run through him in the high post as he’s a willing passer and a decent outside shooter. He’s a poor defender, but not as bad as Big Z. The Heat would basically have one point guard on their roster after this trade with the idea to re-sign Eddie House after the Rockets cut him (which would be agreed upon wink wink style). Lebron and Wade are the de-facto ball handelers anyways so losing Mario won't hurt.
For the Rockets this is strictly a move to shed Miller’s contract and secure a decent back-up point guard for Kyle Lowery if they choose not to re-sign Aaron Brooks.
Need: A scorer/shooter at the shooting guard spot.
Trade: CJ Watson, Kurt Thomas (to be cut), 1st round pick and 6 million Cash to Cavs for Ramon Session and Anthony Parker. (trade would actually be two deals so Bulls could send three million per deal the Cavs way)
Bulls needs more scoring off the bench and Sessions could provide that for the 10-12 minutes Rose is off the court. Parker can’t shoot as well as Korver, or play defense as well as Brewer, but he does a little of both decently. He and Sessions could finally push Bogans out of the rotation, which is an upgrade no matter who takes his spot. (note to Bulls...I'm ready for my call up) Kurt Thomas would be re-signed after the Cavs waive him as big man insurance.
For the Cavs, they get a 1st rounder for their trouble. They need as many as possible. Cash helps offset Watson’s second and third year.
Need: A swing man who can create some offense.
Trade: Caron Butler to Denver for Al Harrington and JR Smith
Mavs desperately need another player who can create offense and JR Smith is an incredible talented player with the brains of a cactus. The Mavs would be gambling that they could get JR to play smarter while taking on about eleven million a year in Harrington (base salary plus luxury tax), who isn’t a bad back-up for Dirk, even at the inflated price.
For the Nuggets, this trade is a steal. The Nuggets get rid of Harrington’s contract for JR Smith, who they don’t want after this year anyways.
Need: Interior scorer, rebounding.
Trade: Jeff Green, Nenand Kristic to LA Clippers for Chris Kaman
Jeff Green sucks. I hear that teams will try and sign him away from OKC during this offseason but I don’t know why. He’s a back up at best and the Thunder can’t win more than a round with their glaring lack of size. The Thunder front office continues to slowly build but enough is enough already. Jeff Green and Nenand Kristic are NOT building blocks. Get a legit seven footer who can score in the post like Kaman can, and the Thunder very well could come out of the West. I want to see the Thunder do well, but I have a feeling they’ll stand pat, get bounced from the playoffs early and either pay too much for Green and lock themselves into 2nd round and out status long term, or lose him for nothing.
For the Clippers Kaman doesn’t seem to have much use for the Clips anymore. They’re better off giving his minutes to Jordan and Griffin and Green would be a decent enough back up at both forward spots. They could give him a couple of months to see if he’s worth re-signing, or they could let both him and Kristic go and have a good amount of cap space for free agency.
Need: Wing defender
Trade: James Anderson, Antonio McDyess (to be cut) to Rockets for Shane Battier
Spurs don’t like to make trades midseason, partly because their system is difficult to pick up quickly, but if any player could learn it quickly, it would be Battier. Spurs best defenders at the wing spot are either Ginobili or Hill, but that’s not enough if they plan on beating Kobe, Pierce, or James/Wade in a playoff series. Battier would be a great addition and should do a good job of turning all of those listed players into long jump shooters. McDyess would return after a brief vacation, which could be good for Spurs as it might force Pop into giving Splitter some much needed run.
For the Rockets, they would have another solid role player to build around in James Anderson who’s doesn’t make much money for the next three years.
Need: Energy, defense at the point guard position.
Trade: Derek Fisher, Matt Barnes, Theo Ratliff (all to be cut if the Lakers want…again wink wink), and Devin Eubanks, plus two 1st round picks 2014, 2016 for Kirk Hinrich and Nick Young
This would give the Lakers a perfect replacement for Derek Fisher. Hinrich is fairly tall for a point guard, plays great defense, and doesn’t turn the ball over much. Young would be a great asset to have for the Lakers. He’s very much an on and off player so the Lakers could let him play the second quarter while Kobe rests and if he has it, then let him play and create some shots while Kobe rests. If he doesn’t have it then bench him and stick with the Kobe, Brown, Artest rotation. They could re-sign any of the first three players if they choose and the Wizards cooperate.
For the Wizards, they shed Hinrich’s salary for next year, and get two potentially valuable 1st round picks for when the Lakers potential start their slide as their core ages.
Nuggets Trade-Raymond Felton, Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler, Chris Andersen to Hawks for Josh Smith and Mike Bibby.
For the Nuggets, this is essentially trading Carmelo for Josh Smith, plus some extra 1st round draft picks and some cash, which is a great trade for the Nuggets. Josh Smith is almost as good as Carmelo, if not better, and with the right coach he's a star player who's locked up at a reasonable salary for three years. Who would your rather have? Carmelo at 20-21 million per year or Josh Smith for 11?
For the Hawks, they desperately want a point guard and could be sold on moving their best player for a haul that makes them much better at point and gives them great depth. Horford, Andersen, Pachulia, Chandler, Williams, Gallinari, Johnson, Crawford, and Felton is a better team overall then what they have now.
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