I know this sounds preposterous but hear me out. Denver's back is against the wall. It MUST trade Carmelo Anthony or risk seeing him walk and get nothing in return. Even so, the trade offer they have received from the Nets is fairly attractive. What could the Nuggets have received in a trade for Melo if he still had 3 seasons left on his current contract? My assumption is that they could have done much better. A player like Melo could garner two or three very complimentary championship pieces.
What could Lamarcus Aldridge garner if the Blazers were to consider trading him now? Okay, maybe now isn't the time for Lamarcus but when is the best time?
Wouldn't the Nuggets have gained anything by trading Carmello Anthony two years ago instead of waiting until now? Would Cleveland have been better off trading Lebron James two or three years ago instead of letting him walk last summer? Would the Toronto Raptors have gained anything by trading Chris Bosh two years ago? What about the Utah Jazz and Deron Williams? When should they trade him to get the most value?
Here's a big part of my thinking: Most GMs (and fans) tend to overvalue their own role players. It's tough to get what you believe is fair value in return for role players (such as Matthews, Batum, Rudy, Camby, Dre). It seems nearly impossible to parlay these kinds of players into elite or near elite level players.
On the other hand, GMs around the league place incredible value on elite level players. These players are in short supply. Many teams have ZERO star players. GMs salivate at the thought of adding such a player to their roster. "If only I could have a player like Carmello Anthony on my roster, I could build a championship team around him."
Could it be that such players may offer the last available opportunity to really "get over" in a trade? Of course this doesn't work well if a franchise waits until the final year of a player's contract where the franchise has very little leverage.
Think about it: What would a GM be willing to part with to add say, Lebron James, Dwight Howard, Derron Williams or Dwayne Wade to his roster?
Right now, All-Star snub aside, LA's stock is at an all-time high. Anyone who's been watching him lately can clearly see he has the ability to dominate a game.
This thinking is a bit of a paradigm shift. We typically try to figure out how to add ANOTHER elite player to our roster when we have one. Or we just try to figure out how to complement that player with enough quality pieces to try to contend for a title. Indeed, almost all NBA championship teams have included at least one (if not two) elite players. But I wonder if the titles the Detroit Pistons won provide an example of a way to win without an elite player.
Portland may not be the team best positioned to benefit from this thinking as we - arguably - only have one elite player on our roster. However, what if the Lakers were to shop Kobe? What if the Heat were to shop Wade? Holy crap...what would you, as one of the "have not" GMs of the league do to get one of those guys on your team?
Okay...Let me have it. What's wrong with my thinking? I already recognize that making salaries match is a challenge. I also recognize that some of these players might refuse to play for other teams, so don't hit me with those sorts of things.
I'd be curious to know what sort of package you think the Blazers COULD get for LA (or the Lakers for Kobe -- or the Heat for Wade).