Pre-Season Trade Drawer: Going for the Playoffs

It's never the wrong time for a trade drawer, is it?

Last season I was a strong advocate for the "trade the veterans and get more assets" route. This season, that is not really an option unless there is suddenly a strong demand for Jared Jeffries, Ronnie Price, and Sasha Pavlovic.

Things will come in to perspective more as the season starts and teams see where they are. But I can see three basic kinds of trade themes that will come up; the major blow-up (Aldridge + Matthews and/or Batum) which I think is unlikely, minor trades (for example, trading one of our combo forwards for a consistent backup wing, or trading Jeffries for a conditional 2nd round pick) which are kinda boring to discuss, or if we are looking decent, a trade that looks to get us in the playoffs this season. Maybe a Matthews, Batum, or Hickson trade could materialize as the season goes on, but we'll see.

It is too early for the first (and probably the third but we'll pretend) and the second is not really worth discussing, so my proposal has to do with the third.

I certainly am not a fan of cashing in assets to bump us up to mediocrity, but at this point we have a lot of young players already, and playoff experience might be more valuable at this stage. Plus "experts" are predicting that the draft won't be very strong outside the top-three, and we know that predictions at this stage are always sometimes correct.

Here is a trade, or pergaps two trades, I could see as a possibility if things swing the right way.

Portland gets:

C Marcin Gortat

Memphis gets:

F Luke Babbitt

Phoenix gets:

F/C Joel Freeland

G Elliot Williams

G Wayne Ellington

Two 2nd round picks (one from each team)


Memphis was last in the NBA in three pointers last season. With the imposing duo of Gasol/Randolph inside and scorer Rudy Gay, they could use some floor spacing. They don't really have a decent shooter coming off the bench, but they do have lots of scoring guards. Babbitt could play alongside Gay or Randolph and Gasol to spread the floor, while Ellington is superfluous.

The Suns, as usual, are desperate to cling to mediocrity. If they come to the quick realization that playoffs aren't realistic and Gortat isn't nearly as good without Nash, they may look to cash him out. They get a younger replacement in Freeland and have pretty little at the 2 right now, so they get two options (E-Will obviously for later) there, plus the picks.

Two of the Blazers' biggest weaknesses are an inexperienced or undersized center rotation, and lack of proven depth. Gortat gives them a solid center at a good price in his prime, even if he doesn't prove as good without Nash. Then, with the two free roster spots we can use our exceptions to sign Mickeal Pietrus and Leandro Barbosa (or Kenyon Martin). This looks like a playoff team to me:

C Gortat/Leonard/Jeffries

PF Aldridge/Hickson/Claver

SF Batum/Pietrus/Pavlovic

SG Matthews/Barbosa/Barton

PG Lillard/Price/Smith

Would you do this trade? What other trades do you think would/should be considered this season?

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