After reading this story on the future of the Lakers, Simmons's recent suggestion that the Blazers might be dumb enough to take on Rudy Gay's deal (here), and 420Phenom's recent "You're the GM..." post, I thought I would go through the rosters and salaries for next year and try to identify some potential trade targets that haven't been discussed to death. Don't get me wrong, I am all for continuing to beat dead horses (that's what the off-season and, I guess, what dead horses are for). But I have been most intrigued when somewhat newfangled options emerge, even if they may be less obvious for good reasons. I remember reading speculative stories that involved Horford or Noah, for example. Likely? probably not. But not totally impossible. I mean, not totally impossible.
I made a pretty exhaustive list, but I will just highlight a couple of options on either end of the probability spectrum: one big and one small (both in terms of players and salaries).
The story about the Lakers (linked above) got me thinking about Pau Gasol. He makes about $19 million over the next two years and, as Kamenetzky writes, the Lakers need to get younger and shed salary. Gasol always seems to bear an undue burden for their losses (see: Kobe recently throwing him under the bus), but I've always loved his well-rounded game. Pairing him with LMA wouldn't provide us with the "beast" everyone talks about, but it would give us two borderline 7-footers with amazing offensive skill. No team in the NBA could match up with them. I don't know what it would take to get Gasol (our draft picks, a third team, and so on...), but I have always been intrigued by his game. It would erase our cap flexibility, however. Is there a way to add Gasol and still fill out a team that makes his acquisition worthwhile? I don't know.
The other option involves a team still alive in the playoffs. Everyone reading this is well versed in the Lowery/Dragic discussion: a team has a RFA and another youngish point guard has led to speculation that one of them is certainly attainable. But what about the Pacers? They are in a very similar situation with Hill (RFA) and Collison ($2million expiring next year). If they sign Hill, which seems likely to me, then Collison is very likely on the block. He hasn't met the loftiest predictions after coming over from the Hornets, but he is a very solid point guard. I would put him in a class similar to Dragic and Lowery. Is he worth pursuing? I leave that open for debate. But I think he is an example of name is worth mentioning more often as a possibility.
What are some other players (other than Rondo, Iggy, Evans ...) that might be worth pursuing in trade? The plethora of mock drafts and small FA class have given us the same names repeatedly, but I wonder if the Blazers won't end up with something more unexpected this off-season. Even the front office has expressed a desire to potentially turn cap space and draft picks into a more experienced player. Now is your chance to name that player and lord it over everyone else for the rest of the year. Here is the test (which I may have failed myself): try to tow the line between somewhat unfamiliar trade ideas and absolutely ridiculous ideas. in other words, keep your suggestions somewhere between Brandon Jennings and Carmelo Anthony.
Or just do what you want ... it's a trade drawer after all!