Due to my slow posting pace over the weekend I owe you guys some writing, so I'm following up yesterday's trade suggestion discussion with my final wrap-up of trades I wouldn't mind seeing.
Before we do that, however, a couple of quick notes on the Chandler-to-OKC trade:
1. I agree with almost everyone, including the Hornets' media folks, when they say that this is going to dampen New Orleans' chances. The Hornets weren't that good of a defensive team before Chandler arrived. He made some pretty bland defenders (Stojakovic, Peterson, West) look decent. That's what kept the Hornets good. It'll be hard to replace.
2. I hate having one of the worst teams in the league as a rival when we're getting better, but what the heck. I guess there's still some Sonics left in them after all. If you needed one more reason to hate OKC as a Blazer fan, this is it. Chandler-Przybilla IV...this time it's personal. Now I really, really want to whip the Thunder.
OK...on to the trade list. Little of this is new but I'm going to repeat a couple things that have been said in the sidebar or comment section only so far and also riff off of a couple of the ESPN rumors.
All of these trades mention people already rumored to be on the block. All of them work under CBA rules.
My favorite trade by far (and it's not close) is still the Portland-Phoenix-Toronto triangle involving Bosh and Stoudemire.
This nets the Blazers a ready-made, All-League power forward for the next decade. Some would consider the price high but considering the return and the way it frees up the rest of our roster to start playing instead of jostling for minutes, I do not. You have to trade something to get something. Phoenix would do this in less than a heartbeat. Outlaw is meant to tip Toronto over the edge and convince them to reunite Marion and Stoudemire in a nouveau Suns system.
I would sleep better at night knowing KP had at least gotten on the phone with Toronto about making this happen.
This is actually two trades smashed together, but it's an example of salary-cap-only moves that Portland might take advantage of. I call it The Forward Montage.
Obviously there are a lot of names there. Boiling it down, the Blazers just traded Travis Outlaw for David Lee and Gerald Wallace plus some expensive contracts for the next couple of years. They blew all of their cap space in one wad, but that's a pretty good couple of players--certainly better than you could get in the free-agent market and maybe better than you could get in a trade this summer after the salaries go up and you only get partial return on the RLEC. Charlotte is rumored to be OK with this deal if Mohammed is included. With the Jeffries option New York clears $6 million for the LeBron derby. With the Curry option (which almost surely would cause them to jump at this deal) it's over $11 million. All of the players Charlotte and New York receive in return have flexible contracts. It's assumed that most will be jettisoned. (Not Outlaw, I'd guess.) The Blazers would have an overstuffed frontcourt but realistically Mohammed and Jeffries or Curry could simply gather dust until their contracts became valuable. Portland would still have plenty of frontcourt depth with Oden, Przybilla, Aldridge, Lee, Wallace, Webster, and Batum. The backcourt isn't touched and would remain as is.
ESPN is reporting rumors of a Vince Carter deal with Houston and Portland being contenders. I prefer a triangle. I don't want Carter. I like some of Houston's assets. This deal was probably more realistic before McGrady went down, but here you go.
This move gets Battier to Portland for essentially no cap cost as long as they release Artest at the end of the year, which I assume they'd do. The Blazers would still have the option to go $8 million or so under the cap to facilitate a summer trade or sign a free agent but they'd have Battier in pocket already. Artest's chemistry issues would be a worry but he's usually a good teammate for the first ten minutes and that's about all the longer we'd have him. New Jersey is supposedly interested in trading Carter for this exact package so no worries there. Houston is now the sticking point. Were McGrady not down I think they'd happily part with Battier and Artest to get Carter. But this now leaves them thin. Unfortunately there's no other realistic combination to accompany Battier, which would be Portland's stake in the deal.
I've gotten more e-mails in the last week asking if I'd really, really want to trade for Shaq. Some of them accuse me of making this my favorite deal, which is nowhere near true. Some of them accuse me of being crazy, which is also nowhere near true. Would I still do The Shaq Attack? If there were no more attractive offer out there, yes I would.
It's simply a matter of utility, folks. How much utility are you going to get out of LaFrentz, Channing, and Sergio in the next two years versus how much you could get out of Shaq in that period. If you have to go up against the L*kers and Andrew Bynum in the playoffs this year, which of the two sides of that trade would you rather have on your team? How about if you're facing New Orleans, suddenly without Chandler? Utah and Mehmet Okur? San Antonio? I don't like it nearly as much as the Bosh trade. I think the Battier trade and the Forward Montage all have their problems. This might have fewer.
I could do more but I think I've made up my lost time now. For those who will ask, I haven't heard anything that indicates that Caron Butler will be available for anything we'd give. (Notice I scrupulously avoided trading Rudy, Bayless, or Batum in any of these moves.) I don't like John Salmons because even though he's a good player he really has only flourished fully when injuries made him the #1 offensive option. I'd like Deng and/or Deng and Hinrich from Chicago but because of Deng's BYC status I don't see a practical way of making that happen. Hinrich alone is not that interesting because of his current contract and the fact that he's a partial upgrade but doesn't really revolutionize the roster.