Right around this time every year the NBA rumor mill starts buzzing and blurring the line between sensible and sensational. Until February 21st, expect to hear some absolutely preposterous back-fence talk coming from every corner of the Association. Then watch a few of them come true.
There is no doubt that the NBA landscape can change drastically over the first three weeks of February. The first domino fell when the Raptors, Grizzlies, and Pistons pulled off the first big trade of the season. Rudy Gay and Hamed Haddadi ended up north of the border in Toronto (although due to visa issues, it looks like Haddadi will be bought out). Tayshaun Prince and Austin Daye are now Grizzlies. The Pistons received Jose Calderon and his $10 million dollar expiring contract.
The talk will continue and the trades will, too. What is the next big rumor to preoccupy the talking heads until that time? Here are some interesting trade possibilities that are conceivable before the deadline.
Paul Pierce for Pau Gasol
Contract-wise, this works. Pau Gasol is paid 19 million this year, while Pierce makes $16.7 million and both players are only on the books through the end of next season. For the Celtics, they get a player that could form an incredibly skilled frontcourt with Kevin Garnett. The Lakers would get a small forward that knows how to win and can bring an incredibly basketball IQ to the team. Paul Pierce would be a great wing compliment to the Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni’s system, whereas Pau Gasol has floundered. Doc Rivers’s system would be a great fit for Gasol, as well.
Three-way trade between the Raptors, Hawks, and Magic featuring Josh Smith
The Josh Smith trade rumors are some of the most intriguing and have been for the last few years. If the Hawks do not trade him then they will almost definitely lose him in free agency this summer. The Raptors are looking to add superstar and have pretty much shrugged off the draft in their desire to win now. The Orlando Magic are just trying to stockpile young assets. Magic GM Rob Hennigan even said that he wanted young players and draft picks in return for any possible trades. Here is my suggestion:
Raptors get: Josh Smith
Hawks get: J.J. Redick, Amir Johnson, Jonas Valanciunas, and 2015 first round pick for 2015
Magic get: Terrence Ross
Talent for talent this wouldn’t work, but there is a lot more to consider. The Raptors would be able to offer Josh Smith more money than other teams this summer and would hope to keep him by pairing him with Rudy Gay, Kyle Lowry, and DeMar DeRozan. The Hawks would get an expiring contract and talented player in J.J. Redick, which could help fill the gap left by the season-ending injury of Lou Williams. Jonas Valanciunas is a great young prospect that plays center, which would allow Al Horford to move to his natural position at power forward. The Magic would get a great young building block in shooting guard, Terrence Ross.
Shawn Marion and Jae Crowder for Chuck Hayes and Tyreke Evans
Tyreke Evans is gone at the end of this season. You could argue that he can make much more money re-signing in Sacramento, but it is hard to imagine any player that wants to be on that squad right now. The general consensus around the league is that he will be playing in a different city next year. The Kings need to get what they can for him and move on. In this deal, they would be shedding the awful salary of Chuck Hayes, while gaining a great young wingman in Jae Crowder. Shawn Marion could bring some much needed veteran leadership to the locker room. The Dallas Mavericks would almost definitely be able to coax Tyreke Evans into signing in the off-season and would form an incredible young backcourt with O.J. Mayo.
Michael Beasley, Jared Dudley, and Kendall Marshall for Monta Ellis, Joel Przybilla, and Doron Lamb
The Milwaukee Bucks are hoping to retain Brandon Jennings, especially after the fantastic year he has had. They will be able to offer him the most amount of money and need to show him that they are committed to bringing in talent around him. Michael Beasley and Jared Dudley are both good wing players that would compliment Jennings nicely. Neither one has a huge contract and rookie point guard Kendall Marshall could help soften the blow if Jennings does leave. If he does leave they’ll be lottery-bound anyway, so a young promising point guard like Kendall Marshall could be a nice bonus. The Suns would be able to bring in an explosive scorer like Monta Ellis and a young, inexpensive rookie in Doron Lamb. Joel Pryzbilla is on an expiring deal and whether they are looking to win over the next few years or begin rebuilding, they would be able to go in either direction at the end of next year when Monta’s contract expires.
Please leave your trade ideas and all of your ire in the comments section below!
Jacque Vaughn is generally composed and stoic on the sideline, his demeanor generally existing as the antithesis of former Magic coach, Stan Van Gundy. However, last night Jacque Vaughn was ejected after receiving two technical fouls in the the third quarter at the 4:47 mark.Read more