Early Look at the NBA Trading Deadline

The trade deadline in the National Basketball Association is arguably the most exciting time of the year for fans of every team. It’s the last chance for a couple months to make your team better, whether that means getting a veteran player for a pick and a 24-year old shooting guard, or acquiring depth, picks, and salary relief while unloading a star player of your own. Fans love change, and it always seems easy to swap players in video games, or over the internet, but in reality it’s one of the most difficult processes in all of sports.

Everything needs to fit.

Both teams must receive a certain player or players, acquire or send out cash , work with their salary cap, and ultimately – give value to get value that they desire to acquire from their trade partner or partners.

We’ve seen a bunch of complicated deals, especially over the past few seasons, take place in the NBA. Most notably was the largest trade in NBA history back in 2005. August 2 marked NBA history when the Heat, Celtics, Grizzlies, Hornets and Jazz initiated the five-team, thirteen player deal. There has not been a deal like that since, but many complex, large, and juicy trades have indeed gone down. Pau Gasol to the Lakers, Hedo Turkoglu rejoining the Magic after signing elsewhere a year earlier, Caron Butler and Brendan Haywood (and Deshawn Stevenson) for virtually nothing but salary relief and a fresh start, and most notably the pair of trades in the 2007 NBA off-season that sent future hall-of-famers Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen to the Boston Celtics for a bunch of potential. These two moves might mark the greatest off-season every by a single general manager, congrats Danny Ainge. The Celtics have been rewarded with 2 finals appearances, and 1 title in the three years since the transaction. However, it’s much easier in the off-season to consummate a deal. There is more time, less pressure, and no games being played. Mid-season is a tough time to make a (big) deal. The players are (hopefully) used to their environment, and teammates. A collected locker room setting is vital to a high-quality NBA team. To shake things up in mid-season, where there are no days off or “mercy games” to get things working together, that is a lot to ask of a group of players if there is a vast change of players or personnel mid-stride.

This trading deadline this year presents a unique situation. There have only been a few trades this season, with the Magic trading Rashard Lewis to the Wizards for Gilbert Arenas, and also dealing some players and cap relief to Phoenix for Hedo Turkoglu and others. The Mavericks took Peja Stojakovic from Toronto after the Raptors bought out his contract. Stojakovic was dealt from New Orleans to Toronto earlier in the year. Also, the Rockets, Nets, and Lakers engaged in a three-way deal that saw Terrence Williams and Sasha Vujacic change teams.

So, this deadline, what teams need to make moves? Here are three potential deals that would help both suitors.

Trade #1:

Thunder Get:

Richard Hamilton

Jonas Jerebko

Pistons Get:

Morris Peterson

Royal Ivey

BJ Mullens

Daequan Cook

The Pistons gain cap room for now, and also the future, clearing the big contract of Richard Hamilton. The Thunder get a needed scoring threat and good team player at the 2 guard position, along with veteran, playoff experience and a hard-working defender.

Detroit’s season is a wash, and is looking to unload not only Hamilton, but also Tayshaun Prince if they find a correct suitor. Hamilton gets a fresh start with a contender, as well as a young, promising talent in Jerebko, while Detroit continues to clear cap space and adds a couple young bodies in Mullens and Cook.

Pacers Get:

Anthony Randolph

Knicks Get:

1st Round Pick from Indiana

The Pacers have had a promising season, and can deal with giving up their first-round pick for potential-packed young forward Anthony Randolph. With Randolph in the frontcourt with Jeff Foster, Tyler Hansbrough, Josh McRoberts, and Danny Granger scoring 20+ ppg a night, the Pacers could be a sleeper pick for the 2011 postseason tournament. Randolph would be locked up for a few more years, and could play to his rarely seen potential because he is glued to the bench in New York in Mike D’Antoni’s rotation. The Knicks will be happy to trade someone who doesn’t play for a potential lottery pick if Indiana

Now let’s try a 3-teamer deal

Mavericks Get:

Tayshaun Prince

Pistons Get:

Deshawn Stevenson

Troy Murphy

Nets Get:

Charlie Villanueva

Brian Cardinal

Austin Daye

The Pistons let loose more salary, and the other teams take advantage by improving their respective rosters. The Mavericks have gotten hot once again, but still feel the loss and lack of presence that All-Star guard Caron Butler brought to the floor night in and night out. With Prince, they get scoring, and a very, very athletic, versatile defender to pad the starting lineup unit. The Pistons get Troy Murphy, a former perennial all-star talent who is stuck on the end of Avery Johnson’s bench in New Jersey, but in Detroit he can finish the last year of his contract with a solid second half and hopefully earn himself the new deal he probably deserves – and the playing time. The Nets take on Villanueva’s contract, hoping he comes through on fulfilling the deal he signed with Detroit in 2009, but demanded Austin Daye be a part of the package if they were going to swap Murphy’s expiring for Villanueva’s deal.

I’ll have more from Dallas with a local AND national spin on the trading deadline, as it will be here before we know it – February 24th.


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