Editor's Note: Front-paged for rumor mongering!
While most of the discussion this offseason has revolved around potential free agents (namely, Deron Williams) that our newfoud cap space could net, there hasn't been much talk of potential trades. In the course of messing around on ESPN's trade machine, here are a few I came up with.
Let the completely unsubstantiated trade rumours begin!
Why Atlanta would do it: Joe Johnson is owed approximately $90mill over the next four years. Odom would come off the books immediately and Marion is owed just $18mill over the next two so the Hawks would be saving over $70million, while landing them a nice replacement for Josh Smith, who they could move in a separate deal to either replace Johnson or shed more payroll
Why Dallas would do it: basically as a last resort if we miss out on Deron Williams and Eric Gordon. We would have $40mill committed between Dirk and Joe Johnson, and enough money to get Nash and maybe a guy like KG. As a first option Joe Johnson is obviously not what you're looking for, but as one of 3 scorers with Dirk and Nash, they would be pretty potent. Still, not my preferred trade.
Likelihood: 50%. If I were Atlanta, I would take this opportunity to shed JJ's contract in a heartbeat. The trepidation would likely come from Cubes' reluctance to take on one of the worst contracts in the league
Staying with Atlanta, if they want to move Josh Smith why don't we just step in?
Why Atlanta would do it: replace knucklehead Josh Smith with a veteran player who makes $4mill a year less than him. Odom's contract again can be wiped off the books immediately. So in terms of overall money, Atlanta would roughly break even as Smith and Pachulia would make a combined $18m this year then come off the books, while Marion makes around $8.6m this year then $9.3m next year. They also would've faced the prospect of losing Smith for nothing next year, and would have Marion for an extra year to keep with their Johnson/Horford/Teague core.
Why Dallas would do it: get an All-Star caliber player for a year to pair with Dirk. If it doesn't work out, they come off the books next year and you have cap space again, for Dwight Howard. In this scenario they would keep Haywood to amnesty next year, and pair with Zaza. Meanwhile they could sign Nash and have a Nash-Josh-Dirk core and possibly enough room for an Eric Gordon signing if they managed the rest of their contracts right.
Likelihood of happening: 70% I think if we miss out on Deron Williams, or if it looks unlikely, the Mavs will move quickly to use the Odom insta-expiring to land an all star caliber player like Smith. Added bonus that he's only got one year left on his deal.
Why Sacramento would do it: get rid of a guy who just doesn't seem to fit with what they're building (i.e. an inside-out team built around Cousins), and they can get rid of Thornton's albatross contract so they can save their amnesty for John Salmons. They essentially wipe Thornton's deal for Odom, and get a respected veteran and a winner in Marion to play small forward, a position of need for them.
Why Dallas would do it: Buy low on a potential all-star talent in Tyreke Evans. Although he's struggled as of late, he is not in the ideal situation at the moment, while he does possess an elite ability to get to the rim. With the right coaching, and playing off Dirk, he could blossom. They'd still have enough money to make a play for Deron Williams after this trade, which would allow Evans to play off the ball and form a Deron-Tyreke-Dirk trio.
Likelihood of happening: 10% too risky for Dallas, and the potential benefit would not be worth taking on Thornton's contract. Sacramento might also not be ready to give up on Evans just yet.
Why Memphis would do it: they showed in 2011 that they could win without Rudy Gay, and indeed, were probably better off without him as it allowed them to focus on feeding their bigs. This deal saves them $32mil over the next 3 years, allows them to re-sign OJ Mayo (and perhaps add another perimeter shooter like Ray Allen) while getting a guy in Shawn Marion whose toughness and defensive ability seem like a perfect fit for that team's style of play.
Why Dallas would do it: they probably shouldn't. But if everything else falls apart, this would at least give them a guy who can score 20 points a game - something Dirk hasn't had since Josh Howard. Would still have money for Deron Williams (barely).
Likelihood of happening: 25%. Memphis would definitely be keen, but I don't know if this really helps Dallas. Gay is a big(ish) name for sure, but I don't really view him as an impact player.
Why Philly would do it: they save $23mill while freeing up playing time for Evan Turner. SF is a luxury position for them so if you're going to have a borderline all star on your team, why not make it a guy who's cheaper and plays a position of need? The sixers would immediately add a power dimension to their game with Millsap, who is a definite upgrade over any of the bigs that they have on their roster.
Why Utah would do it: they free up playing time for their youngsters Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter. While Al Jefferson and Millsap are terrific offensive players and rebounders, they don't possess the defensive ability which Favors' flashes of brilliance suggests he is capable of. SF is a position of need for Utah as well, as it can allow them to move Hayward over to the 2 guard full time. A Marion-Favors-Jefferson frontcourt would be pretty devastating, as Marion and Favors provide defense while Al Jefferson can go to work on the low post on offense. Vince Carter's contract is not fully guaranteed so they can write it off as savings. They would be $12m under the cap and could make a play for Nash or Dragic and trot out Nash-Hayward-Marion-Favors-Jefferson as their starting five with Devin Harris as a devastating 6th man option.
Why Dallas would do it: they get one of the 3 best perimeter defenders in the league. While Iggy may not be suited to be a #1 option on a contending team, he has many tools which would be immensely useful as the third option behind a Deron Williams-Dirk Nowitzki paring.
Likelihood of happening: 60%. I think there are real benefits for all parties involved, but Utah could probably do a little better for Millsap.
Why Minnesota would do it: they get a legit all-star caliber center who can add veteran know-how and championship experience to their Rubio-Love core. He's also a Spaniard which couldn't hurt. Love was a legit MVP candidate, but his defense is a little lacking. While Gasol isn't a great defender either, he's at least fundamentally sound and provides length. On offense Love/Gasol would be the best passing front court in the league. They give up a promising rookie, but Love is ready to win now, and I think this is a situation where you trade potential for the sure thing.
Why New York would do it: they save almost $60million over the next 3 years. They would obviously be on the small side with a Marion-Melo frontcourt, but unlike other teams, they could just choose to not cut Odom and see if he can have a bounce back year. It would only be for one more year anyway, and they would still end up saving a massive amount of money.
Why LA would do it: they gamble on Amare finding his MVP-caliber form of 2010, and swap out Gasol for someone who is 3 years younger. And even though he had a down year, statistically Amar'e's season wasn't that different from Gasol's. Per 36 minutes Gasol averaged 17 and 10, while Amar'e averaged 19 and 9. And although Amar'e has a reputation for being a bad rebounder, he posted a defensive rebounding rate of 19%, which is not far off Gasol's 21.8%. And his defensive and rebounding deficiencies would be almost completely irrelevant if the Lakers pull off a Bynum for Dwight Howard trade, and then you would just have Amar'e needing to focus on scoring.
Why Dallas would do it: Brad Miller's contract could come off the books immediately after he files his retirement papers. That means they take back only $9mill in salary for a passable to above-average center (Pek averaged a 14 and 7 last year), and a potential stud forward on his rookie contract. We'd still have more than enough money to pursue Deron Williams and more.
Likelihood: 55%. This makes so much sense for all parties... except the Lakers. They're going to be the hardest sell and the whole deal is contingent on the Lakers' opinion of Amar'e. If they think he's salvageable and can have a bounce-back year, then they can justify having Amar'e from age 29-33 over having Gasol from age 32-35. If the Lakers are in, I don't see why the other parties would say no.
What do the rest of yall think? I definitely may have over/under estimated the likelihood of some of these deals. Are there any other obvious deals we could/should pull off?