Posted on: February 22, 2010 11:38 am

Let's Trade Big Al!

The title should read "Let's trade Big Al just because Darko had one good game and immediately demonstrated how much better Kevin Love is with a defensive shot blocker backing him up than an offensively oriented big man" but that wouldn't fit in the title space. Reactionary, yes, but who gives a dip?

1. Timberwolves - Nets - Lakers

In this instance, the Wolves land the #1 pick and New Jersey ends up #2. Ignoring the Wolves lottery curse, this is a plausible scenario given the team records.

  • The Wolves deal #1 and Al Jefferson to the Nets for #2, Brook Lopez and a future 1st.
  • The Nets take their franchise guy in John Wall.
  • The Wolves bank on Rubio/Flynn and grab the best wing in the draft and Brandon Roy clone, Evan Turner. They also have added cap space to sign up to a max contract free agent, such as Rudy Gay. Gay isn’t worth a max contract but they’ll probably have to overpay in order to get Memphis not to match the offer.
  • The Nets then deal Devin Harris to the Lakers for Andrew Bynum and Sasha Vujacic, who’s contract they’d very much like to get of.  


Wolves Future Lineup
PG - Ricky Rubio/Jonny Flynn
SG - Evan Turner
SF - Rudy Gay/Corey Brewer
PF - Kevin Love
C - Brook Lopez

Why the Wolves will do it: They walk away with an extremely well rounded, young and relatively inexpensive roster that will officially become their core to move forward with. A Love-Lopez front court makes a lot of sense and a couple of wings like Turner-Gay are exactly the type that would thrive in an uptempo offense, such as the one they want to initiate with Flynn-Rubio.
Why the Wolves won’t do it: This organization has waited so long to actually luck out in the lottery AND they also have a history of passing on future stars in the draft that there could be a full on mutiny if they let John Wall and the #1 overall pick slip away, regardless of how good Turner looks.

Nets Future Lineup:
PG - John Wall
SG - Courtney Lee/Chris Douglas-Roberts
SF - Terrence Williams/Yi Jianlin
PF - Al Jefferson
C - Andrew Bynum

Why the Nets will do it: It’s a no-brainer on their end. They’ve already made it clear that they’re willing to deal Harris so that’s no big loss. With the Knicks aiming to make a big splash and the possibility of coming off the all-time worst record ever, they’ll look to improve quickly. In this scenario they add two big time young players in Jefferson and Bynum but they also get the face of the franchise and the guy will turn attention away from whatever the Knicks do, John Wall.
Why the Nets won’t do it: They really like Brook Lopez. But seriously, they would do this deal in a second.

Lakers Future Lineup:
PG - Devin Harris/Shannon Brown
SG - Kobe Bryant
SF - Ron Artest/Luke Walton
PF - Lamar Odom
C - Pau Gasol

Why the Lakers will it: Bynum is young and talented but he just seems like the odd man out in LA. He’s also not the most healthy of guys. Mostly, however, there’s just too many other weapons for him to really get into a groove on. He also has some injury concerns. Derek Fisher is done and putting a guard like Harris on the court with Kobe would be incredible. He’d continually be left with favorable matchups and the ability to distribute to a virtual all-star team. They’d have the best starting five in basketball, hands down
Why the Lakers won’t do it: Contrary to this outsider’s opinion, they seem to really value Bynum. They wouldn’t deal him for Kidd a few year’s back but maybe now that they’ve seen his apparent ceiling they’d be willing to throw him out there, especially if he sucks in the playoffs. Also, Harris isn’t exactly Mr. Durable either.

That's it.

Posted on: January 21, 2010 11:50 am
Edited on: January 25, 2010 11:25 am

I Should Probably Upload Some Rookie Rankings

Rookie Rankings! 
- as of 1/21/10
1. Tyreke Evans - Wowza. After a slow start he has exploded to the tune of 20-5-5. Those are all-star numbers in case you’re wondering. It'll be interesting to see if he maintains that pace now that Kevin Martin is back. What if Memphis had taken him, which is a plausible scenario given his Tennessee roots? They'd have passed OKC and Portland as the hottest young team in the league.
2. Brandon Jennings - Dude has cooled off a ton after a totally psychotic (and unrealistic) start, just as the Bucks have as a whole. That being said, he's still playing monster minutes and being allowed to shoot at will. At this point he's looking like the SOD at #10. The most criminal offense of all: the Knicks passed on him. The same team that coveted PG Ricky Rubio and scorer Stephen Curry, both because of their respective games and ability to fill seats, let the guy who could have filled all three roles go...for another guy who you won't see anywhere on this list.
3. Jonny Flynn - Flashes of brilliance followed up with flashes of stupidity, par for the rookie course. The talent, attitude and top flight athletic ability are there just waiting to be harnessed. His 14 pts and 4 assists, though solid, is inferior to Jennings' 18-6 but consider this: Jennings is averaging 5 more minutes a game and has taken a stunning 141 more shots! Pro-rate that out and their stats are virtually identical. Now dream big and imagine that the Wolves have a couple of wings who can hit a mid-range jumpshot and his numbers really skyrocket.
4. Stephen Curry - Like everyone else in a Don Nelson offense, his numbers are inflated beyond their actual performance level. Curry has been ok, definitely solid for a rook, but he's pretty much looking like the limited ceiling pick he was projected to be. In any other system it would be really hard to see how he would survive defensively as either a 2-guard or a point guard. Good thing he's not in any other system.
5. Omri Casspi - There's a lot of buzz around this guy and I admit he has been good, but I'm not sold yet. He has played 35+ minutes thirteen times already this year. He's played 40+ minutes five times. It's impressive and rare that a rook would yield such a heavy dose of minutes, but it also tempers the excitement around his moderately large stat outputs. Any 6'9" NBA player, when given 40 minutes a game, should be able to average 12 points and 5 rebs. 

6. DeJuan Blair - He had no business falling as far as he did in the draft, bad knees or no. His play has exceeded his statistical output in every way. He's been able to contribute big minutes for a top team in the mighty Western Conference and smoothly bridge the gaps in which Tim Duncan is not on the floor. That's hard enough for a veteran to do, let alone an apparently broken down rookie. 
7. James Harden - He's been pretty ho-hum so far. 9 points, 3 rebs and 2 assists is hardly what you expect out of the #3 overall pick. He's getting pretty good minutes, too. The problem is he isn't getting a lot of shots, which is largely due to the fact that Russell Westbrook is a shooting guard trapped in a point guard's body. At Arizona State, Harden showed he needs a high volume of shots to be effective, which he isn't going to get behind Durant and Westbrook. Consequently, I wouldn’t be surprised to see trade-happy OKC GM, Sam Presti, move Harden as soon as this year while his stock is still high. 
8. Jonas Jerebko - I almost forgot the Pistons were playing this year given how little coverage they’ve received. Apparently, Ben Gordon and Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer don't do much for national audiences. Even still, this dude has been a good bit player for them. Averaging 9 points and 5 rebs, he's basically on pace with what Rudy Fernandez did as a rook, minus all the publicity.
9. DeMar DeRozan - DeRozan makes this list by default because basically there aren't any more rookies consistently doing anything productive. We all sort of knew this slow start would happen. DeRozan is so talented, yet so unrefined that it will take a couple of years before this guy does or does not materialize into what he is capable. He will, however, compete in this year's dunk contest. Reminds me a bit of Gerald Green in that regard. Here's hoping DeRozan turns out nothing like Gerald Green!
10. Ty Lawson - In a short (no pun initially intended, then I realized it was a pun, then I decided to leave it in. Lawson is short) amount of time Lawson has proved three things. 1) He will never be an All-Star. 2) He will have a long career as an effective backup PG. 3) He was a great value pick at #18. Good job,  Denver!
And now, individual honors for the excluded…
Close But No Cigars - Tyler Hansbrough, Taj Gibson, Sam Young, Chase Budinger, Wayne Ellington. If these guys were just a little better they would have made the list. But they're not, so they must endure the humiliation of the Honorable Mention designation.
Too Bad, So Sad - Blake Griffin. What a buzzkill? With Greg Oden and now Griffin, Derrick Rose is all that stands between a #1 overall pick curse theory.
What The Fudge? - Jordan Hill. Seriously, what the fudge New York?
I Sorta Get It, But Seriously, What The Fudge - Hasheem Thabeet. I mean, I sorta get, but seriously Memphis, what the fudge?
I Was Drafted In The Lottery And You've Already Forgotten I Exist - Gerald Henderson. I'm sorry, who?
Given The Disastrous State Of My Team I Should Be Putting Up Some Pretty Good Numbers Because I Was A Lottery Pick Which Implies I Am Talented And Really, What Better Options Do They Have? But Inspite Of All Of That I'm Not Doing Shiz - Terrence Williams. This guy is a little inexplicable. And the Nets owe him millions.

Have a good life.
Posted on: January 15, 2010 12:25 pm

Why Not Just Propose A DetailedTrade Scenario?

Minnesota - Chicago - New Orleans
*** Note, this trade works under NBA salary rules.

New Orleans
Gives: Chris Paul, Emeka Okafor, David West
Gets: Al Jefferson, Jonny Flynn, Joakim Noah, Jerome James, Mark Blount, Chicago 1st Round Pick

Gives: Joakim Noah, Jerome James, 1st Round Pick
Gets: David West, Emeka Okafor

Gives: Al Jefferson, Jonny Flynn, Mark Blount
Gets: Chris Paul

Think about it. Dynamic.

New Orleans Rationale: 
It's all based around the rumors that New Orleans is willing to blow everything up in order to shed money. Fans and rubes won't like this in much the same way Memphis fans probably didn't like it when they gave Pau Gasol away, but sometimes the reality of the situation is not always a pleasant reality. It's important to note, this premise isn't an obscure interweb rumor, it's fairly substantiated. The organization is hemorrhaging money. In fact, they pretty much started doing so about five minutes after arriving in New Orleans. They don't want to trade Paul but realize that he would never stand for the team trading every ounce of talent around him. So the Hornets unload the ridiculous Okafor contract, which they started regretting about five minutes after offering it, and West, who is talented but overpaid and at the ripe old age of 30 probably isn’t part of the long term rebuilding plan. After this deal the only insane contract they have left is Stojakovic and they can stomach that for a year. The silver lining in all of this is that they get some really nice young pieces in return, which is a rarity in today’s salary dump deals. Al Jefferson actually makes about the same money as West. He’s an all around upgrade over West, talent-wise, and is six years younger. It gives them a dominant low post threat to build around and a signal to fans that they aren’t just quitting. Then they get two young building blocks in Jonny Flynn and Joakim Noah, two players that resemble what they are losing in a way but for a fraction of the cost. Throw in a 1st<sup> </sup>Round Pick from Chicago and two big expiring contracts in Jerome James and Mark Blount and the Hornets can’t let this one pass. 
New Orleans Post Trade Line Up:
PG - Jonny Flynn
SG - Peja Stojakovic
SF - James Posey
PF - Al Jefferson
C - Joakim Noah
Key Reserves: Morris Peterson, Julian Wright, Marcus Thornton

New Orleans Outcome:
Pros - Shed big contracts, cap/free agency flexibility, three talented players under the age of 25, multiple future 1<sup>st</sup> Round Picks
Cons - lose top 3 PG in league, piss off fanbase

Chicago Rationale:
The Bulls have started this season in sucky fashion after putting up one of the best playoff series in NBA history last year. They also appear to be on the brink of firing their coach (a big mistake in my opinion). They have some nice players but are clearly feeling the loss of Ben Gordon. Derrick Rose is already publicly lamenting the absence of help around him. This is all troubling because I don’t think Chicago has any interest in rebuilding, yet they don’t have the talent on hand necessary to be a top flight team in the East. So, if they could give up some promising youth in order to add a stud or two, I believe they’d do it in a heart beat. To me, Chicago is the biggest no brainer in this three-way. They give up the skilled, yet emotionally unstable center in Noah, a sizeable expiring in James and a 1st Round Pick for two players that would give them a front court that could contend with any team in the East. Sure, they add a bunch of payroll, but what does a big market like Chicago care about payroll? Plus, they keep Brad Miller’s enormous expiring.

Chicago Post Trade Line Up:
PG - Derrick Rose
SG - John Salmons
SF - Luol Deng
PF - David West
C - Emeka Okafor
Key Reserves: Kirk Hinrich, Tyrus Thomas, James Johnson

Chicago Outcome:
Pros: add two big time front court player, both of which are better than the one they give up, make a statement that they are a legit contender.
Cons: give up some cap flexibility and potential

The Wolves give up a lot. They also get a lot. Al Jefferson and Jonny Flynn are two of the team’s key features. Mark Blount’s expiring contract is going to clear the space for them to land a big time free agent in the 2010 free agency bonanza. Despite those things, they still do this deal. Chris Paul is in the elite class of point guards in the league. He’s also the star that would put fans back in Target Center. They’d probably play slightly better ball this year but would ultimately be set up better for the future. They’d still have enough money to be a player in free agency because Paul’s contract is only slightly more than Flynn and Jefferson’s combined contracts. They’d still have a lottery pick in the 2010 draft in addition to a possible two additional 1st Rounders from Charlotte and Utah. On top of everything, the Rubio card remains in play. Last but not least, I tend to believe that to potential free agents the allure of playing with Paul/Love is more enticing  than Jefferson/Love

Minnesota Post Trade Line Up:
PG - Chris Paul
SG - Corey Brewer
SF - Ryan Gomes
PF - Kevin Love
C - Ryan Hollins
Key Reserves: Wayne Ellington, Ramon Sessions, Damien Wilkins

Minnesota Outcome:
Pros: add a star point guard and franchise face, sell tickets while reinvigorating fanbase
Cons: put all of eggs in one basket, so to speak, investing much of youth and flexibility they have spent years accumulating

So basically, make this happen, executives.

Do you agree?

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com