Posted on: January 26, 2010 2:39 pm

Here Is Another Trade Scenario

If you follow NBA trade rumors at all, you are well aware of the published reports, both out of Arizona and nationally, that the Suns are likely to deal Amare Stoudamire before the trade deadline, which is nearly three weeks away. Why? There’s a few reasons but the main one is because he wants a max contract and with the sun beginning to set on the Suns Steve Nash induced run, Phoenix doesn’t want to lock him up much beyond when they expect Nash to retire, which is in two years. From reading around it appears that much of the fanbase won’t exactly be sad to see him go either.

So here is the deal. Try to read the whole thing before criticizing it. Also, approach it with the current state of the NBA in mind. A lot of people react to these trade scenarios like it’s a video game or fantasy league and anything short of LeBron for Kobe and a 2nd Round Pick is unfair. Admittedly, this is just for fun and entirely hypothetical, but getting inside a team’s true motive and circumstance, in my opinion, is what makes it worth reading.

Oklahoma City Thunder
Gives: Jeff Green, James Harden, 1st Round Pick (Lottery Protected)
Gets: Amare Stoudemire, Ryan Gomes

Minnesota Timberwolves
Gives: Ricky Rubio, Ryan Gomes, Corey Brewer, Damien Wilkins, Mark Blount
Gets: Jeff Green, James Harden

Phoenix Suns
Gives: Amare Stoudemire
Gets: Ricky Rubio, Corey Brewer, Damien Wilkins, Mark Blount, OKC 1st Pick (Lottery Protected)

OKC Rationale:
The Thunder do this because (1) Sam Presti loves to trade and (2) their glaring weakness is a quality big man. A three-headed monster of Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant and Amare Stoudemire would be truly electric. There’s also little downside on their end. Upgrading Jeff Green to Stoudemire is an absolute no brainer. Sure, Harden was the #3 pick overall less than a year ago but I still contend that they didn’t really want to make that pick, but rather did so because there just wasn’t anyone better available, in their mind. Westbrook and Harden are redundant and besides, a player like Stoudemire is infinitely more rare than a player like Harden. They also land Gomes, who though admittedly worse, is more or less the same sort of player as Green. They have to throw in the 1st Round Pick but it is Lottery Protected, hence avoiding any serious risk. Finally, some fans may disapprove because they feel this deal leaves the team with little depth, but keep in mind that they’d still have the bulky expiring contracts of Etan Thomas and Matt Harpring on hand to make one more noteworthy move in order to shore things up.

OKC Post-Trade Lineup:
PG - Russell Westbrook
SG - Kevin Durant
SF - Ryan Gomes
PF - Amare Stoudemire
C - Nenad Kristic

Key Reserves: Nick Collison, Thabo Sefolosha, Serge Ibaka
Analysis: A dynamic young team poised to make a playoff run now with assets still available to improve the team.

Minnesota Rationale:
Whether or not you like this trade from a Minnesota perspective probably depends on how you feel about Rubio. David Kahn contends he isn’t on the table. Whether or not that’s true, he’s still potentially their biggest trade asset. This deal allows the Wolves to add two young pieces to their core in Green and Harden and still have a high lottery pick in the 2010 draft, as well as the cap flexibility to sign a big name free agent. Losing Gomes means nothing because they have an option to void his contract after this year and they’ll probably do so anyways. Blount and Wilkins and their expiring contracts are in the deal for no other reason than to balance the salaries and provide Phoenix with some cap relief. Some Minnesota fans will flinch at giving up Brewer, given how well he has played this season, but ultimately you’ve got to go with the more proven commodity in Jeff Green. In the end, this will all come down to the Rubio question. If Kahn really believes that Rubio will be part of the Wolves future then this deal never gets off the ground. On the other hand, if Kahn believes Rubio will drag his feet in Spain until he gets out of Minnesota then this may be the best deal they can get.

Minnesota Post-Trade Lineup:
PG - Jonny Flynn
SG - James Harden
SF - Jeff Green
PF - Kevin Love
C - Al Jefferson

Key Reserves: Ramon Sessions, Wayne Ellington, Ryan Hollins
Analysis: Good to great young group with plenty of flexibility to get better through the draft and free agency.

Phoenix Rationale:
Suns fans are most likely to dislike this trade. That’s because they’ll want a young star in return for Stoudemire, and I don’t blame them for that, but unfortunately it’s just not the reality of the NBA. Realistically, the best they’ll be able to hope for is cap relief, draft picks and some young mid-level prospects. Compounding the already difficult nature of trading a superstar is the fact that Stoudemire is in the final year of his contract, which means if he doesn’t like where he goes he won’t re-sign. He has already said that he will only re-sign with a contender. Sure, the dregs of the league could probably offer up better picks and prospects but he would never agree to sign there meaning no team that didn’t already have a handshake agreement that he’d re-sign would ever deal anything meaningful for him.  So basically, any trade in which Phoenix receives value will have to be in some round about way like this. The one thing that contradicts this theory is a recent interview in which Stoudemire implied he’d be okay with going to the Nets, who are obviously a historically bad team. The Nets aren’t giving up Brook Lopez or Devin Harris until they know if they get John Wall. They sure as hell aren’t giving up the pick that could land them John Wall, which means the best they could offer would be some combination of Chris Douglas-Roberts, Courtney Lee, Terrence Williams and Yi Jianlin. When I think honestly about it, I’d rather have a package that includes a potentially transformational star in Ricky Rubio than a couple of guys who already appeared limited to slightly above mediocre. In fact, ESPN Insider ran a report this week about how the Suns have big time interest in Rubio as the future successor to Steve Nash. Makes sense, if you think about it. The Suns also pick up what will most likely be a mid to late 1st Round Pick and an emerging player in Corey Brewer who would fit their run and gun style well. Lastly, they clear a bunch of cap space that would make them relevant players in free agency sooner rather than later.

Phoenix Post-Trade Lineup:
PG - Steve Nash
SG - Jason Richardson
SF - Grant Hill
PF - Channing Frye
C - Robin Lopez

Key Reserves: Leandro Barbosa, Corey Brewer, Goran Dragic (Suns fans love this dude)
Analysis: Probably won’t improve this year, but this trade isn’t about that. It’s about setting them up to recover in the next two years, which this trade does do.

Okay then, rip away.


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