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 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?

Posted on: September 13, 2009 10:57 pm

The Deals Continue

School Is In Sessions

Without a doubt, the dumbest headline I've come up with to date, but hey, we got him (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XO-j-WQ0fG8&feature=related). Adding Ramon Sessions on a four year deal that will pay him 3.7 million this year and slightly increasing from there on is an incredible steal. He's only 23 years old and has played in fewer than 100 NBA games. In that time he has shown the ability to be a big time scorer and distributor. His single game career high in points is 44. His single game career high in assists is 24. Detract, criticize, nitpick all you want, but you can't put up those kinds of numbers and not have some pretty special abilities. If you aren't familiar with Sessions' game think Randy Foye except with actual point guard skills and vision, the ability to drive to his left, superior quickness and more appealing upside.

Getting this kind of talent for such little risk is surprising but what really stuns me about the whole thing is that Milwaukee was willing to let him go. Yeah I know, they didn't want to go over the luxury tax. But they would have had several months to get under the tax before they'd have to pay for it. Seems like they could have found a salary dump situation somewhere in that time frame. I honestly feel for Milwaukee fans, largely out of empathy. Moves like this give the appearance of a team in a full on, down to the studs rebuild. In the same breath, they've added guys like Hakim Warrick, Carlos Delfino and Kurt Thomas this offseason. They let Mo Williams go. But then they re-up Dan Gadzuric for 7+ mil a season. They trade for Richard Jefferson and then trade him away a year later. But then they appear unwilling to part with Michael Redd. I'm sure Buck insiders have more perspective but from my view they look like a total mess.

The End of the Songalia Era

Another week. Another Timberwolves trade. Another savy transaction by the Minnesota Timberwolves. It's still feels foreign to say that on a regular basis.

Darius Songalia is shipped along with Bobby Brown to New Orleans for Antonio Daniels. Yes, THE Antonio Daniels.   I've made it a habit every time the Wolves make a trade (feels like a dozen or so times this offseason) to read about it on the website of the local Minneapolis paper. Not so much for the reporting, but rather for the comments section below the article where readers can post their various thoughts. It's pretty hilarious sometimes.

A typical response to one of the many executed deals goes something like "We traded what for who?" or "I didn't even know that guy was on our team" or "What was the point of this?" or "Fire McHale!" (some people just can't let go). I've got to admit that to the casual fan these deals must seem quite pointless. Any time Etan Thomas or Quentin Richardson is the marquee name in a deal you know it's only for the hardest core of fans. The appearance of a flurry of marginal players being shuffled out then in and then out again is sort of bizarre when you don't fully consider the business related implications of the deal. But as we have come to trust from Kahn, there is always a business angle to his transactions. After all, bringing this organization out of financial hell was one of the many tasks he was charged with upon hiring.

Take this latest deal for example. It's hard to get too excited about adding Antonio Daniels or conversly, depressed about losing Darius Songalia or Bobby Brown. So why do this trade? First of all, Bobby Brown makes almost no money and from a talent standpoint is worthless to an NBA squad, but could probably carve out a serviceable niche in the NBDL if given the opportunity. So eliminate his perceived value from the equation. It comes down to Daniels for Songalia. Songalia makes 3 million dollars less than Daniels for this upcoming season, so in the short term it allows New Orleans to add a solid roleplayer and save a little cash. For the Wolves, taking on that extra money doesn't matter because they aren't competing this year anyways. Next year is when the Wolves "win" the trade. Daniels is a straight up expiring contract. They can either package him in a trade to some luxury taxed team at the deadline or simply let his contract expire at season's end. Songalia, on the other hand, has a player option built into his contract next year for 4.9 mil, which he will undoubtedly pick up regardless of where he is playing. The Wolves clear another 5 or so million for the vaunted 2010 NBA offseason. Like I said, yet another savy move for the Wolves while New Orleans, already hemorraghing money, sets itself up for one more run in 2009 and then a brutal firesale to follow.  

This also hints at another interesting suggestion: the Wolves seriously believe they are going to be big time players in next year's free agency extravaganza. Why else would they keeping clearing every dollar they could, even by means of taking on excessive contracts for this season? Under past regimes you could cite cheapness or ineptitude or even insanity. That's the old regime. This new one is different. By all accounts, this new regime knows what it's doing. A novel idea for sure.

Looking ahead to next offseason, there's a number of past their prime vets like Ray Allen, Tracy McGrady, Richard Hamilon and Steve Nash that would probably serve no purpose to the young and building T-Wolves. Then there's the megastars like LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh, Dirk Nowitzki, Amare Stoudamire, Joe Johnson and Yao Ming. After that there's the second tier stars like Rudy Gay, LaMarcus Aldridge, Josh Howard, Rajon Rondo, Michael Redd and Al Harrington. After that there's a ton of quality role players that will be available, but the Wolves are pretty set on roleplayers. 

So who in that group can the Wolves seriously land? Is the whole desired location thing being overrated while straight cash, homey is being underrated? If the Wolves nip at some heels this year and give the appearance of a team on the rise will they be able to lure someone to Minnesota on that potential? I have my thoughts on the matter, but what do you think?

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