With the trading deadline looming, GMs should consider these major deals.
By SAM AMICOFS Ohio
If I ran every NBA team, here are five deals that would go down before Thursday afternoon’s trading deadline:
1. Atlanta PF Josh Smith to San Antonio for PF/C DeJuan Blair, SF Stephen Jackson and a first-round pick.
Smith is headed somewhere, that much is fairly certain. Yes, he can be difficult, playing the role of the occasional knucklehead who is somewhat of a risk when the idea is team chemistry.
Talent-wise, however, there are no doubts. When focused, the guy is a borderline All-Star. When not, Smith is still pretty doggone good.
Lots of folks doubt the
Spurs, who exited the All-Star break with the league’s best record, can maintain their current pace. Lots of folks feel that way for good reason. After all, the Spurs have crumpled in the playoffs every season since their last title in 2007.
Well, guess what? Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and even Tony Parker ain’t getting any younger. Smith would give the Spurs a talented pair of fresh legs, additional frontcourt scoring and rebounding, a big man who could both relieve and play alongside Duncan.
And with cool, calm and collected vets such Duncan, Parker and Ginobili, and a hard-edged coach in Gregg Popovich, the Spurs would be able to keep Smith in check.
Hawks would receive two expiring contracts and a coveted first-rounder. That last part would be the key to the deal, because Blair would merely be getting a two-month tryout and Jackson is just about done.
2. L.A. Lakers C Dwight Howard and SG Jodie Meeks to Dallas for C Chris Kaman, SF Shawn Marion and SF/SG Dahntay Jones.
Enough of this Dwight-in-LA experiment. It’s not working. It probably won’t ever work. Howard just doesn’t possess the personality or championship mentality to carry the Laker banner for the next decade.
Or, for that matter, to be a part of something special this season. Especially since it appears Howard can’t handle the alpha-male insistence on winning it all of Kobe Bryant.
The Lakers, therefore, should shed some of their star power and land some guys who’d be better fits. Kaman is a hustling and underrated team-first big man, and Marion remains an athletic defender who can bury the 3. He flourished under Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni in Phoenix and owns a championship ring.
For those counting, that’s one more than Howard.
It’s true that the Lakers already have Metta World Peace manning the small forward spot, but Marion could come off the bench at both forward spots.
And Jones could offer even more perimeter defense off the bench, shoring up an area in which the Lakers have been severely lacking.
As for Howard, he’d get his wish by playing for the Mavericks, and if motivated, he’d pair with Dirk Nowitzki to make the Mavs immediately relevant again. Plus, Howard would finally sign an extension, shut up, and play.
3. Chicago PF Carlos Boozer and SG Richard Hamilton to New York for PF/C Amar’e Stoudemire.
Outside of Tyson Chandler, the
Knicks are lacking in the areas of rebounding and inside toughness. Boozer doesn’t offer as much these days, but it’s still more than Stoudemire – who no longer fits in New York.
But he’d look pretty good in Chicago next to Joakim Noah and small forward Luol Deng, creating a frontcourt nightmare for opponents.
And imagine Stoudemire running the floor and finishing alongside a healthy Derrick Rose next season.
4. Orlando G J.J. Redick to Milwaukee for F Luc Mbah a Moute and a first-round pick.
The Bucks want to make a splash but just don’t have the movable parts to stir the fan base. But they can make the type of lower-level deal that could pay off big on the floor.
Redick has indicated he doesn’t want traded, and that he hopes to re-up with the Magic when his contract expires at season’s end. That’s great and all, but the rebuilding Magic can’t afford to be sentimental.
This deal would give them a top-flight defensive player and a coveted pick to help them move forward.
As for the Bucks, just imagine Redick’s sharp shooting stroke coming off the bench behind Monta Ellis and Brandon Jennings (who the Bucks are actually trying to move).
This deal may not be so far-fetched, either. According to reports, it’s actually being discussed.
5. Minnesota F Derrick Williams to Cleveland for PF Marreese Speights.
Williams can’t seem to find a role (or a position), and for the Timberwolves, it’s time to move on. Where better to send the 2011 No. 2 overall pick than the team that took Kyrie Irving No. 1 in the same draft?
Williams would get a fresh start on a young team that could afford to let him grow.
The Cavs are looking for another first-round pick, but Williams is likely more of a sure thing than they’ll find at, say, No. 18.
Besides that, they pretty much have to deal Speights or risk letting him walk at season’s end, when his contract will expire if he declines to pick up his player option, as expected.
The Wolves, meanwhile, could afford to let him test free agency with Kevin Love already on the roster.