Thursday, February 16, 2012

Six Moves Contending Teams Should Consider

Now, I had planned for a few days to do a Trade Deadline post involving a few key moves I think could reshape the face of the league. However, the Warriors also happen to be playing their best basketball of the season right now, and because of it, I'll now have to add a trade scenario outside the six I had planned, should the W's ponder whether or not they're serious about contending in 2012. Anyway, here we go.

Move #1: Dwight Howard out of Orlando: Now, wherever he ends up, that team obviously becomes a contender automatically, but there are a number of teams he could end up with and he may very well stay put in Orlando. This is why I say this is the number one move as far shaping contending teams' rosters down the stretch. With a Howard, a healthy JRich, Anderson having the year he's having and Jameer Nelson continues his February comeback, then Orlando's legit. Again though, unless they deal Howard to some team for a draft pick and a project youngster like, say a DeAndre Jordan for example, then they should be able to attain enogh in return to keep them contenders in the East. There best bet was the Howard for Bynum deal, I mean, the general consensus is Bynum is center #2 in the NBA, younger and cheaper than Howard? He'd give them someone to really build around who they know wouldn't be asking out in a year or two. Or, if he goes to Jersey and Orlando can milk MarShon Brooks and Brook "BroLo" Lopez out of the deal, then I think they end up fine there as well. He'll be the most watched player as the deadline approaches.

Deal #2: Steve Nash or Ramon Sessions to LA Lakers- The Lake show need a point guard that wasn't playing in the 1980's (no offense D-Fish, you've had your time), but seriously, how they expect to keep winning and keep Kobe fresh with him orchestrating the offense is asking for trouble. They've been focusing on Howard, but they have two twin-towers in Gasol and Bynum and don't need Howard! They need a ball handler and a guy who can hit a 3. Nash would be ideal, cause of his outside shot and he'd be a monster with Bynum and Gasol. Just not sure the Lake Show have anything Phoenix would want (they wouldn't give them Bynum or Gasol for 38 year-old Nash) so it may make more sense for LA to see a deal for the highly underrated Ramon Sessions. His assists-per-minute ratio are out of this world. He's not the defender, clutch shooter or winner Nash has been, but he'd fit perfectly with what the Lakers are need! A young/upside guy like Andre Goudelock and/or Josh McRoberts should be plenty enough for Cleveland, especially since they'd get nothing when Sessions walks as a free agent after the year and there aren't many teams rushing for his services!

Deal #3: JR Smith to Clippers - As I write this, Smith is reportedly close to signing with the Knicks, who for some reason, feel they need more guys who demand the ball and need 10+ shots per game. If things fall through in NY though, LA should be the destination of choice for Smith and I'm not talking about playing behind Kobe with the Lake Show. I'm talking about playing alongside CP3 in the Clippers backcourt. The Clippers need a new shooter now that Chauncey Billups has bitten the dust for the rest of the year, and JR Smith is the type of scorer that they really need. As of now, the only real outside threat they have is Caron Butler. CP is a good 3 point shooter, but not great by any stretch and Smith is a very good one. His game would fit in perfectly down there in Clipper land with K-Mart, who the team just signed out of Japan. If Smith is smart, wants PT and a chance to not only put up big numbers but win a tittle, he'd look at the LA Clippers (or even the Bulls), not the Knicks!

Deal #4: Chris Kaman to the Heat: Miami got exposed last year in the finals going against Tyson Chandler and they can't have that happen again. They need someone in the middle who can start and command respect and unfortunately, Joel Anthony just isn't that guy yet. Kaman is the best option with a contract expiring at the end of the year and could give the Heat exactly what they need, 12-14 points and 10 boards with blocks and the ability to defend 7-footers. Right now, you put Andrew Bynum, Dwight Howard or Al Jefferson up against them, and those guys have field days. They need one of their own, not a superstar or anything, but someone why can do a little of that and stop it as well and Kaman seems to be the most logical choice of centers on the market and a move like that could literally lock up the Championship for Miami, cause that's their only weakness right now. Joel Anthony is a great backup and plays with energy, but doesn't have the skill-set to play with the upper echelon of NBA Centers. Drew Gooden could become another guy who fits that mold if the Bucks decide they want to cash in on his torrid stretch (though he's now banged up and out through the break).

Deal #5: Paul Pierce to the Spurs: The dagger-thrower deserves another shot at a tittle, and fits picture perfectly in with the aging San Antonio Spurs. Boston has made no bones about the fact they want to deal Pierce, but that's probably only because he'll bring a lot more in return than either Kevin Garnett or Ray Allen. Why else would you want to deal your franchise's longest tenured star? If they do indeed send him off, San Antonio is the spot for him. The Spurs could package either DeJuan Blair or Tiago Splitter, Gary Neal and the young, impressive Kawhi Leonard to Boston; though it would be a blow to their future chances, it gives them another shot at a tittle run or two with Tim Duncan and the Italian assassin, Manu Ginobli, still playing at a sturdy levels. Richard Jefferson just isn't getting it done and they need more help from the wing spot than just the banged up Ginobli. Ray Allen is another guy who makes sense for this team.

Deal #6: Ray Allen to the Bulls: I was only going to do five, but after doing the Pierce piece, I thought, why not Ray Allen? The Bulls are looking for another veteran scoring guard and have been less than impressed with what they've gotten out of the often injured Rip Hamilton. Ray Allen would be a sniper, catching balls off of Derrick Rose's dribble-drive or Boozer and Noah's kick-outs. Exactly the kind of 3-point tosser this team needs. They should have made a larger offer to Jason Richardson before the season, as JRich recently conceded that his final two choices came down to Chicago or returning to Orlando. JRich in Chicago right now with that core of talent would have been a nice fit. Ray Allen though, is the perfect compliment to a young, athletic, good defensive squad!

Warriors Trade: [Andris Biedrins, Dorrell Wright to Milwaukee for Drew Gooden, Stephen Jackson]. That deal would be sending Andris Biedrins and Dorrell Wright (a borderline all-star in 2011) to Milwaukee in exchange for Drew Gooden (who barely could get signed before the season) and Stephen Jackson (who's trade value is basically nill because of his large contract. That's why the W's and the Bucks make some sense together, they have bad contracts that could even out and needs that could be met for each team. SJax has had a nightmare of a season under Paul Silas in Millwaukee and without Andrew Bogut, this team seems to be packing it in for next season (playing guys like Shaun Livingston and Luc Mbah Mate over Stack and Dunleavy, among others). Drew Gooden talked on KNBR before the season (being an Oakland native) how he upped his workout routine this offseason, and he's having a monster year and was before Bogut even went down. I mean, I'm all for going the young route and playing the youngsters. It's something I want the Warriors to do with Udoh and Thompson, but if they aren't ready to give up on 2012 yet, and I cannot see coach Jackson sitting guys like Biedrins or Wright, so Udoh and Thompson won't get their looks. As far as Stephen Jackson's deal is concerned, it would help offset Biedrins' remaining contract, so it wouldn't be much of a change for either team and the Bucks would get Wright (who they'd immediately insert into their starting SF spot and would be their 2nd best offensive player behind Brandon Jennings). Also, with the change of scenery and backing up Bogut, maybe Biedrins gets back to that double-double form he had when the Warriors gave him the extension. He's only 26 years old after all.

Just a "win-win" deal for both squads if you ask me, especially considering the W's may end up really needing a guy like Drew Gooden come next year if they don't draft and can't land a free center.

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