Before I start with the trade proposals, here’s my disclaimer: When I am making these proposals, I am not trying to suggest that every team needs to make a blockbuster trade. Many front offices throughout the league – particularly the likes of the Spurs and Thunder – do not have high-risk trades as part of their philosophies.
I understand that; however, I have made these proposals in the situation where if a team “had to” make a significant change or two to the team. I hope they make sense, but if you disagree, I don’t really care. So, with that in mind, let’s get started.
Atlanta Hawks trade SG Joe Johnson to Dallas Mavericks and SF Marvin Williams to the Los Angeles Lakers. Mavericks trade SG Vince Carter and 2013 second-round draft pick to the New Orleans Hornets, PG Rodrique Beaubois, SF Lamar Odom and 2012 first-round pick to the Los Angeles Lakers. Lakers trade PF Pau Gasol to the Atlanta Hawks. Hornets trade SG Xavier Henry to the Atlanta Hawks.
Case for Hawks: The Hawks have spent the past few seasons experimenting with players who can move PF/C Al Horford from center to power forward, a more natural position for Horford. They ship out Joe Johnson and bring in Pau Gasol – one big contract for another, except Pau has two less years on his deal. The Hawks instantly become a low-post powerhouse. Gasol’s experience with Bynum, not to mention his great mid-range game, would enable Horford and Gasol to coexist on offense. The Hornets send the underachieving Xavier Henry to the Hawks, where he has the chance to form a young, yet potentially very good, backcourt with PG Jeff Teague. Josh Smith? Keep reading.
Case for Mavericks: Team owner Mark Cuban and GM Donnie Nelson spent last offseason cutting team salary and essentially surrendering all possibility of defending their title, with the hope of making a run for two star players in free agency this offseason (Dwight Howard and Deron Williams). There is almost no chance of the team getting one of these players, let alone two. Dirk desperately needs help, as he said after the season ended, so the team makes a trade. Acquisition of Joe Johnson would make use of the team’s cost-cutting moves to open cap space (Trade Tyson Chandler, choose to not resign JJ Barea nor DeShawn Stevenson, presumably amnesty Jason Terry or Jason Kidd). More importantly, however, it would equip Dirk with a bona fide star alongside him. The team’s window with Dirk is three seasons, tops. This move would make the most of that time frame.
Case for Lakers: As Lakers brass have suggested, the team plans to make changes. Los Angeles has been widely reported as the only place where Lamar Odom wants to play, and it may be the only place where he provides any value. While Pau Gasol is a star player, the Lakers need to make a move that both allows them to more efficiently keep up with uptempo teams AND improves team depth. Odom and Marvin Williams are two players who underachieved last season (or in Williams’ case, for most of his career). Playing under the watchful eye of Kobe Bryant would drive both players. Rodrique Beaubois would push Ramon Sessions and Steve Blake for playing time and give the Lakers an athlete who provides stellar perimeter defense and gives the offense a big spark off the bench. A first-round pick in this year’s draft will also allow the team to draft a back-up center (Tyler Zeller?) who can immediately step in and spark the team’s second unit. This trade transforms the team into a deeper and younger squad, while also keeping size as a major strength.
Case for Hornets: With Eric Gordon expected to return and provide star-level production for the young Hornets team, Xavier Henry has a marginal role in the team’s plans. Especially after dealing with injuries and sporadic playing time over the past couple of seasons, the Hornets would be willing to deal the young wing player for a small price. Although Vince Carter has lost a lot of his explosiveness and quickness, he can still put up 12-14 points a game for a team that has limited offensive talent. Additionally, he could also provide veteran leadership for a young Hornets squad (as he did with the Nets during the 2008-09 season). Combine his inexpensive services with a 2013 second-round pick, and the Hornets would happily part with Henry.
Next trade is dependent on the Celtics resigning PF/C Kevin Garnett, say for 1/2 year, $11/$22 million. Boston Celtics trade PG Rajon Rondo, PF/C Kevin Garnett, and 2012, 2014 first-round picks to the Oklahoma City Thunder. Thunder trade PG Russell Westbrook and PF Serge Ibaka to Celtics.
Case for Celtics: With the Celtics at a crossroad, Danny Ainge blows up the team. SG Ray Allen, in all likelihood, will leave after this season, and the Celtics are not equipped to win in the future with its current roster. Pierce, Garnett, and Rondo are the team’s only players with substantial trade value. Since Pierce is the modern-day Mr. Celtic, only Garnett and Rondo have a chance at getting moved. Although Westbrook has garnered occasional criticism for his tendency to look for his shot before creating for others, aka Kevin Durant, he has improved tremendously over the past few seasons. Westbrook surpasses Rondo in ability to score on a consistent basis, and playing in Boston gives Westbrook the chance to become the No. 1 option on a team that tries to transition immediately. Acquiring Ibaka – who the Celtics would have the cap space to resign – and Ibaka would go a long way in Danny Ainge’s quest to reload on the fly.
Case for Thunder: Serge Ibaka becomes a free agent after next season, and the Thunder can not afford to give him an extension with James Harden’s free agency looming in the near future. With a year left, Thunder GM Sam Presti sends Ibaka and Westbrook to the Celtics. Garnett, for next year at least, antidotes the Thunder’s most glaring weakness: consistent inside scoring. Essentially swapping Ibaka for Garnett upgrades the team’s offense, while not significantly hindering OKC’s defense. Rondo would fit superbly in the Thunder’s offense: not just with Garnett and his buddy Kendrick Perkins, but James Harden and Kevin Durant. With a more traditional point guard, Durant and Harden would only benefit from increased touches and Rondo’s ability to drive-and-kick out to the open wings. The draft pick, most likely a big man (Arnett Moultrie?), would have a year or two to learn and develop behind Garnett. The trade allows the Thunder to effectively move forward without continuing to balloon the team’s salary.
Denver Nuggets trade SF Wilson Chandler to the Utah Jazz. Milwaukee Bucks deal PF Drew Gooden to the Phoenix Suns, PG Beno Udrih and 2012 first-round lottery pick to the Utah Jazz. Phoenix Suns trade SF Jared Dudley and 2012 first-round lottery pick to the Denver Nuggets. Utah Jazz trade C Al Jefferson to the Milwaukee Bucks, SG Alec Burks to the Phoenix Suns.
Case for Denver: Wilson Chandler is a very good player who could benefit the Nuggets in the future; however, he will not fill either of Denver’s two biggest needs: late game scoring and 3-point shooting. Additionally, they will be paying him around $7 million starting next season. Danilo Gallinari is set to make $10 million next season. $17 million at one position for the young Nuggets is too much, especially since the team plans to sign C Javale McGee to an extension this summer. A killer for the Nuggets in the series against the Lakers was the team’s inability to consistently knock down 3’s. Enter SF Jared Dudley – a great 3-point shooter who also provides veteran leadership and all-out effort every single night. The Suns’ 2012 draft pick, combined with the pick that the Nuggets already have, puts Denver in a great position to move up and acquire a great player in a very deep draft.
Case for Milwaukee: C Andrew Bogut was a defensive stalwart for Milwaukee in his six-and-a-half seasons there. The problem was that he had the health record of a 17th century amputee. Trading Bogut for Ellis was smart in the sense that Milwaukee had to play without Bogut on many nights, and adding Ellis and Ekpe Udoh made sense for the oft-injured Australian. While Drew Gooden played well post-trade, he is not a natural center. Al Jefferson, on the other hand, has been one of the league’s premier scoring centers over the past several seasons, and his defense has also noticably improved during that time. The addition of Jefferson and the jettisoning of Gooden to Phoenix rids the Buck of a power forward logjam and puts Milwaukee in a position to resign SF/PF Ersan Ilyasova. Jefferson, Ellis, and Jennings provide the Bucks with some of the best offensive clout that the team has had in years.
Case for Phoenix: PF Drew Gooden combines with SF Markieff Morris and C Marcin Gortat to form a very physical frontcourt. SG Alec Burks, who played well in his limited court time as a rookie with Utah, becomes an instant upgrade at the shooting guard position. The two moves help to solidify a roster that essentially comprised of role players, tied together (once again) by the steady hand of PG Steve Nash. If the Suns amnesty SF Josh Childress, the team will be in a position to go after Steve Nash and possibly another player (Nic Batum?), based on the size of Nash’s contract.
Case for Utah: Utah Jazz coach Tyler Corbin struggled to find playing time for C Enes Kanter and SG Alec Burks for a majority of the season. Trading Jefferson gives Kanter the chance to stake his claim on the starting center position. Alec Burks has been stuck behind SG Gordon Hayward, SG Raja Bell, and whoever Corbin has thrown out there at small forward. Burks has a lot of talent, and sending him to Phoenix is the best way that he would realize his potential. The main impetus for the Jazz in this deal, however, is getting Wilson Chandler. He provides the Jazz with another very good wing player to complement Hayward. Beno Udrih, while largely there to make the salaries work, also would offer the Jazz improved back-up point guard play and solid 3-point shooting, something that the Jazz severely lack. If Kanter can give the Jazz some scoring force to offset the loss of Jefferson, the Jazz will not take a step back in the present, but a step forward in the future. The Jazz also get Milwaukee’s first-round lottery pick, where Utah will be a position to select a very good player (Damian Lillard or Kendall Marshall?)
Weird trade. Dwight is either going to Dallas or Brooklyn. Dallas arguably have even less to work with than Brooklyn in terms of possible trade assets. Just as importantly, I think that Dwight favors Brooklyn (for God knows what reason). This trade is contingent on Wallace opting into his final year (even if they are trying to sign him to an extension) and the Nets resigning Brook Lopez. Let’s see how this goes. Crazy part is that, all things considered, this trade works best in a (kind of) straight-up deal.
Brooklyn Nets send SG MarShon Brooks, C Brook Lopez (sign-and-trade deal for 4 years, $28-$32 million – the going rate for decent centers), SF Gerald Wallace, 2013 and 2015 first-round picks to the Magic, Jordan Farmar to the Bulls. Magic send C Dwight Howard and SF Hedo Turkoglu to the Nets, SG Jason Richardson to the Chicago Bulls. Chicago Bulls send 2012 first-round pick and SF Kyle Korver to the Magic, 2014 lottery-protected first-round pick and CJ Watson to the Nets.
Case for Magic: Magic are dealing with a superstar who wants to “win,” yet also go to a site of his choice. Magic have already fired GM Otis Smith and head coach Stan van Gundy, which can mean one of two things: owner Rich DeVos is doing EVERYTHING he can to appease Howard or the organization is ready for a completely new start, both in the roster and the front office. Since Howard seems destined to leave, I will entertain the second scenario. DeVos has spent the last several seasons plunging into the luxury tax in order to surround Howard with expensive, if not overly talented, teammates.
With Howard gone, dreams for a championship have officially dissipated. Rather than going for the “get a lot of decent/good players and become a consistent middle-of-the-road playoff attendee,” ala post-Melo Nuggets, the Magic take the Sonics/Thunder route and essentially bite the basketball-sized bullet next season. The team saves money (DeVos is still paying Arenas $20 million each of the next two seasons) and gets a very high lottery pick in 2013.
The Nets do not have a wealth of young talent, as the crosstown rival Knicks did prior to the Carmelo Anthony deal. The young players that the Magic do receive from the Nets – Brook Lopez, MarShon Brooks – will be decent complements for the high lottery picks that the team drafts over the next couple of seasons. The expiring contracts of Gerald Wallace and Kyle Korver also provide more cap space for a team that then has the cap space for resigning players and signing marquee free agents. In an age where the Thunder have become the standard for team-building, the Magic try to follow the model through cost-cutting (even though DeVos is one of the league’s richest owners) and smart drafting.
Case for Nets: Nets get Dwight Howard, Deron Williams stays. The rest of the team sucks, but Nets still become a playoff team. And if you’re a Nets fan, isn’t that all you can ask for? Farmer leaves for more immediate playing time in Chicago, but the Nets gain back a first-round draft pick and CJ Watson – a more durable, albeit less talented, back-up point guard.
Case for Bulls: Window will stay open if Derrick Rose can fully recuperate, but team makes a necessary move: get another player who can create his own shot. Jason Richardson had the worst season, statistically speaking, of his career and showed a few signs of aging; however, he still has great athleticism and could give the Bulls’ offense the shot in the arm that it will need when Rose is recovering from his ACL injury. Plus, his stock is currently low, allowing the Bulls to make this transaction. Richard Hamilton was an upgrade at the shooting guard position for the Bulls this season. Richard Hamilton! In the 2013 playoffs, when LeBron and Battier double-team Rose on the perimeter, the open guy can’t be Ronnie Brewer or Rip Hamilton. It needs to be someone who can hit 3’s and drive/get to the foul line. With the team as currently assembled (and Boozer isn’t going anywhere), trading for the affordable Richardson offers the best chance that the Bulls have at moving forward. In Farmer, the Bulls have a very solid back-up point guard who can take the reins of the team until Rose recovers.
New York Knicks trade SF Carmelo Anthony and PG Toney Douglas to the Houston Rockets. Houston Rockets trade SF Chandler Parsons and PG Kyle Lowry to the Indiana Pacers, 2012 and 2014 first-round picks to the New York Knicks, SG Kevin Martin to the Los Angeles Clippers. Indiana Pacers trade SF Danny Granger to the New York Knicks. Los Angeles Clippers trade PG/SG Mo Williams and 2013 first-round pick to the New York Knicks.
Case for Houston: Houston GM Daryl Morey is one of the premier ‘Moneyball’ front office members in the NBA. As we all know, however, the NBA is a star-driven league, and his assembled roster of decent, hard-nosed players will always only have the ceiling of an overachieving 7th or 8th seed. So Morey strays from his conservative and crafty trades and pushes his chips to the middle of the table. PG Kyle Lowry is unhappy in Houston with Kevin McHale as coach, but the emergence of Goran Dragic (currently a free agent) has made him expendable. The Rockets essentially give up their starters at the point guard, shooting guard, and small forward positions – along with two draft picks – in order to get a bona fide scoring machine. A player with Carmelo’s ability will instantly catapult the team into the playoff picture. He will gel instantly with PF Luis Scola, one of the most versatile post players in the league. The two throw-ins, PG Toney Douglas and SG Lance Stephenson are both young players who need a fresh start in this league and this trade would provide exactly that.
Case for New York: Why does my proposal for the Knicks have Carmelo instead of Amare Stoudemire? A couple of reasons: 1. Amare does not have high value. 2. With Lin coming back, the three main offensive components of the team will be Lin , Anthony, and Stoudemire. While Woodson might find a way to get the three stars to synchronize, simply put, they don’t play in a way that best utilizes the abilities of at least one top teammate. For the sake of saving STAT’s career and going all in on Lin, Knicks GM Glen Grunwald trades Anthony to Houston to acquire a better fit at small forward and, more importantly, to collect young talent (essentially trying to hit the reset button on the Carmelo trade). The result? The Knicks get three first-round picks, including a lottery pick in this year’s draft, Mo Williams(‘ expiring contract), and Danny Granger. Danny Granger, while a downgrade from Carmelo as far as talent, does not rely on post positioning and isolation in order to score. He is much more comfortable in a catch-and-shoot role, but has also spent much of his career in Indiana as the go-to guy. Mo Williams can play either point guard or shooting guard – either in place of Lin or beside Lin. Their shooting ability will complement Amare’s play very well. Add the draft pick this year (Austin Rivers? Terrence Ross?), and the Knicks will be a deeper, more cohesive unit next season.
Case for Indiana: The Pacers get a little younger, acquire a very good playmaker, and save some money for free agency. SF Chandler Parsons had an impressive rookie season and could develop further alongside the budding Paul George. The acquisition of Kyle Lowry saves the team from having to make a sizable offer to George Hill and allows Indiana to pool their money toward Roy Hibbert’s future big-money deal. Additionally, Lowry is an excellent up-tempo point guard who is a better playmaker than either Hill or Darren Collison. This deal opens more cap room for Indiana, while providing the team with a very good floor general and a young player who will immediately help to step into Granger’s role.
Case for Los Angeles Clippers: The Clippers acquire the services of a top-ten shooting guard for the fee of Mo Williams and a low first-round pick. Martin will provide legitimate wing scoring to complement Blake Griffin down low and will naturally fit very well beside PG Chris Paul, arguably the best point guard in the league. With Martin, the Clippers will be an even greater offensive threat – as long as they resign either Nick Young or Randy Foye – and will be poised to take a step forward next season.
Atlanta Hawks trade SF/PF Josh Smith to San Antonio Spurs. Spurs trade SG/SF Stephen Jackson, SF Kawhi Leonard, PF/C DeJuan Blair and a 2014 first-round pick to Hawks.
Case for Hawks: Trade for Gasol leaves the Hawks with debilitated depth on the wings. Josh Smith, while playable on the wing, thrives as a power forward. As Atlanta continues to reshape its roster, the Hawks trade away the athletic Smith and acquire a couple of young players, a draft pick, and Captain Jack. The trade gains back the depth, as well as a few very talented young pieces, for the Hawks. Leonard fits much more comfortably beside Horford and Gasol in the frontcourt, Stephen Jackson provides insurance at the shooting guard position, and Blair offers a very solid rebounding force off the bench.
Case for Spurs: The window is not closed for the Spurs, but they need to make a move which allows Popovich to make the most out of the last year or two of Ginobili’s and Duncan’s prime. While Popovich loves Leonard – who has developed throughout the season – GM R.C. Buford gives the young wing, Captain Jack, and DeJuan Blair to Atlanta for one of the biggest defensive game-changers in the league.
Golden State Warriors trade 2012 (seventh overall) and 2014 first-round picks to the Portland Trail Blazers, SF Richard Jefferson to the Philadelphia 76ers. 76ers trade PF Elton Brand and C Nikola Vucevic to the Portland Trail Blazers, SF Andre Iguodala to the Golden State Warriors. Portland Trail Blazers trade PF LaMarcus Aldridge and C Kurt Thomas to the 76ers.
Case for 76ers: This is the trade that allows Philadelphia to take the next step after making it to the Eastern Conference Semifinals this postseason. Barring enormous development from Jrue Holiday and Evan Turner, this team, as currently assembled, appears destined for a future laden in mid-seeded playoff mediocrity. Trading for Aldridge gives the team a star and late game scorer. Although the team has to surrender the services of Elton Brand, Andre Iguodala, and Nikola Vucevic, the trade frees up more playing time for Evan Turner and Thaddeus Young. While the 76ers also get Richard Jefferson, who will replace Iguodala in the starting lineup, the big catch of this deal is Aldridge, who gets to immediately contend in a playoff race as Portland rebuilds.
Case for Trail Blazers: While Portland send away one of the league’s premier big men (and potentially many fans for the next season), the team will be in no position to compete for the playoffs for at least two seasons. That’s two seasons wasted for Aldridge in the prime of his career. The team sends him to a team poised to take the next step in the Eastern Conference, while collecting even more young talent and another top-notch pick in this year’s draft. The result? The team acquires Elton Brand’s expiring contract, the 7th overall pick in this year’s draft, another first-round pick in 2014, and the young, but very talented Nikola Vucevic. With this trade, the team achieves even greater amounts of future cap space, a talented veteran and locker room leader in Elton Brand for the upcoming season, and three of the draft’s first eleven picks. What the team loses at the power forward position in the upcoming season does not come close to the potential gains that the team will achieve in the future.
Case for Golden State: Andre Iguodala always dealt with the unenviable task of having to try to be the go-to guy in Philadelphia. A defensive specialist and top-notch finisher in transition, but likely third wheel on a championship-caliber team, he has often struggled with expectations as the team has fluctuated on and off the court throughout his eight seasons there. With the 76ers rumored to be in discussions for a major change, AI leaves the only professional team he has ever known to switch coasts. On Golden State, he seamlessly slides in as the team’s starting small forward and occasional point forward. For head coach Marc Jackson, this is a dream acquisition, as the team finally acquires a hard-nosed wing player who can lead as a defender and heavily contribute on offense. He would lessen the pressure on young guards Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson and combine with C Andrew Bogut to cover for PF David Lee’s defensive deficiencies. While surrendering a top-ten pick is often a steep price – especially in this season’s potentially-loaded draft – all the draft offers is potential, and the Warriors acquire a top-ten small forward in Iguodala. If Bogut stays healthy, playoffs finally become a reality for the San Francisco-bound franchise.
Charlotte Bobcats trade SG Gerald Henderson to Sacramento Kings, SF Corey Maggette to Grizzlies. Memphis Grizzlies send #18 pick to Kings, SF Rudy Gay to the Timberwolves. Minnesota Timberwolves trade C Nikola Pekovic and SF Martell Webster to Bobcats, swap 2012 first-round draft pick (#18) with Memphis Grizzlies’ 2012 first-round draft pick (#25), SF/PF Derrick Williams to Sacramento Kings. Kings send SG Tyreke Evans to the Grizzlies, C Hassan Whiteside to Wolves.
Case for Bobcats: Shed salary, get a center who can score and battle with other bigs down low, secure a decent wing player who can defend and hit the odd 3. This trade is a no-brainer for the Bobcats, who would probably have to throw in a future protected draft pick to the Kings in order to seal the deal. If the Bobcats proceed to draft Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (as I think they should), they would have a potent and young frontcourt in Kidd-Gilchrist, Biyombo, and Pekovic. It hardly matters who your guards are, your team will be, at the very least, competitive almost every night with that trio. If Charlotte drafts someone like Tony Wroten or Will Barton in the second-round, the team will be much, much improved for the next season.
Case for Memphis: The Grizzlies are reportedly shopping Rudy Gay, unpredictably the team’s worst-looking contract going forward. Although very talented, he is not quite the closer nor consistent go-to guy that the team hoped he could become. Trading him for Tyreke Evans and Corey Maggette shakes the makeup of the team, giving Memphis a new go-to wing player and a big expiring contract. The trade makes free agent guard OJ Mayo superfluous, while offensively upgrading the team’s wing players. While Maggette offers some scoring value as the new small forward for the gritty Grizzlies, his expiring contract – the main impetus in acquiring Maggette – offers the Grizzlies significant future cap flexibility to resign Evans.
Case for Minnesota: I have to be honest. As a Timberwolves fan, I may have briefly lost of impartiality for the sole purpose of getting Rudy Gay beside Ricky Rubio and Kevin Love. I don’t care if he’s overpaid, or if we have to surrender Pekovic – Minnesota’s potential center of the future. I am sick of having to watch Wesley Johnson, Martell Webster, and Michael Beasley soak up wasted minutes at the small forward position. No more waiting. Assuming Rubio comes back to full form by the end of next season, the team will have a legitimate trio of Rubio, Gay, and Love going forward. This move, not staying put or going after a second-level free agent, will allow the Wolves to dream about the playoffs for the first time in the post-KG era.
Case for Sacramento: Yes, Kings fans. Tyreke Evans, one of the team’s best players, leaves and gets replaced with a draft pick, the tweener Williams, and Gerald Henderson. How does this help? Well, after a spectacular rookie season, Evans has been a player in decline for the past couple of seasons. Teammates haven’t been much help in any of his first three seasons (with Cousins as the consistent exception). The team improved slightly last season, but it remains, for the most part, to be a jigsaw of expendable role players. Evans needs a fresh start in order to show any growth and jumpstart his career. His stock this season will be as high this offseason as it ever will if he remains in Sacramento. Guaranteed. Trading Evans brings in a draft pick to complement the team’s fifth overall pick. More importantly, however, it brings in two players who will complement whoever the Kings pick (Harrison Barnes?). Sacramento has several expendable moving parts this offseason, and the move assures retention of depth. Henderson was one of Charlotte’s few decent players last season and Williams, while still not definite as a small forward or power forward, can provide quality minutes at either position. While he was very inconsistent from game to game in his rookie season, he showed electric scoring flashes. He could be in store for a big jump in production next season if he effectively channels his effort, athleticism, and energy more consistently. If the Kings draft Barnes, a young starting five of Isaiah Thomas, Gerald Henderson, Derrick Williams, Harrison Barnes, and DeMarcus Cousins, with overpaid wingmen Marcus Thornton and John Salmons and PF/C Chuck Hayes off the bench, will provide a brand of basketball that excites the fan base and provide hope for the future.
Cleveland Cavaliers send a future lottery-protected first-round pick to the Toronto Raptors. Detroit Pistons trade PG Rodney Stuckey to the Miami Heat, SF Tayshaun Prince to the Washington Wizards. Miami Heat trade PF Chris Bosh to the Pistons, SF Shane Battier to the Wizards. Toronto Raptors trade SG Demar Derozan to the Wizards, SF Chris Singleton to the Cavaliers, via Wizards. Wizards trade Chris Singleton to the Raptors, C Nene to the Heat, F Kevin Seraphin to the Pistons.
Case for Cleveland: For a small price (protected first-round pick), the Cavaliers acquire an excellent wing defender who also has the size to defend bigs. He could immediately fit in beside Thomas Robinson (who I think the Cavs will draft) and Anderson Varejao for a very tough and physical, albeit offensively underwhelming, starting frontcourt.
Case for Detroit: The Motor City gets a star in Chris Bosh, who has seen a big jump in his stock since the public have (finally) seen the impact he has on the Heat, ironically through his absence earlier in the playoffs. Bosh, combined with Greg Monroe, gives the Pistons a bona-fide one-two punch in the post. Kevin Seraphin, an excellent shot blocker with a developing offensive game, provides much-needed big man depth for the team. Trading Prince allows the team to see, once and for all, if they have anything in Austin Daye. The trade, by trading away Stuckey, also gives PG Brandon Knight the reins of the team. Drafting Perry Jones III, Jeremy Lamb, or Dion Waiters (affected by who the Raptors draft) will allow the team to rebuild on the wings as the team gets younger and continues to improve under the tutelage of head coach Lawrence Frank.
Case for Miami: A big-time gamble for Miami. The team loses a very good perimeter defender and a great big man by trading away Shane Battier and Chris Bosh, respectively; however, the team needs a quality back-to-the-basket center and a point guard who offers more than Mario Chalmers’ toughness, inconsistent 3-point shooting, and perimeter defense. Enter Rodney Stuckey and Nene, two players much more known for their offensive abilities than their defensive efforts. Joining LeBron James and Dwyane Wade on the Heat will pressure them to buy in to the team’s defense-first mantra, while not compromising their scoring talents. With a starting five of Stuckey, Wade, James, Haslem, and Nene, the team becomes even more dangerous and balanced.
Case for Toronto: Toronto will almost definitely get a shooting guard in this upcoming draft: Dion Waiters or Jeremy Lamb. Either way, the new player will make keeping DeMar Derozan a luxury. The trade allows Toronto to acquire a first-round pick in the future as it continues to build up its supply of young players in its roster.
Case for Washington: Washington has a glut of limited big men, a disparity of wing talent, and maturity issues, even with Javale McGee, Nick Young, Gilbert Arenas, and other brilliant minds in different cities. Enter Tayshaun Prince and Shane Battier, two veterans who have hardly ever beckoned controversy with their off-the-court antics. They provide the team’s young players with models for day-to-day preparation and professionalism. DeMar Derozan is a player who has struggled with efficiency thus far in his career, but will carry less of the team’s scoring burden and, as a result, will have an easier time finding a set role alongside John Wall on the young Wizards, as they develop on and off the court.