A Very American Coup By Michael – Louis Ingram, Editor-in-Chief...
On the Move? Several NBA Stars May Have New Homes Next Season
PHILADELPHIA — Calling all GM’s, calling all GM’s! Commencing this summer, sometime between the months of July and October, several NBA megastars will be on the auction block for trade to the highest bidder. You can kick the tires and check under the hood. If you like what you see, I’m sure we can work out a deal.
Okay, okay. Maybe the NBA’s offseason player movement won’t be that drastic this summer, but it should feature several big name players moving to other teams for various reasons. Here’s a look at which players may be on the move and several hypothetical trades that would make sense for all parties involved.
I’ve been saying all season long that the Sixers should look to move the immensely competitive Iverson to a team that could offer at least one or two promising young players and possibly another veteran starter in return.
Let’s be realistic. Barring a return of the Bubonic Plague, the Detroit Pistons, Miami Heat and most likely, the Cleveland Cavaliers, Milwaukee Bucks and Indiana Pacers are all going to be better teams than the Sixers for the next five years or so.
Having said that, why waste Iverson’s remaining years and thrilling performances on a team that is going nowhere fast when you should be looking to rebuild as quickly as possible?
I know that GM Billy King thought bringing an aging Chris Webber to Philly was the answer, but it clearly did not help one iota. What the Sixers need – besides Samuel Dalembert to get his head out of the sand – is two serviceable big men and a real point guard. Until then, this team will continue to struggle mightily in the vastly improved eastern conference.
Obviously, you would want to trade Iverson out of the conference. If that is the route the Sixers are going to go – and the one I’m proposing, here are a couple of trades that may make sense for Philly and their hypothetical trade partners.
Iverson for Shaun Livingston and Chris Kaman: This is a move that the Clippers probably wouldn’t want to make. Both Kaman and particularly, Livingston have years of mileage left on their respective bodies – although Livingston’s back issues at such a young age are scary.
Iverson would immediately start at the two for L.A. and would immediately put people in the seats at the Staples Center, not to mention giving the Clippers a scary trio of Iverson, Elton Brand and Sam Cassell. Bringing Cuttino Mobley, who obviously isn’t the same player he was just a few years ago, off the bench would also strengthen the Clippers and allow them more flexibility.
This move probably won’t ever happen, but it’s a nice try.
Iverson for Jason Richardson and Troy Murphy: This is another trade that probably won’t happen but would benefit both teams. Golden State would immediately have an arena-filling personality, not to mention an incredible backcourt and the Sixers would have a new shooting guard and a frontcourt player who is better than any they currently have on the roster.
Iverson for Earl Boykins, Nene and Francisco Elson: If I’m either team, I make this trade right away. The Nuggets get another explosive scorer to go along with Carmelo Anthony and the Sixers would get a trio of really good players. Boykins is an out and out gem who would put up eye-opening numbers as a starter and both Elson and Nene are solid frontcourt players. I know Nene is coming off a season long injury but he is still fairly young and Elson has displayed some serious talent – sporadically throughout his brief career. However, with a contract that has three years and $60 million remaining on it, Iverson is gong to be difficult to trade to nearly every team in the league. Whatever the case, this situation bears some serious watching.
If Kevin McHale doesn’t either look to trade Garnett and get some young players in return or get KG some serious help, then I say it’s time for a change of GM’s in Minnesota.
Personally, since Garnett is still relatively young, I would look to keep KG and surround him with as much talent as possible. However, it could be wiser to trade him out of the powerful western conference and rebuild for a couple of years. Whatever the case, I can’t see this situation playing out much longer without either one of the two scenarios happening.
KG to the Charlotte Hornets for Emeka Okafor, Brevin Knight and a draft pick or another player: The Hornets would have add immediate superstar who would help fill seats and pair with Raymond Felton and the team’s other young players. Minnesota would obviously be getting a fine young player in Okafor and a steady point guard in Knight, not to mention another player or pick that the team could build upon.
KG and Marcus Banks to Chicago for Tyson Chandler and Luol Deng: Chicago would become a force with KG manning the power forward position. The Bulls also cold match him up with the vastly improved Andre Nocioni and heady point guard Kirk Heinrich.
On the other hand, Minnesota would be getting two young players who could play an integral part in the Timberwolves resurrection. Deng is waiting on a breakout season and Chandler is a defensive stopper who could match up with Tim Duncan, Pau Gasol and all the other incredible power forwards in the western conference.
First of all, let me say that trading Paul Pierce would accomplish absolutely nothing for the Boston Celtics – unless they get Bill Russell in exchange. Since I know that’s not going to happen, here are some possible trade scenarios for Boston GM Danny Ainge to chew on.
Pierce for Ben Gordon and Andres Nocioni: I know making this deal leaves Pierce in the east, but the Celtics would replace Pierce’s scoring with Ben Gordon assuming the starting shooting guard spot for the Celtics, while Nocioni would immediately help Boston’s inconsistent frontline. The Bulls would get Pierce to lead a competitive young group led by Heinrich, Deng and Chandler. Boston would also have to add another frontcourt player in this deal, possibly young power forward, Al Jefferson whose minutes have been usurped by rookie, Orien Green.
Pierce for Boris Diaw, Raja Bell and a draft pick: Phoenix would get Pierce to start at shooting guard alongside Steve Nash, Amare Stoudemire and Shawn Marion while Boston would get a talented Diaw to start in the front court and a spirited Bell to man the two-guard for a couple of years while they bring along young phenom, Gerald Green. The Celtics could also parlay the pick into another player that could conceivably make their roster.
I can undeniably guarantee you that Stephon Marbury will not be back with the New York Knicks next season. Marbury’s friction-filled relationship with Larry Brown makes the Brown/Allen Iverson drama that took place in Philadelphia over a six-season span, look like PG-13 stuff when compared to their incendiary blowups this season. Marbury won’t be easy to move, but Brown would take any warm-bodied player just to get rid of the biggest headache in his Hall of Fame coaching career. Here are some possible destinations for the self-named “Starbury.”
Marbury for Rashard Lewis: This move would pair Marbury in the backcourt with Ray Allen, which may not since Marbury would probably not pass the ball enough – as usual, but it could also be a coup for Seattle if Marbury decides to “play the right way.”
Lewis to the Knicks gives them a frontcourt scorer who would help take pressure off of both, Eddie Curry and Channing Frye. The salaries are in the same neighborhood, which could also help to make this deal work.
Marbury for Smush Parker and Devean George: I know there’s almost no way the Phil Jackson would put up with a head case like Marbury, but it would give the Lakers another viable scorer to go along with Kobe Bryant. George and Parker would instantly make the Knicks a better – and mentally tougher team. The salaries might not match up but , hey, this is all hypothetical anyway.
Francis is in the exact same boat as Marbury. He’s an overpriced shooter who, coincidentally, plays the point. For possible trade destinations, see Marbury above.
P.S. I don’t know what Larry Brown and Isaiah Thomas could have been thinking when they made this acquisition. It’s as if one overpaid gunning point guard wasn’t enough. They had to go out and get two. Simply amazing!
Personally, I’d try to find a way to keep O’Neal if I were Larry Bird. However, it almost seems inevitable that O’Neal will be dealt. Indiana had better try to trade him out of the conference as well. Here are a couple of moves that might make sense for Indiana and their hypothetical trade partners.
O’Neal to Dallas for Josh Howard and Devin Harris: Both teams would have to get creative to get the salaries to match up, but this move would be good for both teams. Dallas would get O’Neal to play the power forward position along side of Erik Dampier at Center and Dirk Nowitzki at the small forward. Impressive, I’d say – barring the pedestrian Dampier that is.
O’Neal and Jamal Tinsley to Los Angeles for Kwame Brown and Lamar Odom: The Lakers would obviously be ecstatic to get O’Neal to go along with Kobe Bryant. L.A. would also get a talented, but oft injured, Tinsley who could flourish in a new climate. The Pacers would get Brown, who, believe it or not, is still developing and Odom who could play several positions.
Other prominent players who could also be on the move include Utah Jazz power forward, Carlos Boozer and Portland power forward, Zach Randolph.
Whatever, the case – my fantasy trades aside – this should be one of the most interesting offseason’s in recent memory. Stay tuned. Who knows which NBA star could be calling your favorite team home next season?