Monday, February 15, 2010

Rumors, Thoughts, and Kindling the Trade Deadline Fire

After another memorable All-Star weekend (besides the Dunk Contest) in the books, it's time to start preparing for this year's NBA trade deadline. As reporters have heavily alluded to, we're in for an exciting couple days heading into Thursday's deadline this year. And as TNT analysts pointed out last night, the dominoes will start to fall after the blockbuster Dallas-Washington deal.

Let's start with Cleveland/Amar'e Stoudemire. At this point, the Cavs proposed offer for Amar'e has become the back pocket deal for Phoenix, as they appear to be one of many teams that are extremely interested in Andre Iguodala. The Cleveland deal, as much as Phoenix wants to dump cash and as intriguing as a J.J. Hickson pickup while he's still cheap is, will be the absolute rock bottom point in this sell for the Suns if it goes through, given Amar'e ability. The Suns don't want to be the team to trade a top five big man without getting a superstar, or at least a star, in return. And with the Heat heavily pursuing Stoudemire and there still being potential for a Suns-Sixers deal, I can't see Amar'e going to Cleveland unless a third team comes into the picture, Phoenix gets desperate at the last minute, or Cleveland throws someone else in the deal.

But, all is not lost for Cleveland. Troy Murphy, Andre Iguodala, Antawn Jamison, and more all still remain on the market. And there's no doubting that Cleveland's front office will do most anything it takes to raise the team to a higher level and sweeten the case for LeBron to stay in the 2010 offseason.

And that brings us to Cleveland's inner-conference rivals, the Celtics. Boston is still looking at Antawn Jamison, and appears to have interest in Kevin Martin, Andre Iguodala, and Monta Ellis. D.J. Augustin and Gerald Wallace are also possibilities for the Celtics. However, despite the availability of those players and the involvement Boston has in the market, time is ticking and with just three days left, the Celtics don't seem to be anywhere close to any of those players without offering somebody or something up they've been holding close all along. Boston is all over phone throughout the league, but talks haven't gone any further than a day or two before imploding. With Caron Butler being shipped to Dallas, Boston's best option and most discussed player is now out of reach.

CelticsBlog has suggested Boston gets involved with Phoenix for somebody like Leandro Barbosa, and mentions that a third team would be needed.

On a more panicky note for Boston fans, one NBA GM "gets the feeling that Boston is getting desperate." But if Danny Ainge ever needs an idea, here's one for him: Ray Allen for Ben Gordon (10 mil., 4 years) and Tayshaun Prince (10.34 mil. plus change, 2 years). Gordon would fit perfectly into Boston's system, we'd immediately have our starting shooting guard, and our depth would instantly become a whole lot better. We could go big with Marquis Daniels, Tony Allen, Tayshaun Prince, Glen Davis, and Rasheed, or we could go small with Eddie House, Tony Allen, Marquis Daniels, Tayshaun Prince/Glen Davis, and Rasheed/Shelden. It makes sense for both teams, as Detroit saves roughly 20 million for the offseason and Boston gets an experienced player and a starter for their playoff run (and possibly other playoff runs in the years to come).

Lastly, the Los Angeles Lakers are supposedly looking for a backup point guard (sorry for those of you that don't have ESPN Outsider), according to Chad Ford. Ford reports that both Bulls' guard Kirk Hinrich and Pacers' guard Earl Watson could be on L.A.'s radar:
First, there aren't a lot of great point guards available right now. The Bulls' Kirk Hinrich has been the name most associated with the Lakers, and the team has explored smaller deals, such as one for the Pacers' Earl Watson.

Second, a deal could be very costly. The Lakers already have the highest payroll in the league and would prefer to avoid adding more long-term commitments.

Here's one potential solution: The word out of the All-Star Game late Sunday had the Lakers recruiting the Portland Trail Blazers as a third team in trade talks with the Bulls. According to one source familiar with the discussions, the Lakers would get Hinrich, the Bulls would get Adam Morrison, Steve Blake, Travis Outlaw and Juwan Howard, and the Blazers would land Tyrus Thomas and Sasha Vujacic. Such a deal would lessen the amount of money the Lakers would be adding to their payroll next season.
Make sure to check out Celtics 17's NBA trade deadline live blog on Feb. 18th, Thursday, from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. EST!

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