NBA Trade Rumors: 5 NBA Trades That Need To Happen This Season

Bleacher ReportCorrespondent IDecember 31, 2011

NBA Trade Rumors: 5 NBA Trades That Need To Happen This Season

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    We see it every year: countless and endless NBA trade rumors. Message boards and blogs are packed with them.

    But an overwhelming number of these imaginary trades only look at the benefits from one team's perspective. More often than not, the other team's benefits are ignored.

    Newsflash: Just because the league made sure the Lakers fleeced Memphis for Pau Gasol does not mean that every trade has to be like that.

    So here are five NBA trades that need to happen as soon as possible. They make a ton of sense for all parties involved, both on the court and financially.

    The only problem is that most of the general managers running the teams about to be mentioned don't have the balls to pull the trigger.

    But that's a different story for a different day.

5. Michael Beasley and Darko Milicic for Anderson Varejao and Anthony Parker

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    Minnesota Timberwolves trade F Michael Beasley and C Darko Milicic to the Cleveland Cavaliers for F/C Anderson Varejao and G Anthony Parker

    Once upon a time, these two franchises were the toast of the NBA. Both the Target Center and Quicken Loans Arena were homes to MVP trophy presentations in May during deep playoff runs.

    Of course, those days are no more. But both franchises are doing admirably trying to rebuild their rosters now that Kevin Garnett and LeBron James have moved on.

    Minnesota is loaded with young talent. You would expect that from a team that has not been out of the lottery since 2004. They were the winners in the Michael Beasley sweepstakes in 2010 that helped Miami clear cap space for the biggest free agency heist in league history.

    But with Derrick Williams being taken with the No. 2 overall pick in June, is Beasley really necessary anymore?

    More often than not, Beasley will be sitting on the sidelines during crunch time while Williams is out there getting burn with Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio.

    What the Timberwolves could use instead is a high-energy big man who can help Love with the boards and play good defense that can help them take the next step in their rebuilding efforts.

    Anderson Varejao, who was named to the All-NBA Defensive Second Team in 2010, can help fill that void. Darko clearly has not been able to do that consistently, and it's time for the Wolves to part ways with both him and Beasley.

    The Cavaliers could accelerate their rebuilding project by landing Beasley, who is only three-and-a-half years removed from being the second overall pick in the 2008 NBA Draft. Beasley, who turns 23 in January, would have a role in Cleveland and could be a great complement with rookie point guard Kyrie Irving.

    As much as Cavs fans are clamoring for a high draft pick for a chance to snag UNC's Harrison Barnes or another scorer, Beasley would give them a young and viable scoring option at the 3 right away.

    They get rid of two veterans in Varejao and Parker to get younger while still securing a surefire lottery pick in the loaded upcoming draft in June.

4. Rajon Rondo and Sasha Pavlovic for Russell Westbrook and Nazr Mohammed

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    Boston Celtics trade G Rajon Rondo and G/F Sasha Pavlovic to Oklahoma City Thunder for G Russell Westbrook and C Nazr Mohammed

    It happens to a lot of young teams. Things are looking up, it seems like nothing can go wrong and the sky is the limit.

    Ask the 2005 Chicago Bulls. Ask the 2009 Portland Trail Blazers. Something always goes wrong with these teams that always seem to stockpile themselves with a ton of young homegrown talent.

    A lot of times, it's egos. And that's exactly what is going on in Oklahoma City with Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook.

    This is supposed to be the NBA's next dynamic one-two punch. Both are barely drinking age, both are amongst the most athletic young players in the league and both seem ready to take Oklahoma City to the top of the NBA.

    The recent spat on the bench between the two may have been the media blowing things out of proportion.

    But you can't blame the media for what transpired in the Thunder's six-game loss to Dallas in the Western Conference Finals last spring. Westbrook seemed to forget that he was the sidekick, not the go-to guy. OKC is clearly—clearly—Kevin Durant's team, and it seems at times as though Westbrook is the one guy in the world who doesn't realize that.

    Another thing to take into account is the fact that the Thunder already have Durant locked in to a max contract.

    They also dished out a hefty eight-figure contract to Kendrick Perkins. Youngsters James Harden and Serge Ibaka are due for contract extensions this summer before hitting restricted free agency in 2013.

    How much can a small-market team like OKC afford, especially in light of the Collective Bargaining Agreement's stiffer penalties for teams crossing the luxury tax threshold?

    Enter Boston, who has been looking to move Rajon Rondo for some reason lately.

    They tried to move Rondo for Chris Paul before the Hornets shot it down. Now, they could get one of the most athletic and explosive young point guards instead by dangling Rondo, who is signed through the 2014-15 season at an average of $11.5 million a year.

    Rondo gives OKC a true point guard to control the tempo and be a true sidekick for Durant.

    Unlike Westbrook, you won't see Rondo trying to force shots and be "The Man" when the chips are down unless he absolutely needs to be (read: unless Kevin Durant is struggling, which although it happens, isn't very often).

3. Carlos Boozer for Emeka Okafor

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    Chicago Bulls trade F Carlos Boozer to the New Orleans Hornets for F/C Emeka Okafor

    The Bulls are looking more and more like the LeBron James Cleveland Cavaliers: one A+ superstar surrounded by a bunch of B-/C+ role players.

    They even have the part down where they recklessly blow a ton of cap space for an overrated, injury-riddled "star" free agent, only to have their payroll tied down for half a decade.

    Carlos Boozer isn't producing like the highest-paid player on the Bulls for the 2011-12 season (yes, you absolutely read that correctly). With defensive-minded big man Joakim Noah already on the roster, Chicago thought they were getting an offensive-minded power forward to complement in him in the frontcourt.

    Boozer had failed to justify his five-year, $80 million deal, as his numbers last year were the lowest since 2006. Chicago clearly thought they were getting the 2007 or 2008 version of Boozer, but they have a guy whose best days (and motivation, now that he secured the largest contract of his career) are behind him.

    Plus, the Bulls looked a lot better when second-year power forward Taj Gibson was playing in place of the oft-injured Boozer.

    Chicago is one of the best defensive teams in the league, and it may just behoove them to make their strength even stronger.

    Okafor gives them another elite defender in the middle with Noah. Sure, it may seem redundant, but it's not like they're getting the kind of offense out of Boozer that they were looking for. And they certainly aren't getting much—if any—defense.

    Okafor's deal is also a year shorter than Boozer's, which gives the Bulls slightly more cap flexibility. If nothing else, it will give them more production for what they're paying.

    For the Hornets, it gives them a chance to complete their brand new identity Post-CP3. With center Chris Kaman already brought in from the Paul trade, Boozer gives them another offensive option along with Eric Gordon, Kaman, and Al-Farouq Aminu.

    He also helps them replace the free-agency loss of David West, who left New Orleans for Indiana after the lockout ended.

2. Gerald Wallace to ORL for $6.33 Million TPE and Protected 2012 First-Rounder

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    Portland Trail Blazers trade F Gerald Wallace to Orlando Magic for $6.33 million trade exception and top-10 protected 2012 first-round pick.

    This is a tough one, but we know that it kind of went through both teams' minds at one point.

    Orlando's roster management has gone completely downhill since they made the Finals in 2009.

    Instead of building off of that season, the result has been letting Hedo Turkoglu go in free agency; bringing in a past-his-prime Vince Carter; trading away Marcin Gortat, Mickael Pietrus (two huge pieces of that '09 Finals team), and Carter for Jason Richardson, Earl Clark and different (read: worse) Turkoglu; and trading Rashard Lewis (another huge piece of that '09 team) for Gilbert Arenas' horrible contract.

    And you wonder why Dwight Howard thinks he can do better.

    They can at least try to rectify the situation a little bit more with this trade, especially in light of amnestying Arenas. Both teams were thinking about doing this trade in mid-December in a deal that would have ironically sent Howard to the New Jersey Nets.

    The NBA's new 150 percent rule lets this trade barely sneak by if you're doing the math.

    For Portland, this would be a tough trade. But the franchise has long valued small forward Nicolas Batum as one of their building blocks for the future. Batum just turned 23; Wallace turns 30 next summer.

    Although the spry Blazers are off to a red-hot start start this year in large part due to Wallace, G-Force's play has also been largely responsible for stunting what was supposed to be a breakout year for Batum.

    Batum is also due for a contract extension before he reaches restricted free agency this summer. Of all the players on the Blazers' roster, Batum has been the one that opposing GMs have inquired about the most.

    Having a veteran All-Star in Wallace blocking playing time isn't doing anyone (other than Wallace, of course) any favors.

    Doing this trade allows Portland to spring Batum free, get a little bit younger, and add what should be a late-teens or early-20s pick in one of the most loaded drafts in years.

1. D Howard/Hedo Turkoglu for Amar'e Stoudemire, Tyson Chandler, Iman Shumpert

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    Orlando Magic trade C Dwight Howard and F Hedo Turkoglu to New York Knicks for F Amar'e Stoudemire, C Tyson Chandler and G Iman Shumpert

    Ah, Dwight Howard. The prize of 2012 free agency and someone you know would be mentioned in an article of this nature.

    Which makes that one rumor regarding "Brook Lopez and two first-round picks for Dwight Howard" one of the most unintentionally hilarious and outrageous rumors of 2011.

    Seriously. Somebody reported and acknowledged that rumor with a straight face.

    Considering what the Denver Nuggets (Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler, Raymond Felton, Timofey Mozgov, 2014 and 2016 first-round picks) and New Orleans Hornets (Eric Gordon, Chris Kaman, Al-Farouq Aminu, Minnesota's unprotected 2012 first-round pick) got for Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul, respectively, "Brook Lopez and two first-round picks" does not even begin to describe the kind of compensation Orlando should get for Howard.

    The fact that Howard was fine with the idea of going to the Nets shows that he is ready to embrace the New York market. The other teams on the alleged "list" he gave to Orlando GM Otis Smith were the Lakers and Mavericks.

    Dallas, with a roster whose average age is over 33 years old, simply doesn't have the assets to get a deal done.

    The Lakers, with Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum and all their first-round picks in tow, are definitely the front-runners now for Howard.

    That's until the Knicks decide to grow a sack and make Amar'e Stoudemire available.

    The 28-year-old Stoudemire could be the best player the Magic can get for Howard at this point given his age and production. Gasol is 31 while Bynum is injured all the time. Stoudemire, on the other hand, was in the midst of a career year before the Knicks traded for Anthony in February.

    Adding Melo to the mix complicated things for New York. Both he and Amar'e have been referred to as "ball-stoppers" over and over again, and it can't be said enough.

    New York has struggled to incorporate both superstars into a steady offense, something that has been compounded by the fact that there isn't a point guard on the roster capable of utilizing the two simultaneously.

    Howard gives New York the league's best defensive player to go with arguably the best offensive player in Anthony.

    Their styles don't get in each other's way. It also opens up a good six- to seven-year window for New York to win a championship with two strong franchise cornerstones with no lingering health issues. Melo will turn 28 after the season while Howard will be 26.

    For Orlando, Stoudemire and Chandler come as close to matching Howard's frontcourt production as possible. The Knicks don't have any first-round picks to part with since they owe a lot of them in the coming years, so Shumpert—last year's first-round pick—comes closest to giving Orlando young talent in the deal.