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NBA Trade Speculation: 7 Trades That Would Save Struggling Teams

Peter OwenCorrespondent IIFebruary 20, 2012

NBA Trade Speculation: 7 Trades That Would Save Struggling Teams

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    The 2011-12 NBA season is fast approaching it's halfway mark. The All-Star weekend this year almost serves as a breathing point before the second half.

    After the All-Star weekend, there is a 20-day period before the March 15th trade deadline arrives.

    Time for some teams to make some moves? As always, there will be rumors, there will be speculation and there will be drama.

    But who should be making the moves, and for whom?

1. Golden State Warriors Trade for Dwight Howard

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    The Golden State Warriors aren't struggling to the extent of Washington or Charlotte, but they seem to be wheel-spinning in a strong Western Conference.

    Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard will be the subject of a great many trade rumors over the next four weeks until the March trade deadline.

    To Warriors:

    Dwight Howard
    Hedo Turkoglu

    To Magic:

    David Lee
    Monta Ellis
    Ekpe Udoh/Klay Thompson

    Why?

    Right now, Orlando has said it won't trade Dwight Howard. This will likely be the party line until the All-Star weekend, in Orlando, is past.

    The Warriors, as constituted, are struggling in the West. They lack a viable inside threat at center.

    This trade sends Howard to the Warriors, instantly making them a contending team (if Stephen Curry's ankles work). Hedo Turkoglu's large contract has to go too for the Magic to be interested, this will be the case for most teams trying to get Howard in a trade.

    To compensate, the Warriors send David Lee across to Florida to give the Magic some height. Monta Ellis will make the Magic an exciting team to watch offensively.

    The Magic would have their pick of Udoh or Thompson to make the salaries work. 

2. Indiana Pacers Get Chris Kaman

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    This isn't quite a trade, but it certainly helps one team who is plumbing the depths of the league begin to make movement towards rebuilding.

    To Indiana Pacers:

    Chris Kaman

    To New Orleans Hornets:

    More flexibility moving forward

    Why?

    Kaman has been touted for a trade from the day he was involved in the controversial trade that sent Chris Paul from NOLA to the Los Angeles Clippers.

    The Pacers have Roy Hibbert at center. Signing Kaman won't change that, but it gives them a much better backup at an important position (especially in an Eastern Conference currently boasting Tyson Chandler and Joakim Noah as well as Amar'e Stoudemire and Chris Bosh).

    The Hornets benefit from this trade as they can get rid of a player who never wanted to be there in the first place. They also owe Kaman $14 million, so a large salary off their books opens them up for free agency even more than they currently are.

    With Eric Gordon on the roster, the Hornets have some promise for the future. With more flexibility, they can begin to build a more competitive roster.

3. Charlotte Bobcats Swap Tyrus Thomas for Andray Blatche

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    The Charlotte Bobcats and Washington Wizards are two of the worst teams in the NBA. Neither is fun to watch, and neither is going to be for a few seasons if they continue down their current paths.

    To Charlotte Bobcats:

    Andray Blatche

    Washington Wizards:

    Tyrus Thomas

    Why?

    A straight-up swap of disappointing forwards on disappointing teams? Tyrus Thomas is not the answer in Charlotte; he's a bench player and a valuable one at that. Add him to the Wizards' roster and they can say they are starting to go somewhere.

    Trevor Booker is a promising young talent on that team. With someone experienced behind him, the Wizards have some direction in building around John Wall, JaVale McGee and Trevor Booker.

    For the Bobcats this deal is a little strange. Why deal one problem child for another? History suggests that a change of scenery and personnel for out-of-sorts players can turn them around. Blatche is only 25, so there is still plenty of time left for him to develop into a handy player.

    Also, the Bobcats rank 26th in rebounds per game. Blatche will grab you those. Thomas was never great at rebounding the ball. He lacks size and his penchant for always going for the shot-block leaves him in a bad position to get boards.

4. Los Angeles Lakers Trade for Deron Williams

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    New Jersey can't catch a break this season. The Nets were positioning themselves as leaders in the Dwight Howard sweepstakes until the main piece of the trade, Brook Lopez, fractured his foot.

    The Los Angeles Lakers, while not struggling, are teetering on the edge of a massive rebuilding phase or a blockbuster trade.

    This is the blockbuster trade scenario.

    To New Jersey Nets:

    Pau Gasol
    Possible late first-round pick

    To Los Angeles Lakers:

    Deron Williams

    Why?

    For New Jersey, they are now stuck with the unfortunate scenario of either landing Dwight Howard and building a star-studded team, or failing to get him and watching Deron Williams leave in free agency this summer for nothing.

    Why take the risk? If it becomes fairly obvious that Howard isn't coming to the Nets, they can still profit from the situation.

    Trading Williams away signals the end of that venture. But getting back a star big-man in Pau Gasol to team with Brook Lopez, MarShon Brooks and Anthony Morrow gives the Nets a pretty deep and fairly young team that also has a decent chance of landing more young talent in future drafts.

5. Sacramento Kings Swap Marcus Thornton for Michael Beasley

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    The Sacramento Kings have had a season to forget. Coach Paul Westphal was fired after DeMarcus Cousins was effectively suspended for a game. And now that Keith Smart is in as replacement coach, the team has stabilized slightly.

    The Kings presently have a big hole at small forward, something that can be addressed in the trade market.

    To Sacramento Kings:

    Michael Beasley

    To Minnesota Timberwolves:

    Marcus Thornton

    Why?

    The Kings need a starting-level small forward and the T-Wolves need a player who can knock down shots on demand. This trade has to wait until March 1st due to the way in which Marcus Thornton's contract works, but it is a win-win for both teams.

6. New Jersey Nets Trade Deron Williams to the Sacramento Kings

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    The New Jersey Nets could be involved in two superstar trades in the space of 12 months. Both trades involve Deron Williams.

    Williams has stated that he will likely leave New Jersey if the team fails to land Dwight Howard either via trade or free agency, a prospect that is diminishing by the day.

    So New Jersey faces the prospect of Williams leaving for nothing in the summer, or trading him by the March 15th deadline.

    To New Jersey Nets:

    Marcus Thornton
    J.J. Hickson
    Jimmer Fredette
    First-round pick in 2012 Draft 

    To Sacramento Kings:

    Deron Williams 

    Why?

    The Nets might have to cash in on Williams' value before he leaves in the summer. The Kings are eight games below .500 and are capable of pushing to at least the .500 mark with the right players.

    The Kings might just need Williams to do more than get them to .500. With the team's future up in the air, could he be the man capable of keeping the team in the city?

    For the Nets, they get back a consistent 20-points-per-game guard, replacing the production of Williams. They get a serviceable backup in Hickson and they get a prospect in Jimmer Fredette.

    This trade will have to wait until March 1st due to Marcus Thornton's contract details. 

7. Boston Celtics Trade for Dwight Howard

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    This is an unlikely trade to happen, but it's something that works for both teams.

    The Boston Celtics aren't exactly struggling, but the end of this stage of the franchise is truly in sight. Either Boston GM Danny Ainge trades the Big Three away or he watches them leave in free agency.

    The Orlando Magic look set to lose Dwight Howard one way or another, but no one knows to where.

    To the Boston Celtics:

    Dwight Howard
    Hedo Turkoglu 
    Jameer Nelson

    To the Orlando Magic:

    Rajon Rondo
    Paul Pierce
    Jermaine O'Neal

    Why?

    It's a tough one to swallow, I give you that. The salaries work and the need is there. The Magic need to get something for Howard. They get back a real veteran and perennial All-Star in Paul Pierce. They get a new point guard to build around in Rajon Rondo, who is also playing All-Star basketball. O'Neal can come in and replace the height lost in the trade.

    For Boston, they get a new franchise centerpiece and a great transition from the Big Three to the Dwight Howard era. Kevin Garnett will still have value on a very tough, tall roster. Hedo Turkoglu can play multiple positions, but the Celtics could also take Jameer Nelson to run their new-look lineup. At the least, he would be familiar with Howard and Turkoglu's tendencies. 

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