NBA Trade Deadline 2012: Six Teams That Need Boris Diaw Now
It is a good thing that US Airways has a major hub in Charlotte, North Carolina, because Boris Diaw is going to be purchasing a plane ticket soon, and his possible destinations are numerous.
It is apparent that Diaw and the Bobcats are parting in the very near future, given the fact that Diaw has expressed his frustration with the team. In addition, his agent has brought up the possibility of a contract buyout in which Diaw is willing to accept less guaranteed money in exchange of being waived soon enough to sign with another team. Accepting less money to change zip codes? Diaw must really be itching to get out of Michael Jordan's organization, and he isn't willing to stick around to be a part of the transition from rebuilding to contender.
The fact that the Charlotte Bobcats are willing to pay him millions of dollars up front just to waive him doesn't exactly scream that they want him to stick around, either. However, Diaw, at 6-foot-8 and (conservatively) 235 pounds, can definitely provide value to many teams in need of some size.
Here are six teams that could use his services in their playoff pushes.
Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Currently in sixth place in the Eastern Conference, the Atlanta Hawks need a strong second half of the season to maintain their playoff contention. With big man Al Horford out the rest of the regular season (even though he has only played in 11 games), the Hawks desperately need an experienced player to log some serious minutes, while effectively backing up Josh Smith and Zaza Pachulia.
Boris Diaw could be that man.
Even though he may appear big and out of shape, Diaw is averaging 28 minutes this season for the Bobcats, contributing almost eight points per game. The Hawks could utilize Diaw's big body effectively to push some people around down low, wear them out, and potentially allow Smith to do some easy scoring on tired opponents.
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
Although star Zach Randolph took part in contact practice this week, there is no telling when he will be able to return to action in games. Memphis has Marc Gasol and Marreese Speights playing the big man positions, but after them, the Grizzlies' depth down low is better described as shallow.
Diaw would serve to take a lot of pressure and wear and tear off of Gasol and Speights, and would help Memphis stay among the top eight teams of the Western Conference (they are currently fifth, but only three games ahead of Minnesota, who is currently ninth and vying for a playoff spot).
Even if Randolph hits the floor sooner rather than later, Diaw could be a valuable asset, considering that torn MCLs aren't exactly a minor injury to return from, and who knows how Randolph's knee will hold up? The Grizz should make a move for Diaw soon.
The Rockets are trying to keep their head above the water in the Western Conference. At 21-18, Houston is only one game ahead of the Timberwolves for the last playoff spot, and they need to have a better second half of the season than they did the first in order to make the postseason.
Luis Scola is a stud starting at power forward, and Samuel Dalembert does a decent job at the center position. However, who plays effectively for them when they have to sit? Chandler Parsons gets good minutes, but he definitely is not the inside presence that Diaw could be. Jordan Hill puts in quality minutes off the bench, but Diaw would be a better bench option than both Parsons and Hill. He would provide a change up for the men down low, being that he is more apt to body up opponents than the other big men of the Rockets, and is able to log more time on the floor than Hill does.
I think Boris Diaw could make a definite impact in Houston.
Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images
LaMarcus Aldridge is one of the best power forwards in the league right now, and he logs about 36 minutes per game. There doesn't appear to be a huge need for a power forward in Portland given that backup power forward Craig Smith uses up almost all of the remaining minutes by putting in 11 per game.
However, Diaw has proven his versatility to play multiple positions, and currently Portland seems to almost deploy a center by committee strategy. Marcus Camby gets the starts at center, but backup centers Kurt Thomas and Joel Przybilla come off the bench quite often. Camby, Thomas and Przybilla average between 15 to 23 minutes each, while all scoring fewer than four points per game.
Diaw going to Portland would provide them with a reliable minute-eating center who could log more than 15 minutes per game, and contribute more than four points each contest. Having to use less of a rotation during games would benefit Portland in that it would allow players to get in the flow of the game, which would serve them well in their playoff hunt (they are currently a game and a half out of the playoffs in the West).
New York Knicks
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
This one may be one of the less popular thoughts for a destination for Boris Diaw, but I think it could work. Yes, the Knicks have Amare Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler as their star big men, and they each do a phenomenal job down low. However, the Knicks truly need an experienced power forward/center to come off the bench, and I feel that Diaw could excel in head coach Mike D'Antoni's system.
Diaw knows how to move the ball around like D'Antoni prefers, and he has no problem finding his team's scorers, as shown by his 4.4 assists per game as a big man. He can pass, and with Carmelo Anthony, Stoudemire and sensation Jeremy Lin in the lineup, the Knicks do not need Diaw to be a scorer. Rather, he could play defense, eat up minutes off the bench, and find those who do the scoring in New York.
In addition, no one off the bench is especially effective at rebounding, so Diaw's 5.6 rebounds per game would definitely help in that department as well. New York is in the last playoff spot in the East, and acquiring Diaw would greatly improve their playoff chances.
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Yes, I said it. You heard me correctly. The 32-8, first place Chicago Bulls need Boris Diaw. Before you chew me out, hear me out.
Everyone knows Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah stay on the floor the majority of the game for the team from the Windy City that is all but guaranteed the playoffs. However, the goal of the game is not to make the postseason but to win the Larry O'Brien trophy. More often than not, the path to the championship is led by veterans, not by youth. The Chicago Bulls have scorers and passers, and Derrick Rose leads both. However, what the Bulls could use is an experienced force off of the bench, because depth is key come playoff time.
When the playoffs come, teams are playing the best of the best, which will lead to starters and stars getting winded sooner than normal. This is where teams need a reliable minute-eater. Diaw's greatest contributions to the Bulls would be his rebounding and passing off of the bench, in addition to his years of experience in the NBA, This would allow Boozer or Noah to catch their breath and get their legs back. Any scoring Diaw could add would simply be a bonus.
The Bulls are in great shape with or without Boris Diaw, but they need to start preparing for their championship run, and adding a player like Diaw would, no doubt, be in their best interest.
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
It seems as if Boris Diaw's value on other teams around the league is as a bench player, providing valuable minutes while the starters get their rest. However, bench players are crucial when teams have playoff and even championship hopes.
Diaw definitely still has value in that large frame of his, and can be the missing piece for many teams who need size. He will be a valuable asset no matter where he ends up. Finding a team willing to take him on should not be a problem.
There is no doubt in my mind that Diaw still has some years left in his legs—just no years left as a Charlotte Bobcat.