Los Angeles Lakers and 5 Teams That Still Must Make a Big Trade This Offseason
With the 2012 NBA free agency process just about hitting its endpoint, the final huge moves of the offseason will likely come on the trade market.
Everyone by now knows that Dwight Howard will probably move to either the Houston Rockets or Los Angeles Lakers this offseason.
But while the prize of the trade season is a fight between two teams, there are plenty of other teams out there that should be on the phones wheeling and dealing.
Which teams are we talking about? Follow along as we preview the five teams that still need to make a big splash on the trade market.
San Antonio Spurs
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Players the Spurs Must Trade: DeJuan Blair
Trade Idea: Blair to the Golden State Warriors for Charles Jenkins and two second-round picks
The Warriors have strong interest in Blair, but are waiting until the Spurs back off of their first-round choice demand for Blair, who fell out of coach Gregg Popovich's rotation during the playoffs this past season.
Doubling up on second-round picks might be the perfect compromise for both sides, as the Warriors don't have an eligible first-round pick to trade. The Spurs have also made sport of finding second-round gems, as Blair was a second-round choice himself in 2009.
Bringing in the former Pitt Panther would give the Warriors another scoring post presence to go along with David Lee and Andrew Bogut, while giving Blair the extended role he desires.
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Player the Kings Must Trade: Jimmer Fredette
Trade Idea: Fredette to the Phoenix Suns for Channing Frye and a protected first round draft pick.
With the Kings coming to a two-year agreement with point guard Aaron Brooks Tuesday comes the sobering realization that Fredette's Kings career is probably over.
In a conversation with Sports Illustrated's Sam Amick, Fredette subtly let his frustrations be known by using the classic phrase "it is what it is."
Fredette struggled most of his rookie campaign with Sacramento, scoring just 7.6 points per game on 38.6 percent shooting. That performance did little to alleviate scouts' worries about whether Fredette could transition to an NBA point-guard role.
Regardless, there is still potential in Fredette's sweet stroke and it's shocking to see Sacramento give up on a player they grabbed with the No. 10 pick just one year ago.
The Phoenix Suns were disappointed Fredette didn't fall to them last season and would likely jump at a chance to land the former BYU standout. Shipping Frye along with the pick would get the Suns out from his bad contract and help avoid conflict with new signee Michael Beasley.
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Player the Raptors Must Trade: Jose Calderon
Trade Idea: Calderon to the Chicago Bulls for Richard Hamilton and Jimmy Butler
Because the ESPN.com Trade Machine acts wonky when dealing with trade exceptions, you'll just have to trust that this one works.
With star point guard Derrick Rose out until at least January following an ACL tear, Calderon would be able to step in and keep the Bulls in playoff contention.
His $10.5 million price tag is steep, but this scenario would also allow Chicago to ship out a player they are already trying to trade in Hamilton.
For Toronto, this trade means getting a piece in return for an unhappy Calderon. The Spaniard let his desire for a change in scenery be known after the Raptors acquired Kyle Lowry, ostensibly costing Calderon his starting job.
While Hamilton is a shell of his former self, just $1 million of his contract is guaranteed for next season, and he could provide strong veteran leadership for No. 8 pick Terrence Ross.
Memphis Grizzlies / Philadelphia 76ers No-Brainer
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Trade Idea: Rudy Gay for Andre Iguodala
Sometimes there are trades out there that are so obvious to the naked eye that it's baffling they haven't been completed. This is one of those cases.
For the Sixers, acquiring Gay doesn't fit a position need but would solve an alpha-dog issue the franchise has had since Allen Iverson left. The former UConn Husky is a complete scorer with boundless confidence and a complete lack of fear in crunch time.
He's also a good enough defender to help mitigate the loss of Iguodala, who is considered one of the game's preeminent perimeter defenders.
On Memphis' side of things, Gay's departure allows the team to return to the style of play which got them within one game of the Western Conference Finals in 2011.
Iguodala is the type of player who would have no problem shifting to the second-banana role, allowing the Grizzlies to officially become Zach Randolph's team.
And pairing Iguodala on the perimeter with shooting guard Tony Allen would make the Grizzlies a frightening defensive match for the Kobe Bryants and Kevin Durants of the world.
Most of the time, same-position trades make little sense, but this is one of those rare cases that it's a no-brainer for both teams.
Los Angeles Lakers / Houston Rockets / Orlando Magic Three-Team Blockbuster
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Trade Idea: (Note: This is another situation where the trade machine wasn't updated enough to make this trade work.)
Lakers get: Dwight Howard and Chris Duhon
Rockets get: Andrew Bynum, Hedo Turkoglu and Jason Richardson
Magic get: Kevin Martin, Terrence Jones, Patrick Patterson, Marcus Morris, Josh McRoberts and three future first-round picks.
Since the moment the Brooklyn Nets pulled their proverbial horse out of the Howard race, this scenario makes the most sense for everyone involved.
Howard would seemingly be far more amenable to signing a long-term extension in Los Angeles than he would in Houston, so a Rocket rental would be a risky proposition.
On the other hand, Bynum already has the Rockets on his free-agency shortlist for the summer of 2013 and could actually be the true prize of this trade. The 24-year-old center broke out with a career-best 18.7 points and 11.8 rebounds this past season.
For the Lakers, acquiring Howard would be the icing on general manager Mitch Kupchak's beautiful offseason cake. After adding Steve Nash and putting the team back in the championship hunt, Howard would make the Lakers Western Conference favorites at the very least.
And while the Magic are the obvious losers of this trade scenario, they're losing in the very best way—tanking. This trade would represent a complete rebuild for Orlando as they're choosing young talent and draft picks over a proven star in Bynum.
But with the Magic's surrounding talent not built for contention now, blowing things up is probably the best move at this point.