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NBA Trade Rumors: Grading the Best and Worst Targets

Stephen FenechCorrespondent IJuly 6, 2016

NBA Trade Rumors: Grading the Best and Worst Targets

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    There is no offseason in the NBA, so it should surprise no one that the rumor mill is stacked with potential trades. 

    For GM's across the league, this is their postseason. They will be evaluated on the decisions that they are making now. Mistakes in July could cause front office employees across the league to look for a new job sooner rather than later. 

    The rumor mill can be a dangerous place for die-hard fans because most rumors are just that, rumors. Many come to life due to speculation, while others may contain morsels of truth combined with false information. 

    Fans everywhere must realize that if a trade proposal seems too good to be true, then it probably is. In theory, every organization in the league is trying to win and is looking to gain whatever advantage over the competition that they can. 

    Before we rush to believe a rumor that could benefit our team, it is imperative that we analyze the potential deal from both sides of the equation. 

    For example, the Dwight Howard to the Brooklyn Nets trade was destined to fail from the start. 
    Howard is a top-five player and the Nets had very few assets that intrigued the Orlando Magic. It simply made no sense for the Magic to deal Howard for a package of players and picks that they didn't want. 

    When Nets fans realized that, they clung to the hope that a third team could help them land the league's best center. That could have been dispelled quickly at the time because their are very few organizations in the league that want to help transform the Nets into a super-team like the Miami Heat. 

    What crazy trade rumors are swirling around the web right now?

    Here are a handful. 

Orlando Magic, Los Angeles Lakers and Cleveland Cavaliers 3-Team Trade

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    There were rumors across the web that the Orlando Magic, Los Angeles Lakers and Cleveland Cavaliers were discussing a three-team trade that would have sent Dwight Howard to Los Angeles and Andrew Bynum to Cleveland. 

    According to Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon Journal, there was little substance in the talks between the three teams. 

    It isn't news that Laker nation is salivating at the thought of having Howard patrol the paint in purple and gold, and who could blame them? 

    NBA history shows us that the Lakers typically manage to lure the league's best big man to LA. Shaquille O'Neal and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar are perfect examples of that. 

    While the talks have broken off for now, trade conversations can be resuscitated extremely quickly in the NBA. 

    If this deal were to happen, the Lakers would become even more dangerous with Howard defending the rim. The Cavs would acquire Bynum from the Lakers, pairing him with Kyrie Irving. Cleveland would instantly have one of the best point guard-center tandems in the league. 

    Orlando wouldn't receive any notable players, but would acquire future draft picks along with dumping the contracts of players like Hedo Turkoglu and Jason Richardson. 

    This deal likely won't happen because the Magic aren't in a hurry to deal Howard at this point. According to reports, they are going to try to change Howard's mind once again in hopes of keeping him in Orlando.

    Take a second and look at the situation from Magic GM Rob Hennigan's point of view. If he manages to change Howard's mind, then the team no longer has to rebuild.

    Howard's presence alone virtually guarantees a playoff appearance every year and he is a prime piece to build around.

    Sure, Howard is no longer in the good graces of Magic fans, but if decided to sign a long-term extension with the team, he would quickly start to get some goodwill back from those who bleed blue. 

    Overall Trade Grade: B+

    As rumored trades go, this one was pretty good. If Orlando was solely looking to dump salary and rebuild at this moment, then it could really work.

    However, the Magic still aren't willing to trade Howard in a deal that they don't love and there has been a shortage of those for quite some time now. 

    The Lakers would be a better overall team with Howard rather than Bynum, and the Cavs would be much improved with Bynum, who is the second-best center in the NBA. 

Toronto Raptors Attempting to Trade Jose Calderon to the Dallas Mavericks

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    Ever since the Toronto Raptors acquired Kyle Lowry from the Houston Rockets for a first-round pick, they have been looking to unload last season's starting point guard, Jose Calderon. 

    It isn't that Calderon isn't still a productive player, as he averaged 10.5 points and 8.8 assists last season. In fact, only three players in the league averaged more assists than Calderon did last season. 

    While Calderon does struggle on defense, his ability to run an offense should not be undervalued. 

    One thing that has hindered Toronto's ability to move Calderon is the $10.5 million that he is owed in the final year of his contract next year. 

    There were rumors of Calderon getting traded to the Dallas Mavericks, but those talks likely went up in smoke when the team traded for Darren Collison. 

    A trade between the Mavs and Raptors for Calderon seems unlikely at this point. But if Dallas pulled it off, they would be a better team for it. 

    Calderon would be the perfect facilitator for Dirk Nowitzki, Shawn Marion and the newly signed OJ Mayo. While Calderon isn't among the league's best when faced with constant ball pressure, his court vision and passing ability would be a major asset for the Mavs next season.  

    While both Calderon and the Raptors would like to move on, the team didn't amnesty him so if they can't move him, he will have no choice but to back up Lowry for at least a portion of next season.

    If that turns out to be the case, Calderon would likely be moved to a team that suffers an injury at the point-guard position. 

    Overall Trade Grade: B

    If they could pull it off, it would help both teams. The Mavericks would have two starting-caliber point guards, and the Raptors wouldn't have to worry about Calderon being disgruntled about coming off the bench.

    This trade probably won't happen, but expect the Raptors to continue to look to trade Calderon before next season starts.  

Chicago Bulls Shopping Richard Hamilton

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    According to K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Bulls are shopping veteran shooting guard Richard Hamilton to anyone who will listen. 

    Up to this point, it appears as if no one is listening. The Bulls have proven that they are eager to lower their salary by parting with players that they don't find absolutely critical for their success.

    Just look at how the team parted ways with Kyle Korver and Rodney Brewer, two of the more expendable players from last season's team. 

    Hamilton has just one more season left on his contract and is due $5 million. While expiring contracts are appealing to teams across the league, most are wondering whether Hamilton has anything left in the tank. 

    He missed a good portion of last season due to injuries and didn't fit into the lineup the way Bulls fans hoped that he would. 

    Derrick Rose is reportedly out until March. Even when he returns, there are no reassurances that he will be the same player right away. The Bulls have shown that they have no desire to pay the luxury tax with a team that has no chance at winning a title. 

    If healthy, Hamilton would bring a veteran shooting presence to any team that he is on. The doubt surrounding him centers upon his health, as players tend to struggle with injuries more often as they age. 

    Hamilton could be a good fit for the Los Angeles Lakers or Philadelphia 76ers, as both teams could use a little more scoring off the bench.

    Overall Trade Grade: N/A

    Up to this point, there haven't been any teams that have shown any true interest in Hamilton. Until that happens, I cannot put a grade on this trade rumor.

    If the team is unable to move the 34-year-old shooting guard and he isn't productive early on next season, then this grade will be revised to a big, fat "F."

3-Team Trade Involving Robin Lopez

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    There have been rumors that the Phoenix Suns, Minnesota Timberwolves and New Orleans Hornets are deep in trade talks that would send Robin Lopez to the Hornets, Wesley Johnson and a first-round pick to Phoenix and multiple draft picks to the Timberwolves. 

    While Lopez isn't necessarily the long-term answer at center for the Hornets, he has the potential to become a good rotation player and add depth to their frontcourt. 

    The Suns have a logjam in their front court with Luis Scola, Markieff Morris and Channing Frye all looking to get minutes at power forward, so Lopez is somewhat expendable.

    Also take into account that the Suns are having a hard time coming to a long-term agreement with Lopez, and the writing is on the wall. They would also acquire another first-round pick to aid in their rebuilding process. 

    The Timberwolves would unload Wesley Johnson, who has been disappointing in his two years in Minnesota, averaging just 7.7 points 2.9 rebounds on just 39.8 percent shooting.

    It is safe to say that the Wolves were hoping for more out of Johnson when they took him with the fourth pick in the 2010 NBA Draft. 

    At this point in their careers, it may be in the best interests of both Lopez and Johnson to get fresh starts in a new city. 

    Overall Draft Grade: B

    For the Suns and Timberwolves, this is a move to improve their future but won't help them in the present. 

    As for the Hornets, this move says that they are still being aggressive in putting the best possible young team on the court.

    The moves that they have made thus far this offseason suggest that they are trying to get a young core together, in hopes that the group will mesh and find great success in the future. 

    While this move appears to be minor at the moment, there is a chance that we could look back at this potential trade as a major steal for the Hornets or Suns.  

DeJuan Blair to the Golden State Warriors

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    According to Hoopsworld.com, the Golden State Warriors have interest in San Antonio Spurs power forward DeJuan Blair. 

    While Blair is a liability on defense, he is nothing short of tenacious on the glass and would create second chances.

    Considering that Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Harrison Barnes will be taking a lot of jumpers next season, acquiring Blair to make plays on the offensive glass could really help the Warriors next season. 

    It wouldn't be a surprise to see the Spurs move Blair, who played very little during the playoffs due to his troubles on the defensive end of the floor. 

    Blair may need a change of scenery and considering the fact that the Warriors finished 28th in rebounding last year, there would be no better situation for him to walk into. 

    Whether this takes place may decide on whether the Warriors sign free-agent power forward Carl Landry. If they sign Landry, then Blair won't find his way to Oakland. 

    It probably wouldn't take much to acquire Blair, but the Warriors must think that they would be better off addressing their need in free agency. 

    Overall Trade Grade: C

    This trade isn't likely to be completed, but even if it is, it likely won't amount to much for either team. We should never underestimate what the Spurs can do with an extra pick, though. 


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