The Feb. 21 trade deadline draws nearer every day, and with each passing hour, the rumor mill starts to swirl a little more briskly.
For some reason, though, some of the sourced rumors coming out the past few days have been head-scratchers. Not that NBA general managers always act rationally. If they did, there'd be no need for sports bloggers like myself. But still: I've tried and tried to comprehend these deals and still no luck.
Here are two of the most recent, developing rumors out there right now. Take a look and see if you pick up on something I'm not. Because from where I'm sitting, neither of these makes a whole lot of sense.
Andrea Bargnani (TOR) for Carlos Boozer (CHI) – via ESPN.com
Whenever I make up hypothetical trades, I try to put things in their simplest possible terms. "Which team says no?" is a question I like to pose. That is, which team wouldn't stand to gain from accepting my made-up proposal?
But this is a case of "which team says yes?"
Not only does Bargnani to Chicago for Carlos Boozer not help either team—it very much hurts both of them.
What they're doing in Toronto is starting to baffle me. They already took on Rudy Gay which, on face value, doesn't appear to be a bad deal. I mean, they got the best player in the trade...right?
But they also got the biggest contract, taking on an exorbitant sum that seriously hinders their future dealings. Adding Boozer would make that already-existent problem even worse.
And for what? Is pairing Boozer and Gay—with no time to practice together—supposed to scare the rest of the Eastern Conference? This move ostensibly says the Raptors are trying to win in the here-and-now, which doesn't make sense since they're eight-plus games out of the eight spot.
And then there's the Bulls, a team that's branded itself on defense, defense, defense. Even without Derrick Rose, that robust identity has kept them in the top half of the East's playoff picture.
Why would they sully that foundation with one of the softest, slowest, contact-allergic players in basketball? Sure, they'd shed some or Carlos Boozer's contract, but they'd also be taking back a lot in the form of Bargnani's. Do they actually think this makes them better? Just because he knows how to shoot threes?
Derrick Rose has worked his butt off to get back on the court this season. When he returns, he deserves to see the same, contending roster that he left last postseason. Not a bastardized version of it.
Al Jefferson (UTA) for Tiago Splitter and Patty Mills (SA) – via SI.com
Unlike the above deal, this one does actually make sense for one side—the Utah Jazz. But for the Spurs, this would be an out-of-character bad move.
Not that Al Jefferson isn't a great player. He is. But I'll never understand how or where San Antonio thinks he fits into their rotation.
Jefferson's raison d'être is post scoring. He's one of the few guys in the league that you can toss the ball to, stand back, and expect a bucket (or at least a trip to the charity stripe). Any team that needs that would be wise to consider trading for the Utah big man.
But San Antonio isn't one of those teams. In Tim Duncan they have a guy who—even at his advanced age—still might be the best post scorer in the league. Every post touch the Spurs gave to Jefferson would be one they didn't give Duncan. And every post touch they don't give to Duncan is, by definition, usually an inefficient play.
And then there's defense, a side of the ball Jefferson has always struggled on. His big, lumbering frame plays to his advantage when he's barreling his shoulder into defenders, but it hinders him on the other side of the ball.
Tiago Splitter glides around the key where Jefferson galumphs. It's the reason Utah's defense is 9.5 points worse when Jefferson is on the floor (h/t The Basketball Jones).
Leave your paint that much more open against the Oklahoma City Thunder come June, and see what happens. I promise you it wouldn't be pretty.