Hypothetical College Basketball Trades That Make Both Teams Better
Instead of college basketball players transferring schools, what if players could simply be traded for one another?
As ESPN's Jeff Goodman pointed out on Twitter last week, Maryland and Georgia Tech effectively made a trade when Robert Carter transferred to the Terrapins and Charles Mitchell transferred to the Yellow Jackets.
He asked his followers to propose some other trades, but most of the responses were either terrible, jokes or both.
We took up the torch and came up with 16 trades that are beneficial for both teams in one way or another. Some teams are trading to win this season while others are working on rebuilding for a strong run at some point in the near future.
Make sure to propose more trades in the comments, but try to go easy on the deals involving coaches or "cash considerations."
Brigham Young and North Carolina
BYU receives: Nate Britt, Isaiah Hicks and Joel James
North Carolina receives: Tyler Haws
Might as well get this party started with a blockbuster deal.
Tyler Haws gives North Carolina the shooting guard and second backcourt presence that it needs. The Tar Heels are overrun with quality small forwards (J.P. Tokoto, Justin Jackson and Theo Pinson) and will almost certainly start one of them at the de facto shooting guard position this season.
But what if they could have a starting lineup of Marcus Paige, Haws, Jackson, Brice Johnson and Kennedy Meeks with Tokoto, Pinson, Joel Berry and Jackson Simmons off the bench? That's a might-be-as-good-as-Kentucky type of championship-caliber rotation.
On the other end of the deal, BYU starts planning for the future.
Could the Cougars sneak into the tournament this year with Haws? Sure. But wouldn't they make a more serious run in 2016-17 with a rotation of Britt, T.J. Haws, Hicks, Kyle Collinsworth (if he redshirts this season) and Eric Mika?
Creighton and UC Irvine
UC Irvine receives: Avery Dingman and Devin Brooks
Creighton receives: Mamadou Ndiaye
Creighton was just about the worst shot-blocking team in the country last year. The Bluejays averaged a whopping 1.4 rejections per game.
Enter Ndiaye, who had 3.1 blocks per game while playing just 21 minutes on average.
It might seem silly to suggest that UC Irvine would part with such a defensive asset, but the Anteaters have four other players on the roster who are 6'10" or taller. They could still get by just fine at center and would add a pair of quality guards that would help get them into the tournament ahead of UC Santa Barbara.
Useful as Dingman and Brooks could be for Creighton, both will be seniors, and 2015-16 is Greg McDermott's target year after adding three solid transfers that will need to sit out a season. This year would be a bit of a grenade, but two years from now, the Bluejays would have a starting rotation including Maurice Watson Jr., Ricky Kreklow, Cole Huff and Ndiaye.
Virginia Tech and Arkansas-Pine Bluff
Virginia Tech receives: Tevin Hammond
Arkansas Pine-Bluff receives: Virginia Tech's entire senior class
Hammond is one of the best on-ball defenders in the country, having averaged 2.7 steals per game last season.
As a team, Virginia Tech only had 3.3 steals per game. The Hokies were almost the worst team in the country at forcing turnovers. They would only get one year of service from Hammond, but he would at least start pointing this team in the right direction as Buzz Williams builds for the future.
Virginia Tech's senior class consists of Greg Donlon, Christian Beyer, Will Johnston and C.J. Barksdale, and only Barksdale was an important member of the rotation last year.
Tough to say whether those four players would help the Golden Lions win—though, you pretty much have to assume that four ACC players would help a SWAC team considerably—but those soon-to-be-graduating seniors would presumably help Arkansas Pine-Bluff's APR score. The Golden Lions were ineligible for postseason play last season because of a poor APR.
Florida State and Michigan
Florida State receives: Spike Albrecht
Michigan receives: Michael Ojo
After losing Mitch McGary, Jordan Morgan and Jon Horford in the same offseason, Michigan could seriously use some frontcourt players. No one on the roster is taller than 6'9", and no one on the roster with college experience is taller than 6'7".
Though the Wolverines are lacking in frontcourt depth, they have too many backcourt players. With Zak Irvin, Derrick Walton Jr. and Caris LeVert more than capable of handling the load, Albrecht becomes expendable for the price of a big man.
Florida State is in virtually the opposite position.
With Kiel Turpin and Boris Bojanovsky battling for the starting center job, Ojo might be lucky to play five minutes per game. And with Ian Miller graduating and no clue what to expect from Xavier Rathan-Mayes, Albrecht would be a welcome dose of depth behind Aaron Thomas and Devon Bookert.
Of all the hypothetical trades on the list, this seems to be the one that would most likely happen if such things were allowed.
San Diego State and Louisiana Tech
Louisiana Tech receives: Matt Shrigley and Skylar Spencer
San Diego State receives: Kenneth Smith
There are a lot of great phrases you could use to describe what Xavier Thames meant to San Diego State last season, but "true point guard" was not one of them. Thames was fantastic at creating opportunities for himself as the primary ball-handler, but there wasn't a whole lot of scoring by other Aztecs.
By landing Smith, Steve Fisher's team would be doing a complete 180. Smith ranked second in the nation last year with 7.7 assists per game. If anyone in the country could get the most out of Winston Shepard, Aqeel Quinn, Dwayne Polee and JJ O'Brien, it's Smith.
For giving up the final year of Smith's college career, the Bulldogs would get a sophomore guard who shot very well from three-point range in the first and last months of last season and a junior power forward who would join forces with Michale Kyser to likely form the best shot-blocking team in the country.
Kentucky and Notre Dame
Kentucky receives: Pat Connaughton
Notre Dame receives: Willie Cauley-Stein and Dominique Hawkins
Hawkins is hopelessly buried behind Andrew Harrison and Tyler Ulis on the depth chart, and Willie Cauley-Stein is absolutely expendable based on the sheer number of other quality frontcourt options that Kentucky has.
If there's one thing that John Calipari needs, though, it's a small forward who can shoot. He has guards, power forwards and centers for days, but there doesn't appear to be a conventional small forward on the roster.
For the past three years, Connaughton has been an above-average three-point shooter who can rebound, too. James Young averaged 14.3 points, 4.3 rebounds and shot 34.9 percent from three-point range. Connaughton was good for 13.8 points, 7.1 rebounds while shooting 37.8 percent from downtown.
That's certainly not a suggestion that Connaughton is better than Young, but rather an assertion that he could be a big help.
Notre Dame improves by adding a great shot-blocker and a point guard that would nicely complement Jerian Grant.
Texas and Eastern Washington
Texas receives: Tyler Harvey
Eastern Washington receives: Javan Felix, Prince Ibeh and Kendal Yancy
Just like John Calipari at Kentucky, Rick Barnes has an embarrassment of riches when it comes to talent buried on the bench.
Even if the Longhorns were giving away those three players for nothing in return, they would have a starting rotation of Isaiah Taylor, Martez Walker, Jonathan Holmes, Cameron Ridley and Myles Turner with Demarcus Holland and Connor Lammert coming off the bench.
But instead of nothing, they would be getting back an outstanding three-point shooter who scores almost twice as efficiently as Felix—Harvey averaged 1.46 points per field-goal attempt last season compared to Felix's 1.02 mark.
For giving up one of the best mid-major players in the country, Eastern Washington gets a quality big man to join Martin Seiferth in the post and a pair of guards who would most likely excel after making the transition from the Big 12 to the Big Sky. The Eagles would become a much more well-rounded team, capable of winning the conference.
Kansas and South Carolina
Kansas receives: Demetrius Henry and Brian Steele
South Carolina receives: Landen Lucas
South Carolina was one of the worst two-point shooting teams in the country last season. According to KenPom.com (subscription required), the Gamecocks made just 42.6 percent of their attempts from inside the arc—good for the worst percentage among all major conference teams.
As a result, they're targeting a power forward who shot 57.1 percent from the field last year in limited minutes.
Lucas barely even gets to see the floor for the Jayhawks, and that probably isn't going to change with Cliff Alexander, Perry Ellis and Jamari Traylor getting the vast majority of the frontcourt minutes. But there's about a 90 percent chance he would start and be one of the leading scorers for South Carolina.
For throwing the Gamecocks a bone, the Jayhawks get back a decent back-up power forward and a small forward who could effectively eat minutes when necessary.
Michigan State and North Carolina State
North Carolina State receives: Kenny Kaminski
Michigan State receives: BeeJay Anya
Both Kaminski and Anya were role players on their respective teams last season, averaging about 12.0 minutes per game as freshmen.
Swap their jerseys and they would immediately become critical assets.
Put Anya at Michigan State and he becomes the rebounder and shot-blocker that the Spartans need. Tom Izzo will get by just fine with Alex Gauna, Matt Costello and Gavin Schilling, but Anya could absolutely start ahead of those players—especially if he gets in better shape this offseason.
Kaminski helps out a North Carolina State team that shot 30.5 percent from three-point range last season. The Wolfpack were so bad from long range that Ralston Turner was the only player to attempt 10 three-pointers and make better than 28 percent of them.
The Spartans already have Travis Trice and Denzel Valentine to handle the three-point load, and the Wolfpack have Lennard Freeman, Kyle Washington and Abdul-Malik Abu to man the paint. Both teams would be trading from surplus and adding something that they lack.
Georgetown and Washington
Georgetown receives: Shawn Kemp Jr.
Washington receives: Joshua Smith
Bad news and bad luck seem to follow him around. It wasn't until after he transferred that UCLA began playing well last season. The Bruins missed the tournament his freshman season, and the Hoyas missed the tournament last year.
In the other corner, Kemp has dealt with health issues, playing the entirety of last season with Grave's disease—which isn't nearly as deadly as it sounds, but certainly isn't easy to play a high-level sport with.
Even before his autoimmune diagnosis, it wasn't until midway through his sophomore year that Kemp became a starter for Lorenzo Romar. It didn't help his career progression that he missed the first few weeks of the 2012-13 season with a knee injury.
Long story short, both players could use a fresh start. Perhaps Smith will improve by playing closer to his hometown in Kent, Washington; and maybe Kemp would benefit from moving three time zones away from the shadow of his dad's career in Seattle.
Duquesne and South Florida
South Florida receives: Micah Mason
Duquesne receives: Jaleel Cousins, Bo Zeigler and Dre Clayton
This is unconfirmed speculation based on shooting percentages, but South Florida appears to have attempted most of its three-pointers last season while wearing a blindfold. As a team, the Bulls shot 25.8 percent from beyond the arc.
Then there's Mason, who probably isn't as crazy as he looks in that picture. He shot a nation-leading 56.0 percent from three-point range last season for Duquesne and shot 50.6 percent the previous season for Drake.
The biggest issue with South Florida trying to trade for Mason is that nearly half of the roster has already elected to transfer this offseason. In addition to two graduating seniors, six players are voluntarily leaving town. The Bulls are only bringing back two players who scored more than 55 points last season.
As a result, they offer up a platter of redshirt freshmen (Clayton and Zeigler) with a side of JUCO transfer (Cousins) in hopes of enticing the Dukes.
With Ovie Soko graduating and Dominique McKoy one year away from doing the same, Duquesne just might be willing to give up its three-point assassin in exchange for three players who may or may not evolve into effective post players.
Boise State and St. John's
Boise State receives: Chris Obekpa
St. John's receives: Chandler Hutchison and Kevin Allen
Nothing screams "potential locker room distraction" like a player filing the paperwork to transfer before electing to return to the school at which he recently said he no longer wants to play.
Is a shot-blocker who rarely scores really worth that risk?
At the top of the list of teams who would gladly acquire Obekpa's services is Boise State. The Broncos averaged just 2.1 blocks per game last season and are losing Ryan Watkins to graduation. Watkins was responsible for 52 percent of their blocked shots, as well as 10.6 rebounds per game.
They do still have Anthony Drmic, Derrick Marks and Mikey Thompson, but they are desperately lacking an established interior presence.
Hutchison and Allen could very well blossom into quality forwards, but Boise State needs to win now. Drmic and Marks both graduate after this season.
If Hutchison is effective from the outset of his career, it would go a long way toward helping the Red Storm recover from Jakarr Sampson's decision to go pro.
Kansas State and San Diego
Kansas State receives: Johnny Dee
San Diego receives: D.J. Johnson and Nigel Johnson
Few teams in the country were as snake-bitten at the free throw line as Kansas State was last season.
In the season-opening loss to Northern Colorado, the Wildcats missed more free throws (17) than they made (16). It was just the beginning of a season-long epidemic, as they shot 63.6 percent from the charity stripe.
Throw in the fact that Marcus Foster doesn't have an established running mate in the backcourt, and going after Dee makes perfect sense.
In his three-year career, Dee has only missed 28 free throws, converting 90.5 percent of the time. Last year, he shot 94.5 percent (120-of-127).
The only question is whether the Wildcats would or could give up enough for the Torero's final season.
Dee pretty much has been San Diego basketball for the past three seasons, and it doesn't seem likely that the Toreros would want to give him away. But there's at least an outside shot that they'd let it happen for two years of D.J. Johnson and three years of Nigel Johnson.
Boston College and Cincinnati
Boston College receives: Troy Caupain and Deshaun Morman
Cincinnati receives: Olivier Hanlan
Boston College is going nowhere fast. With Joe Rahon and Ryan Anderson transferring away from a team that went 4-14 in conference before firing its head coach, the rebuilding process couldn't be in fuller swing.
Hanlan still has two years of eligibility, but there would seem to be a good chance that he bolts for the pros after averaging close to 25 points per game as a junior. Either way, the Eagles would be wise to reload with this pair of young guns.
Morman redshirted last season after suffering a broken foot, meaning he would have four years of eligibility left for Boston College. Caupain played pretty well as a freshman, but he wouldn't be able to replace Sean Kilpatrick's production the way that Hanlan could.
In this deal, Cincinnati gets better immediately, and Boston College starts seriously rebuilding for two or three years down the road.
Arizona and Iowa State
Arizona receives: Naz Long
Iowa State receives: Brandon Ashley
Neither Arizona nor Iowa State needs to do much of anything, as both teams should open the season ranked in the Top 25. But this is one of those deals that just might increase each of their championship chances by about five percent.
In both cases, the team has a quality option at the position it would be trading for, but this gives a little extra insurance in case those players who have never played a D-I game fail to pan out.
With Nick Johnson leaving for the NBA, Arizona is going to be relying pretty heavily on JUCO transfer Kadeem Allen at shooting guard. The Wildcats will also have Gabe York and, to a lesser extent, Elliott Pitts in the mix, but Long shot 40 percent from three-point range last season while playing primarily off the bench.
The Cyclones would miss Long's contributions, but they still have Monte Morris, Bryce Dejean-Jones and Matt Thomas.
Meanwhile, Iowa State is going to be banking on quality minutes from Jameel McKay—especially if Abdel Nader misses time because of his arrest in April.
With Ashley, Dustin Hogue and Georges Niang, the Cyclones would have an established trio of forwards. Without Ashley, the Wildcats still have excellent frontcourt depth between Kaleb Tarczewski, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Craig Victor and Stanley Johnson.
Duke and Northern Iowa
Northern Iowa receives: Matt Jones, Semi Ojeleye and Nick Pagliuca
Duke receives: Seth Tuttle
Duke has to win this season. There's no way around it.
In the past eight seasons, the Blue Devils have one ACC regular-season championship and just one trip to the Final Four. Fortunately for them, those things happened in 2010 when they won the national championship. But we may be just one more less-than-amazing season away from people beginning to question whether Coach K has lost his touch.
Because of that, Duke is selling the farm in this hypothetical trade to add one of the better power forwards in the country.
Tuttle put up 15.4 points and 8.0 rebounds per game last season and would become a key part of a frontcourt in which Marshall Plumlee is currently the first player off the bench.
Jones and Ojeleye will get some playing time this year for Duke, but they would have a chance to star for three years at Northern Iowa.
Kerry Miller covers college basketball for Bleacher Report. You can follow him on Twitter @kerrancejames.