Rumors regarding NBA free agents are heating up, as we will probably see Hedo Turkoglu, Paul Millsap, Ben Gordon, and Charlie Villanueva all moving to new teams.
After trading Shaquille O'Neal, the Phoenix Suns have made it clear that they are trying to shed as much money as they can while still attempting to stay reasonably competitive. They are now looking toward the future.
The New Orleans Hornets are in a different situation. Just one year ago, the Hornets had signed free agent James Posey and looked poised to make a legitimate championship run.
But with the Spurs and Blazers looking to be much better teams, the Hornets are looking to save as much as they can.
If Phoenix is serious about trying to remain competitive while staying flexible financially, they must make a serious effort in trying to acquire New Orleans center Tyson Chandler.
The Hornets have made it well-known that they are looking to deal Chandler in order to save themselves money. And the Suns are in prime position to snag him because of one key player: Ben Wallace.
Wallace currently has two more years on his $29 million contract left. However, many presume that Wallace is going to retire and will not return for the 2009-10 season. If this were the case, then Wallace could be traded to New Orleans for Chandler, and could then retire.
Unfortunately, trading Wallace for Chandler straight up would not work because their salaries don't match up. New Orleans would have to throw in another player, which they may or may not do. Devin Brown would be enough, but New Orleans would have to be willing to let him go.
If they weren't, then more pieces would have to be added by both sides. Phoenix might throw in Leandro Barbosa if Posey were to be added, but the bigger the trade would get, the more unlikely it would become.
For now, I'll just focus on Wallace for Chandler and Brown.
Phoenix would be getting a legitimate center in Chandler—a guy who can rebound, defend, and block shots. The Suns would basically be getting what they sought for in Shaq, but without the same offensive production. But at the same time, the Suns would be getting more from the defensive side.
Brown would give the team another wing, but at this point, the Suns don't really need one. He would most likely serve as insurance if Grant Hill and Matt Barnes leave. Brown is a solid role player, but he wouldn't see much time as the Suns want to develop their younger players.
There would be no reason for Phoenix not to do this deal. Chandler is an upgrade over Wallace in every aspect of the game, and Brown would be an added bonus.
The only reason the Suns would refuse would be because they don't want to lose the money they freed up from the Shaq trade. Chandler is a young piece, but Phoenix really seems serious about saving money.
As for New Orleans, they would not benefit basketball-wise, but the Hornets would gain a lot of wiggle room financially. The team could pursue a free agent, or could sit on the money and hope they can get someone good in next year's free-agent class.
As of now, the trade seems iffy, as the Suns are considering all options. I believe New Orleans would jump at this trade, so it all hinges on the Suns. They also have the possibility of dealing Amare Stoudemire, so we'll just have to wait and see.