What happens when the most anticipated free agent class in recent memory is just around the corner AND most owners are in a cost-cutting frenzy?
Big time trades with big time names!
With the Suns giving all indications that they will move Amare Stoudemire, the Wizards talking to anyone who will listen about moving Jamison or Butler, Houston ready to part ways with Tracy McGrady, and Dallas exploring options to contend for the one seed in the west, the next couple of weeks will be filled with trade chatter and franchise changing moves.
(Using ESPN Trade Machine, each deal was checked to make sure it made financial sense)
Cleveland receives: Troy Murphy
Indiana Receives: Zydrunas Illguaskas and JJ Hickson
Why? Cleveland addresses its need to have another complimentary piece for LeBron James as they make their title run. Indiana gets a young player with potential and not a hefty price tag with Hickson while also acquiring Illguaskas' expiring $11.5 million.
Why not? Cleveland seems to be hesitant to depart with JJ Hickson for the same reasons that several teams are interested in acquiring him.
Toronto receives: Amare Stoudemire
Phoenix Receives: Chris Bosh
Why? It's a foregone conclusion that the Suns will not be able to retain Stoudemire. They have been entertaining offers since last year. Toronto fans can't feel too optimistic about keeping Bosh in Canada next year either. If the two big men can agree to re-sign with the acquiring teams, it would be a win-win for both franchises.
Why not? It's hard to imagine that Bosh will agree to stay in Phoenix when there will be plenty of opportunities available for him to explore. The same applies to Stoudemire.
Houston receives: Caron Butler, Mike Miller
Washington receives: Tracy McGrady
Why? Houston is looking to move Tracy McGrady and his expiring $22.8 million for some young talent. Butler fills that void and Miller's expiring contract is icing on the cake. Washington is trying to blow up their roster after the "big three" of Arenas-Jamison-Butler failed to meet expectations. Management is looking to start from scratch, and nothing helps more than expiring contracts.
Why not? Hard to say why this would not happen unless the Wizards decide that they are not ready to part with the young Butler—or if Houston gets greedy and asks for too much.
Los Angeles receives: Kirk Hinrich, Taj Gibson
Chicago receives: Jordan Farmar, Sasha Vujacic, and Adam Morrison
Why? LA's biggest weakness is the point guard position. Hinrich would be a major upgrade over Fisher, who is still a leader on the team but lacks the ability to be a night-in and night-out starter.
Chicago would receive the expiring contracts of Farmar and Morrison (a little over $7 million combined) as well as Vujacic's deal that comes off the books in 2011. The Bulls are looking to clear cap space to enable a run at one of the marquee names, specifically Dwayne Wade.
Why not? LA doesn't have a ton of money to play with and acquiring Hinrich would just add to an already bulging cap number. Factor in the need to sign Kobe Bryant to an extension, and Jerry Buss may be hesitant.
Portland receives: Brendan Haywood
Washington receives: Rudy Fernandez and Travis Outlaw
Why? It is no secret that Portland is after Haywood. He addresses an immediate need at center with the injury to Greg Oden and Joel Pryzbilla while also having an expiring $6 million. The Blazers balked at sending both Rudy Fernandez and Nicolas Batum to the Wizards earlier this week, but perhaps Fernandez and Travis Outlaw (expiring $3.6) would be something they are willing to do.
Why not? Fernandez is a fan favorite in Portland. It is unclear how willing the Blazers would be to send him away.
Dallas receives: Andre Iguodala
Philadelphia receives: Josh Howard and Quinton Ross
Why? Dallas is looking to become a real favorite to knock of the Lakers in the Western Conference, and bringing in Iguodala may be the answer. A lineup including Iguodala, Nowitzki, Kidd, and Marion would be a force.
The Sixers, meanwhile, would receive nearly $12 million in expiring deals to allow them to make a run at free agents this summer. If Howard fits into their team philosophy, they would also have the option of bringing him back.
Why not? Some would argue that Iguodala would not be a big upgrade over Howard in the short term. Would the Mavs be willing to bring on his remaining five years if they only view him as a slight upgrade? Doubtful. This trade depends on Dallas' opinion of Iguodala. Besides, there are other options for the Mavs (we'll address those later).
Cleveland receives: Antawn Jamison
Washington receives: Zydrunas Illguaskas and JJ Hickson
Why? It makes all too much sense for the Cavs to bring in Jamison if winning this year and perhaps next is their goal. Sure, he has a hefty price tag and lacks defense, but he would bring a boost of interior offense to compliment James' all around game. The Wizards would get a young player and an expiring deal in return.
Why not? For starters, the Cavs have already said no to this deal. Their infatuation with JJ Hickson could be the difference in them winning a title this year or not.
Dallas receives: Caron Butler
Washington receives: Josh Howard
Why? If the Mavs aren't willing to bring on Iguodala, it might be because a better option could reside in Washington. Caron Butler has two years left on his deal, and might be a better fit for the Mavs. He is young, explosive, and can score while playing solid defense and crashing the boards. His versatility would instantly make the Mavs a legit contender for the number one seed in the West. Meanwhile, Washington clears cap space (common theme, if you haven't noticed).
Why not? The Wizards might ask for more as there are plenty of possible destinations for Butler. The ball could be in Washington's court rather than Dallas'.
San Antonio receives: Amare Stoudemire and Jarron Collins
Phoenix receives: Richard Jefferson and Michael Finley
Why? The Spurs are a solid, but aging team. Jefferson has been a nice addition, but there isn't any question that the Lakers and Mavs would outlast the Spurs current lineup in a seven game series.
Bringing in Stoudemire would make for a towering front court. The Suns would get a good player in return with Jefferson (two years remaining on his deal) as well as Michael Finley's expiring $2.5 million.
Why not? This one seems to be a long shot. It's hard to see the Spurs parting with Jefferson so soon and bringing in Stoudemire and the money that will be due to him in the future. However, it's still a possibility as the Spurs know their window for a championship is closing.
Dallas receives: Kevin Martin
Sacramento receives: Josh Howard
Why? It would have been impossible to imagine this scenario last season, but who knew that Tyreke Evans would become such a star? While Martin has been injured, Sacramento suits have had time to realize that adding another front court player and a strong sixth man could help this team get back to a contending level sooner rather than later. Moving Martin for Howard's expiring $10.9 million would give the Kings flexibility this summer. Dallas would also benefit from a lights out shooter running the floor with Dirk and Kidd. Imagine the offensive output possibilities.
Why not? Martin is a young, solid player who can shoot the lights out. It's hard to part with a guy like that and it's unclear of the Kings would be serious about taking such a risk.