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The ESPN NBA Trade Machine: Not Logical, but Still Fun

CHARLOTTE, NC - NOVEMBER 6:  Tyson Chandler #6 of the Charlotte Bobcats runs up court during the game against the Atlanta Hawks on November 6, 2009 at Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, North Carolina.  The Bobcats won 103-83.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
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Ben AikeyCorrespondent IFebruary 15, 2010

With the NBA trade deadline coming up this Thursday afternoon, ESPN has added a trade machine to their website. This allows fans and analysts alike to project possible trades, which is a good way to waste time at work.

Unfortunately, while it's a lot of fun to play with, the machine only takes into consideration salary when deciding whether or not the trade would be successful. As long as your custom fantasy trade doesn't put a team further over the salary cap than they had previously been, you can do anything.

For example, let's take the whole idea of LeBron going to the Knicks this summer. I don't think he'll do it, but that's another article for another time. Say the Knicks want him right now and nothing else will do. According to the trade machine, LeBron James for former teammate Larry Hughes would go through.

That kind of move would be franchise suicide. James has a player efficiency rating (PER) of 31.6, while Hughes only scores a 12.5.

To make things fair, however, the trade machine does project how many wins or losses would be altered by each move. In this case, the Knicks would win 10 more games, while the Cavaliers would lose seven more than projected by their current pace.

Since it's fun to play around with, let's try another one. The Suns are supposedly shopping Amare Stoudamire, wanting a young player and first round pick. My Bobcats could use a big man, so I tried to see what it would take to land him in Charlotte.

Not being able to factor in a draft pick didn't change much. Shipping off the oft-injured (and why on earth did we acquire this guy in the first place?) Tyson Chandler and rookie guard Gerald Henderson would be enough to bring in one of the best power forwards in the game. The Bobcats would win five more, and the Suns would lose five more.

I could see that one going through if the Suns are dead-set on rebuilding.

Just for the fun of it, let's try to trade Kobe Bryant for King James. Due to Bryant's salary being about $8 million more than LeBron's, more players would have to be factored in. According to the trade machine, sending Kobe and Lamar Odom to the Cavaliers for LeBron James and Zydrunas Ilgauskas would be accepted. 

And honestly, that's not a terrible trade. Sure, the Lakers would get about five more total efficiency points, but the trade machine projects eight fewer wins for the Cavaliers and eight more for the Lakers.

Seriously, most people consider King James and the Black Mamba to be the two best players in the league and comparable to each other. So why, when adding the much better Lamar Odom in place of Big Z, does it affect the win projected wins that much?

The trade machine also gives the user the ability to make a three-team blockbuster trade. For the sake of this one, I'll use Charlotte (again), Atlanta, and Toronto, all of which are playoff contenders in the Eastern Conference. Again, I'm going to play with the idea of shuffling the big men.

My trade goes through: the Bobcats receive Chris Bosh from Toronto, the Hawks receive Tyson Chandler from the Bobcats, and the Raptors receive Josh Smith from the Hawks and DJ Augustin from the Bobcats.

Charlotte increases their win total by five, but Atlanta and Toronto decrease their wins by 11 and seven, respectively. Losing Josh Smith really would hurt, but the Raptors losing seven after acquiring an equally competent power forward and a solid point guard doesn't really add up to me.

It doesn't necessarily make a lot of sense, but it's a fun little toy to play with. Take it with a grain of salt, but by all means, have fun and experiment. I want to hear your trades and what would make your team better by robbing someone else blind.

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