1. Minnesota Timberwolves and the Indiana Pacers
Indiana receives: Corey Brewer, Al Jefferson, Jonny Flynn, Wayne Ellington, Ramon Sessions, and Lazar Hayward
Minnesota receives: Danny Granger, Troy Murphy, Paul George, AJ Price, Jeff Foster, and a 2013 first round pick
2010 salary cap impact (amount each team will receive next season):
Indiana: 2.9 mil+12 mil+3 mil+1 mil+1 mil+3.7 mil=23.6 million
Minnesota: 10.1 mil+11 mil+500k+6.1 mil+2.7 mil=30.4 million
Wolves: The Wolves have been trying to get rid of Al Jefferson for a while now. While David Kahn, the Timberwolves president of Basketball Operations has repeatedly said he isn’t going to trade Jefferson unless it’s the perfect trade for the Wolves, I believe he is lying. Jefferson has not been able to play well with Kevin Love, and it seems that Love is the team’s first priority. The Wolves owe Jefferson 42 million dollars over the next 3 years, and if he is not their top priority, there is no way he is going to get that money from the Wolves. The Timberwolves are also giving up another player that may end up being a liability rather than an asset to the Wolves in the near future. This player is Jonny Flynn. Flynn is a decent point guard, but he has much more value to the Pacers than he does to the Wolves. Why? Because the Wolves already have a franchise point guard, and Indiana doesn’t. It’s no secret that once Rubio comes to the Wolves, Flynn will no longer be the guy. The Wolves may still be hoping that they can play together but the truth is that it’s just not going to happen. Both of them need the ball in their hands, and both are true point guards. Once Rubio comes over, Flynn will be sent to the bench, and as a result his value will become a fraction of what it is now. Trading Flynn can also be a nice way to strengthen their relationship with Rubio. If Rubio sees that the Wolves are making room for him it may make him feel welcome, and entice him into potentially coming over after next season. If they were to obtain Ford, he could start next season, and potentially split time with Rubio in 2 years while Rubio is still adjusting to the NBA, and after that it would be all Rubio. It is obvious to everyone that not Flynn, but Rubio is the future of the franchise. The Wolves should get rid of Flynn while he is still valuable. Corey Brewer is developing young player and he has shown signs of improvement over the last season, but he is a necessary piece to this deal. Ellington does have talent, but when you look at the big picture it just doesn’t really matter, same with Sessions, they overpaid to get him and now they can get rid of his contract. Lazar Hayward has talent but he won’t be able to contribute much right away anyway. What the Wolves are getting for this package of players is a gold mine. Troy Murphy can help the team right away but is only in there because he has an expiring contract. Hopefully he will take a small pay cut or he’s out. He could potentially be a part in another trade if the Wolves need it. Jeff Foster is only included because of his contract. The expiration date is 2 years away, but he needs to be in this deal. It’s not like the Wolves are going after LeBron, so I think they’ll be ok, if they complete this trade they will need another point guard just to tide them over until Rubio comes, that player can be AJ Price. Now we see the big part of this trade for the Wolves. Danny Granger is an All-star and would be an excellent player for the Wolves. He can play the 2 or the 3 and is a very explosive player. If they get Granger he should fit well with the pieces they have. The other major part of this trade is Paul George. George is a very important part of this deal. Because of his combination of athleticism and deep range I believe he can play the 2 or the 3, but he is more of a project. While it is true that Granger, George and Wes Johnson technically all play the same position, I believe that if this deal were to happen Granger would start at shooting guard, Johnson would start at small forward, and George would be the 6th man playing primarily behind Johnson. George will command a certain amount of playing time immediately, but he is more of a long-term prospect. This way the Wolves can have a look at both guys and after a few years decide who they ultimately want to have. (I think it will be George) Salary isn’t a big issue it’s about the same after 2 years. The Wolves also get a future first rounder that could be valuable.
Minnesota Timberwolves projected starting lineup 2010
PG: AJ Price (Ricky Rubio in 2012) SG: Danny Granger SF: Wes Johnson PF: Kevin Love C: Troy Murphy First 3 reserves: Paul George, Darko Milicic, Martell Webster
Keep in mind the Timberwolves own the rights to several foreign players
Pacers: The Pacers will have to give up players that they would rather keep by making this trade, however in the end I think it would be worth their while to accept this offer if it was made. The Pacers could go ahead and breathe a sigh of relief after about 7 million dollars. Who would have thought you could get a high quality NBA point guard while getting rid of bad contracts? The Pacers will do just that by accepting this trade. Jeff provides minimal production, and I don’t think the Pacers will miss him at all. In fact, the Pacers could go from having 0 cap space, to being a team who can ink a free agent this summer with their newly acquired cap room. The Pacers do have to give up all-star forward Danny Granger as well as talented draft pick Paul George and big man Troy Murphy to make this deal, but in the end the players they receive (and give up) will definitely offset those losses. Al Jefferson is one of the best up and coming post players in the league who has a nice array of moves and can get you 20 and 10 night in and night out. Second you get point guard Jonny Flynn. The Pacers have been trying anything they can over the past few weeks to get a good point guard and with this trade they can get one. Jonny Flynn isn’t a perennial all-star but he definitely gets the job done. He can be a solid starter in the NBA for the next 12-15 years in the NBA guaranteed, and I think the Pacers will gladly take that. In this trade you also acquire talented forward Corey Brewer. Brewer is a good defender with a developing mid-range game and plays primarily the 3. He is a valuable asset to have and I think he will fit in well with the Pacers. He will compete for a starting job immediately, but he will provide good minutes one way or another. Wayne Ellington is another player who can provide depth to the Pacers backcourt. He is a lights out shooter and is a solid role player. With this deal the Pacers acquire valuable assets while shedding a couple million dollars. They do have to give up a first round pick, but it shouldn’t be a big problem. The Pacers add a lot of depth in this deal, especially in the backcourt. They also get younger by making this deal. The average age for the player they gave away is 26.5 but the average age for the players they received is 23.
Pacers projected starting lineup
PG: Jonny Flynn SG: Mike Dunleavy SF: Corey Brewer PF: Al Jefferson C: Roy Hibbert top 3 reserves: Tyler Hansbrough, Brandon Rush, Ramon Session
Bottom Line: This deal is a very good one for both teams for different reasons. For the Wolves they get rid of some players that need to go and they get players at spots where they have needs in return. For the Pacers they get their point guard and shed 7 million dollars. The Pacers also have the possibility of signing a solid free agent. Both teams would be happy with the deal and it certainly solves problems for both sides.
Who Wins: In the end I truly believe that both sides win in this trade but if I had to pick one side I would have to say the Timberwolves (which could change if hypothetically the Pacers were to sign a free agent) because the two best players that they give up they don’t even really need. They do absorb some bad contracts and it crushes Kahn’s dream of signing a big time free agent, but when Rubio comes over I can actually see them legitimately competing for a playoff spot, especially if one of their foreign players pans out which is something that I just don’t think is possible with their current roster. I am also a huge Paul George fan. I think he will be a great pro given time. They also would have the option to trade George or Johnson who are both very valuable.
The next deal I think could be an interesting option is a three-way deal between the Hornets, Spurs, and Lakers.
Hornets receive: George Hill, Lamar Odom, DeJuan Blair, Malik Hairston, and Antonio McDyess
Lakers receive: Tony Parker, James Posey, and Garrett Temple
San Antonio receives: Darren Collison, Emeka Okafor, Luke Walton, Sasha Vujacic, and Julian Wright, Los Angeles Lakers 2011 first round pick and New Orleans Hornets 2011 second round pick
2010 salary cap impact:
Los Angeles receives: 12.6 mil+6 mil+100k=18.7 million
New Orleans receives: 1 mil+7.5 mil+800k+800k+4.5 mil=14.6 million
San Antonio receives: 1.2 mil+10.7 mil+4.8 mil+5 mil+2 mil=23.7 million
Hornets: While the Hornets have said explicitly that they will not be trading point guard Darren Collison, I believe that everyone has a price. Also, this trade doesn’t necessarily have to happen before the season starts. If the Hornets try to play Collison and Paul together and it doesn’t work well, this trade could happen mid-season or potentially after the season. I think the Hornets would be excited about this trade for multiple reasons. It’s no secret that the Hornets are trying to move the contracts of both James Posey and Emeka Okafor. While they are solid players, neither of them has lived up to their salary and they have become liabilities rather than assets. Being able to get rid of them would be something that would have to happen in any deal for either of their point guards. The Hornets will be hesitant at first to give up Collison, but if they can get rid of both of their bad contracts as well as an extra 2 million for Wright, who hasn’t been the player they hoped he would be, I don’t see why they wouldn’t pull the trigger on this deal. This deal will do a couple of different things for the Hornets. Chris Paul has said he only wants to play for the Hornets if they are going to try to be a competitive team. I think this deal sends a strong statement to Paul, and answers a lot of questions that people have about the Hornets roster. The Hornets get a good mix of experience and youth, and add a lot of depth to their frontcourt. Before the draft many experts criticized the Hornets for having no one to back up David West and Emeka Okafor, the Hornets lose Okafor, but add veteran forward Antonio McDyess to help with defense and rebounding off the bench, Craig Brackens, one of two players the Hornets took in the first round of this years draft is a versatile forward who can make outside shots as well as score in the post and rebound. They will also acquire true combo forward Lamar Odom who has the rebounding and post abilities of a 4, but the athleticism and perimeter game of the 3. The last big man the Hornets would be adding is undersized power forward DeJuan Blair. Blair is a hard-nosed player who rebounds at a very high rate and surprised everybody with his success in the NBA. The Hornets could go from being a team with no one to back up their frontcourt players, to potentially not having enough minutes to go around. I also find the possibility of Blair, Odom, and West playing together intriguing. With these three on the floor they might be lacking a good post defender, but they do have three good rebounders and two elite scorers. If David West can become a better post defender, playing these guys together could be a good option for the Hornets. Antonio McDyess could help with post defense against teams with good post players. New Orleans clears another 5 million in cap space and after Stojokovic’s contract is up after next season the Hornets will have quite a bit of room to work with.
Hornets projected lineup:
PG: Chris Paul SG: Marcus Thornton SF: Lamar Odom PF: Dejuan Blair/Antonio McDyess C: David West key reserves: George Hill, Peja Stojokovic, Craig Brackens, Quincy Pondexter
San Antonio: The Spurs give up quite a few players in this deal. Blair, Parker, Hill, and McDyess are all good contributors for the Spurs, however the Spurs have said they will deal Parker, and this trade gives them a lot in return. First, the Spurs get Darren Collison. Collison is one of the most coveted young players in the NBA and any team would love to have him. He played very well for the Hornets last season when Chris Paul was injured, and showed that he definitely has the potential to be a special player. Losing Parker will hurt, but getting Collison in return should definitely ease the pain, as he is 6 years younger and his salary is 1/11 the size. Collison will be San Antonio’s point guard of the future. They also receive Emeka Okafor. Okafor has an undesirable contract, but he is a good player and a good rebounder. Playing only 29 minutes a game last season, he averaged 10 points and 9 rebounds per game. He could be a good complement to Tim Duncan. Luke Walton and Sasha Vujacic are solid role players that can provide good minutes off the bench. They both have experience playing on a championship caliber team and could be useful. The Spurs will also receive two picks in next year’s draft, one in the first round. Having multiple picks allows San Antonio to potentially take a chance on players overseas, and as we all know San Antonio has had success drafting foreign players (Manu Ginobili) as well as college players (Dejuan Blair) in the second round. San Antonio may seem to be getting the short end of the stick in this deal, but getting a franchise point guard is an opportunity that doesn’t come along often, and if the opportunity arises I think the Spurs will have to take it.
Spurs Projected lineup PG: Darren Collison SG: Manu Ginobili SF: Richard Jefferson or either Luke Walton or Keith Bogans PF: Tim Duncan C: Emeka Okafor key reserves: Sasha Vujacic, Matt Bonner, Roger Mason, Ian Mahinmi
Los Angeles: In this trade the Lakers have to give up one of their key players in Lamar Odom, they also have to give up role players Sasha Vujacic and Luke Walton all of whom contributed to the Lakers 2nd straight title this season, the Lakers also have to absorb the contract of James Posey and give up a second round pick, but it’s all worth it. If the Lakers can receive Tony Parker they will be unstoppable. The Lakers have multiple solid post players including all-star Pau Gasol. They have a defensive stopper in Ron Artest and one of the leagues top 5 scorers in Kobe Bryant. All they need is an elite point guard, and Tony Parker is just that. At 28 years old Parker is in his prime and is set to have his best year yet, Parker broke a bone in his right hand this season which kept him out for 6 weeks, but when he played he averaged 16 points and 6 assists a game while only playing 30 minutes a game. Between Tony Parker and Derrick Fisher the Lakers should be set at point guard next year for Phil Jackson’s last season. If the Lakers can get Parker they will be unstoppable. Posey can fill the hole left by Vujacic and Walton. Lamar Odom will be missed, but he is almost 31, and is owed more than 25 million dollars over the next 3 seasons. With the possibility of these so called “super team(s)” being created this offseason the Lakers will need to reload and get stronger if they want to compete. This trade helps them do just that.
Lakers projected starting lineup:
PG: Tony Parker SG: Kobe Bryant SF: Ron Artest PF: Pau Gasol C: Andrew Bynum
Key reserves: Derrick Fisher, James Posey, and Shannon Brown
Bottom line: This deal most certainly benefits all parties involved. It helps the Spurs prepare for the future, it helps the Hornets by dumping their bad contracts and acquiring both young and veteran player, and it help the Lakers by giving them yet another all-star to help them make a run at back to back to back championships in what could be Phil Jackson’s last year of coaching. Los Angeles does give up a first round pick, but I think they are counting on that pick being either 28, 29, or 30 and with their roster, I can’t imagine them missing it too much.
Who wins: This is a tough one, but there are many different things to consider. In the short term, I believe it is the Lakers. The Hornets get help right away, but also get players for the future, and the Spurs get a franchise point guard, along with other assets that allow them to compete well now, but maybe win a ring a couple years. It’s hard to say, but I think that the Hornets benefit the most from this trade. Collison is an excellent player, but the Hornets really don’t have a place for him. They also dump the poisonous contracts of James Posey and Emeka Okafor, while getting some great value in return.
This next trade is one that may not have been an option a month or two ago, but due to recent happenings this is a plausible trade between the Denver Nuggets and Portland Trail Blazers.
Denver Nuggets receive: Marcus Camby, Jerryd Bayless, Nicolas Batum, Daunte Cunningham, Rudy Fernandez, draft rights to Luke Babbitt
Portland receives: Carmelo Anthony, 2012 second round pick
2010 salary cap impact:
Denver receives: 9.1 mil+2.1 mil+1.1 mil+500 k+1.1 mil+2.1 mil= 16 million
Portland receives: 15.8 million
Portland: The Trail Blazers first target this off-season was Hornets point guard Chris Paul. They had a deal in place until at the last minute the Hornets decided they weren’t ready to trade Paul. Although they could not get Paul, Carmelo Anthony is an equally great option. Anthony is one of the NBA’s premier players and elite scorers. Pairing Anthony with Brandon Roy could immediately make Portland the favorite in the Midwest and one of the most competitive teams in the west conference. Anthony is a superstar and when you trade for a player of his caliber at only 26 years old, you know that you are going to have to give up quite a bit of talent. Marcus Camby has been playing well but is ageing and isn’t a long-term player anyways. Daunte Cunningham, and Rudy Fernandez are projects and could be good role players. Jerryd Bayless definitely has a high ceiling as a combo guard. Nicolas Batum is a very talented player with a lot of potential. There were rumors that the Trail Blazers had rejected an offer made by the Timberwolves, Batum for the 4th pick straight up. This guy is good. Also Luke Babbitt is a good shooter with a good offensive game. The Trail Blazers will be hesitant to give up next years first round pick, but if they get Anthony I can’t imagine that pick being any higher than 25. The Blazers are giving up a lot of talent, but if they can make this trade they can become an elite team immediately.
Portland’s starting lineup:
PG: Andre Miller SG: Brandon Roy SF: Carmelo Anthony PF: Lamarcus Aldridge C: Greg Oden key reserves: Elliot Williams, Joel Przbilla, Armon Johnson
Denver: Carmelo Anthony is the face of the Denver Nuggets franchise but with Anthony resisting the Nuggets extension offer it seems increasingly likely that Anthony will be traded at some point this off-season. The Nuggets have seen what LeBron James has done (and will do) to the Cavaliers this off-season and the Nuggets are not willing to risk the same thing happening to them. If that means giving rid of Anthony so be it. Carmelo Anthony will be heading into his prime within the next couple of years, and a 5 or 6-year extension would put teams in a perfect position to release Anthony from his contract right after his prime. If Denver wants to be compensated for Carmelo, now is a good time to trade him. This proposed deal would be a good one for Denver if they are looking to deal Anthony. This deal helps Denver in a variety of ways. Denver will receive aid in multiple different ways. First, Denver will receive immediate help in the frontcourt. Marcus Camby can provide good minutes right away and add to what is already a solid frontcourt. Daunte Cunningham can provide limited help right away, but could develop into a solid role player with time. With Nene, Kenyon Martin, Chris Anderson, and Marcus Camby they will always be strong defensively and will always have good, experienced, and fresh players on the floor. As some of these players have logged quite a few minutes in their careers, they can keep their players fresh by being able to rotate frequently. Next, they get Jerryd Bayless a combo guard with excellent skills and good potential. He can log meaningful minutes right away, and could become a good player with time. Rudy Fernandez is another player who can contribute right away. He is only 25, and still has time to develop. Fernandez can add extra depth to the Nuggets roster. The Nuggets also receive a pair of young wings in this trade. Luke Babbitt was the 16th pick in this years draft and can really shoot. He can stretch the floor and has a developing offensive game. With time, Babbitt could develop into a solid role player and potential starter in time if he can improve his defense. Though the Nuggets acquire a number of solid players in this trade I think the heart of this trade is extremely talented wing Nicolas Batum who was drafted in the first round last year by the Trail Blazers. As I mentioned before, the Blazers turned down a deal sending Batum to the Wolves for the 4th pick in this year’s draft. The average age for the players the Nuggets are acquiring is just under 24 years old. That includes 31-year old Marcus Camby. Excluding Camby the average age is 22. There are many different parts to this trade for Denver. They get a PG/SG, one SG, two SF’s, one PF, and one PF/C. They get a lot of help and add a ton of depth by doing this trade. They get 6 quality players for the same amount of money as Anthony.
Nuggets starting lineup:
PG: Chauncey Billups SG: J.R. Smith SF: Kenyon Martin PF: Marcus Camby C: Nene
Key reserves: Ty Lawson, Chris Anderson, Nicolas Batum, Jerryd Bayless, and Luke Babbitt
It’s rare for a trade to compensate each team so substantially and equally as this one does. In this deal, the Nuggets avoid losing Anthony and not getting compensation by getting a ton of young talent and adding a ton of depth to their team. The Nuggets become ten deep by making this trade. The young players have a great player to look up to, and a great facilitator in Chauncey Billups who can help these players reach their full potential. The Blazers clean their roster of a ton of good young talent, but get one of the best players in the league. Brandon Roy and Carmelo Anthony would make a dominant combo for years to come. Most basketball experts agree that you need two stars to win a championship, and now Portland will have those stars.
Who wins: I believe in this end it’s to soon to tell who wins. Portland will become an immediate contender, but if the young guys the Nuggets get turn out to be all-stars it would have to be the Nuggets. I think in the end, Portland is probably the winner, especially if they can win a championship, but in the end both teams really do benefit from this trade.
This last trade I will look at is between the Phoenix Suns and the Philadelphia 76ers.
Phoenix receives: Elton Brand, Andre Iguodala, and Lou Williams
Philadelphia receives: Leandro Barbosa, Jason Richardson, Robin Lopez, Earl Clark, Taylor Griffin, Goran Dragic, a 2011 and 2012 first round picks
2010 salary cap impact:
Phoenix receives: 14.9 mil+12.2 mil+4.9 mil=32 million
Philadelphia receives: 6.6 mil+13.3 mil+1.7 mil+1.7 mil+1.8 mil+500k=25.6 million
Suns: With Amare Stoudemire likely leaving for free agency, Phoenix is going to need another big guy to add to their rotation. They won’t be excited about taking on Brand’s contract, but they will have extra cap space after Amare leaves. Brand is still a quality player, and has good years left. Andre Iguodala is a star player that fits perfectly into the Suns up-tempo system. Iguodala had a great year last year and is coming into his prime at 26. He is a great scorer and can really run the floor. He has great athleticism and is a much better option for the Suns than Jason Richardson. Lou Williams is a good young point guard who is only 23 years old. He averaged 14 points 4 assists and a steal per game last year and was a very effective player. With Steve Nash getting older, they are going to need a point guard for the future and Lou Williams can be that guy. Getting these players will not come without cost. The Suns will have to take on an extra 7 million dollars and give up multiple valuable expiring contracts. Lets start with Jason Richardson. Richardson is a solid player, but he can disappear for stretches and has been known to have off days. He is ageing quickly and at 29, his best years may be behind him. Next, there is Leandro Barbosa who is 27 years old and had a down year this season. His contract expires next season, which makes him valuable. Barbosa is still a talented player with a good set of skills that can help the 76ers. If he is willing to take a pay cut, he may be a good long-term back up combo guard. Earl Clark was Phoenix’s first round pick last season and hasn’t really panned out to this point. He does have skills, but he is still very raw and will need a lot of work to be a good rotation player. He may need a few more years to develop, but the talent is there. Goran Dragic is another player that may need a few years, but could be a decent player. Parting with 2 first round picks will definitely be a tough decision, but an opportunity to get a player like Iguodala doesn’t come along often.
Suns starting lineup:
PG: Steve Nash SG: Andre Iguodala SF: Grant Hill PF: Elton Brand C: Channing Frye
Key reserves: Lou Williams, Louis Amundson, and Jared Dudley
Philadelphia: This deal serves many different purposes for the 76ers. First, I believe that Philadelphia will be happy to get rid of Elton Brand’s contract. He is a solid player, but they just can’t afford to pay him as much as they are. Next, they make room for the number 2 pick in this year’s draft Evan Turner. Turner’s skills are similar to that of Iguodala. Although Iguodala is more athletic than Turner, they both struggle with long jumpers, and rely on driving to the basket. Turner will be a good player and can successfully fill the void left by Iguodala. Turner will also have a significantly smaller paycheck. The package that Philadelphia receives is solid. However, I do view this as a trade that focuses more on rebuilding. Whenever you give up two of your best players, it’s going to be hard to win the next season. Even though this may be true, I still feel that the 76ers are compensated fairly. Keep in mind the 76ers are giving the Suns 32 million dollars in 2011 salaries through only 3 players, all of whom are signed for at least 3 more years. The departure of Lou Williams will be painful. He is a talented young player, and at just 23 years old he will continue to develop. Now that we have looked at whom they will give up, lets look at the players Philadelphia will be receiving. Leandro Barbosa is a speedy guard coming into his prime, he did have a down year, but he can still be effective off the bench. Jason Richardson played extremely well in the playoffs last year and can help Evan Turner mature, and be a good mentor. Robin Lopez is a good young big man, who could be a solid player in the future. Earl Clark is a raw player who is listed as a power forward now, but I see him as more of a wing in the future. In three or four years I see him being a solid contributor. Taylor Griffin is definitely a project and is just a throw in. Goran Dragic is coming off his best year professionally and should continue to improve. They also receive The Suns first round selections for the next 2 seasons. While these may not be lottery picks, there are always talented players in the mid to late first round, whether they are coming from college or from overseas. In fact, the Timberwolves just signed Nikola Pekovic who was a 2nd round pick in 2008 to a 3 year 13 million dollar deal, he has developed into one of the best big men in Europe. These selections can be valuable. All of these players included in this trade have another thing in common. They all have expiring contracts. If Philadelphia is going to trade Iguodala, they would also have to get rid of Elton Brand, and there would need to be expiring contracts included as well. This seems like a very good trade for Philadelphia. They get young talented players, 5 expiring contracts, and they dump Elton Brand’s contract.
Bottom line: Philadelphia will be excited to dump 32 million dollars, and receive nothing but expiring contracts in return, while also making room for their very talented backcourt. This allows the 76ers to go in any number of different directions with their team, and puts them in a good position for the future. For Phoenix, they get a franchise player, as well as a solid veteran to fill a need, and a talented young player to eventually take over the point guard slot. This is a great deal for both teams, and puts them in a position to point their franchises in the right direction to fit their mentality.
Who wins: Both teams get good value in this trade, but I think the winner is probably Philadelphia, mainly because the team they had in place just wasn’t going to be good enough to win anyways, they might as well add solid young players, and a ton of expiring contracts to add more cap room. From this point, the franchise can go in any direction. Phoenix improves their team by making this trade, and they will contend, but I think in the end Philadelphia will benefit the most from this trade.
My favorite deal:
It was hard deciding which deal was my favorite but in the end it came down to two. Either the three-way deal between the Hornets, Spurs, and Lakers or the deal between the Blazers and the Nuggets. After giving it some thought I believe that in a close call, the deal between Portland and Denver is my favorite. The thought of Anthony and Roy hooking up in Portland along with future star Lamarcus Aldridge makes me very excited. Also Denver gets an unbelievable package of young talent in return. Nicolas Batum is a future star, and playing with Chauncey Billups will really help his development. Also with the small forward spot open, him and Babbitt should make for an exciting combo right away. I also believe this is the most realistic deal, as the Blazers are looking to add another star, and Denver is looking to trade one. It also helps that the Blazers are stacked with young talent, and have the assets to be serious about picking up a superstar.