It’s that time of the year.
No, not the holidays. The time when trade rumors whirl around the NBA scene and three out of five articles on Bleacher Report are discussing potential trade scenarios.
This is one of those three out of five.
Just months after making their first-ever playoff appearance, the Charlotte Bobcats are struggling mightily, and owner Michael Jordan has shifted his mindset into rebuilding mode. Jordan has reportedly placed Gerald Wallace (along with almost everyone on the team) on the trading block, and chances are several clubs are very interested.
In recent days, rumors have spread that Michael Jordan is considering a trade to the Portland Trail Blazers that would help reshape the struggling Bobcats. The trade that has been proposed is as follows:
Gerald Wallace and D.J. Augustin to the Blazers
Marcus Camby and Andre Miller to the Bobcats
The trade would leave the already shorthanded Blazers with a hole at the center position, so they might be more willing to perform the deal if the Bobcats threw in Nazr Mohammed. The Blazers could throw in the disgruntled Rudy Fernandez and use their trade exception from the Jerryd Bayless deal to even out the salaries, and this might actually work.
The Bobcats would receive one of the league’s top rebounders and shot-blockers to man the center position, along with the veteran point guard the management seems to crave. Fernandez, if included in the deal, could start alongside Stephen Jackson or fill the role of sixth man, and although the deal would come at the loss of All-Star Gerald Wallace, Wallace is having a down season, and the Bobcats seem to be going nowhere.
The biggest question regarding this deal is whether it would benefit the Trail Blazers. Portland would certainly have a formidable wing rotation, boasting Wallace, Wesley Matthews, Nicolas Batum, Rudy Fernandez and potentially Brandon Roy (if healthy).
Wallace is an outstanding rebounder at the small forward position (he averaged 10 per game last season) and would help make up for the loss of Camby. Mohammed could share the center duties with Joel Przybilla and Sean Marks, and perhaps become a high-level player. Mohammed has shown he can rebound well and score in the post, as he is currently averaging eight points and 5.2 rebounds in less than 18 minutes per game.
Although the acquisition of Wallace would likely cut into Batum’s minutes, Wallace could play some minutes at the power forward position, and Batum could still play big minutes as a sixth man. Meanwhile, Roy’s recent ultimatum stating that either he or Andre Miller had to go would no longer be a problem, and the Blazers would acquire a promising young floor general who can stroke the three in D.J. Augustin. With both squads struggling, this kind of remake seems to be what both organizations need right now.
Although this trade scenario is of my own making, I think it is an excellent deal that would benefit both teams involved. What’s more, it works financially.
Gerald Wallace, Boris Diaw and D.J. Augustin to the Clippers
Chris Kaman, Baron Davis and Al-Farouq Aminu to the Bobcats
This deal, like the Portland trade, would provide the Bobcats with a veteran point guard and an All-Star-caliber center. Include a promising young rookie at the small forward spot, and it seems perfect.
The Clippers would end up with a big three of Blake Griffin, Eric Gordon and Wallace, while the Bobcats would have Davis, Stephen Jackson and Kaman. Aminu has been shooting the lights out from deep and appears poised to become a star in the NBA. Although losing someone with his potential is hardly ideal, the Clippers would get back one of the top small forwards in the game in Wallace.
Augustin could split minutes with rookie Eric Bledsoe to fill the point guard spot for the Clippers, and Diaw would provide the Clippers with an excellent big man off the bench. The Clippers have actually seemed to play better with Kaman injured and DeAndre Jordan starting at center, winning five of their last 10, and Griffin’s dominance makes Kaman expendable. The Bobcats currently play Nazr Mohammed and DeSagana Diop at center, so they could make immediate use of Kaman.
The addition of Wallace to the Clippers would likely give them the boost they need to become future playoff participants, and the athleticism in a frontcourt consisting of Wallace, Griffin and Jordan would be unmatched by any team in the league.
The Cleveland Cavaliers wing situation has deteriorated over the past few months. To say the least.
The Cavaliers have gone from sporting LeBron James and Delonte West at the wings to now playing Anthony Parker, Jamario Moon and Alonzo Gee the majority of the minutes at the 2 and 3 spots.
With the worst record in the Eastern Conference, the Cavaliers are in need of some change, and quickly. After starting out the season strong, the Cavs have lost nine of their last 10 and are struggling to compete through injuries and general mediocrity.
Although the Cavaliers aren't returning to the glory days of LeBron any time soon, they could attempt to salvage their season by bringing in another star-caliber small forward, who goes by Crash and Gerald Wallace.
The Proposed Trade:
Gerald Wallace and Boris Diaw to the Cavaliers
Mo Williams and Antawn Jamison to the Bobcats
This is a simple deal that would fill the needs of both ball clubs. Williams provides the Bobcats with an upgrade at point guard while Jamison provides some scoring from the forward spots. Although this trade would hardly save the organization, it could make the Bobcats a better team temporarily while MJ cooks up some crazy plot.
For the Cavaliers, the trade would obviously be beneficial. Wallace would fortify the front line and Jamison's departure would allow J.J. Hickson to reclaim the starting job and continue his development. With Ramon Sessions and Daniel Gibson also in Cleveland, the Cavs would still have two quality point guards to run the show, and Diaw would provide some distributing from the forward spots.
Let me start by saying that this is definitely the biggest long shot of the article.
The Lakers do not look like a championship team right now. That is a fact. They are losing games they shouldn't, and their star players have slowed considerably. Kobe is chucking up 25 plus shots per game, and Pau Gasol is playing more like Al Jefferson.
Although still one of the top teams in the West, the Lakers are playing a few notches below the Spurs, Celtics, Heat and Mavericks. If this type of play continues, they may have to look into bringing in some new faces. And wouldn't Gerald Wallace be a welcome new face.
Gerald Wallace, Boris Diaw and 2011 first-round pick to the Lakers
Andrew Bynum and Ron Artest to the Bobcats
Don't freak out! I said it's a long shot. But it would help both clubs.
The Bobcats are in desperate need of some help at center, and Bynum, the promising yet injury-prone mammoth, would be a perfect piece to start rebuilding around. Ron-Ron wouldn't be thrilled about being shipped across the country to a lottery team, but he would have an opportunity to end his slump and become a quality contributor once again.
Now, on to how this would help the Lakers.
Gerald Wallace made the All-Defensive First Team last season, so the Lakers wouldn't lose a step with regards to defensive power. Lamar Odom is playing outstanding basketball lately, and this move would allow him to return to the starting lineup for the Lakers. Boris Diaw is an an excellent passer at the power forward spot (he's averaged four assists per game for his career), and his court vision and range would make him an excellent fit in Phil Jackson's triangle offense.
The loss of Bynum will hurt, but the Lakers have shown that they can still be an elite team without the injury prone big man. And the combination of Gerald Wallace and a likely lottery pick in 2011 make this deal even more enticing. Wallace would likely take some time to learn the workings of the offense, but he is an upgrade over Artest in every way. Wallace is a much improved three-point shooter from early on in his career and is capable of hitting just as many as Artest. What's more, he can run the break and attack the basket in ways that Artest will never be able to.
The chances of this trade happening are extremely slim. But if it were to happen, it would set both teams in the right direction and could be what the Lakers need to pull off a three-peat.
As much as Michael Jordan would like to ship Wallace off and start over, there is still a very high chance that no trade will occur. Wallace has a big contract, and not every team is willing to go all-in this far into the season, even if it means acquiring such a talented small forward.
With Carmelo Anthony and Andre Iguodala on the market, Wallace isn't the only enticing small forward being shopped, and he may be overlooked amidst all the trade chatter. With the February trade deadline fast approaching, expect the Bobcats to make some kind of move, but with Stephen Jackson, Boris Diaw and numerous others also on the trade block, Wallace may very well remain the heart and soul of the Bobcats.