NBA Trade Rumors: Jackson and Wallace on the Block, Which Impact Names Are Next?
With the NBA trade deadline rapidly approaching, blockbusters and rumors of blockbusters are flying around the Internet.
The Carmelo Anthony to the Knicks deal was finally completed, and Deron Williams was unexpectedly dealt to the New Jersey Nets on Wednesday morning.
There is a lot of potential for other big names to change teams before the deadline, too.
Names like Gerald Wallace and Stephen Jackson of the Charlotte Bobcats; Mike Miller of the Miami Heat; Marcus Camby of the Portland Trail Blazers; Troy Murphy of the New Jersey Nets; Zach Randolph of the Memphis Grizzlies; and Shane Battier of the Houston Rockets are all good candidates to be dealt.
With less than a day until the trade deadline, let's break down each player's contract, situation, and suitors; and predict where each will land.
Marcus Camby, Portland Trail Blazers
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Camby, never the picture of durability, has spent the last 14 games sidelined with a sprained knee.
The 36 year-old has one year at $12 million left on his contract after this year, and, despite his injury troubles, still contributes a lot when on the floor.
Playoff contenders who are short on size should be blowing up GM Rich Cho's phone all day long about Camby to find out if he's healthy enough to play now, and what it would take to acquire him. With just one year remaining, the commitment that any trader will have to make to Camby is relatively low.
Prediction: Camby stays put before the deadline. Portland has miraculously played itself into the playoff picture and will need Camby's rebounding and shot blocking down the stretch as he regains strength in his knee.
Stephen Jackson, Charlotte Bobcats
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Captain Jack is a bit of a headache at times, and his efficiency numbers are terrible, but on the right team he could prove to be very effective.
The commitment to Jackson is substantial, with two years and roughly $19 million remaining on his contract, but the production is 19 points, four rebounds, and four assists per game.
Jackson kills a team when he's the primary ball handler and scorer. He needs a system where he can spot up for threes, handle the ball secondarily, and take 12-15 shots a game; like when he won a championship with the Spurs several years ago.
Prediction: Rumors have Jackson heading to the Bulls to fill the void at shooting guard that is Keith Bogans.
I think this is the best fit for him: a stable franchise, unquestioned ball handler and leader in Derrick Rose, other scoring options in Carlos Boozer and Jo Noah.
Jackson would be a good addition to the Bulls in a trade that looks like this. Chicago could also send some money and/or a draft pick with their side.
Troy Murphy, New Jersey Nets
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The nine-year veteran is caught up in a flurry of rumors right now. Injuries and incongruity with Coach Avery Johnson have killed his value to the Nets, who are simply looking to unload him after the failed trade to bring him to the Meadowlands last year.
His $12 million expiring contract is very attractive to all teams; especially contenders who could essentially rent him for a playoff run.
Murphy's long-range shooting, rebounding, and size bring major flexibility to a contender in need of size. Some potential suitors are the San Antonio Spurs, Dallas Mavericks, Charlotte Bobcats, and the Denver Nuggets.
Prediction: Dallas Mavericks. The Mavs have two bigs who don't do much scoring, and could use Caron Butler's expiring deal and the young Roddy Beaubois to get the Nets to bite in this trade.
Shane Battier, Houston Rockets
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Using some advanced statistics that only a small collection of people understand, Battier is one of the best contributors in the NBA.
We're talking top ten contributor, not top 50 or something.
A lot of teams are catching on to the metrics employed by Houston GM Darryl Morey and his team of stat nerds, and the already-strong impression of Battier is strengthening among NBA personnel managers.
There hasn't been a whole lot of buzz around Battier, and the Rockets don't have a ton of motivation to trade him. It is worth mentioning, however, that the Boston Celtics have engaged Houston about acquiring Battier in recent days.
The addition of the ninth-year player from Duke would make the Celtics the clear-cut favorite to win the NBA title, if they aren't already.
Prediction: Boston doesn't do enough to motivate the Rockets to make a deal like this (plus a draft pick or two), and Battier stays in Houston after signing an extension.
Gerald Wallace, Charlotte Bobcats
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Wallace is down from last year's top-five rebounding average, but still having a solid season.
His developing offensive game and defensive/rebounding tenacity make him an attractive option for several teams at the deadline. His $11 million annual salary through next season hurts, but is worth the price to acquire him; he will almost certainly be an upgrade over any player he replaces on a new team.
His reported suitors are Portland—who has long coveted him, Houston, and now Cleveland.
Prediction: Charlotte holds off on trading Wallace, the team's best player, as they make a run at the playoffs. At worst, they can find someone to take his expiring deal a year from now, or sign him to an extension.
Just because I'm mesmerized by the Trade Machine, here are trades that could work out for each team involved with all three of the current Wallace suitors.
Portland (plus a draft pick to Charlotte)
Houston (plus a first-round pick to Charlotte)
Cleveland (a protected first-round pick to Charlotte)
Mike Miller, Miami Heat
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Mike Miller was supposed to be the piece that put the Miami Heat over the top this year with his ball handling, shooting defense.
"Miami Thrice" would get the team to the top of the mountain, and Miller would allow it to climb and stand—as the thinking went when he was signed.
Miller signed a five-year, $29 million deal, then missed the first two months of the season after surgery on his thumb. He has never settled into a groove on the court in his 22 games—perhaps because of the magnitude of his new teammates and the unclarity of roles that they bring to everyone else.
Miller was reassured by team president Pat Riley that the flying rumors were just that and nothing more, but the Heat have reportedly been in contact with six different teams about Miller.
I don't have a prediction or even a list of teams that Miller could potentially land with. I think the odds of him moving anywhere are long, and the Heat, in fear of messing up their chances for a title, will think long and hard about so much as touching their roster.
There's too much at stake for a team that has three superstars.
Zach Randolph, Memphis Grizzlies
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Z-Bo has bounced around a lot in his career, and left a wake of destruction with many former teams because of his attitude and immaturity.
Since arriving in Memphis last year, however, Randolph has been a revelation.
His low post game is devastatingly effective, causing me trouble when trying to come up with even two players that are better low-post scorers in the NBA than he is.
His 20-13 is apparently on the trading block, as an interesting rumor that he might be traded to Orlando surfaced in the last two days. The alleged proposal is Randolph for Brandon Bass and Jason Richardson, which would give the Grizzlies a promising PF who is younger than Randolph, and a three-point specialist.
This makes a ton of sense for Memphis, who risks losing Randolph for nothing at the end of the season when his contract expires. On one hand, they should get whatever they can for Z-Bo right now because it's wishful thinking to trust that he'll promise to re-sign.
On the other hand, Memphis is back in the playoff picture in the West, and has a lot to play for down the stretch in 2011. They just lost Rudy Gay to injury for at least a month, and trading Randolph would make them desperately thin on scoring threats.
Again, this trade makes a lot of sense, but I predict that Memphis holds off with the lure of making the playoffs.