Once the playoff starts, the teams around the league that are no longer playing need something new to talk about. Fans usually resort to is talking about how much they hate the Lakers, or what their team is going to do in the offseason.
This list focuses on the latter.
You know those trades that you hear rumors about, but they are almost always way too awesome to actually happen? This list is devoted to those.
These are the best case trades that each team in the NBA can make.
Note: These are not predictions, they are speculation.
Hawks Receive: G Steve Nash
Suns Receive: F Josh Smith
The Hawks are just outside contention in the Eastern Conference. They are a consistent team that is just a hair behind.
Current point guard Kirk Hinrich was a good pick-up and an improvement from Mike Bibby. However, he is not an elite point guard.
If the Hawks want to compete with the big boys, then they need to find an elite point guard.
Two-time MVP Steve Nash is the perfect fit.
The Suns would probably demand forward Josh Smith in return, but the move would be well worth it. Nash would enhance guard Joe Johnson and center Al Horford’s games like he has done for Suns players like Marcin Gortat and Jared Dudley.
Celtics Receive: C Chris Kaman
Clippers Receive: C Jermaine O’Neal, G Avery Bradley, G Delonte West (sign and trade)
Jermaine O’Neal and Shaquille O’Neal are good players when they are healthy, but that is a rarity. The Celtics are running out of time with their core and they need to make the best of their passing opportunity.
They have always been missing a reliable center. So I say go after Chris Kaman.
Kaman was an All-Star a year ago and will probably be shopped by the Clippers this offseason.
The Celtics could probably pick up Kaman by just sending bench players like J. O’Neal and Delonte West to the Clippers to help bolster their bench. If anyone can get this deal done it is Celtics GM Danny Ainge.
Bobcats Receive: G Steve Nash
Suns Receive: G D.J Augustin, F Tyrus Thomas, G Gerald Henderson
The Bobcats showed interest in Nash during the regular season, so why not get it done during the offseason?
The biggest issue about a trade to move Nash to Charlotte would require the Bobcats to give up a key player or draft picks. That is probably too much to give up for an aging point guard like Nash.
This best case trade might not even benefit the Bobcats too much. It might just be better to stand still and hope for the best in the draft.
Bulls Receive: G O.J. Mayo
Grizzlies Receive: F Taj Gibson and G C.J. Watson
The Bulls don’t really have a shooting guard worth starting. They attempted to acquire O.J. Mayo during the deadline, but were unsuccessful.
Mayo has been disappointing for the Grizzlies and needs a change of scenery. Where better than alongside point guard Derrick Rose and the best team in the Eastern Conference?
Taj Gibson is a valuable post player off the bench for the Bulls, but would be worth giving up in this deal.
If Mayo can revive his career in Chicago, there could be championships to come.
Objective: Trade Baron Davis and Antawn Jamison for money, more draft picks and expiring contracts.
There is no reason for the Cavaliers to play for today. They have a terrible roster, and need to start rebuilding from the ground up.
If I was running the Cavs I would just trade all of my veterans for money, picks and expiring contracts to open up offseason cap room.
Players like Davis, Jamison and even Anderson Varejao hold value to a contender.
Dallas Receive: G Ricky Rubio
Timberwolves Receive: G Roddy Beaubois, Dallas first-round pick from 2011 and 2012
It is no secret that Mavericks owner Mark Cuban wants Ricky Rubio on his team.
The Mavs' current point guard, Jason Kidd, is a proven veteran who has a few more good years ahead of him. There are very few players I would like to have Rubio learn from more than J-Kidd.
Getting a young talent like Rubio does come at a price. Dallas would probably have to sacrifice their draft and their best young player, Roddy Beaubois.
If this rumor cooks up, the Mavs will have to make a decision.
Do you want to build your future around Ricky Rubio or Roddy Beaubois?
I would go with Rubio.
Nuggets Receive: F Paul Millsap
Jazz Receive: G Raymond Felton
The Denver Nuggets have one of the best young point guards in Ty Lawson, so the veteran Raymond Felton is not vital to the team’s success.
The Nuggets are, however, expected to lose starting power forward Kenyon Martin this offseason, so that hole will need to be filled.
Paul Millsap will probably be shopped (like always) during the offseason. He would fit in nicely with young stars like Wilson Chandler, Danilo Gallinari and Lawson.
With Millsap, the Nuggets would have a solid core for coach George Karl to work with, allowing them to stay competitive despite losing Carmelo Anthony.
Objective: Get rid of has-beens like Ben Wallace, Tayshaun Prince and Rip Hamilton for money and draft picks.
The Detroit Pistons have the most hopeless roster in the NBA. They are full of has-beens and other players that never were.
Veterans like Prince, Wallace and Hamilton could still help some teams. Detroit should move them for money and draft picks and work toward a better tomorrow.
Assuming guard Rodney Stuckey walks during free agency, the Pistons don’t have any players to build a team around. It is time to find one in the draft.
Warriors Receive: C Chris Kaman
Clippers Receive: C Andres Biedrins, F Dorell Wright
The Warriors may have only won 36 games last season, but their team isn’t too far off.
They have one of the best offenses in the league, but their defense is questionable at best. A good defensive center like Chris Kaman would do wonders for this squad.
With Steph Curry, Monta Ellis, Reggie Williams, David Lee and Chris Kaman, the Warriors have a respectable starting five. If this trade can be pulled off, there will be a competitive basketball team by the Bay.
Rockets Receive: F Danny Granger
Pacers Receive: C Hasheem Thabeet, F Jordan Hill, G Courtney Lee, F Chase Budinger
The Rockets just missed out in the playoff race this season and are struggling to get over the hump. Their offense is carried by their underrated shooting guard, Kevin Martin.
Houston needs to bring in another big-time scorer to help Martin carry the load. Danny Granger is the perfect fit.
Granger and Martin would be a great one-two punch. They are both extremely versatile offensive players and are athletic.
A move like this would make Houston a playoff team.
The Rockets might also be interested in trading for a reliable big man. They need to give up on Yao Ming and find someone new.
Pacers Receive: G O.J. Mayo
Grizzlies Receive: F Paul George, G Dahntay Jones, 2011 first-round pick
The Pacers, like Chicago, tried to acquire O.J. Mayo at the trade deadline. They are in desperate need of another scorer who can complement Danny Granger.
Players like Mike Dunleavy or Paul George will not cut it if the Pacers want to be a playoff team. They need talent, or they will be left in the rear-view mirror.
Mayo has been inconsistent throughout his career, but has the ability to score in bunches.
Maybe playing alongside a proven scorer like Granger and a young point guard like Darren Collison will help him reach his full potential.
Clippers Receive: F Josh Howard
Wizards Receive: G Eric Bledsoe
Like the Warriors, the Clippers are not that far away from becoming a competitive team in the Western Conference. They are full of young talent like Blake Griffin and Eric Gordon, and they have a good veteran point guard in Mo Williams.
DeAndre Jordan has developed into a solid center and now all they are missing is a small forward. I say take a chance on a veteran like Josh Howard.
Howard has been very effective in the past, but has disappeared since arriving in Washington.
During his days in Dallas, Howard was a big-time player. Surrounding him with talented youngsters in Los Angeles might allow him to relive some of his glory days with a new team.
Lakers Receive: C Dwight Howard
Magic Receive: C Andrew Bynum, G Shannon Brown (sign and trade), the Lakers' 2012 and 2013 first-round picks.
Enough star power for you?
Imagine, Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol and Kobe Bryant all on the same team. It would be better than the Miami Heat’s big three.
If Howard is traded anywhere this offseason, which I doubt, it will most likely be to the Lakers. The money works out and they have the most to offer in Andrew Bynum.
This is extremely unlikely, but would be very beneficial to the league. There would be yet another “super team” trying to gain dominance of the league.
Grizzlies Receive: G Jason Richardson (sign and trade) and the Magic 2012 first-round pick
Magic Receive: G O.J. Mayo
The Grizzlies have already re-signed Zach Randolph, and next they need to lock up Marc Gasol as well. The core of Randolph, Gasol and Gay is incredibly strong, now it is time to build around it.
O.J. Mayo has become a distraction to the team, so it is time to move him. A veteran guard like Jason Richardson would be a perfect replacement.
J-Rich is a consistent player who has become a very good leader and teammate as he has matured.
The Grizzlies are one of the best teams in the NBA on the rise. A move like this would make them a more legitimate contender.
Heat Receive: C Greg Oden (sign and trade)
Blazers Receive: C Joel Anthony
The Heat are in desperate need of bench players, especially tough inside presences. If Miami wants to make a move they will be forced to do it by trade due to salary cap restraints.
Greg Oden has hardly played in the NBA, so he will be very easy to get. The Heat will not have to give up much, so might as well take a chance.
If Oden still has something left in the tank, he could be a much-needed role player for the Heat. If he doesn’t, they won't lose sleep over trading away someone like Joel Anthony.
Bucks Receive: F Anthony Randolph, C Darko Milicic
Timberwolves Receive: F Larry Sanders, F Chris Delfino, F Jon Brockman
The time of Michael Redd carrying the Bucks has passed and this is now Brandon Jennings’ team. So the Bucks need to find young talent that can develop around him.
Anthony Randolph would be the perfect fit. He is an extremely athletic player for his size and has a lot of potential.
If Randolph can develop into the future star he is projected to be, he and Jennings would be a deadly duo in the future.
Timberwolves Receive: G Steve Nash, Suns' 2012 first-round pick
Suns Receive: F Anthony Randolph, C Darko Milicic, F Anthony Tolliver, the rights to Ricky Rubio
The T’Wolves do less with the players they have than any team in the NBA. Kevin Love, Michael Beasley and Wesley Johnson are all talented young players that just don’t quite flow.
So think to yourself. Who is the best player in the NBA at running an offense?
Minnesota needs to give up on waiting for Ricky Rubio and realize that they are better than their record indicates.
With a high draft pick in 2011, the T’Wolves would give Nash plenty of young weapons to work with. This is a very different team with a star point guard.
Nets Receive: F J.J. Hickson and F Antwan Jamison
Cavaliers Receive: F Travis Outlaw, G Jordan Farmar, C Johan Petro
Point guard Deron Williams only has one more year left on his contract and is not ready to commit to the Nets quite yet. The organization needs to prove to him that they have a commitment to winning right away.
Cleveland should be selling all of their high-priced talent. Jamison and Hickson could be the first to go.
With not too heavy of a price, the Nets need to jump on a deal like this. With Hickson, Jamison and Brook Lopez, Williams would have plenty of talent around him.
Another lottery pick is also on its way and the Nets could be major players in the free-agent market for the next two seasons. This could be the start of a winning tradition for the Nets.
Hornets Receive: G Jamal Crawford (sign and trade)
Hawks Receive: F Trevor Ariza, G Jarrett Jack, Hornets' 2012 first-round pick
The New Orleans Hornets are in a similar situation to the Nets. They need to convince their superstar point guard, Chris Paul, that they are committed to winning right now.
The first order of business should be re-signing forward David West, and then they should trade for a big-name player.
Jamal Crawford’s name will be on the market, but would have to be picked up in a sign-and-trade. Someone like Crawford provides Paul with another legitimate scorer.
It could be just enough to convince the great CP3 to stay.
Knicks Receive: C Greg Oden (sign and trade)
Trail Blazers Receive: F Renaldo Balkman, G Toney Douglas, G Andy Rautins
The Knicks are the most embarrassing defensive team in the NBA. Amar’e Stoudemire needs serious help inside defensively.
I would roll the dice on Greg Oden. He should be relatively affordable and, if healthy, would probably be the best interior defender on the Knicks.
Toney Douglas would be a big loss for New York, but you might have to see him walk in order to make the money right.
Thunder Receive: F Anderson Varejao
Cavaliers Receive: G Nate Robinson, G Thabo Sefolosha, Thunder 2011 first-round pick
Oklahoma City is on the verge of becoming one of the best teams in the Western Conference. One more tough big man like Varejao could be just enough to push them over the edge.
The Thunder are loaded at guard with Russell Westbrook, James Harden, Eric Maynor and Daequan Cook, so they can lose Sefolosha and Robinson without a drop-off.
A move like this is in reach for Oklahoma City. Don’t be surprised to see this deal or something very similar.
Magic Receive: G Roddy Beaubois, C Brendan Haywood, C Ian Mahinimi
Mavericks Receive: F Hedo Turkoglu, 2012 first-round pick, cash
A trade like this would fill the Magic’s two biggest holes: youth and a backup big man.
Roddy Beaubois is quietly one of the best young guards in the NBA. He is extremely talented and would be a good replacement for shooting guard Jason Richardson, who is expected to leave.
Brendan Haywood is a proven and experienced player who would fill the role Marcin Gortat had before he was traded to Phoenix.
The most important part of this deal, however, may be dumping Hedo Turkoglu’s ugly contract.
Sixers Receive: C Marcus Camby
Trail Blazers Receive: G Lou Williams, G Antonio Daniels
The Sixers have a great starting lineup that is tainted by a below-average center. Someone like Marcus Camby would improve the team defensively and bolster their lineup.
Lou Williams is just a bench player, so he will not be a major loss. Jrue Holiday, Andre Iguodala and Elton Brand are the core of this team. An inside defender like Camby takes a lot of pressure of these guys.
There is so much potential with this Sixers squad. Bench players like Even Turner and Marreese Speights have what it takes to be stars.
Don’t be surprised if they sneak up to a four seed next year if they can find a solid center.
Suns Receive: G Stephen Jackson
Bobcats Receive: C Robin Lopez, F Josh Childress
After the trade that brought Marcin Gortat over to the Suns, the problem was no longer defense and rebounding. The problem was that the Suns had no go-to scorer.
If a big shot was needed to be made, they had to rely on Channing Frye.
That isn’t going to cut it.
The Suns should sacrifice their young seven-footer Robin Lopez and defensive specialist wing Josh Childress for the scoring talents of Stephen Jackson.
Jackson can still score in bunches and be the leading scorer for a team. With him on the team, I like the Suns' chances of getting back into the playoffs next season.
Trail Blazers Receive: G Ramon Sessions
Cavaliers Receive: C Greg Oden (sign and trade), G Rudy Fernandez
Ramon Sessions was one of the most underrated players in the NBA last season. He had stretches in which he looked like he had the makings of a big-time NBA points guard.
The Trail Blazers need an upgrade and some youth at the point guard spot. Sessions would be able to share time with the aging Andre Miller, and improve the Blazers bench.
Greg Oden still holds trade value and the Blazers need to give up on him, while Rudy Fernandez is expendable in Portland’s crowded backcourt.
I see no downside to this deal for the Blazers.
Kings Receive: G Gilbert Arenas
Magic Receive: C Samuel Dalembert
Both of the players in these deals might be has-beens, and it is a very risky move. The Kings need a leader—can Arenas be that player?
Probably not, but it might be worth a try.
With guard Tyreke Evans, guard Marcus Thornton, center Jason Thompson and forward DeMarcus Cousins, the Kings are full of potential. Even role players like Omri Casspi and Donte Greene have shown promise.
So why not take a chance and bring in a former superstar in hopes that he revives his career?
If it fails, then the Kings are exactly where they started. If it succeeds, then the Kings will be one of the best young teams in the West.
Spurs Receive: F Tayshaun Prince (sign and trade)
Pistons Receive: F Tiago Splitter
San Antonio’s window is just about closed. Once-great players like Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili are not the players they once were.
That being said, they still have a chance to remain one of the top teams in the West. They just need to bring in a few more pieces to help keep them around just a little bit longer.
Tayshaun Prince is the ideal Spur. He is a little past his prime, a tough defender and is looking for one last shot in his career.
Other than Richard Jefferson, Prince would be the only true small forward on roster. This would give the team a lot more options when it comes to lineups.
Raptors Receive: C Yao Ming, 2011 first-round pick
Rockets Receive: G Jose Calderon
This is a trade based purely on desperation. Other than the occasional DeMar DeRozan highlight jam, there isn’t much too be excited about in Toronto.
So why not try to bring in one of the biggest superstars in the world? If he is healthy, then at least there will be someone to go see up north.
Realistically, the Raptors need to stock up on draft picks. They have a young point guard in Jerryd Bayless and a good big man in Andrea Bargnani—build around them.
Jazz Receive: G O.J. Mayo, G Greivis Vasquez
Grizzlies Receive: G Raja Bell, F Gordon Hayward
It is time for the Jazz to decide whether they want to play for today, or play for tomorrow.
I say play for today.
Bring in a shooting guard like O.J. Mayo who has star potential but is in desperate need of a change of scenery.
Remember, the Jazz still have Al Jefferson, Devin Harris, Paul Millsap and Derrick Favors. I am not ready to give up on talented guys like them just yet.
Wizards Receive: G Bill Walker, Knicks' 2011 and 2012 first-round picks
Knicks Receive: F Andre Blatche
Andre Blatche has great stats and can occasionally look like a superstar, but he has a bad history in Washington and needs to go.
Plenty of teams would give up a lot of Blatche because a young, talented big man is hard to find. The Wizards should take advantage of this interest before it’s too late.
Mike D’Antoni of the Knicks doesn’t hesitate to trade away draft picks, so take advantage of this. Send Blatche to New York, and get a few picks and a talented off-guard like Bill Walker.