2011 NBA Offseason: 6 Franchise-Changing Trades
Ah, the offseason. A time of reflection and self-evaluation. The year is in the books and the games are all wrapped up.
The offseason is often a time where the balance of power can shift swiftly, when some franchises crumble and others are reinforced. Last summer is a perfect example of how quickly the NBA fates change.
Assuming there is even going to be a next season, it’s time for all of the fringe contenders to reload their rosters and begin preparing for another championship campaign.
It is my belief that sports fans are composed of 90% passion and 10% speculation. After reading a similar article written by B/R Featured Columnist Joseph Fafinski, I decided to combine those two areas in my own piece.
My one disclaimer: I am not a GM and I have a very poor grasp of the important characteristics that go into trading the appropriate contracts. I barely passed high school math classes. You do not want to me to attempt multi-million dollar contracts.
For all intents and purposes, this article will not hold the financial aspect of player swaps in the strictest regard. Additionally, a lot of these trades are far from probable. But what the hell, right?
6. The Lakers and the Hawks
L.A. sends Pau Gasol and Shannon Brown to Atlanta for Josh Smith and Jeff Teague.
The Lakers’ shocking sweep at the hands of the eventual champion Dallas Mavericks is an alarming sign for this squad. So much so, I would certainly expect L.A. to make some significant moves this offseason.
With Al Horford’s continued development, the move of Smith would clear the way for Horford to move to his more natural position of PF.
Gasol, 29, is arguably the league's most skilled big man when on top of his game and could rotate between starting center and power forward when Zaza Pachulia is on the floor and Horford is on the bench.
This move would also ensure that the Hawks, who just awarded Joe Johnson a max contract last offseason, would have enough cap space to sign their 25-year-old building block.
Smith would provide a high-energy defensive presence to a squad that looked slow and sluggish during the post-season. Although it is not a certainty Smith would fit in well with L.A’s triangle offense, new coach Mike Brown has stated that he plans to implement some traditional offensive sets.
5. The Nets and the 76ers
New Jersey sends Brook Lopez and Anthony Morrow to Philadelphia for Andre Iguodala and Elton Brand
It’s no secret that New Jersey has repeatedly turned down offers for their young center. But Lopez regressed noticeably in the rebounding game this past season and is the most valuable asset the Nets have to ensure Deron Williams stays.
If Lopez continues to struggle, however, I could easily see the Nets consenting to acquire a versatile wing player who plays stellar defense in return.
Yes, we all know Brand is 32 and still has two more years left on that Rex Ryan-sized contract, but he can be serviceable in the remaining years. Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov has stated repeatedly he will spend whatever it takes to keep his new franchise point guard in town.
The combination of Williams and Iguodala could prove to be a very dynamic backcourt.
Philly would have an offensively-skilled big man to run effective pick and rolls with emerging point guard Jrue Holiday. Additionally, they would have Brand’s contract off their hands.
Second overall pick Evan Turner showed flashes of ability late in the season while super sub Thaddeus Young would now have room to move into the starting lineup. If Turner continues to develop, the 76ers would certainly have enough outside offense to compensate for Iguodala’s departure.
4. The Bulls and the Warriors
Chicago’s biggest problem during the postseason was a lack of a consistent second option on offense. Due to this gaping hole on that end of the court, Derrick Rose was forced to take roughly 30 shots a night for the Bulls to have any chance. That is not a Tom Colicchio recipe for success. Or a Tom Thibodeau recipe, for that matter.
Golden State realizes that a backcourt duo of Ellis and Stephen Curry is simply not going to work. One of them has to go and they prefer it to be the older of the two who is not as adept at facilitating for others.
This trade would add another dominant scorer to pair with Rose while also preserving Chicago’s considerable depth and strong bench.
Furthermore, Golden State would free up room for Curry to finally take full command of this offense while also adding another low post scoring threat. Obviously, with David Lee already at the PF spot this is not an ideal trade for the Warriors.
3. The Nuggets and the Magic
Okay, I admit that this trade is about as likely as Snooki not getting wasted and making a fool of herself, but it’s all in good fun, right?
Let’s assume that Howard publicly states he will not re-sign with the Orlando Magic.
Denver has a plethora of valuable and talented assets. This offseason they need to decide in which direction to head as a franchise and which pieces to build around. In this scenario, they could move all of these players while still retaining starters Ty Lawson, Danilo Gallinari and Aaron Afflalo.
Of course, the absorption of Arenas’ contract is troublesome. But with a concentrated effort by coach George Karl to integrate Arenas into the offense, Agent 0 could prove to be a potent offensive threat off the bench.
With the addition of Howard and Arenas, this team would stay dangerous and extremely deep.
Orlando would then begin the rebuilding process by getting a lot of good pieces in return (much like Denver’s scenario this past season). Nene is absolutely a capable starting center in this league while Felton and Jameer Nelson would be a strong combination at the point.
Both teams benefit in this scenario.
2. The Hornets and the Clippers
If this was the case, New Orleans would certainly want to get something in return for arguably the best point guard in the league.
The Clippers have a lot of young talent that they would be willing to surrender to acquire CP3. In fact, the above trade probably wouldn’t be enough to pull it off.
Regardless, Eric Bledsoe is a young talent who showed a lot of ability filling in for an injured Baron Davis early this season. When healthy, Kaman has been an All Star big man. Aminu is still young and has the potential to grow into a starting SF.
The Hornets could potentially get a lot of assets from the Clippers in return for their floor general.
The Clippers would be in excellent shape if they could figure out a way to make this deal happen. A Big Three composed of Blake Griffin, Eric Gordon and Chris Paul is an enticing thought. L.A. would still have young talented pieces to fill out the rest of their roster if this trade went down.
1. The Heat and the Suns
Miami trades Chris Bosh, Mario Chalmers and 2011 second round pick to Phoenix for Steve Nash and Robin Lopez
The Suns owe it to Nash to trade him to a contender at the twilight of his career. Assuming Phoenix obliges with the opinion of countless Nash fans, Miami would prove a prime landing spot for the future Hall-of-Famer.
The Heat are severely lacking at point guard and center. With this trade, they could address both for the immediate future. While Miami’s Finals loss cannot be placed solely on the shoulders of Bosh, he would be the one most likely ousted from South Beach if the Heat chose to make a move.
Nash is a spectacular floor general with impeccable court vision. His three-point capabilities would also thrive on this particular team. Obviously, he has a few shortcomings at the defensive end but LBJ and Wade can make up for those for the most part.
Lopez is a high-energy sixth man who would provide some much needed height to Miami’s frontcourt.
In return for the face of their franchise, the Suns would get an All-Star power forward to pair with Aaron Brooks as the building blocks of the future.