NBA Trade Speculation: Dwight Howard and 5 Trades That Will Shake Up the League
Whenever the labor agreement is finalized, these scenarios should pick up right where they left off. If the moves following the NFL lockout have taught us anything, deals may be flying faster than fans can keep track of them when the NBA season resumes.
All of these trades have been approved by ESPN's NBA trade machine.
Dwight Howard to the Lakers
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Los Angeles Lakers receive: Dwight Howard, Jameer Nelson, and Hedo Turkoglu
Orlando Magic receive: Andrew Bynum, Lamar Odom, Shannon Brown, and Luke Walton
Why the trade works for the Lakers: They get Dwight Howard??? Correct! The Lakers "rebuild" on the fly, taking the league's best center from Orlando for the second generation in a row. This time, at least, they have to give up some pieces.
We all know that Bynum is Lakers' owner Jerry Buss' boy, but if this trade is truly on the table, he has to pull the trigger. It takes the scoring load off of Kobe Bryant, while simultaneously improving the team's defense and rebounding.
Eating Hedo Turkoglu's contract is the penance for simultaneously solving their point guard troubles by bringing in Jameer Nelson. Turkoglu could actually be an effective player for the team off of the bench, as three-point shooting was another weakness for the Lakers in 2010-11.
Why the trade works for the Magic: It seems to be all but a sure thing that Howard is going to leave via free agency. That being said, there really is not a better trade scenario that is going to present itself.
Bynum is a proven commodity that still has plenty of room to grow. All he has to do is play 70 games per season, and he is the second-best center in the league.
Odom is another multi-talented, proven player. Ironically, this is the second time he is a key piece of a trade for a future Hall-of Fame center (the Shaq to Miami Heat trade).
Shannon Brown is a player with plenty of hops and upside, champing at at the bit to get off of the bench from behind Kobe Bryant. Luke Walton has proven he can produce as a role player.
By bringing in proven, borderline All-Star talent, the Magic can reload quickly, and are one signing of a primary scoring wing option from contending in the East. By getting rid of Turkoglu's contract, they now have the capability of signing that star.
With a starting lineup of Chris Duhon/Gilbert Arenas (pending which Arenas shows up next season), J.J. Redick, Odom, Brandon Bass, and Bynum, with Brown, Walton, and Ryan Anderson off the bench, the team is likely making the playoffs, much like Denver did after the Carmelo Anthony trade last year.
Chris Paul to the Oklahoma City Thunder
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Oklahoma City Thunder Receive: Chris Paul and Aaron Gray
New Orleans Hornets Receive: Russell Westbrook, Nate Robinson, and Nazr Mohammed
Why this trade works for New Orleans: With Chris Paul and Kevin Durant, the Thunder field arguably the most elite point guard/scorer combination in the league's history. Durant has never played with a distributor near Paul's level, and Paul has never played with a scorer like Durant.
Unlike the extremely talented Westbrook, Paul is willing to let Durant do the scoring, and his assist numbers will approach 15 per game. You can expect career years from James Harden and Serge Ibaka as well, as they will be willing recipients to Paul's play-making abilities.
OKC would be the odds-on favorite to win not just a title, and "not two, not three, not four, not five..." supplanting the Heat as the dynasty of the future.
Why this trade works for New Orleans: Chris Paul never had a dominant scorer to play with in New Orleans, and thus never had the opportunity to live up to his full potential. He had to focus on scoring more than a player with his play-making abilities should have to.
In Westbrook, the team gets a better scorer than Paul. Due to the knee injury, Paul's days being able to carry the load on a nightly basis are over. His scoring average has dipped from 23 in '08-09 to 16 this past season, while Westbrook put in 22 per night.
If Westbrook is up to the challenge, the team may be better off with a natural scorer leading the way. The confident young point guard seems to believe he is capable of putting up at least 25 per game, and now will get his chance.
The only way this trade would happen is if Westbrook makes it apparent that he is not happy being the playmaker and second option to Durant, a la Stephon Marbury and Kevin Garnett in the '90s. If that is the case, Westbrook will find out what it is really like taking the brunt of the opposition's defensive attention.
Mohammed can fill another need for New Orleans: size. Smallish center Emeka Okafor could play minutes at the four and, provided the team re-signs David West, the team would have their best big-man rotation in memory.
Andre Iguodala to the Clippers
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Los Angeles Clippers receive: Andre Iguodala and Marreese Speights
Philadelphia 76ers receive: Chris Kaman and Ryan Gomes
Why the trade works for the Clippers: By plugging "Iggy" in at small forward, the Clips complete the rebuilding process and fill the lone hole in their roster. Iguodala would step in as the third scorer, which is what he is best suited for, and be the squad's top perimeter defender.
With a starting five of Mo Williams, Eric Gordon, Iguodala, Blake Grififn, and DeAndre Jordan, we are looking at one of the most complete and explosive starting fives in the NBA. Meanwhile, Speights is a big, athletic body that can back up both Jordan and Griffin.
Why the trade works for the 76ers: This is a classic trade that fills needs for both teams. Back in a starting role, Kaman will be the double-double machine he was in LA before injury and the emergence of Jordan sent him to the bench.
Kaman fills a huge hole for Philadelphia; meanwhile, last season's No. 2 overall pick, Evan Turner, slides into the 2-guard spot. A starting five of Jrue Holliday, Turner, Thaddeus Young, Elton Brand, and Chris Kaman will allow Philly to continue to compete for a playoff spot.
Pending the play of Turner, this unit could be significantly better than the one that grabbed the eighth seed in the East last season.
Josh Smith to the Minnesota Timberwolves
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Minnesota Timberwolves receive: Josh Smith and Josh Powell
Atlanta Hawks receive: Michael Beasley and Darko Milicic
Why this trade works for Minnesota: The Timberwolves solve the problem of having two similar players in Derrick Williams and Michael Beasley. While Beasley, Williams, and Smith all have similar builds, both Beasley and Williams can put the biscuit in the basket, but leave a lot to be desired on the defensive end.
"J-Smoove" is a unique defender who can erase a lot of his teammates' inadequacies, and Minnesota needs help on defense. While Beasley is noted as being immature and could have a negative impact on Williams, Smith's playoff experience would be a plus on a young roster that has not sniffed the postseason.
Minnesota could piece together minutes at center from recently acquired Brad Miller and Josh Powell. Management would also know exactly what they have in last season's 6'11" rookie Nikola Pekovic.
Meanwhile, against teams without a dominant true center (and how many teams have those these days?) the T'Wolves could go with a run 'n' gun five that includes Ricky Rubio, Wesley Johnson, Smith, Williams and Kevin Love.
Why the trade works for Atlanta: The Hawks would have a competent center duo in Darko Milicic and Zaza Pachulia. This would allow Al Horford to slide over to his natural position of power forward.
Playing as an undersized center, Horford was an All-Star in 2010-11. Playing power forward, he would be an absolute monster.
Also, Beasley is a better and more natural scorer than Smith. With Joe Johnson, Beasley, and the uptick in production that would be expected from moving Horford to the four, the Hawks could have three players approaching 20 points per game.
The trade makes them a much more difficult matchup than the 'Iso-Joe' offense, especially come playoff time.
Carlos Boozer to the Denver Nuggets
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Chicago Bulls receive Wilson Chandler and Chris Andersen
Denver Nuggets receive Carlos Boozer and Keith Bogans
Okay, I lied. This is the one deal not approved by ESPN's trade machine. The trade assumes Denver re-signs Chandler to a contract close to what players of his caliber, such as Stephen Jackson, are getting paid. The trade works if Chandler inks a deal in the $9 million-$10 million a year range.
Why this trade works for Chicago: The Bulls gets the shooting guard they need in Wilson Chandler. Chandler can defend, hit the three, and provide athleticism and physicality from the 2-guard spot. It did not seem like Boozer was working out in Chi-town, and the longer the team kept him, the harder it would be to deal him.
Taj Gibson will step in as the starting power forward, where he has performed admirably in the past. The Bulls sacrifice some back-to-the basket scoring, but are a more complete squad after the trade. Andersen and Omer Asik will provide plenty of rebounding and shot-blocking off the bench. By dealing the defensive liability Boozer, the NBA's best defense gets even better.
Why this trade works for Denver: The Nuggets sacrifice a strength to solidify a weakness. Chandler was seeing a dip in minutes and production after the trade that sent him to a roster loaded with shooting guards and small forwards.
By dealing Chandler, the team gets the low-post scorer it lacks. Boozer may not be the 20-10 guy Chicago thought they were signing, but is a huge improvement down low over anyone Denver has now.
The deal makes Denver a more complete team, and Bogans will be a heady veteran presence and contributor off the bench.