As the suspense continues to build, some fans can't help but get excited over the prospect of a labor deal getting done next week. A 72-game schedule could mean fans will still have a chance to enjoy a short free agency period, preseason, and All-Star weekend events.
While those things are all great, fans like me have another thing to look forward to: block-buster trades. Every year they happen and this season is no different. There are a number of teams experiencing logjams in different positions and some teams will need to address gaping holes on their rosters.
There are teams like L.A., Orlando and Boston which will want to milk the most out of this season before their aging players decline in production, and then we have teams like Minnesota, New Jersey and Phoenix which will look to start winning before their franchise players get a chance to leave.
Yes, there's a lot ahead of us but for now all we can do is speculate and brainstorm about different trade scenarios which could take place when the season resumes. Here I've put together a few trade ideas which could help benefit all teams involved.
Enjoy, and remember to leave a comment! Let us know what you think.
*note: included slides 4 and 8 which were originally from another one of my articles.
Taj Gibson, Keith Bogans and John Lucas for Anthony Morrow, Nets' 2012 second round pick and 2013 second round pick.
The Bulls need a shooting guard, this trade will get them one. Anthony Morrow is a very underrated two-guard and could provide similar production to Arron Afflalo starting next season while being a cheaper option.The pair of second round picks that Chicago will receive could be the icing on the cake.
Last season, Morrow averaged a modest 13.2 points while shooting 42.3 percent from downtown. Morrow is long and provides solid defense and his game is a perfect fit for Chicago's system.
This trade will provide the Nets with a very solid building block in Taj Gibson, and they won't have to worry about overpaying Kris Humphreyes in free agency. The Nets might lose their starting shooting guard, but Keith Bogans will prove to be a decent option in the short term.
In conclusion, the trade should benefit both teams immediately but I know some die-hard Bulls fans are going to try and convince me Taj Gibson has All-Star potential. I think Gibson is a decent player but last season he only averaged 11.7 points and 9 boards per 36 minutes.
Although he was just a sophomore, Gibson is already 26 years-old. I doubt his peak production will ever surpass 15 points per game and 10 rebounds, yet Anthony Morrow could put up similar numbers right away for Chicago.
Al-Farouq Aminu for D.J. Augustin
The Clippers have two All-Star talents in Blake Griffin and Eric Gordon and they also have a promising big man in DeAndre Jordan. Some expected the Clippers to break out last season, but injuries to Gordon and Chris Kaman put an end to that.
Still, as the 2011-2012 season approaches, there's no denying the Clippers have the talent to contend for a playoff spot out of the West and if they're serious about it, this trade could make a lot of sense.
D.J. Augustin had a solid third year campaign and still has plenty of room to improve. He averaged 14.4 points and 6.1 assists for the Bobcats last season.The Clippers currently have Mo Williams at the point, but Williams proved to be subpar last season averaging only 14 points and 6.6 assists. Knowing all about the penny-pinching Donald Sterling, I wouldn't be all that surprised if Williams is traded or "amnesty'd" at the seasons' start.
This trade would leave the Clippers with an even greater hole at the small forward position, but the Clippers shouldn't have a hard time finding a starting small forward using Chris Kaman's expiring contract (more on that later).
The Charlotte Bobcats will miss D.J Augustine, but I'm willing to bet Michael Jordan would rather not have to offer him a pay raise at seasons end—especially now that Kemba Walker is on board.
The Bobcats are looking to rebuild through the draft and by stockpiling young talent. This move will help them in that regard.
Al-Farouq Aminu was selected with the eighth overall pick in 2010 and has plenty of upside. In his rookie season, Aminu struggled with playing time and consistency but the Bobcats can afford to invest in the 21-year-old's development.
The addition of Augustin will help put the Clippers in the playoff race, and that's what they should be aiming for next season. The team has too much talent to remain a bottom dweller and there's nothing worse than missing the playoffs and the draft lottery.
The Bobcats don't really need Augustin now that they've drafted Kemba Walker, and they won't regret this trade two years down the line.
Michael Beasley for Leandro Barbosa and Raptors' 2012 second round pick
The Minnesota Timberwolves have a log jam at the three slot with the addition of June's second overall draftee, and since Wesley Johnson (last year's lottery prospect) struggled playing out of position as a two-guard last season.
The Wolves' biggest hole in the roster is at shooting guard, and Barbosa would be a perfect fit. The Wolves are hoping to put together a winning season next year, as Kevin Love could decide to leave the team for more attractive options next summer and there's no use holding on to Beasley, who will likely ask for a pay raise at season's end.
Leandro Barbosa averaged 13.3 points in only 24 minutes last season as he struggled with a nagging wrist injury and a shoulder injury all season, but his numbers were still very impressive. Barbosa averaged 20 points per game per 36 minutes and could have led the Raptors in scoring, had he seen the opportunities that Andrea Bargnani and DeMar DeRozan saw.
Barbosa will be healthy next season and in his prime and with a contract year ahead, you can count on Barbosa to put up career numbers next season.
While Barbosa is loved by Raptors fans, the team is lacking a true starting small forward. Michael Beasley would be a great fit for Toronto's young core. Beasley has had a number of off-court issues and confrontations, but there's no doubting he's got the swagger and talent that Toronto's been missing ever since losing Bosh.
Both Barbosa and Beasley will be upcoming free agents and have similar salaries.
Overall this is a win-win scenario, and it could put both of these bottom-dwelling teams into the playoff race. The victory could be bitter sweet, as both players could leave their new teams if they're not offered a significant amount of money at season's end, however.
Lamar Odom and Derrick Fisher for Brandon Bass, Jameer Nelson and Orlando's 2012 first round pick (lottery protected)
The Lakers need a point guard and they will get a decent one in Jameer Nelson. Nelson can spread the floor and will provide similar scoring to what Odom brought last season. While Odom is clearly the better player, the Lakers will also receive a solid replacement in Brandon Bass.
After adjusting his minutes to what Odom received last season, Bass would have averaged around 14 points and seven rebounds last season. The addition of both Nelson and Bass would make this a fair trade for the Lakers, and an extra draft pick in June could prove to be very useful.
The trade would offer Dwight Howard some much-needed front court help and Odom could thrive playing next to the league's most dominant big man. The Magic could then start Gilbert Arenas at the point and Ryan Anderson would see more stable minutes with the departure of Bass. The Magic would also receive Fisher, who should prove to be a very solid backup point guard.
Overall, this trade won't exactly guarantee a Lakers-Magic finals series again but both teams will take help where they can find it. Some will argue the Lakers could find better point guards on the block such as Jose Calderon, Andre Miller, and possibly even Devin Harris, but most of these teams are either rebuilding (and don't need a 31 year-old) or already have players in Odom's position.
Personally, I'd like to see this trade go down because dealing Odom to a bad team would be a waste of talent.
Robin Lopez for Chase Budinger
The Houston Rockets did surprisingly well last season with the 6'6" Chuck Hayes at the five, but they still need to look for a long term solution at center.
Robin Lopez is one of the most criticized big men in the NBA. Often thrown in the same category as Andrea Bargnani and Yi Jianlian, Robin Lopez is often criticized for being soft and "tall for nothing." The truth is that Robin Lopez is a decent player and could establish himself as an above average big man in the NBA.
Last season Lopez was dwarfed by the effective Marcin Gortat and only received 14.8 minutes per game. In that time, Lopez still put up 6.4 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 0.7 blocks. If we adjust those numbers to 36 minutes he would have 15.6 points, 7.8 boards, and nearly two blocks. Lopez is 23, and big men usually take more time to develop.
The Rockets like Chase Bundinger, but it would be in their best interest to deal him for a center.
The Suns would receive the young Bundinger who could provide a scoring punch coming off the bench. Budinger was solid last season and averaged 10 points in only 22 minutes. Adjusted to 36 minutes per game, Bundinger was good for 16 points a game.
The Suns won't be using Lopez much and could end up making Budinger an important part of their rotation as his production would greatly benefit playing alongside Steve Nash. It's also worth noting Bundinger has two years left on his rookie deal where as Lopez would need resigning at season's end.
As a result, both teams would benefit from this trade. The Suns will likely waive Josh Childress if an amnesty clause is provided, and Mickael Pietrus' expiring deal could be used in other trades; this could leave more minutes for Budinger.
Tony Parker and Richard Jefferson for Pau Gasol and Metta World Peace
The Lakers need a point guard but would giving up Pau Gasol really be worth it? Maybe.
Lamar Odom was solid at the power forward position last season and could provide plenty of offense and defense as Gasol's replacement, while Tony Parker, an elite point guard, would make the Lakers a very scary team.
Parker's 17.5 points a game and 6.6 assists don't do justice to his contribution to the Spurs, who finished last season with 61 wins. Parker is 29 years old and two years younger than Gasol. Parker is also around $6.2 million/year cheaper.
The trade would also give L.A. a small upgrade over World Peace in Richard Jefferson.
The Spurs are an old team and will only get older after this trade, but adding Gasol would make their front court extremely dangerous. While Parker's role on the Spurs' dynasty was unquestionable, the Spurs could afford to lose him. Gary Neal was a dangerous scoring threat from outside last season and only received 21.1 minutes per game. Neal's scoring average adjusted to 36 minutes would have been 17 points per game, and we have to remember he was only a rookie.
Overall this is a huge gamble for both teams, and I highly doubt it'd ever come to fruition. The Lakers would get their point guard by doing this trade but if Bynum goes down, they would kiss goodbye any championship hopes, and the Spurs would regret the move if Gasol starts to decline now rather than a year or two from now.
Even from a fan's standpoint, I wouldn't feel comfortable with this type of trade because it's hard to imagine Parker in a different uniform other than the Spurs (especially in a Lakers uni).
Jerryd Bayless and Ed Davis for Serge Ibaka and Nate Robinson
The Oklahoma City Thunder love Ibaka and for good reason: he's young, athletic and a defensive-minded big man who could really do good things for the Thunder. Even though they don't need to move him, the Thunder would benefit from more scoring from their big men.
Although Ed Davis isn't a household name, one who looks deeper at his production knows that he's got the talent and potential to be just as productive as Ibaka.
Per 36 minutes, Ibaka averaged 13.2 points, 10.1 rebounds and 3.2 blocks. Ed Davis averaged 11.2 points, 10.4 rebounds, and 1.4 blocks per 36 minutes. While Ibaka was clearly better last season, Ed Davis was also pretty solid as a rookie.
What sweetens the deal here for OKC is Jerryd Bayless. Last season the Thunder traded for Kendrick Perkins and Nate Robinson, hoping to receive a legitimate big man and a good backup point guard. While Perkins was so-so, Nate Robinson proved to be a total bust, averaging only 3.3 points and appearing in less than 10 games for OKC.
Jerryd Bayless is an up-and-coming guard who averaged 18.1 points and 6.7 assists as a starter last season and would add some serious offensive punch to the Thunder's second unit, which will likely lose James Harden to the starting lineup.
The Raptors will be able to survive with Calderon at the point, and the addition of Ibaka will be a huge blessing for Toronto. Serge Ibaka was listed as a power forward last season, but he has the size and skill to bang with the centers of the NBA.
With Ibaka in the lineup, the Raptors could save $6-8 million a year by choosing not to sign a big name free agent like Tyson Chandler or Nene. The Raptors will have the flexibility to add some serious hardware to the roster and won't have to worry about re-signing Bayless to a large extension at season's end.
While the trade could really benefit both teams, the hype and buzz surrounding Ibaka alone could be enough for OKC to turn down the trade. The deal would be great for Toronto, but the Thunder could probably slide Ibaka over to center while trading Perkins for a decent power forward instead.
Chris Kaman and Randy Foye for Chauncey Billups and Bill Walker
The Knicks need inside help and don't want to hurt their cap situation for the summer of 2012. Insert Chris Kaman. Kaman is a 29-year-old big man who was an All-star before injuries forced him to miss all but 32 games last season.
Last season Kaman's averages were down a bit, but that's only because he was reduced to 26.2 minutes per game. Per 36 minutes he still averaged 17 points, 10 boards and 2 blocks last season. This September Kaman was very solid for the German team during the FIBA EuroBasket too.
The Knicks were forced to start Amare Stoudemire at center for stretches and that wore him down as the season progressed. With Kaman as a front court buddy, Stoudemire will have a lot of pressure lifted from his shoulders.
The Knicks will have to give up an All-Star talent in Chauncey Billups, but the trade will allow them to use Toney Douglas and Iman Shumpert more than they could with Billups on the roster. I can't say for sure, but after looking at his performance this summer against other NBA pros, it seems as though Iman Shumpurt could really turn out to be a steal for the Knicks.
The Knicks also receive Randy Foye, who is a solid role player that could thrive in New York's point guard-friendly system.
The Clippers should consider this trade because Chauncey Billups is a clear-cut All-Star and a great leader. Billups is a savvy vet and a leader who would get the most out of a young team.
As mentioned earlier, Mo Williams is not the answer at the point and it seems as though the Clippers want to give the starting center role to the young DeAndre Jordan.
As a result of this trade, both teams should win more games. The Knicks should win more because the trade will address the roster needs better and the Clippers should win more because they'll receive more talent.
Andre Iguodala and Andres Nocioni for Al Jefferson and Raja Bell
Rumors are that the Philadelphia 76ers are looking to move Iggy and his large contract to make room for Evan Turner and future flexibility.
This trade will give the Sixers a solid big man in Al Jefferson who could play both power forward and center. The Sixers will also trade away Nocioni for a cheaper sharp shooter in Raja Bell.
The Sixers will no longer be forced to play small with Elton Brand as center and Thaddeus Young at power forward, and Doug Collins could make more use of Lou Williams with Iggy gone.
The Utah Jazz are currently loaded at the four and five slots and are in need of a wing player. Andre Iguodala will be a great addition and after this trade, the team will look very deep with Devin Harris, Iggy, Paul Millsap, and Enes Kanter in the starting lineup.
This trade is a great idea for both teams and the Jazz could get back to winning games with the addition of Iguodala.