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Five Players Who's Trade Rumors are Flying Under the Radar

Eitan RosenbergContributor ISeptember 9, 2009

BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JULY 10:  Filmaker/Basketball player Steve Nash of '30/30 Documentary' speaks during day three of the ESPN Channel 2008 Summer Television Critics Association Press Tour held at the Beverly Hilton hotel on July 10, 2008 in Beverly Hills, California.  (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

Jameer Nelson

There is no question the Orlando Magic are in win-now mode.  They traded one of their premier prospects (Courtney Lee) for Vince Carter and severely exceeded to luxury tax haven with a plethora off-season signings. 

Nelson could be the starting point guard for a win-now franchise, but do he and VC (I can hear the Nets PA guy now) really make sense in a backcourt together? They may, but they don’t balance each other enough to portray one another’s strengths. 

If Orlando really wants to simply take the Eastern Crown and contend for a title, they may want to consider dealing Nelson now while his stock is still high. 

Orlando would be better suited with a better floor general, one with playoff experience, and more of the pass-first blend. 

If Nelson can hit a hot streak like the one he did last season, Orlando would be better served trading him for a more intelligent and overall savvier point guard (Billups, Nash, or even Hinrich would be ideal).

Potential Suitors - Philadelphia, Phoenix

Nelson could fit extremely well in Philly where he would be returning to his St. Joseph roots and leading an up-tempo attack. 

In Phoenix, if the Suns do opt to deal Nash, Nelson is a fitting long-term replacement at the No. 1 slot. 

Steve Nash

Steve Kerr has to be fooling himself. Yes he signed the Canadian stud to a contract extension and yes he has indicated his willingness to have Nash retire as a Sun, but if Phoenix wants any hopes of future contention they need to deal Steve Nash. 

Nash is still in his athletic prime and may only be there for a few more years. The time is still ticking on Nash’s relatively high value, if Phoenix deals him now they can retrieve nice pieces for the future.

Potential Suitors – Orlando, Portland

Nash would fit in very well with most contenders, specifically those that feature a premier big who can run the break and room to maneuver around the perimeter.  In Orlando or Portland he would be that missing link that separates contender from pretender.

Caron Butler

The Wizards have made a plethora of moves indicating they would like to contend sooner rather than later (see previous article on Carlos Boozer for exact moves).  Why on Earth would a contending team try and deal their best scorer from last season? 

Two words: Gilbert Arenas. 

Washington realizes their reliance on Gilbert to be the player he was several years ago.  They have loads of dough locked into him long term and even acquired an appropriate backup in case he does go down (Foye). 

The team has shown obvious signs to acquire a big and perhaps Butler could be the best bait to use.  Washington has shown reluctance to deal their pivotal young pieces (i.e. Young and McGee) and they’d rather not tamper with their 2010 free agency plans (so Haywood and James could be kept).  

Now the question is what could Washington get in a package for Butler?

A team like Toronto or Utah is currently handcuffed by their prized Power Forward (Chris Bosh, Carlos Boozer) who has given the club every indication that they are unlikely to stay. 

A Butler deal could land Washington one of these Power Forwards and have them flirt with the Celts, Cavs, and Magic for top spot in the East. 

Butler is also approaching his 30th birthday.  He isn’t exactly an elder statesman, but don’t expect much better seasons from Caron.

Potential Suitors – Portland, Utah

The Blazers have wanted a game changing small forward for plenty of seasons now.  They also have a package of plenty of young pieces, which if combined with some of Washington’s young pieces, could land Washington their big man.

Butler could be Portland’s dependable half court scorer and allow Roy to become the point wing he has shown success playing.

The Utah Jazz haven’t had a dependable wing scoring option since the days of Jeff Malone. 

Butler would work wonders in an offense alongside D-Will and Paul Millsap and could move the Jazz up to supremacy territory in the West.

Emeka Okafor

What?  He’s going to get traded again?  Yeah…could be.

Unsure exactly how Okafor landed in New Orleans.  In fact there are four questions that are hard to configure concerning the recent Chandler-Okafor swap.

Didn’t Larry Brown and the Bobcats brass realize Okafor actually has relatively high trade value? 

Also, didn’t LB understand that the Hornets were just looking for expiring contracts in order to acquire Tyson Chandler?

Didn’t the attempt to move Tyson Chandler to OKC last season for expiring contracts mean that the Hornets were trying to save some immediate money?

Finally, Yes Okafor is making less money next season than Chandler, but over the next…. gulp…five seasons?  Did George Shinn really approve this move and acquire this exact contract over the next five seasons?

$10,647,500

$11,645,000

$12,642,500

$13,640,000

$14,637,500

If the Hornets don’t immediately feel the benefits of Okafor next season, you better believe Shinn will push for a move that allows someone else to handle that contract. 

This is the same George Shinn that decided not to offer Alonzo Mourning (a similar player to Okafor) this type of contract 15 years ago. 

Potential Suitors – Dallas, Detroit

Dallas has the necessary expiring contract (Dampier) and the owner willing to pay Okafor (Cuban) to make a move for the UConn Product.

Okafor in Dallas would be an ideal fit and could even push the Mavs near the Spurs-Lakers hierarchy of the conference.

Joe D will need a pure rebounding defensive force to compliment the low Field Goal percentages likely to be hoisted up by Charlie V, Gordon, and Stuckey.  The Pistons also have a nice youngish big (Maxiell) and an expiring deal (Brown) to entice the cheap George Shinn.

Kevin Love

Dave Kahn has already rocked the boat a bit this off-season and could rock it a few more times during the year. 

Let’s first examine the potential Minnesota starting lineup. Considering they have no real shooting guard and Ramon Sessions was just signed, it is safe to say he will be their starting two. Pair him along side recent draftee, Johnny Flynn, and we have two point guards in the backcourt. 

Now to the more important front court.  We have two Power Forwards, Jefferson and Love, and a tweener, Gomes. 

Essentially, the Minnesota Timberwolves have three starters playing out of position.  Who are they…The Golden State Warriors?  Even the coach and General Manager seem out of position (Rambis will forever be seen as an LA assistant…David Kahn looks like a JCC youth director).

Dave Kahn has already taken severe heat over the Rubio debacle and may need a bold mid-season move to steer this franchise in the right direction. 

Al Jefferson is this team’s franchise player and will need more scoring from the wings and a real center to help his shaky interior defense.

The most attractive asset on the roster happens to be Kevin Love.  A Love deal could solve all of Minnesota’s issues. 

They can likely acquire an ample center and wing scoring in return and give Minny fans hope to believe in Kahn.

Potential Suitors – Oklahoma City, Sacramento

The OKC Thunder would be thrilled to acquire the Love Magnet. 

Jeff Green is a true No. 3 and is not an ideal fit alongside Kevin Durant. 

Both (Green and Love) could be swapped for one another with incentives involved and could jolt two of the cellar dwellers in the conference.

The Kings have been missing a true Power Forward since the days of Chris Webber. 

Sacramento happens to have some nice young pieces, Hawes and Martin, that would be ideal fits in Minnesota. 

The Kings also need an excuse to even further rebuild and Kevin Love is not a bad candidate to center a franchise around.

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