There are three scenarios which precipitate a trade:
- Your team needs one specific piece to get over the hump (see: Cleveland)
- Your club is stuck in a rut (see: half the Western Conference)
- Another team is suddenly struck by the angel of charity and is willing to part with a premier piece for bread crumbs (see: the 2008 Memphis Grizzlies)
The Phoenix Suns are in group number two.
Sure, they're better than everyone thought they would be, meaning that instead of watching ping pong balls with fingers crossed, they're stuck in the middle of the pack out West.
Phoenix's problem is that they've almost no way to bolster they're roster.
This year's draft pick is the property of Oklahoma City, you're not trading Nash, and giving away Stoudemire is too dangerous to do at this point in the game.
That leaves Leandro Barbosa (loves Phoenix, would cry if he left) and Jason Richardson (used to being unloved) as your only viable trade bait. Everyone else is either too essential or paid too little to be used in a team-changing transaction.
So trade both of them. To Houston. For Tracy McGrady
Your eyes are fine. Read the previous paragraph again, but add Kyle Lowry as another piece in the deal. This can and would work for the following reasons.
Reason Number One: T-Mac is ticked off and wants to prove the to world he's not done. In a Western Conference playoff push, I want a guy with his (potential) talent and that kind of attitude on my team.
Reason Number Two: McGrady becomes a free agent this summer. That's exciting. $22 million off the books in the storied summer of 2010?
Suddenly, the worst-case scenario doesn't look so bad. Say McGrady doesn't work out. He's really finished, or he's as lazy as his face suggests on hi-def. If T-Mac doesn't pan out, kick him to the curb in the summer.
Suddenly, I (meaning, if I were Steve Kerr/Robert Sarver with basketball sense) have a ton of extra money to spend in the best summer of free agency. I can finally beef up a roster that, frankly, is thin on the talented role-playing side.
I'm not talking Lebron. Everyone else can fight for him.
I'm talking the range of say, Nate Robinson/David Lee up to maybe Joe Johnson.
Whatever the case, I've got options galore to finally build a roster around Nash and Stoudemire, instead of piecing one together at the last minute (although admirably done with Frye and Dudley).
Say I (Steve Kerr/Robert Sarver) spend my cash on David Lee, Nate Robinson and either Mike Miller or Travis Outlaw.
Suddenly, I've got the following roster:
Starters: Nash, Robinson, Miller/Outlaw, Stoudemire, Lee
Bench: Dudley, Dragic, Amundson, Lopez, Frye, Lowry
If I'm Steve Kerr/Robert Sarver, I'm feeling pretty good about this roster. It's deeper (one bench player may not be there because of money), balanced, and ready to deal with the departures of Nash and Grant Hill.
It'd be shocking if McGrady were to regain form, but if he does, the Suns have a legit perimeter star to help make up for a slight lack of depth. In either scenario, the Suns are better off than they would be just standing pat.
Which, as the Jazz could tell you, gets you nowhere.