NBA Trade Speculation: 10 Players Who Could Be Dealt When Lockout Is Lifted
The NBA lockout that recently kicked in has put a lot of things on hold. Foremost among them right now? What would have been the 2011 offseason..
This year's free agent class is nowhere near as exciting as last year's, but there was a great deal of serious trade chatter that would have made this offseason excting.
There are several very good (and even a couple elite) players who were possible moving pieces. Had the players and owners been able to reach a new CBA, some of these guys may have been dealt already.
So, when the lockout is over, we could be in for a lot of deals. Here are 10 big names that may be on the move when the sides come together (fingers crossed that happens before the 2012 offseason)...
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Andre Iguodala may be the most underrated passer in the league. He averaged 6.3 assists a game last year. The only forward with a better average there was LeBron James.
He would be an absolutely perfect addition for either the Golden State Warriors or Los Angeles Clippers.
For Golden State, he'd be a huge defensive upgrade and would be able to create lots of open looks for Stephen Curry, Dorrell Wright and David Lee.
For Los Angeles? Just imagine the Iguodala/Blake Griffin pick-and-roll combo.
Monta Ellis is one of the league's best scorers and a workhorse on the floor (he's led the league in minutes per game for each of the last two seasons).
If you omit Ellis's rookie year (when he was fresh out of high school), he's averaged 21.2 points and 4.6 assists a game for his career. And his field goal percentage is very good for an undersized shooting guard (47 percent).
The Philadelphia 76ers looked like they could have used a go-to guy on offense during the playoffs last year and Ellis could definitely be that player. An Iguodala for Ellis swap works financially and makes sense for both teams basketball-wise.
All three of the Lakers premier big men have been rumored to be available (Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum and Lamar Odom).
The one who has emerged recently as the likely Laker castoff is Odom. Would we all have to shed a tear over the cancellation of Khloe and Lamar if its leading man left Hollywood?
The Suns desperately need to kick start a full-scale rebuilding effort. Steve Nash has been phenomenal in Phoenix and may still be the best offensive point guard in the league, but the formula isn't working in terms of team success.
The high-flying, fast-paced, Nash-led action is fun to watch, just not championship-winning fun. If Nash wants a title before he retires, he'll have to hunt for it elsewhere. And if the Suns want a title in the next five to 10 years, they need to make Nash available and see what they can get for him.
The Hawks have been essentially the same team for three or four years now. Despite having a lot of raw talent, they can't seem to get any further than the second round in the playoffs.
They may look to shake things up this offseason, and Josh Smith's insane athleticism and versatile game would attract plenty of attention in the trade market.
This offseason, the Wizards may be looking to make room in the lineup for incoming rookie forward Jan Vesely.
Andray Blatche and Flip Saunders don't seem to have the healthiest of player/coach relationships, and the big man may have done just enough last year (17 points and eight rebounds a game) to earn some attention in the trade market.
Tony Parker was one of the hottest names in the rumor mill before the Spurs traded his backup (George Hill) on draft night.
Some felt that moving Hill (Parker's previously supposed replacement) pretty much signaled that the French point guard would be stuck in San Antonio despite feeling like he doesn't have a shot at a title there.
I still feel like there's a chance he goes.
Al Jefferson/Paul Millsap
The Utah Jazz may be in the midst of one of the quickest rebuildings we've ever seen. They were in the playoffs in 2010 but have had their roster overhauled since then (lost their two leading scorers in Carlos Boozer and Deron Williams).
Somehow, they already have four lottery players from the last two drafts (Derrick Favors, Gordon Hayward, Enes Kanter and Alec Burks) to build around.
Now, they can add another piece or two by trading one of their two starting-caliber power forwards (Al Jefferson or Paul Millsap).
The writing is on the wall for the Hornets and Chris Paul (I should wax poetic more often).
In the name of looking for a title, CP3 will be asking out of New Orleans soon. This could end up going down a lot like the Melo situation did.
If by some chance, the Knicks land him, they would instantly be in better shape than the Miami Heat. Their "Big Three" of Paul, Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire would complement each other much better than LeBron, D-Wade and Bosh do.
Howard is still saying most of the right things when trade rumors with his name start floating around. Orlando is insisting they want no part of moving him either.
However, if push comes to shove and someone gives Orlando a great offer they may pull the trigger the way the Jazz did with Deron Williams.
I said Chris Paul's situation may go down a lot like Melo's. Howard's could be a lot like Williams' (preemptive strike from the team not wanting to lose their star for nothing in free agency).
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