Possible NBA Trades
by Trevor Whenham - 06/26/2007
Heading into the NBA Draft this year the most interesting question could be whether Oden or Durant will go first, or whether one of the huge names that may or may not be available gets traded. Both questions are open to debate and interpretation. On the trade front we certainly don't know much, but we have learned a couple of things. First, no one wants to play in Boston. Both Kevin Garnett and Shawn Marion have expressed their total disgust at the prospect of heading to Beantown. Red Auerbach must be rolling in his grave over what has happened to his team. The other thing we have learned is that everyone, except perhaps Shawn Marion, wants to play with Phoenix. Both Garnett and Kobe Bryant have said that they would be thrilled to head to the desert. Maybe it has something to do with a Canadian point guard that lives in the area. Whether any interesting trades will ultimately happen or not, it's always fun to speculate. Here's a look at the chances of four players getting a new address:
The Big Three
Kevin Garnett - It's hard to imagine that Garnett, despite what he has loyally said, would have any interest in staying in Minnesota. The team has been varying shades of bad for way too long, and KG is just being wasted among all those lakes. The challenge isn't finding somewhere where he can fit - he's a freakishly talented and versatile player that would fit in almost any system in the league. The challenge is to find a team that can make the contract fit and the deal work. It will be easier to get him moved if Minnesota decides that they don't want equivalent value for him. That would be a ridiculous decision, but it would fit for the sorry Minnesota franchise. The biggest problem with this situation is that Boston is the most logical situation from a practical perspective - they have young talent and high draft picks that they are, perhaps unwisely, willing to trade - but Garnett doesn't want to go from one perennially rebuilding situation to another. If I were betting I would say that Garnett will still be in Minnesota at the start of the year. But for his sake, and for the sake of excitement wherever he lands, I hope I am wrong.
Kobe Bryant - Kobe doesn't know what he wants, and any team in the league would kill to have him. However, I have a very hard time believing that this moron will be wearing anything other than Lakers' gold next year. Jerry Buss has done a pretty lousy job of owning a winning team since Shaq left, but he's no idiot. He has to realize that Kobe is the best player in the league, that he sells truckloads of merchandise and that there is no such thing as good value for him in a trade. I think that it is much more likely that Buss finds a player that will make Kobe a little happier and the spoiled baby will quit whining. Of course, if you listen to Kobe he says he is headed to Chicago or Phoenix. It's hard to see either deal working - Phoenix probably doesn't have the financial maneuverability, and Chicago would have to give up a whole lot of the core of an already promising team to bring him in. Again I could be wrong, but I see a Bryant trade even less likely than a Garnett trade.
Shawn Marion - Unlike the first two, I'm fairly confident this guy is going to move. If you watched the playoffs then the reason is no mystery - Phoenix just isn't good enough in their current state, so something has to change. Marion is the odd man out - he's apparently a bit of an attitude case, he is the third man on the Phoenix totem pole behind Steve Nash and Amare Stoudemire, he's 29 -- which is getting older for a guy who relies on athleticism as much as Marion does -- and he has a fair bit of value on the market now. The most logical trade partner would seem to be the Lakers - Marion would probably stop Kobe's whining for a while, the Lakers could get rid of some of their crippling contracts and the Suns could get some developing talent like Andrew Bynum. If that doesn't work then Marion would seem to be an easier fit in Chicago than Kobe, and the Bulls have more than enough players to whet the appetite of the Suns. As a Canadian, and therefore a Steve Nash fan, I would love to see Marion head to Minnesota for Garnett. That would truly result in something spectacular to watch in Phoenix. The sticking point here could be that Marion wants a five-year max contract extension, which may be longer than teams would want to commit for him. He can opt out after next season if he isn't happy, and that could affect his market value.
The Lesser Light
Troy Hudson - This is almost certainly the first time that Hudson has been mentioned in the same breath as the first three on this list. He won't make nearly the same impact as the others for a new team, but he is certainly intriguing and likely desirable. He's a backup point guard in Minnesota, but he has shown in the past that he has the ability to play when given the chance. In 2002-03 he put up some pretty stellar numbers, but his problems since have been partly injuries, but mostly the mismanagement that has led Minnesota to end up in the situation where they are. A pile of teams need a point guard and this draft doesn't have a whole lot of top-rate ones to offer, so Hudson, who has asked to be traded, could become a very popular guy. He's solid, he's polished and seasoned enough to step in and start right away, and he won't make fatal mistakes. Hudson won't make headlines when he's traded, but I suspect that he will make fans of his new team very happy.