Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Cleaning Out The INBOX: Trade Deadline Edition

Following up today's blog on the NBA Trade Deadline, a series of questions came in via email and Twitter. No better way to get the answers out than with another edition of "Cleaning Out The INBOX". 

Should I start packing my bags? - J-Smoove, ATL

Well, J, if you are who I think you are...yes. You're gone by 3pm. Whether it is Milwaukee, Houston (more on this in a bit), Brooklyn or Phoenix, I think you'll have a new home. Hopefully you like it and get your max deal this summer.

How good am I? Seriously...tell me. - D. Morely, H-Town

I've long said that Masai Ujiri of the Nuggets was the best GM in the league. But now, yes, Mr. Morley, he is riding shotgun to the rig you're driving. Sure, the big free agents haven't lined up for your cash...yet. But, acquiring the right pieces to get James Harden, Lin and Asik, while still having assets and space, was smart. Turning the Bill Simmons "pu pu platter" into Thomas Robinson, whether to keep or deal again, is pure genius. My guess is you're turning Robinson and something into our friend from the last question, Josh Smith. But if not, you're set up real nice for July. Congrats, but keep an eye on that rear view, I think Masai is going to stay hot on your trail.

Why are Celtics fans intent on repeating the mistakes of the early 90's by not wanting KG and/or Pierce dealt for future assets? - Mike, Boston

As one of these alleged fans, I take offense, but I'll defend. First, this isn't like that team. They were ruined by the deaths of Bias and Reggie. They literally had NOTHING in the cupboard, or walking through that loser Pitino's door. The 2013 C's are different. If they stood pat and waited for KG/PP to retire, they's still have Rondo, Bradley, Sullinger and Melo to build off. It isn't legendary, but it is better than when Bird and crew left. Second, this team is still competing. They're only a few games out of the 2 seed and I'd argue they might be the ONLY team that could beat Miami in the East. They just match up that way, even without Rondo. Had they continued playing like they were before the Rondo injury, I'd probably be first in line to say "blow it up". But until they give us reason to think otherwise, I'm all for standing pat. With the cap the way it is now, you won't have 22 years of bad basketball if you give up a year or two for this regime. I'd gladly sacrifice a year or two in the future to watch these guys stay together and retire in Green.

Why doesn't anyone want me? - The Ex-Mr. K, Brooklyn

I don't have all day, but here goes...if the highlight of your year is being a diss in a Kanye lyric, followed by J.R. Smith owning you on Twitter after a lame attempt to trash talk, you're starting behind the 8-ball. Second, you're a liability with all of this off-the-court shenanigans. Saying you'd miss a playoff game, or series, to go to your court case just to embarrass the un-embarrassable (not sure its even a word, but how else to describe Kim K?!) instead of focusing on basketball? Yeah, I'm sure teams are lining up to have you on their roster. Third, your stats bro...worse than the living conditions on the Triumph. You can't make that much dough, with that little production and expect anyone to want you. We live in the world of salary caps, luxury tax and the dreaded repeater tax. If I were you, I'd keep my mouth shut, start balling and be thrilled that Kanye didn't tell Jay to cut you from the team for real.

Have your thoughts on who goes where changed since this morning? - Joe via Twitter

A little. I still think Boston holds their ground, but I'm a lot more nervous than last deadline. I really hope I'm not about to tune in to The Truth's last game as a Celtic. I think Josh Smith is going to be dealt, just not sure where. Houston intrigues me with the 3-team they put together today. I smell something, just not sure if it is for tomorrow or pre-draft. If Milwaukee thinks Jennings and Smith can be the future, I think they make the deal with Atlanta for Monta Ellis. I'd be surprised if Redick isn't dealt, just like I'd be surprised if the Jazz and Knicks didn't make any moves. I would like to see Indiana and the Clippers show us they're serious about making a run this year, but I don't know if either team pulls the trigger. All I know is this: we are 17 hours from the deadline and nothing is certain except for at least one more time, the Captain, Paul Pierce, is about to lead the Celtics against their hated rival, the LA Lakers, on what is sure to be an emotional night at Staples after the passing of Dr. Buss. I'm going to go enjoy that and hopefully escape this deadline madness for a few hours.

Waiting For The First Domino: Trade Deadline 2013

Before we get going, condolences to the Buss family on the loss of Dr. Jerry Buss. As a Celtics fan, you have to respect what the man did with that franchise and for the Celtics/Lakers rivalry. A true pioneer in the league and will be missed by all. 

With every NBA beat writer, analyst, pundit and fan on the edge of their set for the next 48 hours until Thursday's 4pm EST Trade Deadline, what else is there to do but throw my two cents in on who is going (or staying) where?

First things first: trades are going down. I don't expect this deadline to pass with a whisper. Now, who goes where or how big the deals are remains to be seen, but I think some GM's will get their work in over the next two days. Just how much work gets done depends on two guys named Danny.

Out in Atlanta, the domino that could lead to a slew of others falling is in the hands of Hawks GM Danny Ferry. Teams have been made well aware of the fact that Josh Smith is on the block. My guess is many teams are waiting to see where he lands before consummating their own deals. Smith wants max money and the ATL isn't about to pony up, so it looks like he's played his last game for the team.

Meanwhile, Ferry's counterpart in Boston, Danny Ainge, has had the urge to blow the Celtics up for the last two deadlines and off-seasons. While he's stayed put, the buzz around the league is that with Rondo out, this might be his chance to ship KG and Pierce out and start over next year with a rehabbed Rajon. My feelings on Pierce EVER getting dealt are long known on this blog, so we'll leave that alone. With the team playing well, he could choose to stand pat or add a piece and roll the dice as well.

Once these two figure out their strategies, the rest of the league will survey the damage (or lack thereof) and most likely jump in as well. Here is the list of high-profile trade targets and my thoughts on where they'll be Thursday evening.

Josh Smith, ATL:  Josh is gone. The team can't afford to see him walk this summer for nothing. Ferry is talking tough now, but as the hours pass, he may have to take pennies on the dollar to avoid being shut out. The usual suspects are lined up in Brooklyn, Boston, Milwaukee and Phoenix, with others internally discussing the move. Prediction: Brooklyn, if Ferry will take Mr. Kardashian. Getting Brooks from the Nets is a great move, paired with Teague in the frontcourt. Boston may come with Jeff Green/Brandon Bass, but if they only want Pierce, I don't see it happening. The best move would be for the Lakers to offer Dwight Howard for him. Both teams win, but it won't happen.

Dwight Howard, LAL: The Train Wreck of the NBA. This guy is a malcontent and is messing up a chance to be a true star in Hollywood. The Lakers say they won't move him, but is he going to stay this summer? I'd move him to Atlanta now. He should welcome the move. He'd get max money and have a chance to rebuild his image at home. Prediction: He stays put, but both sides will regret it.

JJ Redick, ORL: Indiana, Chicago, Milwaukee, the Knicks and the T-Wolves all have shown interest. Orlando will be outbid on him in July, so holding out for a 1st round pick just to lose him anyway isn't the brightest move. The Knicks offered Shumpert and as a rebuilding team, this would be smart. Depending on D-Rose's health, Chicago would be a great fit for both and Indiana could give the Heat a run with JJ on the roster. Prediction: Indiana, if they are serious about taking a shot at the title.

Kevin Garnett, BOS: He told the Nuggets no. The Clippers are still discussing, although reports late last night said they have shelved the talks for now. Garnett is as loyal as they come. He stayed in Minnesota for years when he should have gotten out and now has that same mentality for the C's. A shot at a title and getting closer to his Malibu home seem like deal-makers, but if the man bleeds green as he claims, playing for the red and blue of the Clippers isn't in the cards. Prediction: KG uses his no-trade and stays in Boston, meaning Paul Pierce stays as well and Ainge dances with this team one more time.

Al Jefferson/Paul Millsap, UTAH: The Jazz need to move one of these two. Jefferson would be the logical choice. San Antonio could use his size for one last run in the Duncan era. However, if it means moving Kawhi Leonard, it isn't happening. That leads to looking at deals for Millsap, who somehow holds more value around the league. Prediction: Millsap to the Clippers for Bledsoe, once KG firmly rejects the chance to head to LA.

The Rest: Most of the lower profile deals that will happen after these players are settled will come to light quickly. Jermaine O'Neal could be headed to the Knicks. The Thunder want to move Eric Maynor, but also are discussing a Kendrick Perkins for  Marcin Gortat deal with Phoenix, who I think will move someone by Thursday, either Gortat, Jared Dudley, or Sebastian Telfair, maybe even two of those guys. Monta Ellis could be out of Milwaukee if they can find the right big in a deal. DeJuan Blair appears to be on the move in San Antonio as well.

Trade Deadline Wednesday will be interesting in terms of waiting to see if one of the big dominoes falls early, creating a crazy final 24 hours of rumors and speculation. If nothing happens today, the action could be fast and furious tomorrow. Be sure to head back for analysis of any trades or lack of movement during the next 48 hours.