Wednesday, February 20, 2013

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.

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