So what usually happens this time of year, partially due to my own boredom and partially because my favorite aspect of professional basketball, and partially what separates it from the other major American sports; trades, is that I start to think of phantom trade proposals. I think of trades for other teams to make, but I try to and usually succeed at focusing largely on the Knicks and what they currently need. Last year I thought of about fifty different trade proposals to get rid of Jared Jeffries and Larry Hughes, and this year I think I'm going to focus predominantly on acquiring pieces for New York's depth.
This is the first one I thought of and I think some people will hate it. Hopefully not everyone!
Disclaimer: I will not think of any trade scenarios for Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, Michael Jordan, Pete Maravich or any other superstar. I simply have no interest in it. Having said that, let's chat.
Anderson Varejao (5 years, about $8 million per): 28 years old; Center; 16.10 PER
Daniel "The Breast" Gibson (2 years, team option for third, about 4.4 million per): 24 years old; Guard; 14.97 PER
Ronny Turiaf (1 year, player option for second, about $4 million per): 27 years old; Center; 13.25 PER
Wilson Chandler (Final year, next year is a $3 million qualifying offer): 23 years old; Small Forward; 17.73 PER
Kelenna Azubuike (Final year, $3 million): 27 years old; Swingman; Career approximately 14.00 PER
Anthony Randolph (2 years at around $2.5 million, then a $4 million qualifying offer): 21 years old; PF/C; ??? PER
The first round draft pick he is "worth"
$3 million Cash
Why New York should do it
Amar'e Stoudemire can't play center for his whole career and expect to stay healthy. Because he makes $100 million for the next five years, that's kind of a priority. As such, it's become quite obvious that the Knicks would like an additional big man to save Stoudemire from banging too hard inside, pause, and to help him on the boards. Varejao is an extremely active center who excels at defending the post, defending the pick and roll, and pissing people off. Amar'e Stoudemire excels at none of those things. Having the two of them side-by side as a star two-man tandem for the next five years (They each have five year deals and were born two months apart), Varejao's defensive yin to Stoudemire's offensive yang, would be an unbelievable combination of contrasting skills.
Now let's talk Gibson. What do you need to know about him? 42% career 3-point shooter, decent ballhandler, lukewarm assist rate (that's gotten better this year), medium defender. Everyone's seen him play, I'm sure. Think Eddie House, but better in every way.
Giving up Chandler would hurt, of course, but Gallo is absolutely getting better and Shawne Williams looks to be developing into a viable wing option off the bench.
Why New York shouldn't do it
This trade forfeits a ton of flexibility. The Knicks lose $9 million of expiring contracts for these two mugs, taking on a five and a two year commitment. Also, giving up Wilson Chandler in the midst of his best year (and potentially his "I finally get it!" year) does not seem appetizing. He is still incredibly young and has all the room in the world to improve, especially if his recent shooting streak continues.
Ronny Turiaf is an emotional leader and has been a huge part of the culture change in New York's locker room.
Kelenna Azubuike is likely out after this year no matter what, so moving him wouldn't be a huge loss.
Giving up on Anthony Randolph so soon?
Why Cleveland should do it
It is going to be several years before Cleveland is any good. They have to get rid of Antawn Jamison's contract (or wait for it to go away), JJ Hickson needs to start playing defense and understanding the game of basketball as a whole, and they need solid young talent. In order to achieve these goals, they need flexibility, and getting two expiring contracts (Turiaf & Azubuike) is a big first step. Not to mention that Azubuike's contract, in all likelihood, is going to be paid almost entirely by insurance due to his injury.
The Cavaliers have made it clear that they want more than cap flexibility, however, and are looking for good young players. Chandler seems to be a good fit for a team that is severely lacking a presence on the wing (who isn't 34 years old or named "Jamario Moon") and ,at 23 years old, can help to construct the future of the team. The point guard of the future in Cleveland is a combination of 28 year old Mo Williams, whose shot should keep him effective until the end of his contract, which runs thru 2013, and Ramon Sessions, who is signed thru the same time frame. So, to get rid of an undersized 2-guard for a budding wing player seems a no-brainer, and it hardly makes any sense to keep a center who is signed for the next five years, when it is hardly realistic for Cleveland to expect to be good for any of those five. Additionally, Turiaf acts as a stopgap until they can make a run at Marc Gasol, Kendrick Perkins or Nene (hell, maybe even take a flier on Greg Oden or Yao!).
Also, Anthony Randolph could be a mega-star, but no one seems to be able to figure him out! For a small market team to acquire him, if he develops under his current contract, he would be an absolute steal.
Why Cleveland shouldn't do it
Anderson Varejao is an amazing defender, Daniel Gibson is only 24 years old, and they may be able to get a bit more for them. Additionally, Randolph is a complete enigma. Also, this trade doesn't get rid of Jamison's contract, which is probably at or near the top of Cleveland's list of priorities. Also, the deal does not necessarily include a draft pick.
Variations of the trade
Adding Jamison's contract and Curry's contract to the mix may make the deal more attractive to the Cavs. I know Knicks fans would hate that, as it would eliminate virtually all cap space for this summer (OH NO, NO MELO!!!!!!!!), but it would create $15 million for the summer of 2012 (Raymond Felton is either going to need an extension, or the Knicks could choose to go after Chris Paul or Deron Williams). The risk involved here, however, is that Stoudemire is not going to be young forever, and the longer New York waits to bolster the squad, the older he gets.
I'm not sure about the details of the trade, but I know this is how I wanted it to look in principle, with either Chandler or Gallinari. What made me ultimately decide on Chandler is that I think, as of right now, his trade value is actually higher for the first time in his career, plus the Cavs already have a ton of shooters.
What does everyone think of this? Any variations you can think of? Any details I missed?
Have at it, and expect more of these.
(Author's Note!: The more I think about it, the more I like the swap of Curry and Jamison. Although he's 34 years old and has an additional year on his contract, judging from what I saw of him the other night, Jamison can still get it done to some degree. One of the pioneers of the "Stretch Four" position, he can still shoot and is excellent at putting the ball in the cup around the basket. For this reason, he would be an excellent player off the currently shitty bench. Something out of nothing, I suppose. Tell me this depth chart isn't stellar?
Delicious! That is all!)