Thursday, September 27, 2007

Trading Spaces: NBA Style

Wow, has there ever been such an exciting offseason in the NBA? Big names like Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Zach Randolph...and yes, I'm including Al Jefferson in the mix too, have changed teams. Other lesser players have also changed zip codes. So far the Celtics and Rockets seem to be the clear winners of the offseason, although the Blazers and the (Seattle-Oklahoma City) Sonics have made moves with an eye towards the future.

But in recent days two more prominent players -- with perhaps the best nicknames in the NBA: The Matrix and AK-47 -- especially in the fantasy ranks, have asked to be traded. Now will their pleas go unheeded like those of Kobe and Jermaine O'Neal? That's still to be seen, but GMs and fans around the league are hoping to take advantage of the Suns and Jazz.

What's amazing to me in all the coverage is how little trade value Kirilenko seems to have. When motivated and given a chance to participate he's still a top player in the league. But of all the commentary, the most shocking was this one from ESPN's JA Adande: "And if Kirilenko does want to go elsewhere in the NBA, he should be wary of following in some dubious footsteps. There's a steady trend of players who have left the Jazz -- including David Benoit, Howard Eisley, Bryon Russell and Donyell Marshall -- only to see their stats decline when they got to their new teams." I usually like Adande, but what is he smoking comparing AK-47 to those guys. Kirilenko is a thousand times better than those guys.

Now many newspapers are talking about proposed trades. Few, if any make any sense. The one that makes the least sense is the Marion for Kirilenko swap. In my opinion, Marion will suffer the same ills that Kirilenko does in Jerry Sloan's plodding system. It's one thing for the Matrix to be 3rd fiddle to Nash and Amare. It's another to take a backseat to Boozer and Williams. Plus it doesn't solve any financial issues on Phoenix's side, so this is not happening.

Of course, the New York papers are talking about how nice it would be for either player to come to the Knicks. But they have nothing that anyone wants.

My thoughts? I think that either AK-47 or Marion would be awesome in Cleveland's maroon and gold. Both would thrive next to LeBron (who wouldn't) and solve a lot of problems on the offensive and defensive end. Plus the Cavs have some assets to send back and cap issues should fit. Here are 2 trade scenarios:

* Cavs trade Larry Hughes and Donyell Marshall to Jazz for AK-47. The salaries are a virtual match. Hughes has been a bad fit in Cleveland, but would satisfy the huge hole at shooting guard that has been there since Jeff Hornacek left. Marshall would still be good off the bench and would help stretch the defense to open the middle for Boozer and Paul Millsap.

* Cavs sign/trade Andeson Varajeo and Aleksander Pavlovic and a #1 pick to Phoenix for Marion. This solves the Cavs issues with both of their restricted free agents and brings possibly one of the 10 best players to put next to LeBron. The upside for Phoenix is that they get one very active big man back, a good shooter, one of the thousand draft picks they've traded away for cash the last 3 years...and continue the parade of foreign players onto the Suns roster.

Will something happen? Probably not unless one of these players flat don't report to camp and hold out. Otherwise, I don't see either team taking the proverbial "bag of donuts" that they will be offered. But if something does happen it could change the course of the NBA and fantasy leagues around the world.


Jim said...

Glenn, good insight. The trade that makes sense to me is RJ for AK47. Salaries match up, Jazz get a great glue guy who has proven he can play third fiddle to Vince and Kidd and the Nets get an elite shot blocker who could change the face of their defense.
Could you imagine Kirilenko taking feeds on the break from Kidd?

Glenn Gruber said...

Jim, that makes sense for the Jazz, but leaves a gaping hole at SF for the Nets. Kirilenko isn't really a 3, that's one of the reasons he's struggled so much in Utah after they brought in Boozer and Okur. He may be able to defend a wing player, but I don't think his offensive skills fit unless you think Bostjan Nachbar will step up at the 3. But the pace that Kidd would set is a great fit for Kirilenko's skills.

Rudy said...

I would do RJ for Kirilinko if I was Rod Thorn.

Better to have a gaping hole at SF than a gaping hole at Center/Power Forward, which is what killed the Nets last year. Even with Krstic coming back, the Nets still need that big-time shot blocker. And the upside for Kirilinko playing with Kidd would be awesome - all the Russian has to do is run the wing and he will get tons of easy baskets.

Love RJ, but he and VC together are not a great fit. Kirilenko is a much better fit.

jim said...

someone please explain to me the hornets trading a young big with upside like cedric simmons for a complete has-been like david wesley?