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.