While the NBA trade deadline is just two days away, most 11th hour deals come on the day before. If you're following along at home, that would be tomorrow. Are you excited? So far the NBA trade rumors have been yawn-inspiring. The clock could expire on Thursday without a single deal done, and no one should be surprised. If Detroit does wind up in part of a trade, who might they partner with? To end our series, we look at all five Pacific Division teams at once: the Lakers, Clippers, Suns, Warriors and Kings.
- NBA Trade Rumors 8: Minnesota, Portland, Utah
- NBA Trade Rumors 7: New Orleans, OKC, Denver
- NBA Trade Rumors 6: Memphis, Dallas, Houston
- NBA Trade Rumors 5: Washington, Charlotte, San Antonio
- NBA Trade Rumors 4: Miami, Orlando, Atlanta
- NBA Trade Rumors 3: Milwaukee, Cleveland, Indiana
- NBA Trade Rumors 2: New Jersey, Toronto, Chicago
- NBA Trade Rumors 1: Philadelphia, New York, Boston
LA Lakers: Pacific Division | 25 - 16 Record
It'd be a shame if the Lakers didn't use that $8.9M trade exception they acquired in the Lamar Odom trade. It's free money to LA, who will pay the luxury tax this year and next year no matter what they do. It hasn't stopped them in the past, and it's not like they can't afford it. If they want to claim another title, however, they're going to want to use it before the deadline. They're in need of help in a big way, since only Pau, Bynum and Kobe are producing anything of consequence on court. While the championship recipe is two dominant bigs plus a superstar wing, you need role players and a bench to get the job done.
Trade Status: This trade exception makes LA one of the more likely trade market players up to the deadline. They have to use it. Why would they want to sit tight? They need help at the point, small forward and behind Gasol and Bynum, if the former stays on the team beyond the deadline. If we can assume Gasol is staying put, and that's not a certainty, this team needs to fill some holes within the next 48 hours.
Trade Likelihood: 7/10
Pistons - Lakers Trade Options: At every position of need for LA, Detroit has answers. Maybe not the sexiest answers, but enough to stir the rumor mill a bit. The Lakers were apparently interested in Will Bynum. Since Metta World Peace is playing horribly, they need small forward help as Matt Barnes can't man it on his own. They could acquire Tayshaun Prince with the trade exception and use the amnesty clause on World Peace (lol) this summer. Pistons fans have discussed this option since the day Prince was resigned, but how would this be attractive to LA? Matt Barnes is having a better season than Tayshaun Prince.
But if I'm Joe Dumars, I offer something else completely. I'd offer Will Bynum and Jason Maxiell for the Lamar Odom trade exception, straight up. Maxiell has been playing great over the last two months, as a result of having a concrete role in Detroit. He'll continue on that pace elsewhere, so long as he has that concrete role. He's the ideal first big off the bench that the Lakers sorely need, and he could be packaged with a guy who can fill their other hole at the point. The Lakers lose nothing and gain plenty, the Pistons get salary relief which they sorely need.
Of course, when making the call to LA, you've got to ask for their first round pick in the deal. They'll likely say no (as they apparently did to Portland about the Jamal Crawford trade rumor), but the relief alone gives Detroit greater flexibility as it heads into the off-season.
LA Clippers | Pacific Division | 23 - 17 Record
Despite having the fifth best record in the West, the Clippers are not a team without holes. Their success is due to the one-two punch of Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, followed by the firm knee-to-the-junk by DeAndre Jordan. Their next best performer, Chauncey Billups, is gone for the season with an Achilles injury. Next up is Mo Williams, who is filling in well as the team's 6th man scorer a la Jason Terry and future Brandon Knight (couldn't resist). Beyond that, though? The Clips got nuthin'.
This team is in pretty desperate need of help on the wing. They're starting the inconsistent Randy Foye at the 2 and the aging and terribly over-priced Caron Butler at the 3 (who is almost as old and almost as expensive as Tayshaun Prince). They've added Kenyon Martin to add some depth to their frontcourt, but this team needs wings that can score-- and in a bad way.
Trade Status: The latest rumor has LA shipping out junk for Jamal Crawford. This might be a solid option for them, as a three guard lineup with Paul, Williams and Crawford gives them three scorers and three ball handlers. The Clippers want to part with Ryan Gomes in the deal, but apparently the $4M on the second year of his contract is too much for Portland. LA would include the young Eric Bledsoe in the deal. Bledsoe is playing poorly, but still young with potential. I don't see how this deal isn't being discussed more seriously by the two teams.
Trade Likelihood: 3/10
Pistons - Clippers Trade Options: LA needs wings, but the only wings in Detroit are old, overpaid or under-performing (or all of the above). These teams can't help eachother at present, unless one or the other is facilitating a three-team exchange.
Phoenix Suns | Pacific Division | 19 - 22 Record
The Suns are two-and-a-half games out of the playoffs and they're not likely to get any closer. They're led by a 37-year-old Steve Nash and his young frontcourt partner, Marcin Gortat. Gortat is one of the league's top centers, who is scoring efficiently, rebounding well, blocking shots and defending with focus. Jared Dudley, Grant Hill and Channing Frye round out the starting lineup, and these players are all actually pretty effective. If Nash's age doesn't surprise you, however, Hill's will-- the one time Pistons superstar is now 39 years old.
Trade Status: It doesn't sound like this team is going to do anything on the trade market this season. Yes, they certainly have needs, but they don't seem to be in any hurry to make changes. This might not be wise, given that Steve Nash and Grant Hill are starting for this team-- and are collectively 76 years old. For some reason or another, it feels like the Suns are just letting things play out. They might be waiting on their 2012 lottery pick and soon-to-come cap space to make adjustments.
Trade Likelihood: 1/10
Pistons - Suns Trade Options: These are another set of teams that don't appear to be in position to help each other out. Phoenix does have some nice players that Detroit could use, but there's no reason for Phoenix to move what it has on its current roster.
Golden State Warriors | Pacific Division | 17 - 21 Record
Just about every big man on the block has been approached from the Golden State Warriors. Dwight Howard, Luis Scola, Andrew Bogut-- as soon as trade rumors started swirling, this team's name was involved.
Trade Status: The rumors all have different players on their way out of Golden State. Monta Ellis, Andris Biedrins, Dorell Wright and others are supposedly involved in talks with Orlando, with Milwaukee and even Houston. I can understand the flaws of an Ellis/Curry backcourt and any frontcourt involving Andris Biedrins, but you know what's surprising? This is a surprisingly stacked roster. The advanced stats suggest that every player that has logged more than 10 minutes in Golden State is effective in some way, none of them bringing negative production to the team. This might explain why Golden State is so active on the trade market, because they might have more than anyone else to sell. (and the lack of a first round pick might motivate them further)
Trade Likelihood: 5/10
Pistons - Warriors Trade Options: Can the Pistons offer the Warriors what they covet the most? No. Golden State is trying to do whatever it can to bring in a center, something Detroit doesn't have on the market.
Poor Andris Biedrins. What does this trade talk say about him? The Warriors are even trying to get their hands on Chris Kaman, the Allen Iverson of big men (couldn't resist). Biedrins is a pretty flawed player. Hollinger has his PER rated at a lowly 9.3. He's averaging only 2 points and 4 rebounds per game, now sitting behind Ekpe Udoh in the depth chart.
If Golden State is able to make a deal for a center that ships out Dorell Wright while Andris Biedrins stays in Oakland, it's worth a last minute phone call. "Without Wright, you're slim at Small Forward and Klay Thompson could use a veteran presence to split time with. We hate Biedrins' contract, but we'll swap with you given our positional needs and the similarity of the amounts due."
I've railed on Biedrins before, but the guy is 25, defending and rebounding very well and the change of scenery might do him well. If we're stuck paying Prince $28M anyway, might as well move that money to somebody young who fills a position of need, backup or not.
Sacramento Kings | Pacific Division | 14 - 27 record
The Kings are half a game behind the Pistons, holding on to the handful of extra lottery balls that come with the lower position. A decisive game for the lottery will be held tomorrow night, when the Pistons visit the Kings in Sacramento.
Trade Status: While apparently only JJ Hickson has been mentioned on the trade market for Sacramento, there's reason to believe this team (like Detroit) would move just about anybody but their sophomore center. Hickson is having a horrible season, shooting just 37% from the field. He's 23-years-old, however, and potentially worth taking on before he hits restricted free agency.
Trade Likelihood: 2/10
Pistons - Kings Trade Options: If the Kings are trying to dump JJ Hickson, it's at least worth a phone call for Detroit. He's a horrible shooter, but he rebounds well and might improve if used properly. There's also Hassan Whiteside, the 2010 NBA second round draft pick who has only played 32 minutes for the Kings this season. Might they trade him straight up for one of Detroit's two second rounders this season? He's performed well in the D League despite rather pedestrian looking numbers. But under the right circumstance (see: a team that needs a 7-foot rebounding/blocking backup center), he might have something to contribute.
Call Sacramento, see if the Pistons have anything of interest that could bring back Whiteside. Sacramento has enough depth in their frontcourt that they don't need the kid, and if they want another shot at the second round Detroit can facilitate that. If there is a player of interest to the Kings on Detroit's roster in exchange (a lower tier performer), bon appetit, Sacto. Given Sacramento's needs for wing prospects, this might be one trade where Austin Daye could actually be moved for something of value...