Howdy folks, with only a few weeks left to go, there are sure deals to be happening. Some will leave fans jumping for joy, others will cause you to scratch your head quite a bit. Rumours are already circulating and the internet is salivating with possibilities. Before all of these TV and radio analysts get a crack at the actual trades that may or may not happen, let me give you the A.S.S. breakdown of what types of trades you will see in the next few weeks.
The “we ain’t winning” this year trade
Also known as the rebuilding trade. This will usually come from a team that maybe had low playoff seed hopes or may have just recently lost their superstar. They don’t have a major trading chip, but they have a lot of role player pieces that they can dangle in front of a contender in exchange for young talent, picks and usually salary space. You’ll never see teams take on lots of contract money in this way as they’re not interested in being your next big money vet’s vacation destination, they have a vision for the future and they’re starting now.
Team you will see this trade from this year: Orlando. The Magic had a respectable start to their season, but unfortunately they’ve been derailed by one too many injuries. The new GM already proved to be a savvy negotiator last year and they do have young talent and solid building blocks in Orlando after losing Dwight Howard. They also have JJ Reddick who can shoot the lights out. He’s not a cornerstone franchise guy, but he is having a hell of a year. Look for Hennigan to sell high to a contender who needs more outside firepower. Magic will hope for one or two youngsters in return, plus a draft pick.
The luxury tax trade
This one is pretty self explanatory. Under the new NBA luxury tax, teams will need to mass clean cap space. This will usually come from teams that have A LOT on their payroll. Plenty of above average players who demand high number contracts. For some teams, that won’t be an issue, and they’ll gladly pay the cap, others will clear out as fast as possible. In these types of trades you will usually see a team take on expiring contracts to dump one of it’s more skilled, but also more expensive players.
We already saw this happen with the: Grizzlies. The Grizz had a lot on their payroll. Conley Jr., Gasol Jr., Z-Bo, Tony Allen and some other pieces. The purpose of the trade was simple, to shed Gay’s gargantuan salary, and try not to lose too much firepower in the process. Memphis recruited a third team in Detroit and got themselves 3 very good things out of this trade. 1. They no longer have to worry about Rudy’s mammoth of a contract 2. While not a like for like replacement they got a very serviceable vet who is still defensively sound in Tayshaun Prince. 3. They have a young, promising PF in Ed Davis when they inevitably decide to part ways with Randolph (most likely at the end of his contract). That’s how you do it kids.
The “go back, we screwed this up” trade
Normally, this a very rare animal among trades. The people behind this will get ridiculed and their pride will be hurt. The team involved in this trade will usually be the one who was incredibly active in the off-season, pulling of mind-boggling moves and gearing up for a “new era” in franchise history. Only, it didn’t work and now they’re sitting on the floor of the nursery that used to be their team, gathering the pieces. Pulling off this trade is like admitting to the fans: “Look, we were wrong, we didn’t do the math, we just made a big name move with no other plans beyond that and hoped it would work.”
We would have seen this from: the Lakers (prior to Gasol’s injury). As a Lakers fan, I refuse to call “failure” on the season, but the evidence is staring me in the face. Kobe and Dwight don’t get along, Gasol’s confidence is shot, and bringing in Nash pretty much ensured that LAL will have the worst defensive perimeter in the league. It was half repeat of the Payton/Malone fiasco, half idiotic hysteria caused by Dwight Howard. It was clear the pieces they had weren’t not from the same puzzle box, and some of them may have been Legos. If Gasol didn’t get hurt, you can damn well bet he would have been moved.
This is a weird one to classify. Normally this could also be part “luxury tax” trade, but the team takes on a better player in return, usually with an expiring contract. In this case, the team is usually close to success and they’re trying to give it a good shot, but they’re one player short. So they trade up for a bigger name with an expiring contract to fill those shoes in hopes that it all pays off. One problem is that they normally don’t have enough money to keep the said player after this season. Sometimes they just won’t want to.
Teams that may be doing this according to rumours: Clippers and Spurs. This is a weird one, I only heard through the grapevine that the Clippers are looking at Josh Smith, while the Spurs will be going after Big Al. Neither of those trades make sense to me in the long run. There is no way the LAC will be able to afford J-Smoove after this year, so this move would pretty much mean a one and done run at the playoffs and showing Chris Paul the GM is willing to trade. The Spurs on the other hand can probably hang on to Big Al, but it’s not a Pop trade. He won’t take on a big contract with no upside for the future.
The “get what you can for him” trade
This is fairly straight forward. This is what the Magic should have done last year. This is by the books. You have a superstar or a high-value player. You have strong suspicions or downright know he won’t resign with your team next year, either because you won’t give him enough money or he wants to play elsewhere. You dump this player to a “luxury tax” or “rental” team and get strong, rebuilding pieces in return. Congratulations, next year you’ll be making “we ain’t winning this year” trades.
Look out Hawks and Jazz, both teams are sitting on two premier players at their positions with expiring contracts. So Big Al and J-Smoove, you guys are pretty much relocating in the next few weeks.
The “small changes” trade
These are the biggest impact trades for current season, but also least profiled ones. Teams involved are usually good, strong teams who think they have a flaw. Either position wise, or some aspect of the game. They will make a small move or two to cover up that flaw and try and make themselves bulletproof for the upcoming playoff runs. Sometimes, these trades will also push great teams to elite status.
The list of suspects here is high. The Thunder may be looking for a back-up PG to play second fiddle when Russel Westbrook is on the bench. Indiana needs that one extra offensive threat to be a real contender in the east (possibly a 3 point shooter of Reddick’s caliber). Grizzlies need to add a bit more wing depth and scoring now that Gay is gone. Nuggets could use a off the bench guard who is efficient in scoring the ball. These are all small trades that won’t make the sport’s front page, but you may end up talking about them come Playoffs.
The “Toronto Raptors” trade
Usually the type of trade that escapes logic and shows very little foresight into the world of basketball. Like locking your team into a high-salary which leaves zero flexibility for upcoming years, effectively giving up a development future for 2-3 years of 6-8th playoff seed mediocrity. No self-respecting GM will usually pull these off.