This is my attempt at a 4 way trade between PHX, UTA, NOH and CHI. I think it makes sense for everyone involved...what do you guys think?
Phoenix Out: Shaquille O'Neal(expiring), Jason Richardson(2 years)
Phoenix In: Luol Deng(5 years), Tyson Chandler(2 years), Andrei Kirelenko(2 years)
Chicago Out: Luol Deng(5 years), Tim Thomas(expiring), Jerome James(super expiring, 80% covered by insurance)
Chicago In: Shaquille O'Neal(expiring)
New Orleans Out: Tyson Chandler(2 years)
New Orleans In: Jerome James(expiring), Tim Thomas(expiring)
Utah Out: Andrei Kirelenko
Utah In: Jason Richardson
Reasoning for all four teams after the jump....Why for Phoenix?: They sell high on Shaq and pick up a young player they covet in Luol Deng, who hopefully with the help of Phoenix's voodoo training staff can revive his career. Tyson Chandler is the center that they've long been looking to pair with Amare; his defense and rebounding would be ideal fits in the SSOL system. Leandro Barbosa's play has made Jason Richardson expendable, and for a team that drastically needs another defender, Andrei Kirelenko seems like a perfect fit and would replace a lot of what they used to have in Shawn Marion.
Why not for Phoenix?: Chandler, Deng and AK =a lot of money to take in for three underachieving players. In Chandler/Deng's cases, their injuries might derail their careers, and this move completely limits any financial flexibility Phoenix could look forward to with Shaq/Nash/ coming off the books. For a money conscious franchise with a stingy owner, this trade almost seems like an impossibility.
Why for Chicago?: Luol Deng has not lived up to his contract, and acquiring Shaq works out for them in a variety of ways. It immediately boosts their lineup to make them contenders in the East; it gives them a big name to boost season ticket sales; finally, if it doesn't work out, they can just let Shaq expire and gain a lot of cap space for 2010 by dumping Deng's contract. Concerns about Shaq potentially throwing a wrench into the offense are overblown and unfounded; under Alvin Gentry's "Seven Seconds or Shaq" system, the Suns averaged 118 ppg over the final 31 games of the season.
Why not for Chicago?: Even though Deng has been unproductive and injured, he is still young, and he can still turn things around. Trading a young player with potential for an aging Shaq may be hard to swallow.
Shaq/Brad Miller/Aaron Gray
Why for New Orleans?: Simple. They tried to trade Chandler for expirings last season, and with management in cost-cutting mode, there's no indication that they wouldn't welcome expirings for Chandler again. With Jerome James's contract being 80% covered by insurance, this trade offers them massive financial relief.
Why not for New Orleans?: Again, it's pretty simple. If they want to contend in the West, keeping Tyson Chandler with Chris Paul seems crucial. However, judging by their actions last season, their ownership seems to place dollars over wins.
Why for Utah?: AK has worn out his welcome in Utah. He hasn't lived up to his contract, and Jason Richardson brings desperately needed firepower to their lineup. He also has a shorter, cheaper contract, and provides offensive insurance just in case Korver and Boozer don't come back.
Why not for Utah?: Would Jason Richardson be a good fit in Jerry Sloan's system? Maybe not, so I could definitely understand why Utah fans would hesitate to do this trade.
Final Lineup if Korver doesn't come back:
Some footage of the players Phoenix would be receiving: