There's enough smoke around here to start getting serious about some of these trades. Many teams have been listed so far with more being added every day.
Reminder: You can always check out our Rumor Tracker Page for the latest
There was a bit of Internet chatter today about Amare to the Nets from a couple of sources who I've generally grown to trust but aren't close enough to the situation to consider - well, close to the situation.
It is enough though to bump the Nets to the top of my list of potential trades to break down. We've done this in the past with both Amare and Shaq rumors so why not give it another go. The point is simple, what might a potential trade with the Nets look like. We will also break down potential trades with the Bulls, Heat and Rockets in the coming days.
No trade for Amare can start without exploring if it meets Amare's stated requirements which primarily are a franchise committed winning and a big market. While the Nets are on pace for the worst season ever, they actually have a fairly bright future.
The team has a core based on a young dynamic point guard in Devin Harris and Brook Lopez who is considered already in his second year to be a top three center in the east. As an added bonus, Amare already knows how to understand Brook's distinctive voice from having played with Robin.
The market size is a no brainer and with a very wealthy new Russian owner coming on board there are strong indications that the Nets will be a team willing to spend money to win - especially if they ever get to their new home in Brooklyn.
Of all the possible trade destinations for Amare, none meet his requirements better than the Nets - despite being a 3-win team this season.
A trade with the Nets would yield the Suns a combination of young talent, draft pick(s) and cap relief which is the trifecta of deal results.
Cap relief comes in the form of Bobby Simmons. Bobby isn't playing for the Nets now and likely wouldn't play for the Suns. His value comes in the form of a $11.2m expiring contract. Chance are, the Suns would try and buy him out and shave a couple million off of that figure although Simmons probably realizes that he's not likely to play anywhere else so he might just be waived at full value.
Young talent is where the fun starts. The Nets have four young players in either the their first of second seasons that might be of interest: Yi Jianlian, Courtney Lee, Chris Douglas-Roberts and Terrance Williams.
Yi Jianlian is the most intriguing of the bunch. After a disappointing, injury-filled rookie season, Yi is just starting to show some of the skills and special talent that comes when you put a 7fter on the floor who can shoot over 40% from three and still drive and handle the ball.
The Suns looked hard at Yi in the 2008 draft when there was a good chance they would have had Atlanta's pick in the top 10. At the time, the Suns reportedly like him.
Yi clearly has a lot of room for growth, especially on his defense which appears to be...not good. He's still got several years left on his rookie contract though which makes taking a flier on him a minimal risk.
The upside however, is huge. Look at Bargnani in Toronto who is finally in his fourth season starting to blossom. Yi is already a better three-point shooter (42%) and at seven per game, a slightly better rebounder as well.
Another aspect of Yi that can't be ignored is the huge fan base that he brings with him. Jersey sales will go up. Chinese marketing opportunities will open. And of course, all star ballots for Suns players will be stuffed.
Yi is no replacement for Amare but he could be another nice young piece for the Suns to build with. He could come off the bench at with Amundson behind a starting duo of Lopez and Frye. The Suns would still need help up front moving forward, but we'll get to that.
|2009 - Yi Jianlian||19||33.4||5.1||12.0||42.1||0.4||1.0||42.1||4.5||5.6||81.1||1.9||5.1||7.0||0.6||1.8||0.7||1.0||3.3||15.1|
The other three guys listed are all in the 6-5 to 6-7 wing player mold. Of those, Courtney Lee is the best and most proven.
Courtney Lee, you will recall played outstanding defense for the Orlando Magic in only his rookie season. He even stepped up his game in the playoffs and showed that he could take on the challenge of guarding elite NBA players and wasn't afraid to shoot or even drive the ball.
Lee is extremely athletic and exactly that kind of defensive oriented shooting guard that teams need. Lee's numbers are down this season but he shot 40% from three and 45% from the field in his rookie season. Based on how well he played for the Magic, I will more than willing to credit his decline this year to playing with so many mediocre teammates.
If the Suns were to acquire Lee it would leave a glut at the SG position. Having him though allows the Suns to trade either Barbosa or Richardson in the off-season. Barbosa especially, could be used to land another power forward of the Nick Collison or Bandon Bass or Jason Maxielle variety.
At this point the Suns would also be able to deal Richardson for salary relief without having to try and get too much back in return. I still think Minnesota is a great fit for Jason. Best case would be some kind of deal that allows the Suns to make a hard play for Rudy Gay in the off-season but that's a long shot.
A back court of Nash, Richardson, Dragic and Lee would allow the Suns to always pair Nash or Richardson with a defensive player (Lee or Dragic) and give a solid look at a tandem of young players that could be as good as any defensive backcourt in the league when Courtney and Goran played together.
|2009 - Courtney Lee||36||32.3||4.1||10.4||39.7||0.8||2.7||28.1||2.1||2.6||83.7||0.6||2.8||3.4||2.0||1.2||1.6||0.4||2.0||11.1|
Chris Douglas-Roberts and Terrance Williams are both small forwards and while both have upside neither strikes me as being attractive enough to derail Earl Clark's progress or supplant Jared Dudley. The Suns are going to need to get a top-notch small forward at some point, but neither of these guys are it.
|2009 - Chris Douglas-Roberts||34||34.2||5.6||12.2||45.7||0.3||1.1||25.0||2.4||2.9||84.5||1.1||2.9||4.0||1.9||1.9||1.2||0.4||1.9||13.8|
|2009 - Terrence Williams||40||20.2||2.8||7.5||36.9||0.4||1.3||30.2||1.1||1.6||69.8||0.4||3.3||3.7||1.6||1.5||0.6||0.1||1.7||7.0|
Draft Picks. The Nets own four first round picks in the next two drafts. They have their own for 2010 and 2011 and Dallas' pick for 2010 and the Golden State lottery-protected pick for 2011.
With the Nets record as poor as it is, the prize is their pick for this summer. It is hard to imagine them giving that up without some kind of protection. Maybe a top three or top five safeguard. They simply can't risk trading away the pick that turned into John Wall. The Suns of course, will want just that so it could come down to which side blinks first.
An alternative for the Suns to the Nets unprotected first round pick from this year could be the Dallas pick and the Nets second round pick which will be very high. As we've seen, there's value to be had early in the second round.
Or the Suns could try and get the Nets pick with a top 5 protection and a fall back of getting their unprotected pick next year or perhaps the Dallas pick this year and Golden State's lottery protected pick for 2011 if the ping pong balls do favor the Nets.
A trade that sent Amare and Taylor Griffin (included to balance rosters) to the Nets and brought back Yi, Lee and Simmons would save the Suns about $1.1m this year on a pro-rated basis. This off-season however, when Simmons contract expired the Suns would be left with about $50m in salary (assuming Frye and Hill pick up their player options) which is right where the salary cap is projected to be.
It's a number however, that is well below the luxury tax which allows the Suns to get creative with moving Barbosa or Richardson and gives them plenty of room to use the full mid-level exception to go after a player like Udonis Haslem.