Turning J-Rich into Gold

So Amare's gone, and as of right now, all we have to show for it is the return of Channing Frye and the addition of Hakim Warrick.  Not much to write home about.

The silver lining in this dark cloud of looming mediocrity seems to come in the form of one man: Jason Richardson, and his magical expiring contract. If the Suns can turn this assest into a true star player, the future might become just a little bit clearer and rosier.  But who? Who will be the Suns' salvation?

The Good:

  • Josh Smith, Power Forward, Atlanta Hawks: This is my dream scenario, and so leads off my list.  Cruising the internet at far too late an hour, I saw a very generic, unspecific rumour on HoopsHype that the Hawks might be interested in unloading Josh Smith, in order to slide Horford over to the PF slot, and more importantly, to clear some money after giving JJ that mammoth contract. And so I propose:

Jason Richardson and Earl Clark to the Atlanta Hawks for Josh Smith.  J-Rich clears money for the Hawks, and Earl Clark provides ATL with another lengthy headcase to fit in for J-Smoove.  As for the Suns, Earl Clark's best-case scenario is Josh Smith, isn't it? At 25, Smith slides right into the PF slot, providing shot blocking and a midrange game next to Lopez, and should be around for a while. Plus, the though of Nash throwing Smith alley-oops makes me dizzy.

The Bad (And most likely)

  • Monte Ellis, Shooting Guard, Golden State Warriors: Well, the guy can put up points.  Plus, a Nash/Dragic - Ellis backcourt might be the quickest in league history.  Of course, Nash and Ellis on the same court would be a defensive nightmare.  Weirdly enough, I think this one has possibilities - Ellis is only 25, and if Dragic turns into the defensive guard we all hope he will be, Dragic/Ellis could be a killer combo down the road.  Perhaps
Jason Richardson and Earl Clark to the Warriors for Monte Ellis and Kelenna Azubuike.  J-Rich clears their cap, gives Curry breathing room, and returns a favorite son to the Bay.  Clark gives them yet another skinny tweener they like so much, and Azubuike puts another deadly shooter in the Suns system.  Not perfect.  But maybe Dragic-Ellis-Azubuike-Warrick-Lopez turns into something. Nasty backcourt.
  •  Andre Igoudala, Small Forward/Shooting Guard, Philly 76ers: Andre had his best statistical year last year, going for 17, 6 and 6.  I think that about says it - Iggy has maxed out as a player, and when your max is 17, 6 and 6, your team isnt going anywhere.  Maybe he would get up to 20 points a game playing in the Suns system, with Nash feeding him the ball - but is that even any better than J-Rich? Even for a UA fan, color me skeptical.  The only way this trade makes sense is if it's straight up:
Jason Richardson to the Sixers for Andre Igoudala.  Yes it's an improvement.  But not a big enough one to get anywhere.  I do think the Sixers do it - they need to get some cap space, and clear room for Evan Turner.
  • Al Jefferson, Power Foward/Center, Minnesota Timberwolves: I know a lot of people have been crapping on this idea recently, but only 2 years ago Al was the best young big in the league, a modern day McHale.  His injury history is overblown - certainly not any worse than Amare's - and he very young, and has room to grow. I'm not saying this is perfect, and I may even get lynched for saying it, but:
Jason Richardson and Robin Lopez to the T-Wolves for Al Jefferson.  J-Rich is yet again cap relief, and plays as their starting 2.  Lopez slots in nicely to Love on the Wolves (who I really want - Love is a stud and would flourish next to Nash and Dragic) and Big Al is the Suns center.  Before everyone goes crazy, yes Al can't run on the break - but when we still had D'Antoni, we came pretty close to fitting Shaq in with our style, and he wasn't half the player Al is or was at that point.  Al can grab boards, finally gives the Suns a legit, half court, low post player they've been missing since we lost the Alcindor coin flip.  Also, Warrick and Frye slot in nicely next to Al. Then you're building on Dragic-Barbs-Clark-Warrick/Frye-Jefferson.  Of course, there's a 50 percent chance Al never recovers from the knee injury and is the next Elton Brand.  I say it's worth the risk.  Barely
  • David Lee, Power Forward, New York Knickerbockers (really still their name?): I know there is still a slight possibility of getting him in a sign and trade for STAT (ideal) and I've also heard Barbs mentioned (this works too).  Since my whole theme is J-Rich's expiring contract, tho, I'm throwing him in there.
Jason Richardson to the Knicks for David Lee.  I don't think Lee is taking less than 10 mill a year.  With Richardson, we get him at that price.  J-Rich fills in really well for the Knicks, obviously, and doesn't mess with their 2011 cap space (so they can run at more free agents, like Carmelo).  Lee provides the rebounding the Suns need, and because he developed a mid-range game last year, could compliment Lopez.  Honestly, tho? I truly believe D'Antoni wildly increased Lee's numbers - he's a good rebounder, and nothing else.  He'll be way to expensive, and the only reason this trade makes sense is if the Suns are suddenly competing with the Pacers for most white dudes.
The Ugly:  Stephen Jackson, Trevor Ariza, Gilbert Arenas, Jeff Green, Luol Deng.   Thug, Under-talented, Overpaid, role player and overpaid.  Ech.
The Impossible: Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul. It's not happening, and you know it.
So what say you? I think the Suns need a star out of J-Rich's contract, and there are a few out there.  My hope is that we stay patient and grab a true star at the deadline and don't, in the words of Tobias Funke, shoot our wad on what was supposed to be a dry run.

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