Here's the thing about trade rumors this time of year: There are a lot of them and they come from all sorts of places and they are floated for a variety of reasons. That's why the reporting source of the rumor is so important.
Is it someone with a track record of credibility and enough knowledge to provide the proper context and filter to the information that's being passed? Or is it someone that has a tendency to simply publish or report on the radio whatever whispers of smoke drift by?
That's why when Paul Coro published these latest updates, you know they are worth paying extra close attention to. Credibility and context.
Here's what he's got regarding what he describes as the two most recent frequently mentioned trade partners, Cleveland and Philadelphia:
1) Cleveland - The Suns would get back a young power forward prospect in JJ Hickson and significant salary saving in the form of Big Z, whose contract could be waived to get the Suns under the luxury tax.
Getting under the tax not only saves the actual tax but qualifies the Suns to be a welfare recipient in the neighborhood of $5m. That's a pretty big incentive for a cost-conscious team who knows that there's nothing it can do to instantly become a title contender.
Brian Windhorst of Cleveland.com recently broke down all the numbers on this deal.
Straight up, this type of deal would save the Suns around $3.4 million off their payroll ($6.8 million including luxury tax). However, the Suns currently are a little more than $5 million over the luxury-tax line. It is possible they could then negotiate a buyout with Ilgauskas and get below the tax, which would probably enable such a trade to save them around $10 million in real money. The cash advantage could actually increase because, if the Suns got below the tax line of $69.9 million, they would be able to get their share from the fund created by the tax-paying teams. In other words, it would be worth millions more.
For the Suns, this isn't a bad deal because they get a guy who can immediately step into the power forward slot who still has three years left on his rookie contract. The Suns would enter next season with about $47.2m in contracts for 10 players (assuming both Frye and Hill pick up their options). That's plenty of money to re-sign Amundson and go after a full MLE player and still stay under the luxury tax for next year as well.
|2009 - J.J. Hickson||52||19.2||3.0||5.4||54.8||0.0||0.0||0.0||1.2||1.7||68.9||1.2||3.3||4.4||0.3||1.0||0.4||0.4||1.6||7.2|
Is Amare only worth Hickson and salary relief? No. But it's a better deal than letting him walk and it gives the Suns a lot of flexibility moving forward. Throw in Cleveland's first round pick (which will be late 1st round) and it seems like a decent deal.
A lot has been said on the Cleveland side about the issues between Amare and Shaq. I don't think that's a problem at all. Those guys got along fine and Shaq isn't playing much less for Cleveland anyway. The real concern I would have is the impact to Cleveland's defense and integrating Amare into that system with LeBron just a few months before the playoffs.
It would be a huge risk for the Cavs to take at a time when they are playing really well and the Celtics look like they are done and the Magic are still trying to figure out how to play with Vince Carter. If I'm a Cavs fan, I am not in favor of this deal. The upside is, it gives Cleveland some kind of fall back position should LeBron walk. Although if LeBron left, why would Amare stay either unless they got him to agree to an extend-and-trade now? Oh the webs we weave...
2) Philly - We've talked this one to death but here's a new wrinkle or two.
Possibilities with Philadelphia could be stronger with two fronts, a deal between bringing in swingman Andre Iguodala for Stoudemire with perhaps young power forward Marreese Speights or a three-way deal involving Detroit with Pistons guard Ben Gordon winding up in Philadelphia and the Suns getting Iguodala and Detroit power forward Chris Wilcox.
This is interesting because Dalembert is not mentioned. I never thought Amare to the 76ers made sense for them if they were serious about keeping Amare, since pairing him with the 6'9 Brand and the young Speights would make for a horrible front court. But with Amare's threat to opt-in, they have to be concerned about that (even though I am convinced it's a bluff).
If they keep Dalembert and get a wing player to "replace" Iguodala, they at least can pretend they have an intact team with Amare, Brand, Dalembert and the young Jason Smith up front.
For the Suns, getting back Speights would be huge. He fills in the gap left by Amare - to a much lesser degree - and, like Hickson, still has 3 years left on his rookie contract. A Suns front line rotation of Lopez, Frye, Speights and Amundson isn't great, but it's much better than not having Speights.
The problem for me remains Iguodala's long term deal. Also not mentioned here is moving either Barbosa or Richardson which would leave the Suns with a short term glut at the wings which would have to be addressed in the off-season. Otherwise, the Suns end up with about $60m in salary (assuming Frye and Hill pick up their options), which still isn't bad either in the short term.
Wilcox was drafted one place before Amare and is also an extremely athletic power forward who's never come close to reaching his potential. He has a $3m player option for next year.
I don't honestly see why the Sixers would even consider taking on Ben Gordon's $46m/4yr deal to replace Iguodala so I am just going to ignore that and hope that what we are talking about here is Amare for Andre and Speights straight up.
That clearly nets the Suns the most talent but does limit their flexibility moving forward, but that can be resolved with Jason Richardson's expiring contract next season.
|2009 - Marreese Speights||36||16.9||3.6||7.0||50.8||0.0||0.1||0.0||2.0||2.7||76.0||1.7||2.7||4.4||0.6||0.9||0.6||0.6||2.2||9.1|
|2009 - Chris Wilcox||32||13.2||1.9||3.7||52.1||0.0||0.0||0.0||0.8||1.5||55.3||1.3||2.2||3.5||0.4||1.1||0.4||0.4||1.9||4.6|