With the trade deadline less than 72 hours away, NBA teams are running out of time to make a deal before this summer. And as has been pointed out several times, GM Daryl Morey never misses out on a chance at making a deal this time of year. So with that in mind, I thought I would throw out another fake trade idea. Just like last time, these are not actual trade rumors; I have no inside information and none of them should be treated as such. They’re simply ideas that would be interesting (if not improbable) to witness were they to actually play out in real-time.
First off, the list of Rockets’ needs are relatively common knowledge at this point: a 3&D wing-player (of varying cost), a backup big man should Morey find the right fit for Asik, or a third star to add alongside James Harden and Dwight Howard. Technically, point guard could be upgraded if the Rockets could find a taker for Lin, but of the rumored-to-be-available 1′s (Kyle Lowry, Brandon Jennings, Rajon Rondo & Jrue Holiday), only Rondo makes any sense for the Rockets. But could you really play Rondo and Dwight together down the stretch of a close game when they both shoot free throws so poorly? And since the Celtics seem pretty dead-set on their asking price for him, I just don’t see Rondo as a possibility.
So that leaves depth for the bench or another All-Star. Finding the extra shooter the Rockets need could involve just about any team in the league and would make for a pretty boring read. Mike Dunleavy Jr, CJ Miles or even the Vince Carter/Brandan Wright idea from last time would help the Rockets, but don’t really warrant this type of post. So, we’re going big or going home.
Keep in mind that superstars don’t get traded very often in the NBA, so any trade-talk involving them should be taken with a grain of salt. But when that superstar is one of the ten most talented players in the league, hasn’t made the playoffs in his entire six-year career and is rumored to be very unhappy with the current state of his franchise, blowing up the Trade Machine to get him to the home team seems like a very appropriate way to spend an afternoon. So today I offer up another three-team trade involving the Rockets, Timberwolves and Celtics.
Houston receives: Kevin Love and Ronny Turiaf
Minnesota receives: Terrence Jones, Kris Humphries’ Expiring Contract (Copyright: Bill Simmons), Ronnie Brewer, Houston’s 2014 & 2016 1st round picks (minimal protection) and the LA Clippers’ 2015 1st round pick (via Boston)
Boston receives: Omer Asik, Donatas Motiejunas and New York’s 2014 2nd round pick (via Houston)
Why the Celtics do it - Rumor has it that Danny Ainge showed interest in Asik and Motiejunas when they both voiced their displeasure with they’re roles earlier this season. Ainge was no doubt just sniffing around his old cohort Morey when he thought there might be a bargain to be had, but it’s at least safe to say that there is interest. So while the Celts lose a valuable first rounder, they acquire Asik, who is as close as you’re going to get to a franchise center without actually drafting one or lucking-out in free agency; and Motiejunas, a young, multifaceted seven-footer that would look great offensively playing next to the Celtics’ young and multifaceted seven-footer (Kelly Olynyk) off the bench. The Knicks’ pick holds some value, especially if New York can’t get it together down the stretch and misses the playoffs.
Why the Wolves do it - As the Deron Williams trade a few years ago showed, dealing a disgruntled star while he still has some time left on his contract can offer a bigger return than waiting until the final year of his deal, when teams know he’s going to be available in just a few months. And while this trade doesn’t involve an elite prospect like Derrick Favors was considered at the time, Terrence Jones has been much more productive this season than Favors ever was through the first four years of his career. He’s a versatile weapon that showed he can play next to a powerful center and would make an excellent running partner for Ricky Rubio on the break. He’s certainly not Kevin Love, but he has plenty of room to grow and fits nicely with what coach Rick Adelman and the Wolves want to do.
Also, this scenario provides the Wolves with more picks than the return the Jazz got for Williams. Adding an additional first-rounder to the next three drafts is quite an achievement, even if no team ever wants to lose a player of Love’s stature. The Humphries and Brewer contracts would both be gone this summer, which would open up a chunk of cap-space and allow Flip Saunders and the rest of the Wolves front office to reset to an extent after all of the previous regimes’ mistakes (KAAAAHHHHHNNNN!).
Why the Rockets do it - Isn’t it obvious? This trade is nothing like the Carmelo Anthony idea from before. While both Love and Melo are stars, Love’s fit with the Rockets would be like matching cinnamon with sugar; scotch with cigars; Pitt with Clooney. Love would provide Harden with a full-time pick-and-pop partner, and his shooting would keep the paint clear for Dwight Howard.
Jalen Rose likes to say that the stretch-4 is a myth, save for Ryan Andersen. There are tall small forwards that teams play at the 4, and then there’s Anderson. Well, Kevin Love is a stretch-4 that happens to live inside a 6’10, 250 pound rebounding monster. And calling Love a stretch-4 is a total disservice to his overall skillset. He’s got a solid post game around the rim, rebounds the ball like few others and is an absolute pass-master. In the half-court, he can fit the ball into tight windows that would make even the best point guards blush, and if you haven’t seen Love fling an outlet pass to Corey Brewer, you’re wasting Youtube (watch the 1:40 mark; Aaron Rodgers is jealous of that pass). Imagine Chandler Parsons catching all those Hail Marys from Love. Ronny Turiaf would provide some size and toughness off the bench, which might be necessary if Greg Smith can’t get healthy in time for the playoffs.
Houston would probably still need to add another big somehow, not to mention that 3&D-wing would be nice. But with Lin and Beverley taking all the point guard minutes and Harden, Parsons, Love and Howard soaking up so much of their respective positions’ minutes, those needs are much less important. Teams generally run an eight or nine-man rotation and even that can cut down come playoff time. Love would certainly pacify Morey’s desire for a third star, and while any Parsons extension would push Houston well into the luxury tax, Les Alexander has proven he’ll pay for a winner. And that team would win plenty.