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Old 02-11-2010, 12:06 PM   #1
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Default Insider: 5 deals that make sense

The NBA trade deadline is one week away, and we're in the proverbial calm before the storm. While trade discussions continue around the league, most GMs are frustrated. Deal parameters remain vague, with teams still overvaluing their assets and undervaluing the assets of others.

As we've seen in past seasons, one big trade can have a domino effect on others. It tends to narrow the options, focus the discussion and turn up the pressure on other teams to make moves.

Given the gridlock, perhaps some fresh ideas will help. In that spirit, here are five hypothetical trades that I think should and could happen. While none of these trades have been specifically discussed, to my knowledge, all of them include teams looking to deal and players on the market.

TRADE MACHINE's Trade Machine breaks down the proposed deal here.

1. Heat-Suns-Bobcats

Miami gets: Amare Stoudemire (from Phoenix), Acie Law (from Charlotte), Stephen Graham (from Charlotte), Ronald Murray (from Charlotte)

Phoenix gets: Michael Beasley (from Miami), D.J. Augustin (from Charlotte), James Jones (from Miami), Dorell Wright (from Miami)

Bobcats get: Udonis Haslem (from Miami), Daequan Cook (from Miami)

Would Miami do it?
The word out of Miami is that the Heat have been pushing to make a deal. While Miami is considered a potential destination for LeBron James and Chris Bosh this summer if the two become free agents, the danger with doing nothing now is that Dwyane Wade might walk if the team fails to get James, Bosh or another top player or two.

This trade would set up the Heat to go in a couple of directions:

(1) It could be a pre-emptive strike on the free-agent market and still provide the salary-cap space to sign another free agent or two in addition to Stoudemire. If Stoudemire were to opt out of his contract and re-sign with the Heat for a contract starting at $13 million to $15 million, the Heat would still be able to sign one max-level player, such as LeBron James, or a couple of players with a starting salary of $8 million to $10 million.

(2) If Stoudemire were to opt out and leave, the Heat, thanks to this trade, would have enough cap room to sign two max-level free agents, such as James and Bosh.

One dangerous scenario is that Stoudemire could decide not to opt out of his contract, leaving the Heat with more limited resources in the 2010 free-agency market. And of course, they'd be giving up on Beasley, a potent scorer who just turned 21.

Would Phoenix do it?
The Suns have been shopping Stoudemire but want more than just cap relief -- they want assets. This deal would provide a little of both.

Beasley is an athletic 4 who should be able to put up similar numbers to Amare in the Suns' run-and-gun system, or perhaps even better numbers, given the rebounding prowess he showed in college. The Suns would also get Augustin, a young point guard they could groom to take over for Nash eventually. Jones should be able to step right back into the system he left in 2007, and if he doesn't work out, his 2010-11 contract is only partially guaranteed. Wright has upside, and his contract is expiring, giving the Suns options with him, as well.

While I believe the Suns would prefer to add Andre Iguodala and Samuel Dalembert, this might be a better, more affordable deal for them in the long run.

Would Charlotte do it? Augustin has had a disappointing season and fallen out of favor with Charlotte coach Larry Brown. And the Bobcats have been active on the trade market, looking for a power forward who can rebound and defend; Haslem would fit the bill and he's in the last year of his contract. While Cook hasn't become the player the Heat hoped he would, he could see some minutes at the 2 for the Bobcats.

TRADE MACHINE's Trade Machine breaks down the proposed deal here.

2. Pistons-Jazz-Mavs

Detroit gets: Carlos Boozer (from Utah), Josh Howard (from Dallas), Matt Carroll (from Dallas)

Utah gets: Tayshaun Prince (from Detroit)

Dallas gets: Richard Hamilton (from Detroit), Kwame Brown (from Detroit)

Would Detroit do it?
Yes. The Pistons want to move Prince, but not for expiring contracts -- they want a big man back. The Pistons flirted with the idea of spending their cap space last summer on Boozer, but they started looking in other directions and Boozer decided to stay in Utah. But he would be an ideal addition, assuming he would re-sign with Detroit this summer, now that team's lack of interior talent has been exposed.

The Dallas part of the equation could happen separately -- to execute a Prince-for-Boozer swap, the Pistons don't need the Mavs. But in any case, moving Hamilton for Howard, who has a nonguaranteed contract for 2010-11, would work well for the Pistons, for whom Hamilton's contract has become an albatross. This trade would give them the opportunity to pursue a free agent this summer. And while they would be reluctant to swallow the three years remaining on Carroll's contract, that's also the length of Hamilton's contract, which they would be shedding.

Would Utah do it?
That's less clear. Jazz GM Kevin O'Connor has rebuffed offers for Boozer that would give the Jazz only cap space, since Boozer himself has an expiring contract. Of course, that means that few teams are willing to give up a lot for Boozer, who could walk away this summer.

The Jazz like Prince, but he has another year on his contract at $11 million, he's been hurt this season and his effectiveness has declined. Still, he's a long, athletic wing who can defend and doesn't need the ball to thrive.

At the moment, the Jazz look like contenders in the West. Will they mess with a good thing? I think it's a 50-50 proposition at this point.

Would Dallas do it?
The Mavs would trade Howard, but they'd prefer to get someone younger than Hamilton in return. They've looked at Kevin Martin, Caron Butler and Andre Iguodala, but so far the Kings, Wizards and 76ers don't want to give up those players for mere cap relief. But Dallas doesn't have its first-round pick this year and owner Mark Cuban has said he's not trading rookie point guard Rodrigue Beaubois -- and the Mavs don't have much else to offer in inexpensive assets. So Hamilton might be the best they can do.

His contract is ugly -- he has $34 million in guaranteed money owed to him over the next three seasons after this one. At the same time, the Mavs would be ridding themselves of the remaining $12 million due Carroll over the next three seasons. Looking at it that way, Dallas would be getting Hamilton for about $7.5 million per year for the next three seasons. While that's not a bargain, he would help them offensively, stepping in as the starting 2-guard and providing another veteran shooter in the backcourt.
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