Aaron Bruski

The Step-back 3

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Trade Deadline Madness: Part I

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

So we’re sitting just a day away from the trade deadline and the first domino already fell with the Monta Ellis/Andrew Bogut trade, which Doc cleared up in today’s Dose. 


As we kick off our coverage this season, I can’t help but recall last year’s madness that became my pet project for at least a month.   Fueled by the pun that I cannot even bring myself to say, Carmelo Anthony’s eventual trade to the Knicks caused the deadline to explode once that first domino fell.  What we saw was nothing short of amazing, and I forget the final count, but it felt like half the league was traded. 


And wouldn’t it be fitting that we woke up this morning to the first Melo trade rumor, no doubt fed to the NY Post by his agents as a way to test the waters (shockingly they called it ‘laughable’).  There was also a report by Frank Isola of the New York Daily News that one of owner James Dolan’s inner circle was cool with trading Melo for financial purposes, and it could be that both sides are tap-dancing around the fact that Melo doesn’t like Mike D’Antoni and vice-versa, Amare doesn’t like Melo and vice-versa, and the whole team would just like to go back to the days when Jeremy Lin operated in space and the team won games. 


Or, more likely, less extreme positions on all of those points are true and everybody is covering their ass, which is often the case when disasters like the Knickerbockers run up against the trade deadline.


So here we go.  Today I’ll be covering some of the overarching threads of Trade Deadline 2012 and you’ll want to keep an eye on the player news blurbs for the most up-to-date information. 


You’ll also want to follow me on Twitter, as last year the feedback was tremendous.  With so much going down, owners probably walked away from more pickups than they ever had in their life, as Twitter + Deadline = fishing with dynamite. 


I’ll be back tomorrow with the morning preview and we’ll have full coverage on Thursday. 




There are way too many obstacles for anybody to take the NY Post report and scream from the mountaintops that Melo is going to be traded.  Aside from the enormous salary considerations, a team out there would need to be willing to organizationally absorb the circus a trade would be.  Trying to keep up with all the rumors I’m not going to break down theoretic trades that would work, but the only team I could envision doing something would be the Lakers in a mega deal – and I only say that because Kobe speaks highly of Melo all the time.  They also could use an upgrade at small forward, but again, bring on the salt and the Tylenol. 




When the Warriors and Bucks made their trade last night, it signaled to the rest of the league that they believed they were out of the Dwight Howard running.  And it wasn’t for a lack of trying, as they were willing to mortgage the future for a chance to play with the big boys.  Quickly, the reports regarding Howard turned into epitaphs for his future in Orlando, and wouldn’t you know it immediately Howard said he’d like to stay and win a title.  What I actually can respect here is that unless a mystery situation arises, all signs point to him playing for the Nets next year.  By refusing to coordinate with Magic brass, Howard keeps his future team from trading all of its assets to get him, unlike what Anthony did last year. 


For fantasy purposes, this has a few key implications.  The first is that Howard becomes a rental candidate immediately.  The Magic may deeply want to keep him and, who knows, maybe they keep him and try to go for one more playoff run – but the smart move is to get something in return and punish Howard with one less year on his future deal (due to CBA restrictions). 


The second implication that may be the best news for fantasy owners is that Deron Williams (calf) is less likely to be shutdown if Howard is indeed coming to the Nets.


The third implication is that the Magic immediately go into selling and saving mode, and Jason Richardson, Ryan Anderson, and maybe even J.J. Redick become trade pieces.  We know the Magic desperately want to get rid of Hedo Turkoglu’s awful contract, which goes without saying.  My take, which could change with the news, is that each of these guys other than Redick is at a high point in value.  Redick is the guy that could see a bump in value if Howard and some of his teammates go, but all of them are built to play around the big man.  It will be interesting to see what a post-Howard Magic offense looks like. 


As for where Howard could go, it’s an interesting question because any team that grabs him for the playoffs gets an immense boost.  The Rockets have had the hots for Howard and reportedly don’t care about renting him, and have also been among the more active teams in the rumor mill.  Beyond them the Lakers might want to make a move, but doing so would necessarily mean trading Andrew Bynum, whom the younger Buss loves more than jean shorts. 




Howard is the next domino for sure, and when that domino falls we’ll learn quickly about how the rest of the league is going to handle this year’s deadline.  We’re not going to see the volume we saw last year, as teams don’t have the time to integrate new players and the lockout scrambled plans to the point that executives are timid.  Until a few more pieces of the jigsaw puzzle hit the board, it’s going to be difficult to project what the fantasy impacts are.  For now, have a look at the trade deadline characters that are generating the most buzz. 


Chris Kaman: The Hornets are reluctant to take on payroll and are asking for too much by most reports.  Shocking, I know.  There has also been chatter about Kaman and Eric Gordon being extended, but owners still need to consider Kaman a sell-high guy, even if the trade fever has dropped slightly over the last week.  Wherever he lands and perhaps even if he stays in New Orleans, he won’t be 'auditioning' for long.  We’ve been a bit tepid on Gustavo Ayon in the blurbs, but with Kaman possibly leaving and the Hornets so banged up he is a better than average hold after a slow week.  The Hornets are also likely interested in trading Carl Landry for anything they can get their hands on, and there might actually be a market for his services after teams jockeyed for him over the summer.  His $9 million, one-year deal will be pro-rated, too. 


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Aaron Bruski has covered hoops for Rotoworld since 2008 and has competed in national fantasy sports competitions for nearly two decades. You can also find his work over at ProBasketballTalk, where he received critical acclaim for his in-depth reporting of the Kings' relocation saga. Hit him on Twitter at Aaronbruski.
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