So here we are, Trade Deadline 2012, a far cry from last year but with a hint of Melo and a big helping of Dwight. The two big pieces of news that hit over the last 36 hours were the trade of Monta Ellis for Andrew Bogut, et al, and then last night Dwight Howard shocked the NBA world by waffling more than Brett Favre and reportedly agreeing to stay in Orlando.
The next big domino to fall is going to be the Michael Beasley/Jamal Crawford nexus of trade possibilities, and from there the big question is how the NBA will react to the Howard decision. Will the Magic become buyers as a part of their pitch to keep Howard? What will the Nets do now that their trade to acquire Deron Williams last year appears to be falling apart at the seams?
Will the big pieces such as Pau Gasol, Josh Smith, Ray Allen, Shawn Marion, Tyreke Evans, Kevin Martin, Ramon Sessions, Chris Kaman, Gerald Wallace, Raymond Felton, Jose Calderon, Nick Young, Andray Blatche, JaVale McGee, Luke Ridnour, Luis Scola, Samuel Dalembert, D.J Augustin, Dorell Wright, Drew Gooden, and Stephen Jackson find new homes?
Will Deron Williams be traded away as a rental now that he could be headed to Dallas in free agency?
Questions abound, so let's set the table and get ready for a wild day of sports. Joining the trade deadline madness are NCAA tourney games, NFL free agency, Peyton Manning talk, spring training for baseball and I'm told that there is some golf and tennis action on the slate, too. Keep our player news page locked and loaded throughout the day and keep hitting refresh.
And follow me on Twitter for all the trade deadline news in real time. Now here we go.
MICHAEL BEASLEY AND JAMAL CRAWFORD
This may be the trade that connects the most moving pieces, as the Lakers are very close to acquiring Michael Beasley, and they're also in the hunt for a point guard. Jamal Crawford reportedly has played his last game for the Blazers and a deal is coming this morning. Here's what we know.
The Wolves are going to end up with Crawford in almost every scenario, but the question is whether or not the Blazers are going to end up with Steve Blake, Luke Ridnour, or a Lakers first round pick for this upcoming year. They are also the team that is holding up the deal, which tells me they're trying to figure out what to do with their Raymond Felton problem. He has become the target for everybody's ire in Portland, and whatever the Blazers do, it's clear they'd like to move him but nothing has materialized. Surely there is a team out there willing to take a chance on Felton, but at what price is the appropriate question.
If Felton stays and Blake arrives, the two would likely play to a timeshare, but I get the sense this deal is the least favorite for the Blazers. My guess is that they'd really like to get Ridnour, who would see a decrease in fantasy value going away from Rick Adelman's cushy system. Felton, if still there, would likely take an immediate backseat role and lose all value.
The other immediate question is what Minnesota would do if they trade Ridnour. My immediate guess there is that they would try to swing a deal to acquire Ramon Sessions, who just left the land of Kahn, and that would mean big things for Sessions in fantasy leagues. There are other point guards available such as Jose Calderon, D.J. Augustin, and maybe they take back Felton, but Sessions stands out to me as a piece that could fit Minnesota's current plans. The trio of Sessions, Crawford, and J.J. Barea are versatile and could keep Adelman's offense fluid with motion.
If that bit of speculation doesn't work out, the Lakers, who also covet Sessions, might be more interested in facilitating a deal that lands them the Cleveland backup – sending Steve Blake to Portland or elsewhere, all while acquiring Beasley.
The Takeaways: Sessions looks like a must-stash character for the chance he plays in Minnesota, with L.A. being a place he could produce, as well. Beasley, while a bit banged up with a sore foot, is a fine stash for the chance he will be relied upon to score in L.A., but keep in mind that his value will be capped by all the weapons around him. Crawford will play the same role that he plays everywhere, which is good enough to be owned in 12-team leagues, as well. Ridnour is a borderline sell-high guy for the chance he gets moved to a less friendly place. Steve Blake is not a fantasy pickup in Portland unless news comes across that there is a solution for Felton. While talking about the Blazers, I'm holding each of their borderline guys in the hopes that a shake-up breaks them free – even Felton.
THE MAGIC AND THE NETS
Assuming the Dwight Howard opt-in waiver gets signed, then the Magic both preserved the integrity of their team and became potential buyers. First and foremost this protects the values of Hedo Turkoglu, Ryan Anderson, and Jameer Nelson. The question is whether or not they get back into the Michael Beasley hunt, which I haven't heard much about. The bait there was Jason Richardson, which would be good for J.J. Redick's value. Beasley, for what it's worth, would also fit for owners in Orlando – but let's not get ahead of ourselves. The other rumor that was interesting, and unlikely as of now, was Josh Smith who was also linked to the Beasley matrix.
Above all, we'll be watching to make sure the waiver gets signed, and until then the Magic are still talking with the usual suspects – the Nets, Lakers, and the Rockets. If the waiver doesn't get signed, look for all golly-gee-heck to break loose.
As for the Nets, their situation just got amazingly complex. Should they not be able to throw in a full court heave to get Howard, their pitch to Deron Williams just went behind his ear. He will be favored to land in Dallas next season for the time being, so it's possible they try to get splashy or even deal Williams as a rental. Right now the only talks that are concrete with the Nets surround a deal to get his friend C.J. Miles and Raja Bell from Utah in exchange for Anthony Morrow, a future pick, and possibly Johan Petro. Morrow's value will likely remain consistent across either scenario as a streaky 3-point shooter coming off the bench, while Miles would be an interesting piece in Jersey where DeShawn Stevenson currently starts.
The other issue would be whether or not they would still want Boris Diaw's $9 million expiring deal, which is going to come at a price for the teams acquiring it. If the answer is no, and because Mike D'Antoni is no longer around, the basketball answer to where he could land would be in San Antonio. But because he's viewed as an expiring contract first and basketball player second, he could theoretically go anywhere.
There are a handful of reports out of New Jersey that they will sit on their draft picks and build without making a splash, too, but we'll see.
The Takeaways: Jordan Farmar didn't look good last night and Deron Williams (calf) is targeting a return this weekend, but there's still enough fluidity here that Farmar should be owned through the deadline. C.J. Miles is a guy to watch in case he heads east. The band of Orlando fantasy assets is safe – for now – and J.J. Redick needs Jason Richardson to go to carry any value. Boris Diaw really needs a nice situation to hold fantasy value, and the Nets or Knicks could have provided that. Those options don't look so swell right now, so he's not a high priority target or target in general until his situation improves.