Aaron Bruski

The Step-back 3

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Trade Deadline: Morning Report

Thursday, March 15, 2012



Apparently, not much, as the 7-footer would be coveted by the entire league if you simply told executives that they could get their hands on a big man that could score, rebound, pass, and block shots.  But what does he get after a few rings in L.A?  Trade rumors.  Always the butt of jokes about toughness, the Lakers would really like to get rid of him as they transition to an Andrew Bynum-centric organization.  The two teams that appear to be in the mix are the Rockets and the Bulls, but the sticking points are that the Lakers want an elite PG and they don't want Carlos Boozer.  Both teams will need to work hard to find a third and possibly fourth team with one big piece that could satisfy the Lakers' desires, and that just doesn't seem likely at this point.  Minnesota was interested at one point and shares the AEG back-channel pipeline, but there's nothing other than long snuffed out smoke signals to grab onto there. 


The Takeaway: Gasol would do more to shake up the playing board today than any impact on his own value, and the catch here is that the playing board needs to be shook up before Gasol has a chance to be moved.  But if we're looking for fireworks today, this is the pin that needs to be pulled. 




The Rockets have made a deal at nearly every deadline over the past six years and this year will be no different.  Everybody must go!  The only player that is safe is Kyle Lowry, and even he could go if the Rockets covet Pau Gasol enough and are holding out, though I offer that this is an unlikely outcome.  The more likely outcome is that Kevin Martin, who is no fan of Kevin McHale or GM Daryl Morey, gets sent packing – but to where?  And if the Rockets can't find a home for him, then Courtney Lee, he of the supposedly minor finger dislocation, will be the next guy on the block.  Samuel Dalembert and Luis Scola were offered to the Bucks for Andrew Bogut, giving insight on how much they value a big man right now (and how much they don't like Dalembert).  I've read reports that Chase Budinger, Goran Dragic, Terrence Williams, Jonny Flynn and Yao Ming's autograph are on the block. 


The Takeaway: You want to put all of them on your watch list and pick the guy that's left standing.  Patrick Patterson might end up with a low-end value role if Dalembert and/or Scola can get moved without returning a dominant big man such as Chris Kaman or Pau GasolKevin Martin should be held and a move out of town could go either way, but one has to think he can't do much worse than he is in Houston.  Lee needs some help and could find himself playing for any team in the hunt for a shooting guard, including the Wolves, Clippers, Bulls, and Pacers. None are as appealing for Lee as a scenario that sends Kev-Mart packing.  Chandler Parsons hasn't been named in rumors, and his value could increase if the Rockets determine they can rely on him heavy going forward.  If you were iffy on grabbing him watch to see if the Red Sea parts for him, and I'm talking in terms of touches and not minutes.  The minutes are mostly there.  Dalembert and Scola both have things pretty good, even though minutes are an issue for Dally, so they don't really stand to gain by the deadline. 




The Hornets are trying to shed payroll, acquire young talent, and heck why not, some lottery picks, an All Star big man and all for one low monthly rate.  Chris Kaman is the talk of the town right now, followed by the question of whether or not the Hornets can get anybody to bite on Emeka Okafor's $28 million over the next two years.  Cleveland made an inquiry but the Cavs wanted a first rounder for taking on Okafor's big deal and that ended that.  Okafor's knee is a total question mark and why a team that isn't contending would take that on is beyond me, but the Hornets are trying.  As for Kaman, a lot of contending teams are taking the position of trying to let him get bought out by the Hornets, only to try to pick him up as a free agent.  Kaman could also get extended by the Hornets, but most signs point to him leaving.  The Celtics and Heat are teams are trying to pick him up as a free agent, while the Rockets and Pacers will be more likely to deal.  Trevor Ariza's name has popped up, and if the Hornets owe you more than $5 million per year you're probably on the block. 


The Takeaways: Kaman has been a sell-high guy for weeks, so hopefully you took care of that.  Ariza is a sneaky sell-high guy right now while owners think the sky is the limit.  Gustavo Ayon has been intensely invisible while in the spotlight, but that could change if Kaman isn't around attempting every shot known to man.  Because we're not hearing anything about Jarrett Jack, all those looking at Greivis Vasquez can hold onto is hope that the Hornets go young and/or Jack's knee acts up. 




Or so they say.  Steve Nash or the Suns would need a sweetheart deal for anything to happen.  Rajon Rondo has been all but locked into the locker room in Boston.  JaVale McGee told the Wizards he wants $14 million next season as a free agent, and video guys around the US are trying to figure out how to put that into his blooper reel.  It'll take a big leap of faith for a team to take him on, even as a rental.  Andray Blatche is about as untradeable as guys get, too. 


The Mavs would have needed to move Shawn Marion to complete their master plan of getting Dwight Howard and Deron Williams, and with that plan scuttled, it's less likely that Marion gets moved today than it was 24 hours ago – which needless to say wasn't all that likely.  The Nuggets went through hell last year at the trade deadline and appear to be standing pat.  The Pistons would like to move some of their contracts, but there has been no smoke, and nobody is lining up to take on Tayshaun Prince's deal no matter how much he beat up on the Kings last night. 


The Heat are trying to make plays in free agency, and not the trade market.  Brandon Jennings is off the market by most reports, setting up the small guard backcourt.  Good news, they all go to the land of the small guard backcourt in Oakland for the awkward game of the night.  The Thunder aren't looking to make a move, which sounds about right. 




Josh Smith wanted out but talks have died down.  He might have played too well for his own good, there.  The Wizards are desperately trying to move just about everybody, though they'll drag their heels in a deal to send Nick Young to the Clippers.  Young's value will take a hit in that case, while Jordan Crawford should be owned in most formats for both his current value and the chance he gets to operate by himself.  The Clippers join the Bulls and Wolves as teams looking for a shooting guard, which means that C.J. Miles and Raja Bell are in play there, too. 


J.J. Hickson is drawing interest in Boston, but is a longshot for fantasy value.  Tyreke Evans drew interest from the Warriors, and I'm told that Evans is not untradeable.  That might explain his frustrated play last night.  Leandro Barbosa was cryptic when talking about his future the other night.


UPDATE: Barbosa was traded to the Pacers right as this went to press, and will struggle for fantasy value playing next to Darren Collison and George Hill.  Both Collison and Hill become droppable for a hot free agent, though owners will want to weigh their options carefully.  The Pacers were looking for help at center and the acquisition of Barbosa pulls them out of the running for Kaman, securing the value of Roy Hibbert and David West, for now. 


Kirk Hinrich and D.J. Augustin are two point guards that could fit among the PG needy teams, but aren't a sure bet to take starter's minutes wherever they land and thus are just guys to watch today (or in Augustin's case, hold).  Ray Allen is the only Celtics piece that is drawing interest, but Danny Ainge likes to wheel and deal so we'll just watch to see what he does.  Allen will hold his value wherever he plays for the most part.  Stephen Jackson appears to be staying in Golden State, but stranger things have happened.  Check my Dose from earlier today for that evaluation.  


Luc Richard Mbah a Moute and Shaun Livingston are on the block, which can only help the cause of starters Brandon Jennings, Monta Ellis, and Carlos Delfino.  Maybe Scott Skiles has a girlfriend that likes fantasy basketball.  Drew Gooden was reportedly on the block, and Ersan Ilyasova's name has popped up, too.  The acquisition of Ekpe Udoh would support that one of those guys could go, with Gooden being the guy with the weighty contract and Ilyasova being the cheaper guy that could return value to the Bucks.  They'd both take a hit to their fantasy value if moved, but the smoke has long died down, here.  You may want to hold onto Udoh through the day if the wire looks bare. 


Gerald Wallace and Marcus Camby are two vets with relatively weighty deals that Portland almost certainly wants to see go with their season in the tank.  There's not enough here for fantasy owners to grab onto in terms of swinging values.  Jerry Colangelo likes to deal, and while there's not a lot of smoke around Jose Calderon the day is young.  Jerryd Bayless should be owned in all formats for the chance Calderon gets dealt, hurt, or outplayed by the explosive young talent. 

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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