NBA@2: A Trio Of Trade Rumors
These days Steve Nash trade rumors are a dime a dozen. It’s absolutely inconceivable to NBA fans and pundits alike that one of the best point guards to ever play the game would finish his career on a Phoenix Suns team that is a long shot to even make the playoffs.
After all, Nash is the kind of player who could lead a better team to a championship.
For his part, Nash has been more than clear about his feelings on the subject. As he told HOOPSWORLD recently, Nash is under contract with the Suns, he is happy in Phoenix, and he has no intention of asking for a trade.
That doesn’t mean his agent won’t ask for a trade, or that the Suns won’t decide that Nash should have another shot at a title elsewhere. As the March 15th trade deadline approaches, there are certainly scenarios that could land Nash elsewhere, and now it seems Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban is ready to get into the discussion.
The Steve Nash rumor of the day comes from the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram‘s Dwain Price, who suggests that the Mavs might put the enigmatic Lamar Odom on the table for their former floor leader.
Sounds like an interesting trade, right? The Suns would get one of the league’s best sixth-men, a player with multiple NBA championships to his credit, in exchange for an aging point guard who is ever-closer to retirement. With Aaron Brooks presumably waiting in the wings as soon as his Chinese team ends their playoff run, it wouldn’t be the end of the world if the Suns did cash in Nash.
It’s great move for the Mavericks, as well, with Jason Kidd mired in the worst season of his illustrious career and already talking about retirement. He’s already planning for his post-playing career as a head coach, and while is still one of the smartest players on the NBA hardwoods he is also averaging career-worsts almost across the board. We are seeing the last of Jason Kidd the NBA player, and the addition of Nash would help that transition this season, while Nash’s ending contract would still preserve the Mavericks’ big-picture goal of landing both Deron Williams and Dwight Howard next summer. In fact, it would help, as Odom has another year left on his contract and would have to be traded for Dallas to clear cap space anyway.
Yep, the Mavs and Suns should just get on the phone and get this deal done. It helps both sides, and the trades that actually happen are the ones that help both sides.
Of course, there is still the matter of Nash not wanting to leave Phoenix, and the Suns’ intention of signing him to a two-year contract extension. There’s also the little matter of Odom’s performance in Dallas, which has been less than inspiring. Of all the moves the Mavs made during the offseason, Odom seemed to make the most sense. In reality, however, everyone from Vince Carter to Brandan Wright has been better than Odom this season. Odom seems lost in virtual reality world, apparently unable to focus on the game of basketball while living so far away from Los Angeles.
In theory, a Nash-for-Odom trade makes a great deal of sense for both sides, but in reality, as great a as such a move would likely be for Dallas, it would be also likely disastrous for the Suns.
The Dallas Mavericks have been all about fairy tale endings lately, with Jason Kidd returning to his original team to bring home a championship. Steve Nash returning to Dallas to win a title alongside his good friend Dirk Nowitzki would be equally Disney-worthy.
It just seems extremely unlikely.
Orlando Chasing Monta Ellis
As we detailed in this space yesterday, Monta Ellis would make a great backcourt addition for the Orlando Magic . . .one that might make Dwight Howard think twice about leaving town. Ellis was on Howard’s wish list of players for the Magic to acquire during the offseason, and adding him is clearly one way in which Magic GM Otis Smith can show his star center that he can still compete for a championship in Orlando.
The only problem is that the cost of admission for a trade involving Monta Ellis is . . .Dwight Howard.
The Golden State Warriors are one of the teams that would love to deal for Howard, even knowing that he would absolutely walk away at the end of the season. They believe the playoff appearance that would likely result from such a move would benefit the franchise long-term, even if Howard turned out to be a short-term Warrior.
The problem the Magic have in this scenario, as in all other proposed trades, is that they don’t have the pieces to make a deal work. Their best trade chip is Howard himself, and outside of JJ Redick and maybe Ryan Anderson they don’t have much else that anyone would want. Even Anderson is debatable, as his effectiveness hinges on the presence of a dominant big man to draw his defender away. Without Dwight, Anderson might just fade back into the NBA shadows.
If the Magic are going to acquire Monta Ellis without giving up Dwight Howard, a third team will almost certainly have to get involved.
As HOOPSWORLD’s Alex Kennedy reported this morning, the Magic are frantically working the phone lines in an effort to get another elite player to pair with Howard. The reality, however, is that outside of Redick the Magic simply don’t have much to trade, and Redick is not going to land an All-Star caliber player in trade. It seems much more likely that Orlando will have to sell Dwight on the summer of 2013, when they will have considerable cap room, as his chance to build his own team of star players to compete with the Miami HEAT and Chicago Bulls.
Michael Beasley Heating Up?
The Minnesota Timberwolves were ecstatic to land Michael Beasley in what amounted to a cap-saving move by the Miami HEAT two summers ago. It was a low-risk, high-reward move for the Timberwolves, one that has been more reward than anything else looking back. Beasley flourished under the forgiving gaze of Kurt Rambis last season, and has been even better, at times, for Rick Adelman this season.
Last year was by far the best season of Beasley’s career, as he posted 19.2 points and shot 45% from the field, but he also averaged a career-high 2.67 turnovers per game and seemed to benefit from the fact that wins were a secondary concern in Minnesota.
Wins are no longer a secondary concern, and as possessions and efficiency become more important, Beasley’s role diminishes. He simply isn’t mature enough to handle the elevated expectations in Minnesota, where the team very much expects to make the playoffs as the NBA’s most-improved team. Beasley has been relegated to the bench, and now it seems he will be relegated to another roster.
The Los Angeles Lakers have had a great deal of interest in Beasley, believing that Kobe Bryant could help a great deal with the maturity issues plaguing him. The issue with the Lakers is that they are also looking for a point guard, and have been unwilling to put the right pieces on the table to land both Beasley and Luke Ridnour in the purple and gold. The Timberwolves remain very interested in Pau Gasol, but the Lakers are only willing to go there if Kevin Love is in the discussion.
The Houston Rockets have also been connected to talks regarding Beasley, but the Timberwolves are most interested in Kevin Martin or a package including Courtney Lee, and the Rockets would prefer to pawn off less interesting pieces like Hasheem Thabeet, Terrence Williams, Jonny Flynn and Jordan Hill . . .a group that Adelman left Houston (in part) to escape.
The Boston Celtics are the latest team to enter the fray regarding a Beasley trade, though it’s not clear what Boston would give up in the deal. The Celtics are on the verge of blowing the entire team up, so anything may be possible at this point. Jermaine O’Neal’s contract lines up with Beasley’s, and the Wolves are looking for veteran leadership, but it seems unlikely that the Wolves would take on O’Neal, who is already half-way retired. Perhaps a deal including someone like Mickael Pietrus or Marquis Daniels, either of whom could play the two-guard spot, makes more sense.
The New Jersey Nets are also interested in Beasley, and more suitors could turn up before the March 15th deadline, but as of right now it seems highly unlikely that Michael Beasley will be in Minnesota beyond the trade deadline.
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