I Heart the ESPN Trade Machine

Published: February 15, 2009

I try not to get bogged down in speculatory nonsense, but with the up-and-down roller coaster of a season that the Hornets have had so far, I have given in to that temptation. Yesterday, I decided to play the NBA Trade Machine, while thinking I can, in some way, help Jeff Bower through these difficult times. (Like he hasn’t already thought of every option out there!) I decided to come up with three trade scenarios, all of which work money-wise, two of which with some actual thought put into it, whereby both teams benefit, and the third one just for laughs. I’ll let you decide on which one is which. I would encourage all to come up with a trade that you think makes sense, and put it to the critical eye of the 247 community. Enjoy the scenarios:

#1: Trade between the New Orleans Hornets and the New York Knicks

Hornets get: David Lee, and Malik Rose’s expiring contract

Knicks get: Morris Peterson, Hilton Armstrong, and Julian Wright

Pros: N.O. gets the rebounder they so desperately need off the bench this year. They also free up about $7.5million next year, allowing the Hornets to hold onto their core players, and pick up a rebounder with a MLE next year. N.Y. gets rid of a bad contract memory, picks up a veteran 3-point shooter, and two young athletic guys with some length that could work in the D’Antoni system. Wright’s and Armstrong’s contracts also both expire in 2010, freeing up almost $4 million or cap room, which is peanuts to the Knicks.

Cons: In New Orleans, David Lee would be a rent-a-player for this season only. His contract expires, and the Hornets would not be able to afford him next year. As far as the Knicks are concerned, Mo Pete’s contract extends past the 2010 free-for-all, and they also lose a lot of inside punch, which they probably wouldn’t keep beyond this year anyway.

#2: Trade between the New Orleans Hornets and the Oklahoma City Thunder

Hornets get: Chris Wilcox and Kyle Weaver

(Sonics)Thunder get: Morris Peterson and Hilton Armstrong

Pros: The Hornets are, as stated above, in the need for a strong inside presence from the bench. Wilcox would fit that bill. Also, his contract ($6.7 million) expires at the end of the season, which would also allow the Hornets to accomplish the goals of cutting salary, keeping the core of the team together, and getting immediately better. I know some of you will poo poo this trade, thinking the Hornets should get Nick Collison instead. While I agree he is a better player, his contract goes thru 2011 which doesn’t accomplish the salary-cutting goal. The Hornets would still have to rid themselves of at least another player. The Thunder need some veteran leadership, and Morris Peterson would be a good addition to a young squad. Hilton Armstrong could probably benefit from the change in scenery, and still has some upside. 

Cons: Wilcox’s production has been a bit unpredictable since his injury problems last year. Essentially he is a rent-a-player same as David Lee, but Lee will command much more salary next off season than Wilcox. Chris is a good player, but certainly not $6.7 million per year good, not in this economy at least. For the Thunder it’s simple, they get stuck with Mo Pete’s contract. They would take on $5 million in payroll through 2011, by which time Peterson will be in his mid 30’s, so you’re not going to get anything for him, unless it’s in another trade in his expiration year.

#3 Trade between the New Orleans Hornets and the Portland Trailblazers

Hornets get: Joel Przybilla and Rafe LaFrentz

Blazers get: Peja Stojakovic, Melvin Ely, and Morris Peterson

Pros: Just in case you didn’t realize, I’m real big on the Hornets getting another rebounder. The Hornets would acquire a starting-caliber center that can rebound and block shots. They also get LaFrentz’s HUGE expiring contract (over $12 million), which would free up lots of moola. The Hornets could also start selling tickets to PRACTICE, because who wouldn’t want to see Tyson and “Tha Vanilla Killa” Przybilla go at it on a daily basis. I’d pay to see it. The blazers would get a couple of long-range snipers in Peja and Mo Pete. Peja could be deadly in Nate Mac’s offense. The Blazers are masters at efficient offense, and they get open shots. Peja makes a lot of those, at least from November till the beginning of April.

Cons: Tyson and Przybilla could kill each other, thereby leaving New Orleans with no center. Portland would have to be out of their minds to do this deal. They would take on a boatload of payroll through 2011, and would basically handcuff themselves for the next 3 to 4 years. Oh, and the Darius Miles thing doesn’t exactly encourage them to take on long, high-paying contracts.

Some additional thoughts: We all need to keep in mind that there are two teams involved in every trade, the money has to match, and the proposal has to make sense to both sides. Trades like the Pau Gasol trade are the exception, not the norm. The Hornets are going to cut salary in order to get under the cap next season. Problem is, everyone and their grandma knows this. You can’t really make many bargains or demands when you’re faced with this coming desperate situation. Other teams don’t want Mo Pete, they want Tyson, and the Hornets are in a bad negotiating position. If I was the GM another team, and had my choice of Mo Pete or Tyson, I know who I’d take.

Lastly, a rhetorical question regarding all this 2010 talk: If the national economy is not better, or is worse, by the summer of 2010, what happens then?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.