Trade Machine

And-Ones: Iguodala, Gupta, Vesely, Williamson

Warriors swingman Andre Iguodala was elected First Vice President of the National Basketball Players Association, according to an NBPA press release. Iguodala has been on the Executive Committee since February 2013. He replaces LeBron James, whose four-year term has expired.

The BucksMalcolm Brogdon, the CelticsJaylen Brown and the HornetsBismack Biyombo were elected to serve as VPs on the Executive Committee. They replace Carmelo Anthony, Stephen Curry and Iguodala.

Chris Paul remains President of the committee with Anthony Tolliver, Pau Gasol, C.J. McCollum and Garrett Temple also serving on it.

We have more news from around the basketball world:

  • Pistons assistant GM Sachin Gupta never knew ESPN’s Trade Machine would become so popular when he created it in 2006, Rod Beard of the Detroit News reports. Gupta called it a “fun project” and took about a month to write the code for the Trade Machine when he worked for the network, Beard adds. “It’s not meant to replace common sense. It’s not meant to replace any GM’s job,” Gupta said. “It’s simply based on the rules and whether it works or not.”
  • Former NBA player Jan Vesely has signed an extension with Fenerbahce that keep him under contract until 2022, the Turkish team tweets. The 7-foot power forward was drafted by the Wizards with the sixth overall pick of the 2011 draft but only lasted three NBA seasons.
  • Stephen Curry is a fan of Duke’s Zion Williamson, considered the top prospect in this year’s draft, he said in an interview with The Undefeated and relayed by E. Jay Zarett of the Sporting News. “He’s unreal. We were talking about him the other day in our team room,” Curry said, via Justin Tinsley of the Undefeated. “He has a lot of hype around him and he’s unbelievably talented, but you can’t teach his passion and the way that … he plays. He plays hard every possession, and that’s an underrated skill that kids can kind of emulate.”

Nuggets Waive Victor Claver

SUNDAY, 3:40pm: The Nuggets announced that they have waived Claver.

FRIDAY, 8:37pm: The Nuggets intend to waive forward Victor Claver, Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports reports (Twitter link). Claver was acquired from the Trail Blazers on Thursday along with Will Barton and Thomas Robinson in exchange for Arron Afflalo and Alonzo Gee.

The 26-year-old from Spain is earning $1.37MM this season, and was set to become a restricted free agent at the end of the campaign. Denver currently has the league maximum 15 players on its roster, so releasing Claver would allow the team some roster flexibility moving forward.

Claver has appeared in 10 games this season, all with Portland, and he is averaging 2.4 points and 2.0 rebounds in 7.6 minutes per game. His career numbers through 80 contests are 3.2 PPG and 2.2 RPG. Claver’s career slash line is .398/.293/.585.

Modest Proposal: Ellis, Beasley, Allen

It can be difficult to find two willing trade partners with assets that match each other’s needs. Bringing another team into the mix adds another set of needs to the equation, but it also provides another set of players and salaries to plug a deal’s holes. We’ve heard rumors about the Wolves' willingness to trade Michael Beasley, perhaps to the Celtics. Unless Wolves GM David Kahn is ready to unload Beasley on the cheap, which seems unlikely to me, it’s not immediately clear how the Celtics could make such a deal worthwhile to Minnesota. The most obvious need the Wolves have is at shooting guard, and while Ray Allen would certainly help them secure a playoff spot this year, he becomes a free agent in July, the same month he turns 37. Allen wouldn’t fit the long-term needs of a team still a ways from contending.

Meanwhile, Golden State has apparently been dangling Monta Ellis in their ongoing quest to land Dwight Howard. Yet as the Magic strengthen their resolve to keep Howard past the trade deadline, it becomes increasingly clear the Warriors’ only shot at Howard will come in free agency. Currently, according to Storytellers Contracts, Golden State has close to $47.32MM in cap commitments for next season, which puts them only about $10MM below next year’s expected salary cap of $58.04MM. If they could turn Monta Ellis and his $11MM-per-year deal into an expiring contract, they could open up enough money to sign Howard and still add some extra parts around him.

A three-way trade sending Beasley and Anthony Randolph to Boston, Ellis to Minnesota and Allen to Golden State could benefit all three teams. The Wolves would get a high-scoring shooting guard who’s signed through 2014 to help them climb up a few more pegs in the West. The Warriors would end the longstanding debate over whether Ellis and Stephen Curry could coexist, get a veteran mentor for surprising rookie Klay Thompson, and cap room to go after Howard and others this summer. The aging Celtics would get a 23-year-old former No. 2 overall pick to start their rebuilding process. They’d also get 22-year-old Randolph, who isn’t seeing much time this year but put up 11.7 PPG and 5.2 RPG in 20.1 MPG for the Wolves last year after they acquired him as the third team in the Carmelo Anthony deal. It’s worth noting, too, that Randolph’s 17.4 PER this season exceeds Beasley’s 13.7.

There are plenty of reasons why this trade wouldn’t work. The Warriors might be skittish about letting Ellis go without any promise of Howard. If the Celtics find Rajon Rondo’s behavior immature, they may be wary of Beasley’s brushes with the law. Still, there are plenty of reasons why this three-teamer is at least worth exploring.

Sheridan On Gasol, Bulls

Since the moment he was actually traded–only to later have it rescinded by David Stern–there have been many rumors on possible destinations for Los Angeles Lakers big man Pau Gasol.

Over at Sheridan Hoops, Chris Sheridan reports that Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose has let his front office know that he would like to play with Gasol should the Bulls be able to build a package around Carlos Boozer and another player. 

The Bulls have enviable front court depth and team chemistry, though Gasol might just be the type of player worth the risk of breaking that up. Gasol has a very versatile skill set and off the charts basketball IQ, though is being underutilized in the Lakers offense as almost exclusively a high post option when paired with Andrew Bynum and release valve for Bryant. 

On paper Gasol would seem to be a perfect pairing with Joakim Noah. Unlike Bynum, Noah does not need touches to affect a game. This cedes the low block to Gasol to fully utilize his game. The intelligence and passing of both players should make for some interesting high-low passing. 

Rose and Gasol would be a dynamic and intelligent pick and roll pairing, and Gasol's ability to draw and pass out of double teams would open up driving lanes for Rose.

The tandem of Gasol and Noah would upgrade an already stingy Bulls defense, consolidating Boozer's offensive game with a quality defender. 

The question is why the Lakers would want to trade Gasol for a similar but lesser offensive skill set that diminishes their greatest strength, defense. The Lakers need a point guard, and while steady this season, backup C.J. Watson probably is not a significant enough upgrade at the position to warrant downgrading to Boozer.

A possibility that checks out on the ESPN Trade Machine that makes some sense is a deal sending forwards Boozer and Luol Deng for Gasol and Matt Barnes



Trade Candidate: Ray Allen

While hardly the same player who dominated the league with the SuperSonics for a decade, Ray Allen continues to be a steady starter on a team contending for a playoff spot. But with the Celtics looking at little more than a first-round playoff exit with a 14-12 record, the team must consider breaking up the Big Three in hopes of building for the future. If the team were to entertain trading one of their most prominent players, it would seemingly be Allen's name that would come up the most in trade talks given Kevin Garnett's erratic production and a general unwillingness by the Celtics to deal Paul Pierce.

Both Allen, 36, and Garnett, 35 will become unrestricted free agents at the end of the 2011/2012 season. But with Garnett currently earning $21MM this season, Allen's $10MM becomes more movable even though both players have expiring contracts. Beyond simply acquiring payroll flexibility at the end of the season, Allen would potentially provide a playoff contender with a strong veteran presence who could provide a boost both on and off the court. 

Allen has averaged just over 20 PPG in his illustrious career but that number has dropped to 14.8 PPG this season to go with 2.7 APG, a figure close to what he has averaged during his tenure with the Celtics. Taking the 14.8 PPG at face-value would be doing Allen a disservice as a closer look at his numbers reveals a season of increased efficiency. With a 49.2 FG% and shooting over 50% on threes, Allen is well above his career average marks, making the shortened 2011/2012 season one of his finest in a Celtics uniform. 

Health would not be a concern for a team acquiring Allen via trade as he has started at least 73 games in each of the past four seasons. After injuries plagued him during his Seattle days, Allen corrected his diet to better fit the demands of playing an 82-game NBA schedule. Thanks to a healthier diet in combination with an improved exercise regimen created in concert with the Celtics training staff, Allen is on path to start in 98% of the Celtics' games for a third consecutive season.

If put on the trade block, many playoff contenders, including the Bulls, would seemingly consider putting together a package for the former UConn Husky. While Richard Hamilton has played at an acceptable level since signing with the Bulls this offseason, his health concerns remain an issue as he has missed more than half of his team's games. At worst, the addition of Allen would give the Bulls one of the deepest backcourts in the NBA and perhaps push for more out of Hamilton once he returns from injury.

The Bulls could offer two young-ish players to the Celtics in return for Allen. According to ESPN's NBA Trade Machine, a trade of Kyle Korver and Ronnie Brewer for Allen works on paper and would net the Bulls three additional wins. The trade would provide Brewer the opportunity to start for the Celtics and for Korver to provide depth behind Pierce, but would lead to three additional losses for the Celtics.

While adding Allen to the Bulls may put them in prime position to challenge the Heat for the right to represent the Eastern Conference in the NBA Finals, time remains for the Celtics to better predict the course of their season. At 14-12, a string of wins could quickly lead to the Celtics being buyers rather than sellers come March. Similarly, a weak finish heading into All-Star Weekend could start the chatter about where Allen may finish the season.

Modest Proposal: Nash To Lakers

The Lakers must acquire a high-energy player to help complement Kobe Bryant and strengthen the middling point guard position in order to make a run in the playoffs this season. With Steve Blake's health still an uncertainty and Derek Fisher managing a paltry 5.3 PPG, the Lakers have put out feelers across the league in hopes of finding the right piece to help bolster their 14-10 squad. Earlier this evening, ESPN NBA Insider Chris Palmer suggested a trade (via Twitter) that would send Suns point guard Steve Nash in exchange for Fisher and Metta World Peace.

Let's take a look at what ESPN's Trade Machine has to say about this prospective deal:

In trading Fisher, 37, and World Peace, 32, to the Suns, the Lakers would project to improve by 10 wins, a hefty boost that would seemingly vault them to the top of the Western Conference. While the Trade Machine's prediction for a Steve Nash-led Lakers team sounds a bit optimistic, one must look to the success Nash, 38 on Tuesday, is currently enjoying in his 16th NBA season. Nash's minutes are slightly down (31.1 MPG) while his FG% would mark a career-high (.545), which along with his 14.5 PPG and 9.9 APG point to an overall strong season for the former first-round pick out of Santa Clara.

Among the many differences between Nash and Fisher running the point would be Nash's ability to distribute the ball while also being able to knock down a shot at a high frequency especially when a play does not materialize. Kobe's chase toward matching Michael Jordan's six championship rings would become more of a realistic goal this season upon the arrival of Nash as Bryant could decrease his minutes (38 MPG) to a more manageable level. Needless to say, Nash's overall impact may be felt most in the continued development of rising star Andrew Bynum, who was recently named an All-Star starter thanks to his 17 PPG and 12 RPG.

So far the trade looks great, but let's be honest, we've yet to consider how the Suns would fare in giving up a former two-time league MVP in Nash. The Suns front office has conceded that they are willing to deal Nash to a contender if he approached them with such a request. At 9-14, the Suns are clearly heading toward a rebuilding phase in the post-Nash era, which would become muddled with the addition of the aging Fisher and World Peace (4.9 PPG). While Fisher may serve as a strong locker room presence, World Peace's role would be a bit unclear given the roster's current glut of small forwards. 

With the Trade Machine's prediction of the Suns losing an additional seven games upon trading Nash for Fisher and World Peace, Chris Palmer's trade may only come to fruition if driven solely out of respect for the future Hall of Famer Nash.

Trade Machine: Sessions To Knicks

The New York Knicks, losers of 11 of their past 14 games, need a point guard. The Cavaliers, having an excellent backup point guard in Ramon Sessions, need as many young pieces around their star rookie point guard Kyrie Irving as possible.

Despite the Knicks previous reluctance to part with last year's prized second round pick Landry Fields, a trade package centered around Fields and Sessions would appear to make sense for both teams.

The Knicks offense has sputtered out of the gate this season, averaging 94.7 ppg–good for 14th in the NBA. They are currently 24th in the league with 18.9 assists per game. Those two aspects of the game had previously been staples of a Mike D'Antoni  offense.

Sessions, currently averaging 9.2 points and 4.8 assists per game in just slightly over 20 minutes, would provide the Knicks with the pick and roll ball handler the Knicks sorely lack, allowing D'Antoni to open up his system and properly utilize Amare Stoudemire

Fields, a surprising second round find, would provide, at worst, quality depth on the wings for a team that leans heavily on Antawn Jamison, Alonzo Gee, Anthony Parker, and Daniel Gibson.

While the Knicks have Baron Davis waiting in the wings, relying on a player with his history of injuries and conditioning troubles in the condensed lockout season could be a recipe for disaster. Not that playing Anthony in a point forward role hasn't been so far this season.

Even though Sessions likely would not be the long term answer, the Knicks have a lot of decisions to make this offseason, and it would be best to evaluate D'Antoni and his system in its natural habitat, with a point guard that can execute his offense. 


Hollinger Talks Trade Scenarios

In an Insider-only piece, John Hollinger made use of's Trade Machine to create a few potential trades that he'd like to see happen in the coming weeks. Here are Hollinger's ideas:

  • Chris Kaman to Houston: Hollinger argues that the Rockets are the best fit for Kaman because of the unwanted expiring contracts Houston owns. He also mentions the Celtics, Pacers, and Blazers as destinations that aren't quite as ideal as the Rockets. I like the Pacers as a fit because of their cap space, but it's unlikely they'd give up anything of real value for Kaman. Here's the latest on the Hornets center.
  • Stephen Jackson and Dwight Howard to New Jersey: Building on rumors suggesting Howard would like to play with Jackson, Hollinger creates two separate trades to get the two of them to Jersey. The deal involving Jackson could be consummated prior to March 1st, and sees Jordan Farmar and Anthony Morrow, among others, heading to Milwaukee. The hypothetical Howard blockbuster involves Kris Humphries and therefore can't be made until March. I certainly don't think the Magic will move Howard before March, so this one could be a possibility.
  • Steve Nash to Portland: Since Nash isn't extension-eligible, any team trying to acquire him in the next few weeks would do so knowing he'd be a rental. Hollinger proposes a Blazers package of Raymond Felton, Nolan Smith, and Elliot Williams. Personally, I'd be surprised if that was enough for the Suns to give him up. I think their asking price will be very high, even with Nash's contract expiring.
  • O.J. Mayo and Ramon Sessions to Indiana: This four-team proposal also involved Tyler Hansborough, Eric Bledsoe, and Randy Foye, among others. It's intriguing, but it's not a direction I'd expect the Pacers to go, and getting all four teams to agree would be a challenge.