As mentioned in the last post, the NBA’s trade deadline is on February 19th and many teams should be active, and for a variety of reasons. Some will be looking to create cap space for this off-season when a lot of the league’s young mega-stars become free agents (Chris Bosh, Dwayne Wade, LeBron James, just to name a few), while others will be hoping to package bad contracts with expiring deals and some teams in the minority will actually be looking to add a player or two who can help them compete this year.
With that in mind, I’ll be playing with a couple of trade simulators (I’m more familiar with the one on www.RealGM.com but think the one on ESPN.com may be better) to see what creative moves the Clippers could make.
There are a few problems with entering the Clippers into the machine, the first being that any logical or optimistic approach is too wild to be taken serious in ClipperLand. The other is that the team doesn’t have a lot of pieces other teams will want, with the exception being Marcus Camby and his expiring deal and Eric Gordon and his attractive rookie deal, but not even the Clippers are crazy/stupid enough to trade Gordon…right?
So here’s the first deal I succeeded on, with some reasoning as to why it makes sense for all involved and why it likely won’t happen.
Clippers trade Marcus Camby to Bulls, Bulls trade Luol Deng to Wizards, Wizards trade Caron Butler to Clippers.
Why it makes sense for the Clippers: They get something back for Camby and his expiring deal. Butler is a talented small forward who can average 15+ points per game and give you 6+ rebounds per as well. The Clippers have a solid backcourt, a talented center and a possible game-changer in Blake Griffin currently on IR. Butler would benefit from having proven scorers Baron Davis and Eric Gordon around him and either he or Gordon would likely benefit from a mismatch most games.
Why it makes sense for the Bulls: The Bulls get rid of Luol Deng and the 4 years remaining on his contract just in time for this summer’s free agent bonanza. The Bulls are rumored to be targeting Dwayne Wade AND Chris Bosh, and they’ll need not only cap space to get it done, but also roster spots. By acquiring Camby, they’re able to move Tyrus Thomas and his attractive expiring deal in a package deal with Kirk Hinrich to further free up space.
Why it makes sense for the Wizards: The Gilbert Arenas/ Javaris Crittenton fiasco has made it clear that the Wizards need to start over and by adding talented guys who can play in Flip Saunders’ system. The Wizards are likely going to be looking to move Bulter and Antwan Jamison and will be looking to get quality in return.
Why it won’t happen: Again, the “this might be too logical a decision” factor is always in play when you’re dealing with the Clippers, but I’d also say that the Wizards might not be interested in adding Deng at that high cap number while they try to sort through the wreckage that is their franchise. The Clippers would be sacrificing a lot of size in the deal and would be forced to play DeAndre Jordan at the 4, something that could further stagnate Mike Dunleavy Sr.’s already stagnant offense. The Bulls…well, there’s no obvious reason for the Bulls not to make this move if they can add to it by also moving Thomas in a separate deal.