Some of the wonderful things rattling around in this full brain 'o mine. UPDATED EVERY TUESDAY AND THURSDAY (or at least twice a week)

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

NBA Detroit Pistons: To Trade or Not to Trade...

The trade deadline in the NBA is upon us. For those of you who know me, you know my undying love for the NBA and all things to do with the Detroit Pistons. As such, I’ve used ESPN’s trade machine to investigate the Pistons roster, and the roster of every other team in the NBA. I’ve got a couple of trades that would technically make sense. Here they are, with the Pro’s, Con’s, and chances of it happening.

First let’s look at what the Pistons have to trade and what they’re looking for.

The Pistons two greatest trade assets at this point are Nazr Mohammed and Flip Murray. Both of these guys were prized signees in the offseason. Flip was essentially signed to a one year deal worth just over 1 Million dollars (with a player option for another year). Nazr was signed to essentially replace Ben Wallace (who really can do that?) at 5 years starting at 5.2 Million Dollars. Both of them never really fit in. Flip, unfortunately, is the kind of player who needs a lot of time to be effective…he can’t get that in Detroit. Chauncey and Rip are the main cogs in the guard rotation, with Carlos Delfino and Lindsey Hunter being the main backups. Flip was given every opportunity, but he just can’t be consistent with inconsistent minutes. He’s only really been effective in his career starting anyway. Nazr just didn’t fit in. He has bad hands, and didn’t seem to like to pass (maybe thinking he wouldn’t get the ball back). He’s been replaced in the lineup with Chris Webber, signed after the 76ers cut him free. He’s still young (only 29). There’s still hope he could be effective after this year, if the Pistons can’t resign Webber (which I don’t think is a good deal anyway). Let’s assume though, that they want to trade Nazr, cut their losses, and try again this offseason finding a serviceable big man to go with the best starting 4 in the NBA.

The Pistons’ needs right now are nothing more than to strengthen their bench. They need some decent defense, rebounding, and scoring. They would love another Point Guard who could shoot from the 3 and handle the ball. I’m also assuming they wouldn’t be looking to take on any longterm deals. They have Chauncey, Chris, possibly Antonio looking for money this offseason. Plus, if they deal Nazr, they’ll have to replace him as well. They’re going to need as much flexibility as possible to get all that done, unless what they can get will more than satisfy all those requirements (more on that later).

Pistons send Nazr Mohammed to the Houston Rockets for Bonzi Wells and Bob Sura.

Bob Sura will essentially be retiring after this year, so the Pistons wouldn’t be on the hook for the last year of his contract. Bonzi Wells was pursued by them in the offseason. He provides excellent rebounding, and can score from outside or the post. It’s a little iffy bringing him in as he’s known as a cancer, but I think the Pistons locker room could survive both him, Rasheed and Webber in the short term.

Nazr would provide insurance in case Yao or Dikembe Mutombo go down with an injury before or during the playoffs. Also, Dikembe won’t be playing for much longer (he’s gotta be at least 60 by now right?) and Jake Tsakalidis isn’t the long-term answer at Center.

Chances: 50%
The Rockets are on a roll right now, probably not looking to rock the boat too much. They would have been more willing to deal Bonzi for Nazr before they picked up Jake Tsakalidis.

Pistons send Flip Murray and Ronald Dupree to the Memphis Grizzlies for Chucky Atkins.

Chucky would provide that additional outside scoring from the bench. He’s in the last year of his contract, and could possibly be resigned cheaply in the offseason. The Grizzlies know he’s not in their long-term plans. Flip might be able to start for the Grizzlies though, and regain his touch. If he does well, he might serve as a long-term solution for them.

Chances: 50%
Odds are, the Grizzlies are holding Chucky as a throw-in with any Pau Gasol deal. If it really doesn’t look like something with Pau will get done, then they might be willing to do a deal with the Pistons. The Pistons will have to outbid the Heat, Lakers, and a host of other teams looking for backup Point help.

Pistons send Flip Murray and Nazr Mohammed to the Los Angeles Clippers for Corey Maggette.

Corey would provide a long-term solution for scoring punch off the bench. I think he could team quite well with Carlos Delfino, Will Blaylock, Jason Maxiell and Amir Johnson as quite an exciting run and gun second unit. His contract is only for 7 mill over the next two years. If it didn’t work out this year, he would be a valuable trade asset next year.

Chances: 10%
Corey wants out of LA, but the Pistons don’t have enough to offer in return. The Clips already have Chris Kaman locked into a long-term deal. Nazr would just be a very overpaid backup, and they’d be trading one producing bench headache (Maggette) for another non-producing bench headache (Flip).

Detroit Pistons send Flip Murray and Nazr Mohammed to the Miami Heat for James Posey.

Posey can be had in trade. Pat Riley has made sure everyone knows that. He wants a Point Guard in return though. Flip has shown in the past he can be a decent backup point, and Nazr Mohammed is a better long-term backup to Shaq than Michael Doleac. Posey would provide the Pistons with outside shooting, defense, and an expiring contract off the bench.

Chances: 0%
There’s no way the Heat would help the Pistons, nor is there anyway the Pistons would help the Heat. This is as close to a hated rivalry we have in the East now-a-days.

Pistons send Nazr Mohammed to the Minnesota Timberwolves for Mike James.

Mike James could again pair with Lindsey Hunter to form a formidable defensive pressure duo off the bench. He can score from outside. He showed last year with the Raptors that he can score from pretty much anywhere. He’s also signed to one less year than Nazr, so that saves money. He would have to except that he’d be a permanent bench player unless Chancey walks in free agency.

Mohammed would provide Garnett with a bonafide option at the Center position to provide rebounding, defense, and a decent amount of scoring.

Chances: 25%
Unless the Pistons really think Mike can get back that magic of 3 years ago, he would eventually just turn into a player unsatisfied with coming off the bench. Marko Jaric has also been mentioned in a swap for Nazr.

Pistons send Nazr Mohammed and Flip Murray to the Orlando Magic for Darko Milicic and J.J. Redick.

Oh boy. This would open a whole can of worms for Joe D. Trading two mistakes (Flip and Nazr) for another former mistake in Darko. Darko has proven he can play at least as well as Nazr. The kicker is that his contract ends after this year. The Pistons wouldn’t have to resign. J.J. Redick would provide outside shooting.

Chances: 25%
The Magic would only do this trade if they really thought Darko would walk for nothing this summer and if they already have given up on J.J. Redick. Perhaps a lesser deal for just Darko would go over more smoothly.

Pistons send Nazr Mohammed and Flip Murray to the Sacramento Kings for Corliss Williamson.

Corliss never wanted to leave. That was for sure. He’s in the last year of his contract and would provide instant post scoring off the bench. He could punish all the other small forwards of the East in the Playoffs, and he’s a very under-rated defender.

Chances: 40%
The Kings would probably do this deal in conjuction with dealing Mike Bibby. Nazr would be a good backup option for when Brad Miller goes down, and Flip could fill in for the loss of Mike Bibby.

Pistons send Nazr Mohammed to the Raptors for Morris Peterson.

The Pistons reportedly have been trying to pry MoPete away from the Raptors for awhile now. The question is, do they have the players to get it done. MoPete is in the last year of his deal for 4.55 million. He provides instant scoring off the bench, and could possibly be resigned in the offseason.

Chances: 60%
Chances are that the Pistons get MoPete, but perhaps not for Nazr. In that case a deal of Flip Murray and Dale Davis would also work and would give Flip a tryout with the up-tempo Raptors.

Pistons send No One No Where and wait for the offseason.

Chris Webber isn’t a young guy anymore. He, or Rasheed could get hurt, and Nazr would be their best starting option there. Also, Nazr could develop into more of a long-term solution at the Center position.

Chances: 75%
If no one else in the East does a move (the Heat are trying for Bibby, the Bulls for Gasol), then the Pistons might just stand pat and run with what they have. They also might just save their assets and wait till the offseason to pull off what could be the greatest Piston trade since Mark Aguirre or Rasheed Wallace.

Pistons send Nazr Mohammed, Flip Murray, Rasheed Wallace and draft picks to the Minnesota Timberwolves for Kevin Garnett.

There have always been rumors of the Pistons prying Garnett away from Minnesota to reunite with Flip Saunders. Garnett has a hefty amount left on his contract, but if the Pistons were able to land him, I’m sure they could talk him into opting out and signing a new deal for less money for the chance to win a couple of championships. Also, if they landed Garnett, they probably could talk Webber into resigning for cheap as well to have a great chance of winning another championship (after they win it this year of course). They could resign Chauncey, Webber, Antonio and have a starting five of:
PG Chancey Billups
SG Rip Hamilton
SF Tayshaun Prince
PF Kevin Garnett
C Chris Webber
Bench: Lindsey Hunter, Will Blaylock, (another as yet undetermined shooter), Carlos Delfino, Jason Maxiell, Antonio McDyess, and Amir Johnson. That would be a championship caliber team for as long as they could keep them together.

Chances: 50%
It’s a crapshoot whether or not Garnett would even want to leave Minnesota. If they don’t make the playoffs again this year, I think he might definitely want out, unless Minnesota somehow lands one of the first two picks in the draft. Minnesota could develop Nazr or trade him, Rasheed would provide some edge to a “nice-guy” team, or his contract is more easily moveable than Garnett’s. Flip could start at the Point for the Timberwolves, and I think he’d be a good fit. It all hinges on Garnett. If he actually wants out, the Pistons have a better than average shot of getting him…unless the Bulls still have all their pieces (IE: they don’t trade for Gasol, which I think they should), in which case they would be the only team with better assets.

There you go folks. Here’s hoping the Pistons make a minor move to at least bolster their bench a bit. I’ll trust in Joe no matter what he does. I’m thinking the Pistons right now are one of 3 teams that could come out of the East, with Chicago and Miami being the other two. Even if Miami lands Bibby or Chicago lands Gasol, I still like the Pistons chances. I guess we’ll see in just a few short days!

Also, if you think there’s a trade I missed, go ahead and try it with the ESPN’s trade machine, and post it if it works, I’d be interested to see it!

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