Posts Tagged ‘Trade’

Wizards Going All In With Gortat-For-Okafor Five-Player Trade

Phoenix Suns v Golden State Warriors

In Marcin Gortat, the Wizards have the big man they need to fill out their supporting cast.

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HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – No excuses in Washington this year.

That’s what Wizards’ owner Ted Leonsis has been preaching for months. Injuries will not be used an excuse for the Wizards not chasing a playoff berth in the Eastern Conference.

So, out goes injured center Emeka Okafor, who is out indefinitely after neck surgery, and in comes Marcin Gortat from Phoenix. It’s a deal that bolsters the Wizards’ frontcourt rotation and allows them to continue on with their plans to ride John Wall, Bradley Beal and a talented young core group into playoff contention this season.

It’s the sort of aggressive, risky move you would expect from a team with playoff aspirations that they want to realize now rather than later. Leonsis planted the seed after last season, when injuries to Wall and others prevented the Wizards from taking off the way they expected.

When Wall signed his five-year, $80 million extension in August, it became a playoffs-or-else proposition in Washington. The injury to Okafor, as well Chris Singleton and rookie swingman Otto Porter Jr., took some of the steam out of the hype train. But the arrival of Gortat, a 7-footer who averaged 11.1 points and 8.5 rebounds last season in Phoenix, pumps some adrenaline back into things in Washington.

The deal, first reported by ESPN.com’s Marc Stein, will also include the Wizards getting veteran guards Shannon Brown, Malcom Lee and Kendall Marshall, who was at one time expected to be the heir apparent to Steve Nash, for Okafor’s expiring contract and a protected first-round pick in the 2014 Draft.

The Wizards are not expected to keep Brown, Lee or Marshall on their already stocked roster, waiving all three to get to the league-maximum 15-man group in time for the start of the regular season next week.

The Suns acquisition of both Goran Dragic and Eric Bledsoe in consecutive summers, however, pushed Marshall into the margins in a rebuilding process in Phoenix that has yet to find a true foundation.

With a new direction and a new boss, general manager Ryan McDonough, the Suns are essentially waiving the white flag in the Western Conference playoff hunt and plotting a course with assets, cap space and a robust crop of talent in the 2014 Draft pool. Contract extension talks with Bledsoe are reportedly ongoing, but he appears to be the only established player safe from the trade chatter. (There have been rumors for months about Dragic being dangled as trade bait for the right asset).

It’s an interesting move by both parties, one that signals a definite shift in strategy by a Wizards team focused on the here and now and similarly deliberate move by a Suns team planning for the long-term future.

Randy Wittman and the Wizards have the big man they need to fill out that supporting cast around Wall and Beal. And Gortat gets his chance to prove he’s not just a great backup (to Dwight Howard in Orlando) or a guy who can put up solid numbers on a struggling team.

The best part, though, is the Wizards are not just talking about doing whatever it takes to become a part of the Eastern Conference playoff picture, they are making the moves necessary to make sure those words have a chance to become a reality.

It’s like the owner said, no excuses.

Felton For Miller: An Even Swap?

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – Veteran point guard for a little bit older veteran point guard.

It sounds like a reasonable take away for the Portland Trail Blazers and Denver Nuggets in their draft night dealings that saw Raymond Felton go from the Nuggets to Trail Blazers and Andre Miller from the Trail Blazers back to the Nuggets, where he played earlier in his career and resides in the offseason. While it wasn’t actually a straight up swap — it was a three-team deal that included the Blazers also trading swingman Rudy Fernandez to the Dallas Mavericks in exchange for the draft rights to Jordan Hamilton, the 26th overall pick who was in turn included in the deal with Denver — for the Nuggets and Blazers it comes down to a swap of these veteran point guards.

A NBA scouting friend suggested to me earlier today that it was basically an even swap.

“Miller is older at 35 but these guys do pretty much the same things,” he said. “They know how to run teams, are effective on both ends and they both have plenty of playoff experience, so you know they understand the dynamics of the job they have to do in a winning situation.”

But I’m not so sure.

Miller is a seemingly ageless wonder, much like his point guard elder statesmen brethren Jason Kidd and Steve Nash. But Felton is just 27. And he has always struck me as guy capable of so much more than he’s shown. He was on the road to showing off exactly what I’m talking about in New York last season, when he played All-Star caliber basketball, only to be traded to the Nuggets.

You put him at the controls of a Blazers team that boasts LaMarcus Aldridge down low and Brandon Roy and Wes Matthews on the wing with his old buddy Gerald Wallace (they played together in Charlotte) tossed in for good measure, and I’m seeing big things for Felton in his new role.

Rather than arguing back and forth with my scout friend I thought we’d let you help end this debate:

Perkins, Rivers Still Recovering

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – We all knew from the shock and immediate player and fan reaction that when Kendrick Perkins was traded from Boston to Oklahoma City on Feb. 24 that it must have a been an extremely difficult decision for the Celtics.

We just had no idea how truly difficult it was on both Perkins and Celtics coach Doc Rivers. They both opened up about it to Peter May of ESPNBoston.com. When is the last time you heard a coach talking about the decision to trade a player the way Rivers did here:

“It was the most difficult thing I have had to do since I’ve been in the league,” Rivers said. “It was like sending one of your kids [away]. It can be very hard to separate the basketball from the personal and this one was definitely that for me. Perk had great spirit. He had the intangibles you look for. We all decided to make the trade, but, for me, it hurt. It hurt a lot.”

The pain went both ways.

Perkins used words like “overwhelmed”  and “emotional” to describe his reaction, initially and to this day, about the deal that sent the Celtics’ low-post enforcer and Nate Robinson to Oklahoma City in an exchange for Jeff Green and Nenad Krstic.

But unlike some other trades that leave scars that never heal, Perkins, Rivers and the organization are all healing from the whatever the initial surprise did to them all.

In fact, Perkins said he learned a few lessons about the business of basketball during the process. It can’t hurt that he went from one contender to another. The Thunder, fresh off of last night’s win in Miami, are 7-1 this month. And Perkins has already signed a contract extension with the Thunder. Still, the connection to Boston remains:

“Obviously, I am going to miss Boston a lot,” he said. “I talked to Danny [Ainge] on the phone the day the deal was done. It was hard for both of us. We go back a long way. But I understand that this is the business part of it. “I look back and I have to be pleased with everything they did for me, from bringing me there from high school. I am grateful for all the experiences, to be able to be a part of a championship team. It was all great. No complaints. I was blessed to be there for eight years.”

‘Melo Fact And Fiction

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – There’s a reason we waited a day to address this Carmelo Anthony to the Lakers trade rumor.

Every signal coming from Los Angeles indicates that this is little more than hot air, including a Los Angeles Times report where Lakers’ officials made it clear that there is “zero” chance they get their hands on Anthony by the Feb. 24 trade deadline.

But that hasn’t stopped folks from dreaming about the possibilities. Shoot, there were online polls filled with votes for the Lakers to do whatever it took to get their hands on Anthony. There’s been non-stop yapping from talking heads coast-to-coast touting the merits of both sides of the hypothetical deal. There have even been dueling columns from Bill Plaschke and T.J. Simers debating the merits of shipping Andrew Bynum to the Nuggets for a chance to pair Anthony with Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom on Hollywood’s super team.

Lost in the midst of it all is this little passage from the original ESPN.com story that blew this story up:

A Lakers source told ESPNLosAngeles.com Tuesday that the deal won’t happen, and the New York Daily News cited an unnamed source in saying that the Lakers actually shot down a deal with Denver that included Bynum. But another league source maintained that a potential deal involving Anthony and Bynum is not dead.

If we’ve learned anything in this ongoing ‘Melo-drama it’s that we should always side with the anonymous sources that says the deal WILL NOT go down.

You remember the ‘Melo-is-headed-to-Jersey train that went back and forth for months until Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov put an end to the drama. The Nets grew tired of the shenanigans of a process that became much more public than anyone seemed comfortable with.

If this is yet another leverage play by the Nuggets, they are playing with fire. You keep getting your fans’ hopes up that some monster deal is on the horizon when in actuality, as Anthony has insisted all along, nothing is imminent. Keep poking the Knicks and they might decide to forgo dealing with you and just wait out the season and snag Anthony after he becomes a free agent (that is still in option).

We’ll all bite every time it comes up, whether it’s ‘Melo-to-the-Knicks, ‘Melo-to-the-Nets, ‘Melo-to-the-Lakers or ‘Melo-to-the-Idaho Stampede.

All this wondering about whether or not Kobe and ‘Melo can co-exist is a wonderful waste of our time when the fact is most of the stuff we read and hear regarding said possible union is basically fiction.

Some games are not worth playing, no matter how fun they might be!

Melo-Drama: Here We Go Again

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – Well, be thankful for the mini-vacation we got from the Carmelo Anthony saga — a little something we like call the “Indecision” here at the hideout — because it is officially over.

The start of a new month brings a new round of speculation about Anthony’s ultimate destination, which centers around the same team it’s always been about: the Knicks!

In the latest version of the ‘Melo-drama, courtesy of ESPN The Magazine’s Chris Broussard, ‘Melo would go to the Knicks in a convoluted three-team deal that also involves our favorite front office staff to keep an eye on: David Kahn and the Minnesota Timberwolves.

The specifics, per Broussard:

In the proposed trade, New York would send Anthony Randolph and Eddy Curry to Minnesota and the Timberwolves would send Corey Brewer and a first-round pick to Denver. Denver would also receive Wilson Chandler from New York.

A Timberwolves source told ESPN The Magazine’s Ric Bucher on Sunday that the team would not approve of a deal where the team received just New York’s Randolph and Curry with Brewer and a first-rounder heading to Denver. While these are the names currently being discussed, additional players could be added to make a deal possible, sources said.

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Artest Wants Out?

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – An already strange season for the Los Angeles Lakers shifted into crazy mode today with the news that Ron Artest is hoping to be traded by the team he helped win a championship eight months ago.

Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak indicated that the Lakers would be open to dealing someone in order to energize things.  ESPN.com’s Marc Stein has “a source” that indicate Artest is hoping he is the man that is moved:

I’m told that there’s at least one prominent Laker who hopes he’s the guy who gets shipped out in the next 20-odd days.

One source close to the situation insists that Ron Artest wants out.

Asked to react to that, Artest’s agent David Bauman declined comment.

This is where I’m obligated to remind you that no one in the NBA can change his mind faster than the famously fickle Ron-Ron. Another pertinent disclaimer: Artest’s play has been sufficiently sluggish in the second season of a five-year deal that whatever he wants is bound to be greeted by shrugs and scoffs, no matter how much he gave the Lakers in the epic final game of last season.

I’ve nonetheless been assured this week that Artest — though he hasn’t outright demanded a trade and is likely to publicly deny it — is serious about wanting to be dealt somewhere “he can have fun again” less than a year removed from the pivotal role he played in that ring-clinching Game 7 with Boston that the Lakers so nearly squandered.

One can only imagine how this news will go over in the locker room with Kobe Bryant and the rest of the Lakers, not to mention Lakers coach Phil Jackson.

UPDATE (3:40 p.m. ET via the LA Times): Artest’s agent refuted the claim that his client wants to be traded. “Ron is not looking for a trade,” Bauman said. “The frustration is there among everyone on the team. But Ron is a Laker, and he just wants to win. Ron is frustrated with the losing, as everybody is.”

Rather than waiting around for their responses, which will surely be as entertaining as they are biting, we’ve decided to put this matter to a vote.

Does Artest stay or go? You decide.

About Last Night: ‘Melo Locks Down

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — Carmelo Anthony got back to normal last night — on the court at least.

The trade rumors are still swirling. But ‘Melo set the record straight, to the Fan Night crew (above) and on several other topics to those who have descended upon Denver to investigate this ongoing story.

There’s nothing like hearing Anthony’s words directly. He can clear up a lot of the misconceptions about what is going on right now and basically who is running this entire affair. According to Anthony, it’s certainly not his wife, La La Vazquez, whose name has surfaced in many rumors as demanding that the Anthonys relocate to a bigger market at her behest.

As Anthony explained to my main man Yahoo! Sports Marc J. Spears, his wife is “not calling the shots” on this one (Anthony is a brave man for saying that out loud. Hope he had Wifey’s permission):

“Ya’ll put this in bold words, La La has nothing to do with anything,” Anthony said. “Whatever is my decision, she is going to support me. She has nothing to do with me staying or leaving. Nothing. So please keep her out of it. Thank you.

“People have to write about something and [they] come up with, ‘She don’t want to be here.’ She has nothing to do with that. This is my career. This is my decision. Of course, I got to consult her with everything. It wasn’t one conversation I had with her where she said, ‘Let’s get out of Denver.'”

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Mixed Signals In ‘Melo-Drama

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – While everyone else on the planet believes that Carmelo Anthony is headed to the New Jersey Nets any day now, Anthony remains skeptical that a deal is imminent.

In fact, Anthony doesn’t seem like a man convinced of anything right now. He’s waiting to hear from Nuggets GM Masai Ujiri and team president Josh Kroenke before he gives all these rumors anything but a roll of his eyes.

All these mixed signals do, though, is set Anthony up to be the fall guy in a debacle that could play out much like “The Decision” did for Anthony’s good friend LeBron James, with Anthony playing the unsuspecting villain this time.

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Nets, Nuggets Will Never Be The Same

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – So all we need now is for someone in Denver to press the button on this three-team, mega-deal that will change franchises forever.

Our main man David Aldridge of TNT said it, and his word is bond around here.

Go ahead and do it already. Please rescue us all from another six weeks of speculation before the trade deadline.

But be warned Nuggets fans, things will never be the same again. You might climb out of this in a year or two and be a playoff team again. You might even be a legitimate contender some day. You just won’t have a charismatic star like Carmelo Anthony leading the charge anymore.

For franchises like the Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics, there is always life after a big star departs or fades from the scene. When you are in the championship business for years and years, there is an in-house blueprint for moving on from one era to the next.

In Denver, there is only the great unknown that awaits.

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‘Melo Chatter Mellows Out

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – Any legitimate news on the Carmelo Anthony trade-rumor front would be good news at this point. After weeks of empty table scraps we need a meal of substance where ‘Melo is concerned.

But what we’ve been chewing on lately tastes like warmed-over garbage.

Will we really have to sweat this thing out until the Feb. 24 trade deadline? It appears we could be in for an extended period of mellow chatter on the ‘Melo situation.

ESPN The Magazine’s Chris Broussard lays out all of the convoluted scenarios here, including this brief snippet:

The Nets and Nuggets have discussed various trade scenarios, and just before Christmas they nearly worked out a three-team deal involving the Cleveland Cavaliers, according to league sources.

The Nets have a standing offer of rookie Derrick Favors, two first-round draft picks and Troy Murphy on the table, but last month, sources said the Nuggets aren’t interested in Murphy because they would inherit the remaining $8 million on his expiring contract. So the Nets brought in Cleveland and its $14.5 million trade exception.
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