If there were a theme song for this year’s NBA trade deadline activity as of this moment, it might be “I got plenty o’ nuttin’” or perhaps “The sounds of silence”. Building another trade scenario for the Toronto Raptors to unload Andrea Bargnani seems a fruitless gesture. Did you see last night’s Washington game? If the Raps were trying to spotlight AB in advance of a trade, coach Dwane Casey was holding the playbook upside-down. Tonight against a tough Memphis Grizzlies squad is the last chance to tell the world AB is healthy and able to contribute, but I’m thinking it’s Much Ado About Nothing.
Players whose names have cropped up recently in the rumor mills include: Eric Maynor (redundant in OKC), Jordan Crawford (Washington prefers Bradley Beal), Rodney Stuckey (pushed to the bench upon Jose Calderon’s arrival in Detroit), Richard Hamilton (without a role in Chicago). Have your eyes glazed over yet? Their salaries don’t match up with AB’s, and why would we bother with any of these guys?
Instead, let’s summarize the proposals I’ve made so far, pass judgement on each deal’s merits and likelihood of actually being consummated, and offer a thought about which team says No.
- AB for Josh Smith – Atlanta Hawks
- Admittedly one-sided for Raps, but Hawks may want to get something for Smith
- Likelihood: 5%
- Why the Hawks say No: They stubbornly believe Josh will re-sign with them (I think they’re dreaming)
- AB for Ersan Ilyasova – Milwaukee Bucks
- I wouldn’t make this deal, as it’s too much like trading six eggs for half a dozen, but I won’t flame Bryan Colangelo in a vulnerable spot if it happens.
- Likelihood: 5%
- Why the Bucks say No: where’s their upside?
- AB & filler for Carlos Boozer – Chicago Bulls
- I’ve always liked Carlos; he’s a consistent inside presence who can create and make his own shot
- This isn’t my favourite deal, but I’ll be OK if BC manages to persuade Chicago
- Likelihood: 3%
- Why the Bulls say No: They are built around DEFENSE. Andrea…um…isn’t.
- AB for Ben Gordon – Charlotte Bobcats
- Thanks but no thanks. Ben would bring baggage galore, and even if he was as pure as a newborn babe, I can’t see the need for another shooting guard
- Likelihood: 1%
- Why the Raps say No: we need leadership from veterans inside our youthful locker room, not a “me-first” attitude
- AB for Spencer Hawes & filler – Philadelphia 76ers
- I’m not a Hawes fan. Several commenters have tried to persuade me otherwise, but I’d rather keep AB and take my chances. Who would tag along from Philly to make this deal work under salary cap rules?
- Likelihood: 1%
- Why both sides say No: because it’s not a fit at any level
- AB for Paul Millsap – Utah Jazz
- Bring it on! It’s risky, because Paul can walk after the season, but in the meantime he might be the difference between making the playoffs and another trip to the draft lottery.
- Likelihood: 5%
- Why the Jazz say No: Paul is a fan favourite, and the team is hopeful he will re-sign
- AB and Landry Fields for Al Jefferson – Utah Jazz
- Yes, emphatically, but even riskier, as we’re now gambling away 2 players for a potential rental. We would get cap relief, it’s true, but cap relief can’t put the ball in the basket. I’d still roll the dice.
- Likelihood: 2%
- Why the Raps say No: too scary for BC to stomach
- AB and Landry Fields for Pau Gasol, Los Angeles Lakers
- Ladies and Gentlemen, we have a winner. I’m cheating a bit, because this deal is unlikely to go down until July, but it’s one the Raps need to do. Pau is the best kind of veteran; he’s won two NBA championships and wants another one, he’ll have a positive influence on Jonas Valanciunas, and he can still play at a high level at power forward where we have a gaping hole currently. [20 second timeout: yes, I still love Amir Johnson, but he gets his points on offensive rebounds, and pick 'n' rolls, not from the low block in a half-court set.] This deal would likely have happened already if Pau wasn’t injured.
- Likelihood: 50%
- Why both teams should say Yes: The Lakers might dump their coach, Mike D’Antoni, and bring in someone who appreciates Pau’s skills. Perhaps Kobe will lobby to keep his friend Pau in LA, or AB might start to play out of his mind. Otherwise, the deal works for both teams, and it’s on. I think Colangelo would love to announce this trade one day after he signs his contract extension as president & general manager.
There we have it, Rapture Nation. My final thoughts on all the deals I’ve considered. All this sound and fury may signify nothing. Raps’ management may not find a trade partner, or, because we’re enjoying a 5-game winning streak, might decide to rely on this hoary cliche “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. We’ll know by 3:00 tomorrow.
Brian Boake is a co-editor for Raptors Rapture. “Like” Raptors Rapture on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @RaptorsRapture for all the latest news and updates about the best damn NBA team from Canada.