by Brad Shulkin (ChicagoSportsWeekly)
Being the sports journalist that I am, I tend to do a lot of reading on sites like ESPN and Yahoo! on what is happening in the sports world. This past week, these sites have been consumed with articles upon articles of possible NBA trades that could potentially happen with the trade deadline soon approaching. Below is a list of my top three NBA trades/moves that could potentially happen and what the ramifications might be on the league as a whole.
1) Dwight Howard stays a Magic until the end of the year
There might not be any other move that has the potential ramifications that this one has. If General Manager Otis Smith decides against trading his perennial all-star, and fails to resign him during the offseason, the future of the Magic organization will truly be at a disadvantage. In my eyes, Smith has to trade Howard before the deadline. On numerous occasions, Howard has asked to be traded, picking teams like the Lakers, Nets and even the Bulls as possible destinations. He has given me no reason to believe that he will stay with the Magic, considering the cast surrounding Howard is next to awful, aside from Ryan Anderson. But, just this past week, Howard asked the Magic front office to inquire about the availability of veteran all-star point guard Steve Nash. I’ve read articles in the past about Nash and his desire to win a championship before he retires, and I believe that this opportunity he could potentially have with the Magic might be his last shot to win a ring. But the big question here, is do they make the move because they think it will help them win a championship this year, or do they make it because they must do everything in their power to make Howard happy if they want him to stay with the organization? To be honest, in my eyes, it’s a lose, lose situation for the Magic. Say they trade for Nash. Ok not bad, but what if they fail to win a championship this year? They just gave away players and draft picks that could potentially help them in the future, for a guy who maybe has one or two more seasons left in the tank. On the other hand, if somehow they miraculously get to the Finals and win, Nash will still be nearing his 40s and the Magic still haven’t gotten Howard the help that he wants for the future.
2) The Lakers will trade their spanish forward to the Houston Rockets
This is probably the most realistic trade out of any on this list. The Lakers need depth; the Lakers need a bench; the Lakers need a lot if they want to be truly in the conversation to come out of the West this year. The Lakers are averaging a measly 94.06 points per game this season, a stat that has them ranked 20th in league. This isn’t very good considering Kobe Bryant is averaging almost 30 by himself. Not one of their bench players this year is averaging over seven points per game, something that could’ve been prevented if they didn’t trade away the 2011 sixth man of the year Lamar Odom. By trading away Gasol, they will get depth in return, something they have lacked all season. Reports coming from multiple sources indicate that the Houston Rockets are interesting in the former all-star, but the Lakers would only bite if point guard Kyle Lowry would be thrown into the deal. Lowry is the kind of guard the Lakers have been craving. He is young, energetic and can really spread the floor.
3) The original “Big Three” in Boston will not stay intact after the deadline
Danny Ainge, General Manager of the Boston Celtics, has said on multiple occasions that he is willing to break up the big three. We all know now that they can no longer contend with teams like the Heat, Bulls and Thunder, as their old age can’t keep up with the young, athletic players of tomorrow. But, the big question here, is are the reports true? Will Ainge cash in his aging chips for assets while he still can or could they be all in for one more championship run? In my eyes, there is no way that the big three will stay intact. They must trade away guys like Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce to contending teams for draft picks and young talent if they want to make the rebuilding process go a little faster. Ainge must try to trade away the big three he helped form, as it will clear up cap space with the free agency in 2012 being as great as it is.
Ray Allen– The best place for Allen is absolutely Minnesota. The Timberwolves are fighting for a playoff spot and are in desperate need of outside shooting. At 36, Allen could provide them will that spark from the outside and could potentially help them down the stretch.
Kevin Garnett– I could see Cleveland being interested in Garnett, as they are fighting for a playoff spot, as well as in need for some inside defense. Garnett is still a great defensive presence in the lane and could put up 15-20 points on any given night.
Paul Pierce– Out of the big three, Pierce has the most value. He has one more guaranteed year after this and an unguaranteed year in 13-14. I can see Pierce going to a team like the Houston, as they are in dire need for a small forward with Pierce’s skill set.