TRADE DEADLINE EDITION
• So the Carmelo Anthony deal is consummated, and you have to think that the New York Knicks won, and won big on the deal. As a rule of thumb, whoever lands the best player in a NBA trade, is the winner of the trade. The game of chicken played by Denver to try to massage Landry Fields out of the Knicks failed. In the end, Carmelo Anthony’s refusal to sign an extension with New Jersey proved too much for the Nuggets and the Nuggets blinked. Getting Chauncey Billups in the deal gives the Knicks a rather formidable starting five pending any other deals they may make to get a legitimate big man.
• The Troy Murphy saga comes to a head. Pending a deal to Golden State that will ensure a buyout, The Miami Heat and Boston Celtics are now the front runners to land the stretch four’s services. As mentioned in this column before, I was very surprised that he did not have many suitors. Well that has changed, now that several teams have been mentioned as teams with interest. What the Miami Heat’s interest in Troy Murphy says above all else, is that Udonis Haslem is likely not going to be a playoff contributor. Haslem is out of a boot now, but is in the preliminary stages of a rehabilitation. If the Heat were to add Troy Murphy, that would make 5 bigs in the rotation pending Haslem’s return. That is 2 too many. Troy Murphy is a very good rebounder and can stretch the floor with his three point shooting. He would give the Heat a added dimension and much needed rebounding with the second unit. The buyout deadline is March 1st.
• Brian Windhorst (ESPN Heat Index) reports that Mike Miller has been shopped around as of late, seeking a point guard in return. I put little stock in the report and think that it might be a motivational tool to get him going. Miller is a valuable piece for any team, but his remaining 4 years at the Mid Level Exemption do not make him attractive in trade at all. Miller will be a contributor on this team down the stretch and playoffs barring any injury.
• So will the Miami Heat be active participants in the trade market? Only Pat Riley knows, but it won’t stop juicy rumors. The way a trade rumor usually starts is like this: Reporter A asks members of an organization which players they “like” and which ones they don’t. They then report on those players that the organization likes, and by simple deduction and use of the ESPN Trade Machine, they speculate on what it would take to obtain those players. The speculation then becomes a rumor. So I will add to this. Speaking with a couple of members of the Miami Heat’s organization, I know of a few players the Heat really “likes”, and that they have actually inquired about. Those guys are OJ Mayo (Memphis), Raymond Felton (Denver), Luke Ridnour (Minnesota). The chances they land any of them? I would say slim. very slim. My choice from the group? Luke Ridnour. He can shoot the ball and handle it safely, and is capable of pesky defense. A perfect fit on the Heat. What will it take? Shaking a shiny object in front of David Kahn (Who knows what that guy’s thinking is.)
• The Chicago Bulls are working furiously to land Courtney Lee (Houston), and their fall-back plan is Anthony Parker (Cleveland). Either one would be a upgrade to their shooting guard situation. Neither one is a particularly good defender, but are capable as team defenders and both can shoot the ball. For a team with alot of good pieces to trade, they sure like holding onto them, to the detriment of their success, in my opinion. Why wouldn’t the Bulls put a package together to try to land OJ Mayo? Watching the Bulls, you learn very quickly, three things. Derrick Rose is a MVP candidate. The Bulls are a great defensive team. The Bulls are offensively challenged. Their patented 4 minute Field Goal drought is something the Bulls have to correct if they want any chance to contend in the eastern conference.
• Portland is looking to dismantle? Well, not exactly, but if you believe reports, they are shopping Andre Miller and Marcus Camby. I think the Lakers are a serious suitor for Andre Miller, but the issue is that Portland will seek to package both players for a “contributor”. The Blazers are not particularly interested in a cost cutting move to help a contender. I would expect the Knicks to make a push for Camby, but their pieces are scarce to say the least.
• The Pistons making Rip Hamilton, Tayshaun Prince available? Same as with Portland, they are not going to hand a contributor to a contender for mere cap relief. Richard Hamilton’s albatross of a contract is a a pretty big stumbling block for a team that is in the process of being sold. I would not expect a buyout anytime soon. I do expect the Dallas Mavericks to make serious runs at both players at the deadline. Other suitors for Hamilton and/or Prince include Indiana, Houston, and Portland.
• Deron Williams being traded to the Nets? As I write this, that seems to be the case. A great piece to build around, and he does indeed make everybody better. The Nets might have come out ahead in all this. Melo or Deron? Better player, Deron Williams. More marketable player for a team moving into a new arena in Brooklyn? Carmelo Anthony. In the end, everybody is a winner. Except for Utah and Denver.