We are nearing the trade hotbed time. Let's prepare for it.
December 15th, a date that lives in every NBA fans memory. Why? Because it is the first day that offseason free agent signings can be included in trades, which essentially makes trades easier to work out a little bit more likely. That is one week. So to prepare for the trade season, let's talk about some people that are available now and some rumored internet trades as well. I will be including trade proposals and funny comments from other slcdunk writers, since we discussed some of these trade scenarios already.
One of those writers/contributors is Peter J Novak (@Peter_J_Novak), who is easily the most prolific Jazz fan trade machinist. He is constantly thinking up hypothetical trade ideas for the Jazz, so if you aren't following him on twitter, you should. His timeline is chalk full of hypothetical trades and discussions on said trades.
Why the Cavs would trade Varejao:
By many accounts the Cleveland Cavaliers are gauging interest in their big man. In some ways, this makes a lot of sense, since Varejao is 30 and probably will be well past his prime when the Cavaliers get serious about competing in the future. If the Cavaliers could get younger or garner some assets that will help more down the road, trading the Brazilian might be the right move. With that said, there are few big men, if any, playing as well as Varejao in the league right now, so the Cavs are asking for quite a bit. I've heard from some writers that it is too much and really making a Varejao trade unlikely right now.
Why the Jazz would be interested in Varejao:
Varejao is a great big man, who is playing fantastic basketball right now. Even when he isn't playing this well, he is still considered one of the best defensive and rebounding big men. On top of that, he has a very favorable contract at about $27 million for the next 3 seasons. He is a much better defender than Al Jefferson, generally speaking and bigger and more cap friendly than Paul Millsap. He plays the center position primarily and could make a decent pairing with Derrick Favors if he prefers to play power forward.
"Honestly, that's a reasonable trade. Varejao's 2 years older, but has 2-3 more seasons left on his contract, while Al only has one. Al gives you better offense, but Varejao leads with defense and rebounding. Would clear more immediate cap space for the Cavs for summer of 2013, gives them Al Jefferson now. Don't know if it does that much for them in the future, you might have to include Burks or a 1st rounder for it.
For us, makes a short-term asset into a medium-term asset, without killing us long term or preventing any extensions. Makes us a better defensive and defensive rebounding team, which are big weaknesses. Gets us better hair. Gets more people named Andy on the team, etc."
Peter J Novak:
"Cleveland isn't building for now and could be interested in test driving Millsap for half the season to see if he'd fit in longterm with Irving. If not then they'd have about $25m in cap space next year to chase another player. They also are really bad at wing. CJ and Gee have been terrible and they could use another guy to develop with Waiters. They are more patient then the Jazz are in that regard right now.
For the Jazz this gives us a starting C for the future and a rotational player that doesn't take touches away from Al right now. A defensive frontcourt of Varejao/Favors could help us solidify our model Detroit Pistons franchise next year and beyond.
If they didn't want Burks we could perhaps entice them with the lower of our two first rounders which should be in the low teens. Or we could also take back a contract in return for expiring money. Adding Gee and his 3 years for Raja and his expiring contract keeps the deal math in order."
Peter J Novak continued (I told you he is prolific):
"A 3 teamer that allows the Cavs to net younger guys than we can offer."
"I agree with Peter that Millsap and Burks is a good trade for both teams. If the Cavs somehow preferred Jefferson, you could also do Al and a first for Varajao and Luke Walton."
Possibility of happening:
I think the Jazz would be genuinely interested in acquiring Anderson Varejao. His strengths fit in really well with a couple of the big weaknesses that the Jazz have. However, I get the feeling that the Cavaliers are just asking too much for Varejao, especially with his elite play right now. Also, there are a handful of other teams who have more assets they'd be willing to give up than the Jazz, I would guess.
Why the Lakers would trade Pau Gasol:
Because the Lakers can't afford to be on the cusp of making the playoffs and they always make a trade to try to improve the team. And in all honesty, they are often successful after making a trade. Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol are both more comfortable playing the center position and Gasol could probably net them several players that could give the Lakers some much needed depth.
Why the Jazz would have interest in Gasol:
There is no question that Pau Gasol is having a very down year, but if this is do to the chemistry and basketball issues in Laker Land, and not a real decline in his skills, then Gasol would provide an upgrade over Millsap and Jefferson and could match up fairly well, skillset wise, with Derrick Favors. Gasol has a hefty price tag of $19 million the next two seasons, but as has been recounted often on this blog, the Jazz need to spend money next season and deals that only last next season, and not afterward, should be very intriguing to the Jazz both economically and development wise in terms of Favors and Enes Kanter.
Both of my favorite Pau Gasol trades are from Peter:
While the Lakers would have very little use for Paul Millsap AND Al Jefferson in their Mike D'Antoni offense, the Lakers could certainly use some shooting and really Marvin Williams would make an intriguing player for Mike D'Antoni, who could be used as a small forward or a stretch 4 in the mold of Shawn Marion.
Per ESPN's Marc Stein, the Timberwolves are very interested in trading for Pau Gasol and have reportedly offered Derrick Williams and Nikola Pekovic. Pekovic would make a very interesting addition to the Jazz and this is a four team trade that seems to give each team something(s) they need.
Likelihood of happening:
Pau Gasol's large contract makes him very difficult to trade and the Lakers would be looking for some very specific pieces if they were to deal Pau. If Gasol is traded, it probably won't be until after the Lakers can see if Nash's return helps Gasol's effectiveness. But as with many trades, other team would probably be able to provide the Lakers with better pieces than the Jazz.
What do you all think? Sound off in the comments. There will be many more of these trade discussions throughout the next couple months.