I love basketball, and I love the NBA Trade Deadline. It’s full of speculation, and like many fans, it’s cool to come up with trade scenarios that could help a team. It excites me. So, in some down time I decided to play around with the trade machine and I came up with a proposal that makes sense. Well, to me anyway. It may not make sense to you. My proposal, which worked according to the machine, helps two playoff contenders, helps one non contender shed salary, and brings the 4th team closer to the cap limit.
My proposal as follows: The Los Angeles Lakers deal Pau Gasol ($19 mill in salary) to the Phoenix Suns. The Suns deal Emeka Okafor ($14 mill in salary) to the Philadelphia 76’ers. The Sixers deal Evan Turner ($6 mill in salary) to the Charlotte Bobcats and the Bobcats deal Ben Gordon ($13 mill in salary) to the Lakers. All four players are in the last year of their contracts, and the Suns/Sixers are both well under the salary cap. Draft picks will likely be involved to placate the Sixers and Lakers for taking on Okafor and Gordon, respectively. However, you are not able to add draft picks in the trade machine. In the following paragraphs I’ll outline my reasoning for putting this deal together, and I’ll ask the most important question of this blog: who says no?
Why this deal makes sense for the Lakers? The Lakers are 18-35, tied for the worst record in the West and would have the 5th pick in the Draft if the season ended today. The Lakers have been beset by injuries, but it has been acknowledged recently in interviews by general manager Mitch Kupchak that the team is looking for deals that could help them bring in assets, and not to improve their already woeful position. In trading Pau Gasol, the Lakers would be attempting to lower their luxury tax bill. Currently the Lakers are $12 million over the luxury tax line. Luxury tax money will be paid to the NBA in July. A losing team, such as the Lakers, would be prudent in dumping salary and in my scenario the Lakers would acquire Ben Gordon. Gordon, like Gasol, is in the last year of his contract but he’s making $13 million in comparison to Pau’s $19 million. Ben would represent a savings of $6 million. The Lakers are guard heavy, so they don’t really need Gordon but this is a deal that would have no impact on their cap room for this off season as well as the room they can have for next season.
Long term savings would also be the goal of the Philadelphia 76’ers. In trading Evan Turner, for Emeka Okafor, the Sixers would actually raise salary but the team is $11 million dollars under the cap and acquiring Okafor actually increases their tanking effort. Okafor is sidelined by a neck injury and is unlikely to play this season. He doesn’t eat up any long term salary, 80% of his salary will be paid by an insurance company, so the Sixers would actually lower their luxury tax requirements even more by adding him. Philadelphia should be an active player in this trade season because they have the flexibility to add salary, shed some useful players, and pick up additional draft picks. They’ll be a useful conduit.
Many thought the Phoenix Suns would be in the same position as the 76’ers. No one expected the Suns to be in a playoff chase entering the season, but now that they are they need to add veteran experience to help them in the post season. The Suns are $5 million under the cap, and have room to pick up a player that may make more than the salary they push out. Despite the season Miles Plumlee is having for the Suns, they do need a big man. Gasol’s skillset should help that team. Gasol can play in the paint, he can play some from the wing, and he is an able rebounder on the boards. He’s put up solid numbers in this lost Lakers season, despite missing games to injury. Also, by taking up the roster space of Okafor, the Suns can actually get something useful for exchange. It’s very rare you get something from nothing.
Finally, the Charlotte Bobcats are in the playoff chase. They would be the 8th seed in the East if the season ended today. They’ve been a good story. Big Al Jefferson and company need a little help and in picking up Evan Turner they can get a player that can play the shooting guard/small forward positions. In trading Gordon for Turner the Bobcats get length, shooting, and a player with effort. Something they haven’t gotten from the big contract of Ben Gordon.
So who says no? Let me know in the comments and thanks for reading.
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