Thursday, July 27, 2006

Trade Possibilities

An astute reader named Marc picked up on the Zach/Darius trade question the other day and took it a little further, offering this:

>>I would welcome exploring the question of what teams might have some interest in either player. Forget, for the moment, what we might get back. – Anything of value would just be a bonus – the pressing issue is to identify teams for whom Zack or Darius might prove to be assets.

>>To begin to answer this question, I think you have to identify the kinds of teams that might have a use for our guys. My thought is they would have to be low playoff teams searching for a way to improve their chances. [I doubt that either great teams or teams in need of a massive overhaul would be inclined to take a chance on talented but flawed and overpaid players]. Also tempted might be teams with acknowledged stars who could presumably establish control over our guys in a way that apparently no coach can. Finally, some teams which may meet the foregoing criteria would not be suitable either because of the solid forwards they presently have (such as Sacramento) or because of their history with Darius (such as Cleveland).<<

I'm more or less on board with that analysis, though I do think there are a couple teams who do not meet those exact criteria who might be interested for various reasons, such as New York or Golden State. But to keep it simple I'm going to simply re-print the list of teams Marc suggested, adding in my own thoughts after each.

As possible suitors for Zach Marc suggests:

Denver
The most talked about possibility is Kenyon Martin. He brings different qualities than Zach but just as many questions and his contract is just as long and almost as high. For that reason I don't think we make that trade. A big part of the reason for trading Zach is that you just can't give a contract that big to a questionable guy.

Technically another possibility after December would be Zach for Nene and Najera. Denver would have to find somewhere else to drop Martin in the process. Nene's contract is significant, but if you liked him enough (and they didn't) it could be a deal at some point down the line. But I'd guess the chances of any Zach trade with Denver to be low.

New Jersey
The only guys that qualify salary-wise are Kidd, Carter, and Jefferson. The first two won't enter the realm of possibility for either side. I think Jersey would view trading Jefferson for Zach as a lateral move at best. We might like it if we were sure Aldridge would pan out at PF and we could draft another center. I think this deal would be even less likely than a Denver trade. The Nets just don't have the disposable salaries.

Houston
A package of Juwon Howard, Bob Sura, and Dikembe Mutumbo would work in a trade for Zach. We'd have to cut one if not both of the latter. Howard's contract runs three more years (assuming he'll pick up his option) at about half Zach's. His production is a little more than half Zach's but nothing to write home about. Essentially we'd be getting about 50% of the player for about 50% of the price for the next three seasons then cap freedom after that. In bald terms it would be just dumping Zach though, and I think Portland likes him more than that. Only if he pulled something awful would we consider doing this.

Philadelphia
This actually is the most intriguing of the possibilities. Randolph and Skinner match salary-wise with Chris Webber. The Sixers have been disenchanted with him despite his production and he's also getting old. I don't know how much Cheeks liked Randolph but Zach did have his best years under him. Zach would also be paired with an established superstar, which may ease some of Philly's concerns about him. We'd be renting Webber and his 20/10 stats for two years as Lamarcus grew. We'd pay $3 million more this season and $9 million more next in exchange for freedom after that. (Alternately we'd have Webber's enormous expiring contract to deal next year.) The timing would also be right for losing C-Webb in that all our recent draft picks would have had 1-3 years to incubate and should be ready to contribute full-time in exactly that year. This seems more probable than any of the other three scenarios.

Marc's candidate to relieve us of Darius is the...

Los Angeles Lakers
The two possibilities here are Miles for Kwame Brown straight up or the much-rumored Miles for Mihm and McKie trade. I doubt we'd pursue the former even if they would. Brown's contract does run out sooner than Miles' but we're not talking major cap relief in either case. I'm lukewarm on the Mihm/McKie possibility given that we're already logjammed with shooting guards and PF/C-types. I guess if we really wanted to move him for the cap space it would be a good deal since both contracts expire after this season. Somehow I don't see the Lakers wanting to get smaller in either case though. And doesn't Odom somewhat duplicate Miles? Now Zach AND Darius for Odom, Mihm, and McKie we could maybe talk about. (That works under cap rules too.)

Marc also has a couple potential suitors who could swing either way:

Boston
The Celtics have three players under big enough contracts to matter: Pierce, Szczerbiak, and Ratliff. They aren't trading Pierce for anybody right now, least of all one of our two malcontents, so that's out. I don't think we have much interest in Wally anymore. His contract runs three more years and we now have a couple of young wing players who might actually be able to shoot. That leaves Theo. I doubt we would re-acquire him because if we were going to do that, why not just make the player we'd trade for him part of the deal in the first place?

Minnesota
Minnesota's potential names include Ricky Davis, Mark Blount, Marko Jaric, Trenton Hassell, and Eddie Griffin. Any one of them except Griffin would probably match up for Darius (give or take). You'd need two or more to match Zach. But then why would they want Zach with one of the top PFs in the league already on board? All except Davis and Griffin (both expiring in 2008) are signed into 2010 or beyond, which makes them long-term commitments for us. Every one of them has questions either with attitude or style of play. If we really wanted to dump Miles we might be able to do it, but it would be a lateral move for us.

In short, while I agree with the logic behind these potential trade partners, the outlook seems pretty bleak at the moment. I have a hunch we're going to have to think outside the box if we want to move these guys, and we may have to wait until more opportunities arise. If it does happen in the short term, it's likely to be something out of left field.

--Dave (blazersub@yahoo.com)

12 Comments:

Anonymous TP43 said...

I guess you can't blame the rest of the league for not wanting our last place cast-offs.

Pretty bleak on the trade front ... we're likely looking at our roster to begin the season with a small tweak somewhere to get down to 15-14 a possibility. Think positive thoughts Blazer fans, the new guys are going to be fun to watch and you've got to think that we're accumulating enough "Nate" guys to minimize any negative locker room impact Zach-Darius might have.

12:06 PM  
Blogger rosco said...

Dave,

I think you left out one scenario that I have looked into the last couple of days...

Toronto.

D-Miles could fit in some sort of role right away with that team, whether its at the 2 or 3, considering their take on Bargnani at this point. To package with him, I hate to say it, would have to be Little Stevie Blake, who in the Raptors lineup would be a great guy to spell T.J. Ford. So from the Portland side, we send Blake and Miles, and we would receive Mo Peterson and Alvin Williams (I know, gasp). It works out under the salary cap, and actually, would be perhaps one of the more valuable trades for the Blazers. A decent amount of cap relief when both players' contracts expire (next off-season I believe), a good combo SF in Mo-Pete who can, get this, hit a jump shot, and well, the icing on the cake, D-Miles out of the country.

At this point, it definitely seems unlikely that we will be able to make a trade without bundling one of our super-value backcourt players...

12:11 PM  
Blogger Dave said...

Toronto is a possibility. I didn't mention it because I was following Marc's reasoning for this post. However the Raptors just cut Williams, which means he can't be part of a trade. The Mo Pete thing has interested me for a while. He'd be a good fill in this year at SF and he's not a long term commitment.

Good find Rosco.

--Dave

12:34 PM  
Blogger BLAZER PROPHET said...

The problem with trading Darius is that we have to find a team that wants him at $9,000,000 per season. That probably narrows it down to three teams. Then, they have to have a player we are willing to take for the salary and they are willing to part with. I mean, let’s face it, Darius Miles is not THE player who will put a team over the top. Add to that his attitude and recent surgery. Very difficult to make any trade at all involving him.

As to Zach, I really don’t fully understand the CBA thing, but I think his trade value is around $3,000,000. in other words, a team will have to give us a $3,000,000 salaried player for him, and then take his $12-13,000,000 salary against their salary cap. Only a few teams can add that type of money their cap and probably fewer teams will part with a player for that given his inability to play defense and pure selfishness on offense- not to mention knee microfracture surgery and his continued brushes with the fuzz.

All that to say our chances of trading either is less than 50%.

12:43 PM  
Blogger Dave said...

I don't think Zach is restricted in any way anymore, Prophet. His Base Year Compensation status expired in July, so now his actual contract value is also his cap value. Are there any other restrictions that would inhibit this that I'm missing?

--Dave

1:08 PM  
Blogger BLAZER PROPHET said...

Dave, is that true? My bad. I'm really not a CBA expert at all.

1:46 PM  
Anonymous fatty said...

excuse me roscoe super value
backcourt players,oh really
wait a minute did we get (a.i)
d.wade,lebron,or kobe or do we
have a mediocre h.s. jump shooter
a potential great combo guard
but please don't put jack,blake
and this sergio guy as quote
on quote super value backcourt
players,this team as no
untouchables until proven
otherwise,and i hate to be
the bad guy but another year
of the abbott*costello show
"aka" fatbo*miles,then dave
i'll see you on 6/27/07 for
the draft at msg for the
noah*oden era if both are
still here i'll give them a
17-65 record at best,and i
wonder how "shaq" i mean
"the big boss man" the franchise
j.pryzbilla will feel about
another year with dumb*dumber
on the roster later dave...
p.s. hey dave what's your
favorite foods so i can take
you out to dinner in the city...

1:51 PM  
Blogger Dave said...

I eat almost anything Fatty. No sprouts, no cucumber, no liver.

--Dave

2:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think that NY could be induced to take Miles. Thomas has said he wants to keep expiring contracts and his draftees and doesn't want to add players. But a trade of Miles and Skinner's expiring contract for Taylor's expiring deal and Udoka(?) works in that NY can use Miles, Udoka- a natural 3rd string SF from PSU- most probably would be waived by NY anyway, and while Skinner's expiring deal is less than Taylor's, Thomas does get to say he is managing the cap, while trying to save his job. Unfortunately, I can't think of any realistic deals for Zack.

4:57 PM  
Blogger BLAZER PROPHET said...

How about Miles & Zach for KG? Minny has openly stated they would trade him.

7:17 AM  
Blogger ignacio said...

i think by running through the possibilities you've pretty much proven these guys are not going to be traded this year.

the big question in my mind then becomes: will darius play hard?

and then: will nate bench these guys (like chicago benched tim thomas last year) if he's unhappy with them?

12:52 PM  
Blogger Dave said...

The list here isn't exhaustive. The April archives contain a much more comprehensive list of possibilities for both players, just not talked about in detail.

--Dave

3:06 PM  

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