The On Deck Circle

Where practice swings don’t exist

Trade Deadline Wishlist - Western Conference

Posted by Blake Murphy on February 8, 2008

With the NBA trade deadline now two weeks away, I took yesterday and today to look at what each team needs moving forward. That is, I found their deadline wishlists. Today is the Western Conference, and to check the East, you can click here.

Phoenix Suns (34-15, 1st in Pacific, 1st in West) – A Renaissance
While puzzling, the move is understandable from Kerr’s perspective: he felt they weren’t going to win as is and they needed to try something different. It sucks as a fan to see Phoenix basically admit “run and gun doesn’t win championships.” Anyways, they no longer have much in terms of movable assets (except Atlanta’s 1st) so they have fingers crossed that Diesel can turn back the clock for four five months. Their season comes down to whether or not this one lyric holds true:

”Y’all gonna keep fucking around with me, and turn me back to the old me.” – Dr.Dre

Dallas Mavericks (33-15, 1st in Southwest, 2nd in West) – Dibs
How many times have the Mavericks been rumored to be in on talks about big-name players only to miss out? Kobe, Garnett, Iverson, Kidd, etc. The next time a team or player announces a trade demand, Mark Cuban needs to just scream ‘dibs’ so the Mavs finally have a shot to work a deal out.

New Orleans Hornets (33-15, 2nd in Southwest, 3rd in West) – Free MP3 Downloads
The Hornets have been a nice surprise and have received solid play from every position except the 2. The market has a few interesting off-guard options (Mike Miller, anyone?) but the Hornets can’t offer much in terms of expiring deals, picks, or prospects (except maybe Julian Wright). Instead, CP3 & Co. Are left hoping Rasual Butler and Mo-Pete can turn the heat up when it matters.

Utah Jazz (32-18, 1st in Northwest, 4th in West [because of divisional rankings]) – Utah is All They Need
Since Detroit got notoriety in the East, Utah has become the perennial quiet threat in the NBA. They sport one of the best starting fives in the league (Deron, Brewer, Kirilenko, Boozer, Okur) and have a decent bench with Harpring, Miles and Milsap. Oh yah, they’re 15-2 since adding Kyle Korver, too. Realistically they need Memo to play better down the stretch, but even with the current roster they could fly under the radar to win the West.

San Antonio Spurs (31-16, 3rd in Southwest, 5th in West) – Brian Cardinal
I’m just kidding. Basically, I have no idea what the Spurs needs. Health comes to mind, but even with Duncan-Parker-Ginobli they seem to have dropped a step back in the West’s elite. The biggest problem is the quagmire at SF with Bowen, Barry, Udoka and Bonner all struggling to contribute consistently. It’s doubtful they’ll make a major move, so Mighty Mouse will have to pay dividends.

Los Angeles Lakers (31-17, 2nd in Pacific, 6th in West) – Wish Granted
They got Gasol basically for nothing, giving them a Bynum-fix and a dominant frontcourt duo when he returns. They gave up next to nothing for him which makes sense since they don’t have many movable pieces, anyways. They won’t trade a rotation player, so their chances of acquiring a consistent long-range threat are slim. Fortunately, they are a good 3-point shooting team overall.

Denver Nuggets (29-19, 2nd in Northwest, 7th in West) – Preventitive Medicine
This team has the roster to make a decent playoff run, but they can’t handle injuries to K-Mart, Nene, Camby, and even Carter at different times, let alone all together. AI and Melo still haven’t been given ample opportunity to show what they can do together because the team is always adapting to injuries. They could theoretically deal for a point guard, using Najera’s and a few other expiring contracts, J.R. Smith, as well as a first round pick. Bringing Andre Miller back to town has to interest them, as he is a great pass-first point guard that knows the system and Carmelo.

Golden State Warriors (29-20, 3rd in Pacific, 8th in West) – An Extra Timeout
The Warriors have reunited C-Webb with Nellie, and it’s quite the experiment. Webber knows Nellieball and is a great passer out of the post, which suits this team’s personell well. Whether or not he can still play and if he can handle not being a primary player are both big questions. The Warriors have a lot of movable assets (a ludicrous eight expiring contracts) in the form of young but experienced players, so if they feel Webber hasn’t been quite enough they could conceivably make a deal.

Houston Rockets (29-20, 4th in Southwest, 9th in West) – A Decision
Do they have faith in Yao and T-Mac coexisting successfully? The experiment has apparently failed and you can no longer use the ‘wait until they are both healthy’ disclaimer because it probably won’t ever happen. They need to decide if they can find a way to build around this core (their supporting cast is just awful) or if they’re better off building around Yao and trading T-Mac for a lot of pieces. There is always a market for superstars, and T-Mac only has two years left on his deal after this year, so he provides a less-dangerous option than most. He could also garner Houston quite a bit in terms of expiring deals (up to $20M) and picks. On the flip side, there is no way they trade all the free marketing and revenue they get from Yao.

Portland Trail Blazers (28-20, 3rd in Northwest, 10th in West) – Patience
Sitting 10th in the West and looking up at a tough eight to crack, there is a good chance the Blazers’ incredible run will end up short of the playoffs. There is a serious risk here of hurting team morale, but coach McMillan should be driving home the more important message: They get another lottery pick and Greg Oden back for next season, adding to an already dangerous core. Any move they make would be too get rid of some of their depth (they run about 12 deep and a lot of players come up for extensions in 2009/2010).

Sacramento Kings (22-25, 4th in Pacific, 11th in West) – A Move Out East
The Kings are a good team with a lot of depth at the point, off-guard, and 3. Unfortunately they are very thin down low and just don’t have the talent to come back from a bad start in this conference. I’d like their chances in the East, but for now they face a very large dilemma: do you keep the team together and try to get a big man to accompany Bibby/Artest & Co., or do you try and move both of those guys to build around Salmons, Kevin Martin, Beno (?), and Spencer Hawes? It’s tough because neither option looks that bright, but they could put together quite a team for 2008-09 by moving Artest for a power forward.

Los Angeles Clippers (15-31, 5th in Pacific, 12th in West) – Marbles
Owner Donald Sterling has blocked 2452 trades in the last four seasons, shattering the NBA record. Sterling gets too attached to players and it has really hurt this team’s ability to build. Granted, they have been killed by injuries this year, but it really seems it’s time to blow it up and move on. Elton Brand and Corey Maggette are both restricted free agents and are likely to bolt, Sam Cassell is done as a Clipper, but they have enough left in Livingston-Kaman-Thornton to build a likable team through moving their three veterans. They could also stockpile picks and committ to rebuilding. Seriously, the Clippers have the best set of trading chips to create a strong young core out of nowhere, but it seems, as Tanaka would say, they got not…MARBLES!

Memphis Grizzlies (13-35, 5th in Southwest, 13th in West) – Gasoline
…to blow what’s left up. Mike Miller should be next on the move as he really doesn’t fit into their rebuilding plans. He is an affordable and reliable shooter who adds a great deal more and should therefore be attractive to contenders. They are stuck with a few bad contracts (Cardinal, Collins) but everything is off the books within two seasons, giving them loads of cap room in the future. They have three young point guards, at least one of which should pan out, and Rudy Gay, Darko, La Bomba, and Warrick all have potential. The Grizz have an OK core right now but need to get more picks and prospects where they can.

Seattle Super Sonics (13-36, 4th in Northwest, 14th in West) – Ping Pong Balls
Getting Kevin Durant a capable companion (post or point) should be their top priority. Durant will finish the season with 20 a night on 40% shooting, acceptable numbers for a rookie star-in-the-making. Having nobody around him was good this year, giving him the chance to grow and take every key shot while it doesn’t matter. He’ll need helping moving forward via the draft, because the Sonics have almost no desirable trading pieces (well…Wally World, but he is a big 2009 expiring deal that could be kept for cap space).

Minnesota Timberwolves (10-37, 5th in Northwest, 15th in West) – An Antoine Fan
They’re core actually looks better now than it did right after the KG trade. Al Jefferson is a legit post monster, and he has the tools to improve his D if his attitude allows for it. Bassy may turn in to a servicable PG yet and is still only 22. Smith and Gomes are a nice PF duo but both are free agents this year. Brewer and McCants have turned out to be decent swingmen but McCants is all O and Brewer is all D, thus far. They have a few bad contracts (Jaric, Walker) that nobody will want to touch, but they get some nice cap relief from Theo Ratliff and Eddie Griffin this summer. If they could find someone to even consider Toine or Jaric, Gerald Green provides an excellent toss-in to entice trading partners. Regardless, they are set to suck for the forseeable future (read: as long as McHale has a job).

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