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The Trademill: Carter deals intriguing to Spurs, Blazers

By Rob Peterson, NBA.com
Posted Feb 18 2009 11:15PM

Around 6 p.m. ET on Tuesday, ESPN.com reported that the New Jersey Nets and the Houston Rockets were having discussions to send Vince Carter to Texas in exchange for his cousin, Tracy McGrady.

Nearly six hours later, ESPN's Stephen A. Smith reported that McGrady would miss the rest of the season with knee surgery, a report that was confirmed Wednesday afternoon by The Associated Press.

Such is the nature of news around the trade deadline.

The mere thought of a Carter-McGrady swap was intriguing, not only because they're cousins, but also because of how much better it would have made the Rockets. With Carter in the fold, Houston would have had a healthy, productive two guard ... something they hoped they would have had in McGrady. While Carter has only missed 10 games in four seasons with the Nets, the last time McGrady played in at least 72 games for the Rockets was 2004-05, his first season in Houston.

Analysis, reports from NBA.com:
ROUNDTABLE: Four trades we would like to see
THE TRADEMILL: Carter intriguing to Spurs, Blazers
ALDRIDGE: Bulls land Salmons, Miller from Kings for pair
THE TRADEMILL: Amar'e's future in Phoenix looks better
THE BEAT: NBA TV discusses who is going where
Trades completed before deadline:
2/18: Bulls add Miller, Salmons from Kings for four players
2/18: Kings ship Ruffin to Trail Blazers for Diogu
2/18: Lakers deal Mihm to Grizzlies for conditional pick
2/13: Raptors trade O'Neal, Moon to Heat for Marion, Banks

If the Nets had been able to acquire McGrady, his $22 million would have come off the books before the magical Summer of Free Agent Love in 2010, leaving the Nets copious cap space.

While McGrady is now out of the picture, Carter's name continues to be tossed about. Carter is owed $33.3 million over the next two seasons (with an $18 million team option in 2011-12), but it's possible the acquisition of a player of Carter's caliber could help push a team deep into the playoffs.

So, it's no surprise that a team like Portland, which has Raef LaFrentz's expiring contract to offer or San Antonio, which is reportedly offering George Hill, Roger Mason, Fabricio Oberto and Bruce Bowen as the Bergen Record reported, would jump into the mix.

It has also been reported that the Cavs and the Mavs may also be interested in putting Carter in their colors.

It may make more sense for the Blazers than the Spurs. For San Antonio, acquiring Carter would on the surface, seem panicky and the Spurs don't panic. But the thought of seeing Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, Tim Duncan and Carter on the same squad has to send shivers down the spines of Western Conference rivals.

• Sports Illustrated's Ian Thomsen presented an intriguing deal on SI.com Tuesday: Washington's Antawn Jamison to Cleveland for Wally Szczerbiak and his expiring contract.

"A deal for Jamison is far from being completed, according to league sources who described the Wizards as reluctant to move a team leader," Thomsen wrote. "The sources considered the proposal a sign that the Cavaliers have become more aggressive in trying to improve at the deadline for a title push this spring."

This deal, if the Cavs were to pull it off, would make more sense in terms of basketball than it would if the Cavs acquired Milwaukee's Richard Jefferson, who is small forward, the same position as LeBron James. While LeBron could easily slide to power forward (he's the same size as Karl Malone), he's more devastating from the small forward position. Jamison, who is a power forward, would fit in perfectly.

The question is, and we noted this yesterday, whether the Wizards would be willing to part with one of their core players. Still, the Wizards have $76 million tied up in Jamison, Butler and Arenas combined in the next two seasons. If they could save the remaining $39 million and three seasons on Jamison's contract, they may be tempted to do so.

As Thomsen reports, the Cavs would need to take on another salary in addition to Jamison, which would put them well into the luxury tax.

But then again, what's a championship worth?

• Once again, Toronto GM Bryan Colangelo went public to squish rumors about Chris Bosh. Two weeks ago, Colangelo denied a report by ESPN's Smith that said Bosh had informed the Raptors he's was not returning to Toronto when his contract expired after the 2009-10 season.

On Tuesday, Colangelo refuted reports that the Bulls, Suns and Raptors were in discussions about three-way trade which would include Bosh and Amar'e Stoudemire. And as we noted yesterday, Phoenix GM Steve Kerr gave out strong signals that Stoudemire is probably staying put.

• Before the season, the Nuggets sent former Defensive Player of the Year Marcus Camby to the L.A. Clippers for a future second-round pick in order to get under the luxury tax. Now, could Denver be looking for another big man (and one of the sweet-shooting variety)?

Charlie Villanueva could be available and is attractive to the Nuggets (he can shoot and he's a restricted free agent), but the Nuggets could be hard pressed to find a combination of expiring contracts that would intrigue the Bucks.

• The Hawks may be looking for a point guard to back up Mike Bibby.

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