Cohen 8-Ball: Analysis of Trade Concepts
February 6, 2013
Josh Cohen’s Analysis: With the trade deadline just a couple of weeks away, phones will be ringing off the hook in every general manager’s office, including Rob Hennigan’s in Orlando. While it’s extremely indefinite if the Magic will indeed make a trade – perhaps because there isn’t anything worth obtaining on the market – it’s important for fans to learn about the various trade formulas that often transpire in the NBA. CLICK NEXT for an analysis and examples of three of the more customary trade concepts.
The Trio of Goods for Star – Cohen’s Analysis: There is a common formula to acquire a star player in his prime or about to be in his prime. It requires a young emerging player who has prospects of transforming into a star, a large expiring contract and an impending high draft pick. When you glance through the history of NBA trades, you will notice this blueprint to be consistent with almost all blockbuster deals. And the primary reason is because when two teams are negotiating a trade involving a star player, one franchise is ready to risk it all and use their best chips to try and reverse the cycle while the other franchise is prepared to “start over” and hope for better results in its next “renovation.” CLICK NEXT for examples
Cohen's Analysis: Playing in a big market and with a superstar, Paul Pierce, already in place, the Celtics felt desperate to end their rebuild in 2007 and use their best chips to progress. They had a young budding player, Al Jefferson, a bulky expiring contract, Theo Ratliff, and a high draft pick (No. 5) to disburse. Fortunately for Boston, two premier stars, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen, were both available on the trade block and Danny Ainge’s successful tactics allowed the C’s to acquire both KG and Allen.
Cohen’s Analysis: When it became apparent that the Hornets were ready to trade Chris Paul in 2011, it was obvious from a distance that the Clippers had the best offer. Once again, the formula was precise. L.A. had the young blossoming player, Eric Gordon, the sizeable expiring contract, Chris Kaman, and a high draft pick (via Minnesota) to expend. Interestingly, the Clippers would have never had to trade all those pieces if they had decided not to deal Baron Davis just months earlier. In the Davis deal with Cleveland, L.A. surrendered an unprotected draft pick, which converted into Kyrie Irving.
Something Proven for Something Unborn – Cohen’s Analysis: On one hand, there is a degree of anticipation and optimism when a team has a slew of draft picks in their back pocket. Title contenders are artifacts of three building methods – draft picks, free agent signings and trades. On the other hand, there is always the fear that a draft selection will become a league bust. In fact, when you really examine NBA Draft history, most players don’t last long and don’t reach expectations. However, the more draft picks a team has, the greater the chance a franchise will secure a future All-Star. CLICK NEXT for example
Cohen’s Analysis: Just before it was becoming official that Eddy Curry – once expected to be the next Shaquille O’Neal – was a league bust, the Bulls found a willing trade partner, the Knicks, to send him packing for an assemblage of pieces in 2005. One of those parts was the right to swap draft picks with New York in 2007. While the Knicks were a lottery team, the Bulls had just completed a respectable playoff run. As a result, Chicago swapped pick No. 23 for selection No. 9. The results: Joakim Noah to the Bulls and Wilson Chandler to the Knicks. Now, six years later, Noah is an All-Star and Chandler is an average role player in Denver. It’s worth noting that Chicago obtained the No. 2 overall pick in 2006 from NY. However, after originally choosing LaMarcus Aldridge, it traded his draft rights to Portland for Tyrus Thomas’ rights. Yikes.
More Financial Flexibility – Cohen’s Analysis: It’s remarkable how many times fans scratch their heads at trades when it involves a quality player in exchange for an uninspiring one. However, often it’s imperative to analyze the economics more than actual performance. The Heat were brilliant in this approach. You can’t ultimately sign three superstars without first alleviating payroll. This is most common when a trade involves one small market team with a general inability to attract impending free agents and a big market team or simply a team with an appealing location. CLICK NEXT for example
Cohen’s Analysis: We all associate the Knicks today with championship aspirations. But for a very long time – an entire decade in fact – New York was abysmal. However, with some brilliant maneuvering by Donnie Walsh, the Knicks managed to free up enough cap space to eventually land both Carmelo Anthony (via trade) and Amar’e Stoudemire. The most appealing trade – which at the time seemed like a bit of a head-scratcher – came in 2010 when the Knicks acquired the injury-plagued Tracy McGrady in a three-team deal with the Rockets and Kings. Houston got its quality player, Kevin Martin, and Sacramento landed some young assets like Carl Landry. As a result of this deal, NY added an extra $9 million in cap space.