Cohen 8-Ball: It Would Be Best If...
January 9, 2013
Josh Cohen's Analysis: It would probably be best to avoid shattering the Magic's nucleus of young talent to acquire marginal star players such as Rudy Gay, Danny Granger, Al Jefferson, Monta Ellis and Eric Gordon. It's common for teams to get impatient and throw all their cards into whoever best is available at the moment. However, this is how franchises get caught into financial headaches and pedestrian performance. All five of those aforementioned players are at best B+ talent. They eat up your payroll; yet don't guide you to championship potential. There will be bigger fish to catch down the line.
Cohen’s Analysis: It would probably be best to acquire as many 2014 draft picks, particularly ones with limited protection, as possible. One NBA executive recently told me, “The 2014 draft lottery will rival what we saw in 1985 (Patrick Ewing) and 2003 (LeBron James).” There are expected to be two iconic figures in that draft and a plethora of other very good players that can help transform franchises. One source said, “There will be about 20 teams next season who will secretly and privately cheer setbacks in hopes of getting one of the top two picks.”
Cohen’s Analysis: It would probably be best if, believe it or not, the Lakers tore apart their roster and started fresh, including trading Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol, Steve Nash and yes, possibly Kobe Bryant. Los Angeles never has to worry about recollecting star talent. They will reload rapidly. The Lakers, as currently constructed, are old, hurt and lethargic. They can stock up on blossoming stars now by trading the core. It sounds ridiculous, but seriously, they are on the verge of possibly missing the playoffs. Kobe may retire soon; Nash is approaching 40 and who knows how much longer Gasol’s knees will hold up. And considering Dwight will be a free agent this summer, who knows if he will stay.
Cohen’s Analysis: It would probably be best if the Magic have a meeting with J.J. Redick prior to the trade deadline to assess his future plans. It’s very possible Redick doesn’t know what we he will want to do this upcoming summer when he becomes a free agent. But if he has an idea, that may allow Orlando to decide its best course of action.
Cohen’s Analysis: It would probably be best if the Nets make every last effort to acquire Dwight Howard from the Lakers, which not only would give Brooklyn another superstar but it also would entice Phil Jackson to go coach them. With all the turmoil and failed expectations brewing in Hollywood, the Lakers should at minimum explore a deal with the Nets for Howard, who all along had said Brooklyn was his No. 1 choice. Jackson, waiting in the wings since the peculiar coaching decision fiasco with the Lakers, would probably jump at the opportunity to return and coach a good team in a big market.
Cohen’s Analysis: It would probably be best if the top three teams out West, the Thunder, Clippers and Spurs, attempted to each make one big splash at the trade deadline to bolster their respective chances of reaching the NBA Finals. There is nothing presently that separates these three teams. Each squad has a 33.3 percent chance of advancing to the title round, but if any of them can acquire a difference-maker, it can change that outlook completely.
Cohen’s Analysis: It would probably be best if the Magic use their $17.8 million trade exception that will expire in August. Orlando received the largest TPE in NBA history from the Dwight Howard trade. While it probably wouldn’t be beneficial to accept a loaded contract in return, the Magic could probably land a valuable player or net draft picks in some sort of package deal with the trade exception.
Cohen’s Analysis: It would probably be best for the NBA if the Knicks and Nets played each other in the conference finals this season. While everyone expects the Heat to be in that round, there would be nothing more extraordinary to watch this rivalry reach supreme heights. Since the Giants and Jets and Yankees and Mets play in opposite leagues/conferences, the Knicks/Nets feud is the one NY enmity that can realistically be settled perennially in the playoffs.