Cohen: Some League-Wide Trade Proposals

By Josh Cohen
October 29, 2012

ORLANDO -- Usually this time of year is all about getting ready for the start of the season, but based on what happened on Saturday night, team architecture is constantly in motion.

The unsuspecting James Harden trade got me thinking about potential deals around the league that make some sense for each of the teams involved.

And while the Orlando Magic could enter trade talks at any point, these proposals encompass other teams around the NBA.

TORONTO GETS: Danny Granger
INDIANA GETS: DeMar DeRozan and Jose Calderon

Many may advocate that the Pacers shouldn’t hamper their development and fiddle with the roster, especially when some believe Indiana is a championship contender.

However, without a justifiable No. 1 option, it’s probably impracticable for the Pacers to climb the ladder and surpass the Heat or Celtics in the East.

Some, though, believe that if Paul George can be utilized more effectively in the offense, he can evolve into a premier talent and potentially a perennial All-Star. Since being added, however, George has been Danny Granger’s sidekick and primarily designated to the shooting guard position, which is not his natural spot.

Also, Granger’s contract (two years, almost $28 million) is eating up Indiana’s inflating salary, especially if the Pacers attempt to re-sign both David West and Tyler Hansbrough next summer.

It may be the perfect time for Indiana to toss Granger on the trading block and rearrange the lineup so that George is the full-time small forward.

One adversary that may crave Granger’s skills is the Raptors, who have plenty of incentives to adjoin a multidimensional stat-sheet stuffer to the roster.

It’s imperative that Toronto makes a strong push for the playoffs this year considering it traded its 2013 draft pick (pick only dealt if it falls between 4-14 in lottery) to Houston (which now goes to OKC in the James Harden trade) in the Kyle Lowry deal.

The Raptors have already stated they do not plan on offering DeMar DeRozan an extension by Oct. 31 – which implies he will become a restricted free agent next summer.

It’s hard to gage whether DeRozan will command enough attention from the league next year to earn max money, but it remains entirely possible considering some think he has plenty of room to grow into a top-tier NBA talent.

Rather than the Raptors roll the dice and continue to examine DeRozan, who is probably more suitable playing shooting guard rather than small forward, it may be worth it for the Pacers to determine whether a well-balanced and versatile starting lineup of Roy Hibbert, West, George, DeRozan and George Hill is optimal to compete with Miami and Boston.

This deal would also free up room for Terrence Ross, who Toronto selected eighth overall in last June’s draft, to mature as a starter. A starting lineup of Jonas Valanciunas, Andrea Bargnani, Granger, Ross and Lowry would definitely allow the Raptors to compete for one of the final playoff spots in the East.

Jose Calderon would have to be tossed into the deal to make the trade permissible under CBA guidelines. Considering he has an expiring contract, Calderon becomes very attractive on the open market.

UTAH GETS: Monta Ellis

Well first and foremost, both Jefferson and Ellis will likely be unrestricted free agents next summer (Al will certainly be, Ellis can exercise a player option and become a FA).

It’s such an atypical dilemma considering most teams beg for size down low, but Utah’s quandary is that it has too many bigs (Jefferson, Paul Millsap, Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter).

Sources close to the Jazz say the development of both Favors and Kanter is striking and that there is a growing belief that both will eventually be starters in Salt Lake City. Kanter lost about 30 pounds in the offseason and Favors is starting to widen his array of post moves.

Since both Jefferson and Millsap are in the final years of their contracts it seems possible that both will be dealt by the deadline this year.

If it were decided that Utah would open up further opportunity for Favors and Kanter, it would be rational for the Jazz to try and improve the backcourt.

It’s extremely indistinct who the starting shooting guard will be this year. If Marvin Williams starts, then Gordon Hayward automatically is inserted as the starting two. If Williams doesn’t start, Hayward is the three and presumably Alec Burks will get the call to join the starting five.

Instead of making it cloudy and ambiguous, however, why not try and swap Jefferson or Ellis, who is currently sharing the spotlight with Brandon Jennings in Milwaukee.

The Bucks are in the midst of making a decision whether or not to offer Ellis and/or Jennings contract extensions. It just seems redundant to have these two together long term and Milwaukee is desperate for a low-post threat.

This is a rather simple swap with potentially rewarding results for both teams. Seems like a no-brainer to me.

CHICAGO GETS: Tyreke Evans and Francisco Garcia

There were rumblings prior to last June’s NBA Draft that the Bulls and Kings were discussing a potential deal involving Deng.

While no transaction ever came to fruition, I see a prospective trade that would benefit both Chicago and Sacramento.

First off, the Kings are desperate for a defensive stopper and someone with experience and leadership skills.

With DeMarcus Cousins in place to anchor the middle and with enough scoring aptitude in the backcourt, adding one of the elite wing defenders in the league could help Sacramento contend for one of the final playoff spots out West.

The Bulls, on the other hand, are desperate for a legitimate ball handler and playmaker with Derrick Rose sidelined until at least January if not the entire season.

All inclinations are that the Kings will not offer Evans a contract extension by Oct. 31 and are indeterminate whether the 2009-10 Rookie of the Year remains an integral part of the franchise.

It may be worth it for Chicago to acquire Evans, who could be reinvigorated on a team that has had such outstanding success under Tom Thibodeau. Evans could play multiple positions (PG, SG or SF) and could be the perfect compliment once Rose returns.

Since Evans would be a restricted free agent next summer, the Bulls could either match any offer from an opposing team or let him walk and alleviate some financial affliction.

Francisco Garcia would be included in the deal to make the trade permissible under the CBA guidelines.

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