Trade Rumors: Juicy
Rumors are hard to ignore and the immanence of hard deadlines makes them even worse. With the 2008-2009 NBA trade deadline about a month away (3pm on February 19), you can count on a high volume of trades happening in the near future. Big names have been mentioned in connection with player movement recently including Tracy McGrady, Shawn Marion, Stephon Marbury, Larry Hughes, and Josh Howard. And then we have the Portland Trail Blazers and their Darius Miles situation. It is hard to predict the future, so let’s get to know these men better.
At 29—the prime of many players’ career—McGrady is averaging 15 points per game, 7 points lower than his career average of 22. That said, he is still 2nd in the west in All-Star votes. Any team that trades for him knows what they are getting: an immensely popular shooting guard who has the potential to play at the level of an MVP candidate. But will he? The "everyone stand around and watch Tracy dribble into a three point shot" offense that he plays in needs to be improved upon wherever he goes. His current teammate Yao Ming is becoming more and more frustrated with this and now we are seeing Houston shop McGrady around. And he is going to make $22 million next season.
Like T-Mac, Marion’s numbers are down this season. However, the decline is much easier to explain. Phoenix’s fast-break offense had Marion in a comfortable situation and he was averaging 18 points per game. Miami runs a half-court offense and he is at 12 points per game this season. Whoever signs him is going to get an athletic forward who likes to run.
Assuming he leaves the Knicks, whoever signs Marbury is going to feel as if they won the lottery, the $21.9 million sweepstakes. That is the amount of money that the Knicks owe him for this season and no team has offered Knick General Manager Donnie Walsh a trade that he likes. The Knicks are trying to buy him out of his contract—the NBA’s way of firing a player since players are legally guaranteed the money on their contracts—which would grant him free agent status as soon as that deal goes through if it goes through. Marbury has career averages of 20 points and 8 assists per game.
He is a solid shooting guard most known for his ability to play defense. However, with the emergence of Derrick Rose and Ben Gordon getting the starting spot, Hughes has been moved to the bench. And now that Kirk Hinrich is returning to the line-up, Larry wants out of Chicago so that he can start somewhere. With his $13 million per year contract through the end of next season, it will be hard for the Bulls to move him.
The setting has become rigid for Howard in Dallas over the last few seasons as some of his comments in the media have made him appear to be a malcontent. He hinted at his own and other NBA players usage of marijuana and mentioned that he does not vote because he is black. He probably should not have said those things, but the stat sheet rarely lies—he is a baller. He averages 18 points per game and can play great defense on point guards, shooting guards, and small forwards. However, there is no doubt that general managers throughout the league are worried that he might say something else and hurt their team’s public relations. In short, Howard has hurt his own trade value.
Two seasons ago, the Blazers thought he had a career ending injury and decided to retire him on paper so that they would not have to pay the remainder of his contract. More recently, Miles looks healthy and has played in eight games with two different teams. If he plays in two more games this season, the Blazers are liable for the remaining $18 million in his contract, including the $9 million for this season. This would put them over the salary cap and cost the Blazers millions more in violations. Whoever signs him is getting a versatile player who is not shy on the offensive and a possible lawsuit from the Blazers who do not want to be liable for that $18 million.
– The All-Star Game starters will be announced on Thursday, January 22. Will Yi Jianlian be a starter?
-The Boston Celtics have managed to win three games in a row after their 2-7 skid that began with a loss to the Los Angeles Lakers in L.A.
Game to Watch
Boston v. Orlando (Thursday, January 22 at 8:00pm)—With Boston back to its winning ways of a month ago and Orlando currently on its own 5 game win streak (as of January 16), this game has promise. The Celtics do not match up well against the Magic. With guys who move well like Hedo Turkoglu and Rashard Lewis at the forward spots, the Celtics will need to hustle all night to keep up. This game will be a serious test for Rajon Rondo, though. He will need to keep Jameer Nelson contained if the Celtics are to have a chance.