Short post today.
For shits and giggles, I was playing around on the ESPN NBA Trade Machine, which is what happens when your favourite team has been out of the playoff picture since December. Unfortunately, now isn't the best time to be fiddling around with it - as many contracts can't be traded at the moment - but it's still fun.
I was looking at the Jazz as a trading partner for the Raptors. Why? Well, since the Deron Williams trade, it looks like the Jazz are trying to move in a new direction (aka blow it all up). They still have plenty of good players, including some up-and-comers, and thus are ripe for the picking.
Who are the members of the Jazz that I would target? The following good players:
- Al Jefferson
- Paul Millsap
- Derrick Favors
- Jeremy Evans
Al Jefferson is my least wanted player on this list because of his salary, and possibly injury concerns. He produces about as many wins as Millsap, but on the plus side, Jefferson can also play Centre and his raw productivity is better. Millsap is nice and cheap, as well as dependable. Favors and Evans are promising rookies who have played well in limited minutes. Favors is probably the one who's harder to get, but Evans has actually had a better season (again, in limited minutes).
I'd also target the following players for cap purposes:
- Mehmet Okur
- Raja Bell
Okur is getting old (he'll be 32 in May) and hasn't played much this season (only 13 games), which leads me to believe that the Jazz will be open to moving his contract. Speaking of his contract, Okur is on the books for $10.89 million next season, after which his contract expires.
Raja Bell is old and unproductive. The only reason anyone should be considering including him in any trades is if they need his salary to make a deal work. On the plus side, he's only got two years and a total of $6.7 million left on his deal.
Why not take a look some potential deals? Of course, by the time the season is over, some of these deals might not be possible...but hey, I'm the kind of guy who likes pointless exercises. Here are two trades that are currently valid:
- Toronto trades Bargnani, DeRozan, and Kleiza to the Jazz for Mehmet Okur, Raja Bell, and Jeremy Evans
Bargnani for Okur is strictly a way to get rid of Bargnani and his highly unproductive play. As a bonus, perhaps Okur might recover from his injuries and actually be an upgrade at the Centre position for one season. Don't believe me? Let's compare Okur's career averages with Bargnani's. First Bargnani:
Yuck. And now Okur:
Remember, his stats from this season are only based on 13 games (and 168 total minutes). Okur is absolutely better than Bargnani; even his terrible, small-sample-sized stats from this season are comparable to Bargnani's career averages! Anyways, the real reason behind the exchange is to get rid of Bargnani's contract, and Okur's deal comes off the books at the end of next season. If Okur offers anything at all, that would be a bonus.
The other four players can be seen as the other half of the trade; Kleiza and Bell are salary cap ballasts. While there is a chance that Kleiza may return to his old form next season, his old form was only around average. Bell is clearly done, but his deal is much smaller and has fewer years on it. The real pieces of this half of the trade would be DeRozan and Evans. DeRozan, despite the hype, has not actually improved this season, and I'm not anticipating a huge improvement next year (although it certainly could come out of the blue). Evans, on the other hand, is a very promising young rookie.
- Toronto trades Bargnani, DeRozan, Calderon, and Kleiza to the Jazz for Okur, Jefferson, and Jeremy Evans.
- And, in a separate transaction, Utah trades Derrick Favours to Toronto, who uses the Chris Bosh trade exception to absorb the contract.
This one leaves the Raptors without a starting calibre PG, but the deal would save the team a lot of money and adds some truly promising young players - as opposed to the mostly unpromising young players that currently fill the roster. The only question about this deal is...would the Jazz go for it? Probably not, because not only would they be trading away their two most promising young players, but they'd also be trading away the only two Centres who will be on the roster once the season ends. Oh well - it's fun to dream.
And at this point, as Raptors' fans, isn't that all we have left?