When the big two or three got together in South Beach, speculation ran rampant that other stars would follow suit. That speculation has been justified by subsequent player movement, and stoked by Dwight Howard, and it continues to be the favorite topic of the CBA-weary NBA world. Amare and ‘Melo may be just Baron Davis away from competing with the Heat and Bulls for the best in the East. Chris Paul and Blake Griffin have made the Clippers relevant.
Dwight Howard will not go to the Nets. Would you ally yourself with the guy taking on Russia’s ex-KGB President? D12 may not know his European history, but he or Dan Fegan, his agent, will know a Trotsky when they see him. Plus, the Nets are bad. He will go though, because like several other teams who were (or thought themselves) contenders a couple of years ago, the Magic are done. The off-season Rondo rumours indicate that Boston knows what we all thought during last year’s playoff; they are done. The Spurs are one injury away from being non-contenders, and Phoenix is a non-contending team with no clear future direction.
Add to those the teams who never were contenders, but need to rebuild (or perhaps more accurately; ‘build’), like Sixers, Raptors, and Rockets, and the few veterans on the leagues’ worst teams, and you have an idea of the potential for player movement between now and the March 15 trade deadline for this abbreviated season. While it has been noted here before that the Heat may have a shorter window than first appeared, the one that comes even before that is the real long term threat. Kevin Durant and his backpack are locked up until 2016, and with Westbrook still maturing, they have all the advantages of having developed together for the same team. The Thunder could be buyers as soon as this year, and they will likely still be one of the teams the rest are gunning for in four more years. Below are sportsvssports suggestions for and guesses at plausible in-season player movement.
Dwight Howard – Lakers for Bynum. C’mon! Just do it!
Steve Nash – Blazers, with Shannon Brown, for a first, Ray Felton and Wes Mathews.
Rajon Rondo – Houston, for Luis Scola and Kyle Lowry
Andrea Bargnani – Hawks for Joe Johnson.
Antwan Jamison – Thunder for Cole Aldrich and Lazar Hayward (both teams under cap)
Chris Kaman – 76ers for Spencer Hawes