ESPN recently ran a piece where it asked TrueHoop bloggers whether or not Orlando, New Jersey, New Orleans and Phoenix should trade their star players this offseason. I thought I’d chime in with my own thoughts:
This has to be a gut call from GM Otis Smith — he knows Howard better than any member of the media and if he believes his superstar wants to stay, then he should do everything in his power to make it happen. Only I don’t know how he gets the Magic back in the fold as a true contender given the available pieces he has to move. There has been one personnel mistake after another since Orlando’s appearance in the 2009 Finals. Just like Chris Bosh and LeBron James, the writing is on the wall, isn’t it? Dwight Howard is leaving, and if Smith can acquire someone with the upside of Andrew Bynum in the process, that might be the Magic’s best bet to jump start the rebuilding process.
Of course the Nets should hold onto Williams. He’s a franchise point guard and with Brook Lopez in tow and a load of cap space, the soon-to-be Brooklyn Whatevers are poised to make a big jump in the standings. Mikhail Prokhorov’s management team has done a nice job thus far, though I have no idea why they gave Travis Outlaw $7 million a year. Without that albatross of a contract, the Nets would be even better position to make a splash in free agency and surround Williams with the wings that he needs to be successful.
This is a unique situation, what with the NBA owning the Hornets and all. One of ESPN’s bloggers said the “fair” thing to do is let CP3 walk, but that’s not the best move for the franchise. I think they should offer Paul for Russell Westbrook straight up. That may not be the first step on the road to a championship, but it’s probably the best deal the Hornets will get. Plus, no one will look at Westbrook funny when he takes 30 shots and turns the ball over six times per game. (Or how about Paul for Eric Gordon? New Orleans needs a good young star to build around.) Bottom line? I don’t think there’s much of a chance of Paul re-upping after the season, so New Orleans should get as much in return as possible while they still can.
Forget all this talk about Nash retiring a Sun. That can’t be what’s most important to him. He must want to taste the Conference Finals again, so Phoenix should trade him to a playoff team that can offer draft picks and/or a good young player in return. What’s the point in letting Nash’s career die a slow death on a team that’s going nowhere? Stop being selfish, Phoenix Suns. Free Steve Nash.