Should the Sixers pass on Evan Turner?

Sixers beat writer Bob Ford thinks so, assuming they don’t trade Andre Iguodala:

If you believe the mock drafts, Ohio State swingman Evan Turner is going to fall to the Sixers after the Wizards take Kentucky’s John Wall. That’s fine, except the Sixers already have Evan Turner, and his name is Andre Iguodala.

If Stefanski can trade Iguodala and the four years and $56 million he has coming to him, then Turner is fine. If not, the Sixers would be better off dropping down to get Georgia Tech’s 6-foot-10 Derrick Favors and bump Brand out of the low post.

This isn’t a team that will be fixed by one player, anyway. It took years to get into this mess, and it will take years to get out.

This is a clear case of NBA-ready versus potential. Evan Turner is ready to contribute immediately, but the Sixers don’t appear to be going anywhere anytime soon, and in order to make way, they would have to trade away their best player. Andre Iguodala may be a bit overpaid, but he does a lot of different things, and is excellent on the defensive end of the court.

Derrick Favors is 6’10” and doesn’t turn 19 until mid-July. (Turner turns 22 in October, so he’s essentially two years older.) This is what DraftExpress has to say about Favors:

He’s incredibly gifted from a physical standpoint, showing a combination of length and athleticism that is simply unparalleled at the college level. He runs the floor like a deer, is outrageously explosive around the rim, and is a fantastic target for entry-passes thanks to his terrific hands and the amazing extension he gets around the basket.

The more wide open style of the NBA game should benefit him in this regard, both in transition (where he truly excels) and as a pick and roll finisher in the half-court—especially with more talented shot-creating guards alongside him.

Offensively, Favors is fairly limited as a shot-creator in the half-court, showing raw footwork and little in the ways of a go-to move, struggling to finish with his left hand and being fairly turnover prone when forced to put the ball on the floor.

So he’s extremely athletic and struggles on the block because he’s raw. Sounds a little like Tyrus Thomas, but Favors doesn’t seem to have the attitude issues that plagued Thomas, at least while he was in Chicago.

Favors struggled early in the season, largely due to the makeup of the Georgia Tech team, but he finished strong, averaging 16-9 over the last 11 games. Let’s not forget that Gani Lawal brought many of the same things to the table. (In other words, Favors could have helped himself by picking a different school to play for.)

Anyway, looking ahead, as Favors develops on the block, he and current Sixer Marreese Speights could make a formidable high-low duo. Elton Brand’s best days are clearly behind him and Samuel Dalembert is entering the final year of his contract. The Sixers could build around Favors, Jrue Holiday and Speights.

In the end, the Sixers need to draft the player they think has the best chance to be a star or superstar in four or five years, because that’s how long it’s going to take to rebuild this team into a serious contender.


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Five blockbuster deals that should happen (but probably won’t)

The trade deadline is just a week away, so I thought it would be fun to play puppet master and propose a few blockbuster trades that should happen, but probably won’t. Let’s start with the least likely and work our way to the most credible. (Honestly, I had this idea before I hit the ESPN NBA page this morning and saw Chad Ford’s similar piece. Don’t worry, we don’t suggest any of the same trades.) Click on the link to see each trade in the ESPN Trade Machine.

1. Amare Stoudemire for David Lee
To make the salaries work, the Knicks would also include Jared Jeffries and Chris Duhon in the deal.
Why the Knicks should do it: Stoudemire had his best years under Mike D’Antoni and would welcome a reunion. He’s also a big name that would encourage another superstar to join the franchise this summer, and he’s more likely to re-sign with the Knicks because New York is the media capital of the world. They’d also benefit from clearing Jeffries’ salary from the books, leaving around $13 million in cap space to sign a big name (assuming Stoudemire does NOT opt out of the final year of his deal).
Why the Suns should do it: David Lee is a great fit for the Suns’ up-tempo system and he’s almost as good as Stoudemire (PER: 22.1 vs. Amare’s 20.2) at about 60% of the cost. Phoenix would pay a little more this season and have to take on Jeffries’ contract, but they’d have a young All-Star caliber power forward to build around. If they stand pat and Amare opts out, they stand to lose him with nothing to show for it, as they only would have around $4 million in cap space if Amare bolts.
Why it won’t happen: Phoenix won’t want to take on Jeffries’ contract for next season without a commitment from Lee to re-sign for a reasonable salary. He was asking for $10 million per season last summer, but his price is probably going up after making a push for the All-Star Game in 2010.

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Why would the Sixers do a three-way deal for Stoudemire?

The Arizona Republic is suggesting that the Sixers could do a three-way deal that would send Amare Stoudemire to Detroit instead of dealing directly with the Suns.

Possibilities with Philadelphia could be stronger with two fronts, a deal between bringing in swingman Andre Iguodala for Stoudemire with perhaps young power forward Marreese Speights or a three-way deal involving Detroit with Pistons guard Ben Gordon winding up in Philadelphia and the Suns getting Iguodala and Detroit power forward Chris Wilcox. The rub with Iguodala, a 26-year-old former Arizona star, is inheriting a contract that will pay him $56.5 million over the next four seasons.

This sounds like wishful speculation. First, both Marc Stein and Chad Ford have confirmed that it’s the Sixers holding up an Iguodala-and-Dalembert for Stoudemire deal, so why would Philly give up the promising young Speights instead?

Secondly, why would they trade Iggy, an elite defender who can score, for Ben Gordon, an excellent shooter but just a mediocre defender? It’s not like Gordon’s contract (four years, $48 million) is that much better than Iguodala’s (four years, $57 million). Not enough to justify the drop off on defense, anyway.

While I love the NBA trade deadline, I’m ready for it to get here already. The amount of misinformation and speculation that happens on a daily basis is mind-boggling.


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Caron Butler to Texas?

NBA.com’s David Aldridge does not like to write trade columns, but fans love them, so he relented. Here are a few of the more interesting tidbits:

…by this time next week, it’s almost a certainty that Caron Butler will be gone from Washington, and highly likely that Tyrus Thomas will no longer be a Bull. By the 18th, Indiana’s Troy Murphy and Philly’s Andre Iguodala are certain to have new addresses as well, though those teams may well go right up until the 3 p.m. deadline to max out their suitors’ offers.

Not a bad start. Aldridge predicts at least two stars (Butler, Iguodala) and two starter-quality players (Murphy, Thomas) will be on the move. Here’s what he says about Butler:

The Wizards’ desire to move Butler has only increased in recent days, since they found out they will indeed get some cap relief from the NBA this season after losing Gilbert Arenas and Javaris Crittenton to suspension for the rest of the season. Washington’s cap number will be reduced almost $4 million, according to sources — pro-rated amounts of the remainder of Arenas’s $16.1 million and Crittenton’s $1.47 million salaries — taking its cap number to a little more than $74 million. The cap threshhold is $69.9 million, meaning Washington could avoid paying tax if it can pare another $4 to $5 million in salaries off its books.

That means Butler, though I suspect the Wizards will ask inquiring teams to remove Mike James and/or DeShawn Stevenson from their payroll as well.

Butler winding up somewhere in Texas is most likely, with Washington probably deciding between Dallas’ and Houston’s competing offers before next week’s All-Star Game. The Wizards are determined to get a young player back, though, and the Mavericks’ only non-geezer is rookie guard Rod Beaubois — while Houston has a young guard like Kyle Lowry and an expiring big man contract in forward Luis Scola to pair with McGrady’s $22 million expiring deal.

With the way Antawn Jamison has been playing (22-10-2 in February), some consider him to be the Wizards’ most valuable trade asset. But at 33 years old and with a tough contract to swallow (two more years at the tune of $28.4 million), I believe Caron Butler is the better acquisition. Butler is four years younger and has just one year remaining ($10.6 million). Butler has had his ups and downs this season, but he’s a swingman in his prime and he proved he still has it in a brilliant 31-point, nine-rebound effort against the Magic the other night.

From a pure personnel standpoint, the acquisition of Butler makes more sense for the Mavericks, who would like to upgrade from Josh Howard. A small-ball lineup of Jason Kidd, Jason Terry, Caron Butler, Shawn Marion and Dirk Nowitzki would be pretty scary.

The Rockets already have Trevor Ariza and Shane Battier at small forward, so Houston’s interest seems to be more of the “buy low” variety, and that’s not a bad way to go about things. Daryl Morey has T-Mac’s $22 million expiring deal and several young assets — Lowry, Carl Landry and Chase Budinger — to dangle.


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The quiet before the trade deadline

In his latest Trade Buzz, Chad Ford writes that things on the trade front have been a little quiet lately. Here’s why:

One factor appears to be the looming battle over the next collective bargaining agreement, with negotiations expected to start soon. In front offices around the league, the feeling is that owners will fight for major concessions from the players in the next CBA, perhaps even a hard salary cap. With the uncertainty over the new CBA and the economy, some GMs are taking a cautious tack.

In addition to cap considerations, there is another perennial issue: Teams ask for a lot in early trade talks and often don’t feel a sense of urgency until the final hours before the deadline. As one GM told me: “There aren’t many teams that are willing to give teams cap relief this year. And the teams that are willing to do so are asking for a lot in return. I’m not willing to give up an All-Star to save money. But that’s what they want.”

There are some very big names that are available (Amare Stoudemire, Antawn Jamison, Carlos Boozer, Caron Butler, Ray Allen, Andre Iguodala and Devin Harris, just to name a few), and as non-playoff teams try to save money, it’s going to be interesting to see if cap space trumps talent over the next couple of weeks.

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