Heat ‘coming hard’ after Stoudemire

Just two days away from the trade deadline, Marc Stein says that the Miami Heat are stepping up their efforts to acquire Amare Stoudemire.

The Heat emerged from the All-Star break even more determined than they were before to find a third team to help them broker an Amare deal before Thursday’s 3 p.m. deadline.

Miami is “coming hard” after Stoudemire, one source said.

Although the Heat have first-round picks available to sweeten any Stoudemire deal — with the Suns hoping to come away with at least one first-rounder if they decide to trade Stoudemire this week — sources say Phoenix has no interest in taking back Jermaine O’Neal’s hefty expiring contract because, at $23 million, it requires more players to be worked into the deal than the Suns are comfortable with.

Yet one source insisted Monday night that the Suns have not ruled out taking back forward Michael Beasley as part of a Stoudemire deal.

The Suns seem to be more interested in J.J. Hickson than Beasley, which is a little odd. Beasley does have some off-court issues, but he seems to have straightened those out and he’s having a very nice sophomore campaign (16-7 on 46% shooting). His 3PT touch has mysteriously disappeared — 41% last year vs. 28% this season — and he is still a work in progress defensively, but he’s one of the best young scorers and rebounders in the league.

Ric Bucher writes that the Suns aren’t alone in their disinterest in Beasley.

“While other pieces would’ve had to be included, the trade essentially would’ve sent Beasley to Philadelphia, Iguodala to Phoenix and Stoudemire to Miami. The deal broke down, sources say, because Philadelphia wasn’t overwhelmed by the prospect of rebuilding around Beasley. This isn’t an isolated case: the Heat appear to be the team most enamored with Stoudemire, but their trading chips are Beasley and Jermaine O’Neal, aka, a big, fat expiring contract. So far, no one has been willing to bite — underscoring why the Heat tried so hard on draft night in 2008 to trade down and take the player they really wanted, O.J. Mayo.”

That last sentence underlines an interesting point. The Heat felt obligated to take Beasley with the #2 pick because he was widely considered the second-best talent in the draft. But if they really wanted Mayo and couldn’t find a trade partner, then they should have drafted the guy they really wanted.

According to Stein’s source, the Suns haven’t ruled out a Beasley-for-Stoudemire swap, so that still may end up being the best deal that Phoenix can get.


Photo from fOTOGLIF

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

Mavs, Wizards agree to Butler-Howard swap

Caron Butler is headed to Dallas, per ESPN…

The teams agreed on the principal pieces Friday: Butler, Haywood and DeShawn Stevenson to Dallas for Josh Howard and Drew Gooden. Mavericks reserves Quinton Ross and James Singleton were added to the deal Saturday and are also Washington-bound, with Dallas due to receive cash considerations in addition to the three players.

I wrote about this deal yesterday.

To me, if the Wizards are rebuilding, why trade Butler for Howard? He’s 29 — the same age as Butler — and hasn’t been the player this year as he has in years past. He has a team option for next season, so presumably they’d let him walk, because if you can’t build around Butler then you certainly can’t build around Howard.

The right way to start a rebuilding process is to get some good young talent or first round draft picks when trading away stars. Otherwise, it’s just a salary dump. This deal might be appealing to the Wizards because they can try to sell their season ticket holders on the fact that, talent-wise, the trade was pretty even. But really, they’re just treading water, if that.

From a talent stanpdoint, this looks like a great trade for the Mavs. Butler is a significant upgrade over Howard, who has struggled this season. Haywood also gives the Mavs a defensive center who can give Dallas some toughness inside now that Erick Dampier is dealing with some soreness in his knee. Butler’s salary for next season ($10.6 M) is pretty reasonable given what he brings to the table.

On the flip side, Wizards’ GM Ernie Grunfeld continues to perplex me. When he was running the Bucks, he was the mastermind behind the disastrous Ray Allen-for-Gary Payton swap, and in the last two years, he signed Gilbert Arenas to an outlandish contract (for a guy coming off of knee surgery) and now, in an effort to “rebuild,” he’s trading away a very good 29-year-old small forward for a decent 29-year-old small forward.

The trade does bring salary cap relief but that’s about it. Butler and Stevenson were due to make $14.6 million combined next season, and the Wizards are potentially going to take on the $1.1 million still owed to Quinton Ross if he exercises his player option for next year. So, by trimming a net of $13.5 million from their 2010-11 payroll, the Wizards will have about $10 million in cap space this summer, assuming they don’t exercise the team option on Howard’s contract.

In other words, this is a salary dump, plain and simple. I’d be shocked if this trade isn’t a precursor to an Antawn Jamison in the next few days. What’s the point of trading Butler if you aren’t going to move Jamison too?


Photo from fOTOGLIF

Butler-Howard swap in the works?

ESPN is reporting that there is new life to the Dallas/Washington trade that would be centered around Caron Butler, Brendan Haywood and Josh Howard.

Talks between the teams had stalled in the past week, partly because of Washington’s insistence that the Mavericks take guard DeShawn Stevenson in any Butler deal, but the potential for acquiring two front-line players — since Butler and Haywood would immediately become key rotation players for the Mavs — has renewed Dallas’ interest.

Sources told ESPN.com that the teams’ negotiations only turned more serious Friday on a deal that would send Josh Howard, Drew Gooden and some smaller cap-friendly contracts to Washington for Butler, Haywood and Stevenson.

Well, color me confused. Earlier, we discussed the possibility of the Wizards sending Butler and Antawn Jamison to the Celtics for Ray Allen and his expiring contract, and now this rumor resurfaces.

To me, if the Wizards are rebuilding, why trade Butler for Howard? He’s 29 — the same age as Butler — and hasn’t been the player this year as he has in years past. He has a team option for next season, so presumably they’d let him walk, because if you can’t build around Butler then you certainly can’t build around Howard.

The right way to start a rebuilding process is to get some good young talent or first round draft picks when trading away stars. Otherwise, it’s just a salary dump. This deal might be appealing to the Wizards because they can try to sell their season ticket holders on the fact that, talent-wise, the trade was pretty even. But really, they’re just treading water, if that.

Like I said, color me confused.


Photo from fOTOGLIF

Butler, Jamison for Ray-Ray?

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports says that the Wizards and Celtics are discussing a blockbuster deal.

In a dramatic move that would resuscitate their fading championship hopes, the Boston Celtics are discussing a deal with the Washington Wizards for forwards Antawn Jamison and Caron Butler, league sources told Yahoo! Sports on Friday.

The proposed deal would send the expiring contracts of Ray Allen, Brian Scalabrine and J.R. Giddens to the Wizards, a move that would signal the start of Washington’s rebuilding process.

The trade isn’t imminent, but talks have progressed and Celtics GM Danny Ainge has positioned his organization to make one of the boldest trade deadline moves in years. For the Celtics, ownership would have to agree to take on an additional $24 million in salary next season between Jamison and Butler. Jamison makes more than $15 million in 2011-12, but most owners are discounting those salaries because of an assumption that there will be a labor lockout and some, if not all, of that money will never be paid to the players.

For his part, Celtics GM Danny Ainge denies the rumors:

Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said Friday he has not discussed trades involving the Charlotte Bobcats or Washington Wizards.

“There is no truth to either one of those,” Ainge said. “I have had conversations with a lot of teams but those have never been discussed. There are a lot of things I would like to do but I don’t feel a need to do something. I am always looking to upgrade the team, if possible.”

Have you ever heard a GM confirm a trade rumor? They always deny, deny, deny. So there’s no telling if there’s any truth to it, though Wojnarowski is a respected NBA writer.

Obviously, this trade would be a coup for the Celtics in terms of talent. Ray Allen isn’t playing horribly (16-3-3, 45% shooting), but he’s shooting a career-low 34% from long range and is 34 years old. Caron Butler (29) and Antawn Jamison (33) are both younger, and are both All-Star caliber players. Wojnarowski mentioned that the contracts are a concern (especially Jamison’s), but if the two players gelled in the Celtics’ lineup, it would push the franchise back into serious title contention.

However, it would be difficult to get the C’s five best players on the court. Paul Pierce and Caron Butler can play on the wings, but for Jamison to play PF, that means Kevin Garnett would play center. Against certain teams (say, Atlanta), this wouldn’t be a problem, but KG would get beat up down low against Shaq and Dwight Howard. Offensively, this lineup would allow the C’s to spread the floor and post up Pierce, Jamison and Butler in favorable matchups.

For Washington, this trade would confirm what we all already know — the Wizards are rebuilding. If I were running things, I’d hold onto Butler (since his contract is affordable) or at least wait for someone to offer a good young piece. The deal, as outlined, is simply a salary dump. The Wizards would be giving Jamison and Butler away for cap flexibility. With this trade, the Wizards would have approximately $20 million in cap space this summer, and that assumes Gilbert Arenas is still on the payroll.


Photo from fOTOGLIF

Bucks interested in Troy Murphy

The Milwaukee Bucks are hovering around the #8 spot in the East and can probably make the postseason with their current roster. But according to Gery Woelfel of the Racine Journal-Times, they’re eyeing Troy Murphy.

The Bucks and Pacers have bandied about several players in exchange for the 6-foot-11 Murphy, who is averaging 14 points and 9.9 rebounds this season. One of those players is Ersan Ilyasova.

The Pacers want Ilyasova, but the Bucks don’t want to give him up. Ilyasova is only 22, capable of playing both forward positions and has flashed signs of becoming a big-time scorer.

While he is averaging a modest 10.5 points and 6.3 rebounds, Ilyasova has had five 20-plus games this season, including 25 against the New York and 24 against Portland and the Los Angeles Lakers.

He also had 20-point outing against Orlando and San Antonio, two of the best teams in the NBA.

The Bucks would be wise to hold onto Ilyasova, unless they can get more of an impact player than Murphy. The Bucks aren’t the Cavs; they’re not looking for one missing piece to the championship puzzle. They’re building for the future, and Ilyasova could be part of that future. He can play either forward position, can hit the three (36%), is a pretty good defender and rebounds almost as well as Murphy (rebound rate: 17.1 to 15.3). Plus, he’s only 22, so he has room to grow.

Milwaukee should be looking to upgrade at shooting guard and small forward. Caron Butler would be a good fit, but the Bucks don’t want to make the same mistake they did with Richard Jefferson. Unlike Jefferson, Butler’s contract isn’t a cap killer. Unfortunately, the Bucks don’t have the pieces to acquire Butler unless the Wizards are willing to give him up for expiring contracts and a mid-first round pick. I’m not even sure I’d include Ilyasova in a deal for Butler as I think he (Ilyasova) could be a starter on a good playoff team in a couple of years.

Related Posts