Rockets, Knicks and Kings complete major three-team deal

ESPN has the details.

The Knicks will acquire McGrady and Sergio Rodriguez from Sacramento, sources said.

The Rockets get Kevin Martin, Jordan Hill and Jared Jeffries from New York and will have the right to swap first-round picks with New York in 2011 as well as take on New York’s 2012 first-round pick.

Sacramento obtains Houston’s Carl Landry and Joey Dorsey and New York’s Larry Hughes.

This differs from the Rockets/Kings deal I wrote about earlier in that Houston will take on Jeffries’ contract next season and in return get a prospect (Jordan Hill) the right to move up in the 2011 draft. In addition, the Rockets get the Knicks’ pick in 2012. I love this trade from Houston’s perspective.

The Knicks get to see if T-Mac has anything left in the tank and a decent young point guard in Sergio Rodriguez (6 points/3 assists in 13 minutes of PT for the Kings). More importantly, they free up enough cap space (~$30 million) two sign two big-name free agents this summer.

I’m not sure why the Kings wanted to get the Knicks involved. They’re taking on Hughes contract for this season, so I guess it will save them the trouble of buying T-Mac out.


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Rockets on the verge of landing Kevin Martin?

Multiple media outlets have reported that the Rockets and Kings have struck a deal that involves sharpshooting off guard Kevin Martin.

…the Kings and Rockets have agreed in principle to a deal that would send Kevin Martin and three other players to Houston in return for McGrady and forwards Carl Landry and Joey Dorsey.

But that might just be the start.

As the teams hammer out the details today, there are reports the Knicks are still involved, intent on landing McGrady and unloading Jared Jeffries.

If no deal with the Knicks is made, the Rockets and Kings are still expected to go through with the swap.

The Rockets couldn’t come to terms with the Knicks because they were reluctant to take on Jared Jeffries’ contract without owning the Knicks’ future first rounders. They’ve reportedly coveted Martin all along, so when he became available, they went out and struck a deal with the Kings.

If it stays simply a Sacramento-Houston deal, the Rockets will have essentially landed Martin at the cost of Carl Landry and the undead body of Tracy McGrady. While Houston fans will be sad to see Landry go, they’ll be getting a dynamic shooting guard and one of the best scorers in the game. Alongside Aaron Brooks, the Rockets will have one of the great young backcourts in the league.

And the amazing thing is that it doesn’t appear that the Rockets will take on any long-term contracts other than Martin’s.

As for the Kings, they wanted a big man for Martin and they got a pretty good one in Landry, who is averaging 16-6 with 55% shooting. I’m not sure how he fits in with Jason Thompson and Omri Casspi, but he’s probably better than Thompson and Casspi can play small forward, so there should be room for all three. If the Kings are able to move T-Mac to New York, they’ll likely have to take on Jared Jeffries’ contract — he’s owed $6.9 million for next season — and will probably get a draft pick as well.

If the Knicks can clear Jeffries from the payroll, they’ll have enough cap space to sign two big name free agents this summer.


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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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Knicks to acquire T-Mac?

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports writes that the Knicks are discussing a deal that would bring Tracy McGrady to the Big Apple.

The centerpieces of the trade would include the Washington Wizards shipping forward Caron Butler and center Brendan Haywood to the Rockets. The Knicks would send Al Harrington to the Wizards. For the Wizards’ part, they would still need another player, as well as a draft pick and cash to make this a workable scenario, sources said.

Let’s look at this proposed trade from the perspective of all three teams.

The Houston Rockets would be the big winner because they’d get Caron Butler and possibly Brendan Haywood. Haywood’s deal is expiring while Butler has one more affordable year ($10.6 million) on his contract. They’d essentially get an All-Star caliber player and a good defensive center for the price of a player that they’ve banished from their team (McGrady).

The New York Knicks would acquire T-Mac, who is a mystery at this point in his career. Can he still play? No one really knows. Since his contract is worth $22 million, just giving up Al Harrington ($10.0 M) isn’t going to be enough. They have a number of players with expiring contracts that they could include (Larry Hughes, Darko Milicic, Chris Duhon, Nate Robinson), but they would really like to unload Jared Jeffries, who has another year remaining on his deal. John Hollinger puts the Knicks’ playoff chances at 0.5%, so they don’t have much to play for this season. They probably weren’t going to re-sign Harrington anyway, so with this trade, they’d roll the dice on T-Mac and see if he has anything left. If they like what they see, they’d try to re-sign him this summer. If they can include Jeffries in the deal, it would be pretty much a no-brainer for the Knicks, which makes me wonder what Washington is thinking.

Ah, the Wizards. They’d essentially be giving up Butler and Haywood for Al Harrington and whomever else the Knicks sent them. It’s possible that the Rockets could send over a young piece like Kyle Lowry. Something like that would have to be in the works because it makes no sense to trade Butler for Harrington. They’re the same age and Butler is simply the better player. Unless they’re looking to completely blow the team up, the Wizards should focus on getting a young piece for Jamison, who is 33 and has a bigger contract.


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Rockets on the verge of moving T-Mac?

Via TrueHoop, Chris Broussard says that the Rockets think they can move Tracy McGrady before the trade deadline, and that the top two destinations are Washington and Chicago.

Washington, which league executives believe is in cost-cutting mode after the Gilbert Arenas disaster, could have McGrady for a deal featuring Caron Butler and some expiring contracts, perhaps Mike Miller and Randy Foye.

Chicago, which has definite interest in McGrady, also has the combination of young talent and expiring contracts the Rockets are looking for. There is a Bulls player Houston covets, but it’s not clear who that is. Since the Rockets surely realize that Derrick Rose won’t be traded, logic suggests it’s Joakim Noah.

A package of Noah, Brad Miller and Jerome James (the latter two have expiring contracts) would work financially, but sources say the Bulls have no desire to part with Noah.

I’m not sure why any team would covet McGrady at this point. He hasn’t scored double figures in a game in more than 11 months and there’s no guarantee that he’s going to get back to his old self. I certainly wouldn’t advise trading a healthy Caron Butler or Joakim Noah for him.

The only upside is salary cap relief. If the Wizards just want to blow the team up, then this is one way to do it. McGrady’s deal is expiring, so whoever trades for him can really help their cap flexibility in the short term. But at this point, Butler is the Wizards’ best player and only has one year (at an affordable $10.5 million) left on his deal. Why trade him?

Then again, who knows what’s going on in the mind of Ernie Grunfeld.

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