Today is the NBA trading deadline, but as I write this it’s likely that the season’s only significant trade has already happened.
In what looks at this moment to be the biggest, if not the only trade that’s going to be made, the Pacers’ Jalen Rose and Travis Best were sent to the Bulls Tuesday for Ron Mercer, Brad Miller and Ron Artest. The Knicks might put something together with either Denver or Phoenix (or both) by the end of the day, in which Spree might be shipped in return for Van Exel, Lafrentz, or even — thanks to his sulking and recent DUI arrest — Stephon Marbury. As usual, my friend The Mailman is entertaining various scenarios, Dallas is trying to find the missing link, and just about every team is looking to unload players whose contracts expire this summer. But in the end, there’s probably not going to be a whole lot of player movement, or excitement, for that matter.
With that in mind, I thought I’d pull an MJ (pretend to be a team’s president of basketball operations) as well as a David Stern (pretend to have total control over the NBA). What follows are a few trades I’d make in an instant, if only to spice up the season and give all you traitors out there an excuse to enjoy the NBA again.
Vince Carter for Kobe Bryant: There were rumors this summer about this trade being discussed between the Raptors and Lakers, but obviously it didn’t and won’t happen. But if it did, Kobe would finally find out he can’t win on his own (although the Lakers’ 7-6 record without Shaq is pretty telltale), and Vince would take off from the free-throw line every time down the court with O’Neal clearing out the lane for him.
The Bulls for the Bulldogs: Why not? Our Bulldogs would be 10th in the East in points per 48 minutes (92.9), outscoring Washington, Toronto, New York, Philly, Miami, and of course, Chicago. We grab more rebounds in 40 minutes than the Bulls do in 48, we shoot a higher percentage, and most importantly, we’ve won more games in 24 outings than the Bulls have in 53. Sign up Chris Dudley to give us some post presence, and we’d be in the hunt for an Eastern Conference playoff berth.
This last one is pretty complicated and comes in six steps:
1) John Stockton and Karl Malone for Tyronn Lue, Chris Whitney, Hubert Davis, Tyrone Nesby, Popeye Jones and Etan Thomas. There’s only one scenario in which I’d ever want the Jazz to trade away Stockton and Malone. This is it.
2) David Robinson for Brendan Haywood and Kwame Brown. San Antonio could have the Triple Towers!
3) Scottie Pippen for Richard Hamilton and Courtney Alexander. It’d be a new generation of talented underachievers in Portland.
4) Patrick Ewing for Jahidi White. A deal swapping Georgetown centers can’t go wrong.
5) Charles Barkley for Doug Collins. Barkley’s almost as good as Collins at sucking up to Mike, and Collins is almost as good as Barkley at commentating.
And there’s one last part to this trade, in case you haven’t figured out what’s going on yet.
6) Bring Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Clyde Drexler, and Chris Mullin out of retirement.
That’s right — reassemble the original Dream Team in Washington. Michael and Christian Laettner are already in the nation’s capital, it’s an Olympic year, and it’s the 10th anniversary of the best team in basketball history. Will there ever be a better time or place to bring these guys back together for one last run?
With the exception of Laettner — who remains the shadow of his Duke days, as he did even a decade ago — these guys might not be what they were in Barcelona, but seven of them are still playing in the league, and Jordan and Malone are still All-Stars. Stockton’s still in the top 10 in assists, Robinson in blocks, and Pippen’s still capable of a triple-double. Ewing could grab some boards, block some shots, and foul Shaq. Barkley recently weighed in on TNT at under 300 pounds, Magic looked pretty sharp in the All-Star Weekend 3-on-3 competition, and you know Larry Legend must have scrimmaged with the Pacers when he coached them a couple years ago. That leaves Drexler and Mullin, who can co-coach or something since Doug Collins will have to replace Barkley in the TNT studio.
Dream Team Redux wouldn’t be just a novelty, either. They’d win. A lot. A starting lineup of Stockton, Jordan, Pippen, Malone, and Robinson, even at their ages, would dominate the East, and once these guys were in the Finals, who knows what could happen?