Not every NBA squad was able to effectively handle their business during the offseason. Longtime Chicago NBA writer Sam Smith, who now blogs for Bulls.com, posted a piece about the five trades he think will happen first this season. Some of the potential moves he writes about aren’t so shocking – everyone in the world knows the Jazz would love to move Carlos Boozer (Smith even notes that the Jazz team shop is selling Boozer jerseys at a 50% discount and that he is nowhere to be found in the team’s marketing campaign this year).
Below are Smith’s predictions and some of the evidence he cites to illustrate that a deal is on the way:
1. Carlos Boozer – Says Smith:
The Jazz is now trying Millsap at small forward, which won’t work. I’ve heard they stopped talking quite awhile ago about dealing Boozer. The speculation around the NBA is the Jazz, which has dealt well with disgruntled players before, feel they can get a better deal waiting closer to the trade deadline. But it’s a risk. And could be costly. Their payroll is $82 million, more than $12 million into the luxury tax and sixth most in the NBA, astonishingly high for a small market team.
I don’t see the Boozer experiment working with Millsap in the wings. But it seems more vital for the team to save some money. The late owner Larry Miller’s money came from the auto industry, which we knew isn’t doing so well. By not dealing Boozer this past summer, the Jazz would still have to take back comparable salary. But there’s a 25 percent differential allowed in trades. That kind of deal for Boozer would save the Jazz some $6 million. The speculation is Miami, which Boozer this summer named his top choice, is most likely to make a deal. I can see Miami wanting to get out from under Michael Beasley with all his issues. Udonis Haslem with an expiring deal also has been mentioned.
2. Monta Ellis – Says Smith:
The Warriors are in love with Curry and have plenty of guards. Ellis is a big time scorer and no fan of management, either. Perhaps no one there noticed it was only Chris Mullin who sided with Ellis and urged restraint after Ellis’s moped accident. So Mullin then was fired. Ellis got the message. It isn’t going to work, and someone should be able to get an All Star level scorer for an expiring deal.
3. Rip Hamilton – Says Smith:
The Pistons have perhaps their softest front court in two decades. They’ll find that out soon, and then Rip will have to go for some size and toughness before he gets too cranky about things.
4. Andres Nocioni – Says Smith:
Already, new coach Paul Westphal says Noce will come off the bench. He’s too good and valuable a veteran player to waste away with a team like this, which is rebuilding. He has two years left after this, but on a reasonable contract that pays less than $7 million annually. He’d be a nice pickup for a veteran, playoff team.
5. Mike Conley – Says Smith:
The poor kid has no idea what he’s gotten himself into playing with Allen Iverson, Zach Randolph, O.J. Mayo and Rudy Gay. He’ll go to sleep with screams in his head of guys demanding the ball. He’s not tough enough to stand up to that yet. It’s time to reunite him with high school buddy Greg Oden in Portland, where they paid big money for free agent point guard Andre Miller. That reduces the utility of Steve Blake as Portland also will have Rudy Fernandez handling the ball more. Blake’s a tough, savvy guard who can play in that Memphis turmoil and actually help. And it can’t hurt the moody Oden to have that familiar face back.
We actually see almost all of these moves going down at some point this season, with the Conley deal least likely to happen. The Iverson move, at it’s most basic level, is most likely being looked at as a one-year move to sell tickets and make the Grizzlies more relevant in the NBA landscape. They’re not going to easily part with a generally unselfish starting point guard who is still figuring things out for a journeyman like Steve Blake. Blake is valuable, no doubt, but Memphis has made an investment in Conley and want to see if there is a chance for him to grow with O.J. Mayo and Rudy Gay.
To read all of Sam Smith’s article GO HERE.