Trading for Fun and Profit

Posted on 01/20/2011 by


Rocky: Champ, look this fight’s over. I gotta stop it.
Apollo: No, no.
Rocky: Look, you can’t do no more out there!
Apollo: I’m here to fight.
Rocky: He’s killing ya. I gotta stop this thing.
Apollo: I’m here to fight, promise me you’re not gonna stop this fight. -Seriously, you have to ask?

The Russian is out and that means the time for rampant trade speculation is now. This shit just got real.

Image courtesy of

Rocky: I see three of him out there.
Paulie: Hit the one in the middle.
Duke: Right! Hit the one in the middle.

As part of my special bonus podcast with Andres (see here for the double podcast goodness), I spent some time discussing possible trade partners and scenarios for Melo.  Let’s revisit and expand. Who are the likely trade partners for a possible Melo Deal? Much like Rocky in Russia, this particular trade will take a particular brand of crazy blended with desparation. These are in my mind the qualifications:

  1. Must have attractive assets and Picks for the Denver Nuggets
  2. Must believe Melo can push them over the top (they have to be a contender)
  3. Must be sure they can sign Melo (hello Manhattan) or be crazy enough to take a flier on a Melo rental
  4. Must have a crazy GM willing to mortgage the future on an overpriced star

You would think this would shorten the list significantly. Sadly, not so much. Here’s my short list of possible dance partners for the Nuggets ranked in order of likelyhood (besides the Knicks in my mind like Rocky, I see three of them):

  1. The Knickerbockers (Thank you captain obvious)
  2. Atlanta (hello crazy)
  3. Houston (hello desperate)
  4. Dallas (hello nurse)

Let’s break them down one by one and keep in mind this post falls towards the category of speculative fiction

The Knicks

Nicoli Koloff: Whatever he hits, he destroys.

The destination of choice for LaL…,sorry Carmelo Anthony remains the front-runner. The most likely deal is something like this as the principals with the Knicks needing to go out and getting another team to give them picks to give to Denveror take Harrington from the Nuggets for Randolph. This trade would be great for the Nuggets as it would make them younger,cheaper and keep them in the hunt.

For New York  though, they give up way to0 much for a slight upgrade at the 3 ( and a player who may diminish in value playing next to Amare). This trade turns New York into a slightly worse version of the Hawks (an expensive capped out 4-5 seed in the East destined to get trounced by the Heat,Bulls,Celts and Magic (pick one) in the playoffs). Congratulations. The holdup here seems to be that the Knicks have wised up to this (perhaps they don’t take Isiah’s calls anymore) and are content to wait for the price to drop to get their man. Their key assumptions are: that Melo will only play for them and no one will be crazy enough to trade the bank for a rental.

But this is the NBA, not only do I expect other trade partners, I expect a crazy-ass bidding war.

The Hawks

Duke: You know what you have to do. Do it. Do it.

I view the Hawks as the borderline contending team with the most assets to trade and the most crazy to get into a trade with. I could see them talking themselves into Melo as the answer to their prayers. There’s a lot of scenarios there but here’s the one I most like. The trade is Melo,Harrington (or as we shall call him from now on Mr. Melo Tax), and Birdman for Horford, Smith and Marvin Williams (and I’m assuming a draft pick). Denver makes this trade in a nanosecond (you get an oversized frountcourt of Smith,Horford and Nene sign me up!). For the Hawks, I know it sounds crazy but these are the Hawks were talking about. A more reasonable option for the Hawks might be this which nets the Nuggets Horford, Williams and Crawford for Melo and the tax. In any scenario, they’d have to give up Horford or Smith.

The Rockets

Drago: [to his own trainer] He’s not human. He’s like a piece of iron.

Ah, the stink of desperation, it smells like jet fuel.The Rockets cover Melo and they just might be willing to take a rental on the off chance they can convince him to play for them.  This could be a mega blockbuster (like so) or a more teeny one. The big problem, I imagine for Morey (who apparently covets Melo) is that I think he’d have to give up Martin and Scola on a maybe. I think for Dork Elvis it’ll come down to how safe he feels in his GM’s chair.

The Mavericks

Apollo: Without some damn war to fight, then the warrior may as well be dead, Stallion!

We come finally to my dark horse, the talented Mr. Cuban. Cuban and the Mavs have been close to the title for 11 years. The window is rapidly closing for them and they need to do something before it completely slips away. The current team is close but totally dependent on Dirk for offense. I could see Cuban making an offer like so. For the Nuggets it works because it clears cap space and for the Mavs it gives them the possibility of a title (in their minds). It’s an all in deal but Mark Cuban strikes me as an all in kinda guy.


As I said this is all speculation on my part. This could change by tomorrow, it could change in the next ten minutes. Because like Rocky said:

Rocky: During this fight, I’ve seen a lot of changing, in the way you feel about me, and in the way I feel about you. In here, there were two guys killing each other, but I guess that’s better than twenty million. I guess what I’m trying to say, is that if I can change, and you can change, everybody can change!

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