In this shortened NBA season, the trade deadline is just a month after this All-Star weekend, and NBA people are expecting there to be a lot of movement between now and that March 29th deadline. Here are five moves that contenders should make, or that should happen before that deadline
Move #1: Dwight Howard out of Orlando: Now, wherever he ends up, that team obviously becomes a contender automatically, but there are a number of teams he could end up with and he may very well stay put in Orlando. This is why I say this is the number one move as far shaping contending teams' rosters down the stretch. With a Howard, a healthy JRich, Anderson having the year he's having and Jameer Nelson continues his February comeback, then Orlando's legit. Again though, unless they deal Howard to some team for a draft pick and a project youngster like, say a DeAndre Jordan for example, then they should be able to attain enough in return to keep them contenders in the East. Their best bet was the Howard-for-Bynum deal that LA supposedly offered. I mean, the general consensus is Bynum is center #2 in the NBA, younger and cheaper than Howard? He'd give them someone to really build around who they know wouldn't be asking out in a year or two. Or, they should look to New Jersey and try and milk MarShon Brooks, Anthony Morrow and Brook "BroLo" Lopez out of the deal, then I think they end up fine there as well. He'll be the most watched player as the deadline approaches, but either way, the Magic should be contenders no matter what happens.
Deal #2: Steve Nash or Ramon Sessions to LA Lakers- The Lake show need a point guard that wasn't playing in the 1980's (no offense D-Fish, you've had your time), but seriously, how they expect to keep winning and keep Kobe fresh with him orchestrating the offense is asking for trouble. They've been focusing on Howard, but they have two twin-towers in Gasol and Bynum and don't need Howard! They need a ball handler and a guy who can hit a 3. Nash would be ideal, cause of his outside shot and he'd be a monster with Bynum and Gasol. Just not sure the Lake Show have anything Phoenix would want (they wouldn't give them Bynum or Gasol for 38 year-old Nash) so it may make more sense for LA to see a deal for the highly underrated Ramon Sessions. His assists-per-minute ratio are out of this world. He's not the defender, clutch shooter or winner Nash has been, but he'd fit perfectly with what the Lakers are need! A young/upside guy like Andre Goudelock and/or Josh McRoberts should be plenty enough for Cleveland, especially since they'd get nothing when Sessions walks as a free agent after the year and there aren't many teams rushing for his services!
Deal #3: Chris Kaman/Emeka Okafor to the Heat: Miami got exposed last year in the finals going against Tyson Chandler and they can't have that happen again. They need someone in the middle who can start and command respect and unfortunately, Joel Anthony just isn't that guy yet. Kaman is the best option with a contract expiring at the end of the year and could give the Heat exactly what they need, 12-14 points and 10 boards with blocks and the ability to defend 7-footers. Right now, you put Andrew Bynum, Dwight Howard or Al Jefferson up against them, and those guys have field days. They need one of their own, not a superstar or anything, but someone why can do a little of that and stop it as well and Kaman seems to be the most logical choice of centers on the market and a move like that could literally lock up the Championship for Miami, cause that's their only weakness right now. Joel Anthony is a great backup and plays with energy, but doesn't have the skill-set to play with the upper echelon of NBA Centers. Emeka Okafor, Kaman's teammate would also fit that mold, maybe more so than Kaman. Okafor is more of a defensive minded center, and probably better than Kaman, and Miami certainly isn't in shortage of scorers.
Deal #4: Paul Pierce to the Spurs: The dagger-thrower deserves another shot at a tittle, and fits picture perfectly in with the aging San Antonio Spurs. Boston has made no bones about the fact they want to deal Pierce, but that's probably only because he'll bring a lot more in return than either Kevin Garnett or Ray Allen. Why else would you want to deal your franchise's longest tenured star? If they do indeed send him off, San Antonio is the spot for him. The Spurs could package either DeJuan Blair or Tiago Splitter, Gary Neal and the young, impressive Kawhi Leonard to Boston; though it would be a blow to their future chances, it gives them another shot at a tittle run or two with Tim Duncan and the Italian assassin, Manu Ginobli, still playing at a sturdy levels. Richard Jefferson just isn't getting it done and they need more help from the wing spot than just the banged up Ginobli. Ray Allen is another guy who makes sense for this team. But the Spurs, surprisingly, are another scorer away from being legit title contenders again.
Deal #5: Ray Allen to the Bulls:Speaking of that Pierce deal, if Boston does that, they could end up shipping Ray Allen out of town as well and keeping KG and Rondo to re-build around. KG has lost a step, but has so much flexibility and every rebuilding team needs a solid veteran presence. The Bulls are looking for another veteran scoring guard and have been less than impressed with what they've gotten out of the often injured Rip Hamilton. Ray Allen would be a sniper, catching balls off of Derrick Rose's dribble-drive or Boozer and Noah's kick-outs. Exactly the kind of 3-point tosser this team needs. They should have made a larger offer to Jason Richardson before the season, as JRich recently conceded that his final two choices came down to Chicago or returning to Orlando. JRich in Chicago right now with that core of talent would have been a nice fit. Ray Allen though, is the perfect compliment to a young, athletic, good defensive squad! I just don't think they can handle Miami with relying on Derrick Rose and Carlos Boozer as their primary offensive pieces.
Now, just because we didn't mention the Warriors in there, doesn't mean I don't think they should be active before the deadline. They simply aren't contenders, but they should be as active as anyone at the deadline. They need to figure out whether they're going to add and make a playoff run, or subtract, play youngsters and hope for that top-7 pick. The ladder seems to make more since seeing that even if the Dubs made the playoffs as a 8th seed, they'd never beat the Thunder in round one. Unless they can land a legit big man that they can keep past this season, they really should consider dealing away role players who've played so well for them, and cash in on those guys while their value is high. I'm talking Brandon Rush and Nate Robinson and maybe even Dorrell Wright, granted you got the right package in return. Give those minutes to guys like Jeremy Tyler, Klay Thompson and Charles Jenkins, and it bodes better for your future in so many ways! I'm actually curious, do to their lack of big men, that Tyler hasn't been thrown into the fire more often. Anyway, the NBA second half is about to begin, and if you do any NBA or March Madness wagering, we encourage you check out TopBet Sportsbook. If I were to bet myself, I'd say of the above five suggested moves, at least one of them will come to fruition by the deadline!