A report from ESPN.com yesterday suggested that the Brooklyn Nets were willing to part with their “Big 3,” in the hopes that they’d be able to remain competitive in the Eastern Conference while adding to their flexibility.
We asked you guys for some trade ideas, and we got a lot of them, from good to ridiculous.
Trade speculation is, by design, a fun thought exercise. There’s very little chance that any of the deals, other than the ones reported at the end of the day, get done. Even the wild sourced speculation that comes with the territory usually ends up fruitless.
But it’s still fun to look at. So after a couple of speculative hours, here’s a ridiculous one, involving the Nets, three other teams, and 16 players:
Behold, via ESPN’s trade machine:
Brooklyn Nets acquire: Rajon Rondo, Derrick Williams, Jason Thompson, Ben McLeMore, Jeremy Lamb, Perry Jones III
Brooklyn Nets relinquish: Brook Lopez, Deron Williams, Cory Jefferson, Jorge Gutierrez, Markel Brown
Oklahoma City Thunder acquire: Brook Lopez, Jorge Gutierrez, Dwight Powell, Markel Brown
Oklahoma City Thunder relinquish: Kendrick Perkins, Reggie Jackson, Jeremy Lamb, Perry Jones III, Mitch McGary
Boston Celtics acquire: Kendrick Perkins, Reggie Jackson, Reggie Evans
Boston Celtics relinquish: Rajon Rondo, Dwight Powell
Sacramento Kings acquire: Deron Williams, Mitch McGary, Cory Jefferson
Sacramento Kings relinquish: Ben McLemore, Derrick Williams, Jason Thompson, Reggie Evans
Why the Nets do it: It allows them to blow it up, remain semi-competitive, get young players back, and maintain future flexibility. It guarantees the Nets still have one “you have to watch him play” guard in Rondo, who re-unites with Kevin Garnett in what’s possibly Garnett’s farewell tour. The Nets probably don’t re-sign Rondo after he becomes an expiring contract to keep their future cap space open, but they might be able to get him at a decent price with the NBA salary cap set to explode upwards.
Why the Thunder do it: Oklahoma City is possibly the best destination for Lopez if he’s healthy: the Thunder already have a defensive-minded big man in Serge Ibaka, lack a post scorer, but can get enough offense from Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant alone that Lopez wouldn’t be allowed to take over the offense. Jackson is semi-expendable with Westbrook back, and the deal vaults them another leap forward in the Western Conference without torpedoing their flexibility.
The issue with the Thunder is the amount of prospects they’re giving up. While it’s hard to know exact figures, they’ll hover around the tax threshold if they waive Jefferson and Gutierrez, who are both non-guaranteed contracts, before the end of the year. If they’re fine with going over that threshold, it allows them to keep more of their guys.
Why the Kings do it: Kings owner Vivek Ranadive has made no secret of the fact that he wants to win now and make a splash, and acquiring Williams helps them do just that. (More here about why Williams makes sense for Sacramento.) The Kings lose a bunch in depth, but McGary and Jefferson help smooth that transition just a bit.
Why the Celtics do it: It guarantees they get something for Rondo, who’s expiring and may not want to toil in a rebuilding situation beyond this season. Jackson gives them a bona fide scorer to play next to Avery Bradley & Marcus Smart, and Reggie Evans gives them a third bona fide rebounder. Plus, Perkins can re-unite with Celtics fans.
Sure, it’s a huge, insane trade. The more players you add, the more chances things can fall apart. But Billy King has experience putting together four-team trades. But if they want to both blow it up and remain competitive in the Eastern Conference, this offers them the chance to make the biggest splash of the year, plus help themselves and three other teams with various issues, and hit the reset button down half-way.