[Edit, 12/19/08 11:45 AM EST] I just realized that my first trade idea of NY, OPech, and Etan for Dalembert would put us into the luxury tax. I think the trade would also be accepted by Ed Stefanski if we substituted DeShawn Stevenson instead of OPech. That would free up $1.5 million below the luxury threshold, enabling us to resign Dee Brown to shore up our depleted back court until Gilbert returns. It would also force ET to play Crittenton more, which I also like.
Samuel Dalembert has had a bad season so far, and his stock has fallen immensely. Now that Elton Brand has gone down with an injury, Rich Hofmann of the Philadelphia Daily News has this strategy to consider:
Except that there is something that can be accomplished in Brand's absence.
Call it Operation Sammy.
The goal should be two-fold: to get Samuel Dalembert out of the funk into which he has sunk this season, and then to trade him for the shooter that this team needs so badly.
Sammy is big. Sammy can run. Sammy can rebound. When whatever weight of the world that rests upon his shoulders is lifted, he gives you something. For an outsider looking in, he has a couple of the unteachables -- big, fast -- and he can resemble a nice piece in a rotation. Weighed down, like this season, he is a waste of playing time. But get him going, galloping, excited again, and you've got something.
If anybody has been reading my posts, especially lately, then they'll know that I think Samuel Dalembert is exactly the type of player the Wizards need to return to respectability. He won't score a lot of points and he won't wow you with anything, but he's a solid defender who can hustle, rebound, block shots, and make things difficult on opposing teams' penetrators. He can be our best option at center until Brendan comes back. When Brendan does come back, he can give us a solid 15-25 mpg while Brendan takes his rest.
So what could we offer that 76ers GM Ed Stefanski might like? Well, salary relief, for starters. Dalembert currently makes $10.5 million per season, which is a ton of money for a guy who is perceived to be a below average center. (Notice the word perceived. I think his numbers per 36 minutes stack up very nicely to say a Brendan Haywood, with the differences being that Haywood scores a bit better but Dalembert is a bit better on the boards.) Dalembert's salary runs through the 2010-11 season, increasing to $12.2 million, which hampers their ability to compete in the big free agent sweepstakes before that season. By breaking that salary into smaller chunks, and having some of those chunks expire before 2010-11, would give Stefanski more flexibility to add bigger and better free agents.
Also, it is clear that the 76ers are looking for a scorer, so we are going to have to make a sacrifice in order to get this trade done. I know many of you are going to immediately object when you see this name, but please bear with me. I think we need to offer them a package centered around Nick Young. Specifically - Nick Young, Etan Thomas, and Oleksiy Pecherov.
Now, I am not a Nick Young hater. Quite the opposite. I think he could one day develop into a very prolific scorer in this league. But the 76ers aren't just going to give Dalembert away, and the only other players I would be willing to offer are just garbage. Nick Young gives Stefanski a potential scoring machine, along with a scoring center in OPech (who hopefully still has some potential left) and some dead weight he can drop next season in Etan.
Are we getting enough in return for this sacrifice? Well, that depends on how much you value depth and defense. Dalembert's effect on a game doesn't always show up clearly in the boxscore, but like Brendan, I think his presence will vastly improve our terrible defense. Even when Brendan was fully healthy, he is only capable of averaging 28 mpg. That leaves an average of 20 mpg at center that needs to be filled by somebody. I happen to think that this would make the Wizards a much better team.
I get the feeling, though, that many here probably won't like it. Fire away.