In a much deeper (but not extremely deep) draft in 2004 we swapped Devin Harris at #5 and a couple horrendous contracts in Christian Laettner and Jerry Stackhouse for Antawn Jamison. At the time, it was a hell of a deal. Looking back, it was still a great deal, even considering how good Harris is now. This year should provide a pick at 5 who could have as much if not more expectation of impact than Devin Harris did coming out of college.
This year at #5, any combination of Hasheem Thabeet, James Harden, Demar Derozan, Jordan Hill or Brandon Jennings should be on the board. Even in a weak draft like this one, those options at #5 should entice at least a few teams. Add to that the fact we have expiring contracts in: 1) such a horrible state of economic affairs, and 2) the year before the all-time greatest free agent class hits the market, Ernie Grunfeld should have a few options available to him via trade. He said "it's not the draft pick, it's what you do with it."
The question I have is what type/level of veteran should we expect back in any trade for #5? I assume that we wouldn't have to include any of our core in most trade scenarios, simply because teams aren't usually willing to part with players good enough to warrant us giving up our #5 pick in addition to any of those guys (except players such as Chris Bosh or Amare Stoudemire, Joe Johnson, who I doubt we could get).
Some of the veteran guys we could target based on:
1) Our team needs (mainly defense, also luxury tax)
2) Other team needs (would they be looking to get younger, or could one prospect in particular help them at #5?)
3) Other team's intentions to shed salary (luxury tax related or 2010 FA signing related)
Here's the list:
Kirk Hinrich (target #1) - (Trade: #5 pick, Mike James, and Pech for Hinrich and Bulls #16 pick) This is the one that I think has a very good chance of going down. Makes sense for both sides. Gives the Bulls a high pick which they can use on Harden to make up for losing Ben Gordon. Also shed Hinrich's contract to make room for Bosh or Wade in 2010. This trade would give us our defensive ace in our backcourt. It also rids us of Pech's contract so we can sign our 2nd rounder. We stay in the draft at $16, where we draft Dejuan Blair for the sole purpose of him knocking Andray and JaVale on their asses and toughening them up. Hinrich immediately increases our defense, outside shooting, ball handling, fast break, and overall leadership/BBIQ. The risk is giving up a #5 pick that could turn into a star. Also we contribute to giving the Bulls the cap space that could lead to creating a dynasty if they end up signing Wade or Bosh.
...The guy who would fit best but would probably take more to get:
Tayshaun Prince (target #1A) - (Trade: #5 pick, Nick Young, Etan Thomas, Pech for Prince and Pistons #15 pick) This trade gives the Pistons a lot of options. I'm not completely sure the Pistons go for this, but the pieces are there, nonetheless. I am extremely wary of giving up NY, but if it gets us Prince, it might be the one case where we might have to pull the trigger. They put NY next to Stuckey and let Rip mentor him and that becomes a potent backcourt. The Pistons then draft Jordan Hill, giving them the banger they sorely lack, and become young and athletic. I barely need to explain why Prince helps us. He has been a winner his ENTIRE career, since before he was a senior at Kentucky. He stresses defense. Has a 7-foot wingspan. Can go in the post and can shoot the trey. Prince would be the perfect fit for our squad. We can still use the #15 pick on Blair to smack 'Dray and JaVale around, or pick up Tyreke Evans to make up for losing NY, who has as much upside and athleticism as anyone at #5.
James Posey (Trade: #5 pick, Etan Thomas, and Pech for James Posey and Hornets #21 pick) This is a trade that I have to ask myself the question: what impact can we expect from our #5 pick immediately? James Posey is one of the best defenders in the league, especially come playoffs, and is a clutch 3 point shooter. But this would be a trade about shedding contracts as much as anything. The Hornets have shown their interest in getting below the salary cap, and Thomas' expiring contract will help them with that. Getting rid of Pech will allow us to sign our 2nd rounder, and the with the #21 pick we would have options as well. Maybe Dejuan Blair is still there, but if not we can draft Darren Collison who is underrated in this draft. The #5 pick will help the Hornets get younger where they could find an impact player in Harden, Derozan, or Hill to grow with CP3, who is still only 24.
Ron Artest (Sign and Trade)
David Lee (Sign and Trade)
These trades are meant to be ones that keep our core intact and add a proven player who brings an important skill set to our squad. I'll leave the blockbusters to Ernie Grunfeld, but if you all have any others that you could see happening, add them in the comments.