February 22, 2012; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Wizards center JaVale McGee (34) leaps to dunk the ball over Sacramento Kings center Jason Thompson (34) during the first half at the Verizon Center. The Kings won 115-107. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-US PRESSWIRE
Gauging JaVale McGee's trade market is a bit difficult. He's not ready to come in and contribute right away to playoff team based on what he's shown during his lapses. At the same time, he's a legit seven foot, athletic center who is showing incremental improvement over the past few seasons; the kind of player a down and out club could look to as the future of their front court. ...hmmm.
Wizards fans are all quietly terrified that should Ernie Grunfeld elect to trade Javale McGee, it will be Rasheed Wallace, Ben Wallace, Chris Webber, Richard Hamilton et al all over again. But rather than ask should the Wizards look to trade their young center (Mike blew that barrier into its constituent atoms), we'll focus for now on the fact that Ernie Grunfeld's contract is up and if he is going to make bricks without straw there's only one place to begin.
Take a deep breath.
76ers: Philly was 20-14 at the All-Star Break, 8-10 without Spencer Hawes in the lineup. He signed his qualifying offer a few weeks before the season kicked off and is approaching unrestricted free agency as the Center Philly hoped he would become. While the specter of a nagging Achilles injury may scare a few teams off if Hawes doesn't come back strong right away, Philly is the most likely 'destination' for Hawes in any case. Trade Meter: Off to Low
Bobcats: Charlotte and GM Rich Cho are rebuilding in the oft-maligned Thunder model, where Kemba Walker and Bismack Biyombo are crucial pieces. Read that again and be grateful you're a DC fan. I'll take John Wall and Trevor Booker any day. At Center, the 'cats are packing Byron Mullens and DeSagana Diop (not counting small-ball). So JVM may be an option...but would you acquire him if you were executing a Thunder-style rebuild? We can't answer that question ourselves, so...maybe? Trade Meter: Low to Medium
Bucks: This team confuses me. They worked hard for cap space, drafted Andrew Bogut and had Scott Skiles put together a top defensive unit on the cheap. Then they blew their cap space on John Salmons, Corey Maggette, and Drew Gooden. What the fun? The perpetually injured Andrew Bogut Amare Stoudemire is MIL's Gerald Wallace) is their only true Center, so the Bucks COULD be in the market for a Center...it doesn't really make sense...but neither have a lot of their signings. JaVale might be an unlikely offseason sign-and-trade target, but don't expect to hear anything as early as the deadline. Trade Meter: Low to Medium
Bulls: Chicago loves Joakim Noah...but if the Bulls' offense sputters in the postseason again and they convince themselves Tom Thibodeau can bring Javale McGee around, would they approach the Wizards with a sign-and-trade? Would their fans burn down the Internet? Gar Forman isn't that crazy...unless he is. Trade Meter: Low
Jonas Valanciunas is coming. Anderson Varejao is signed through 2014/15 (Team option). Ryan Hollins and Semih Erden are not the answer. Cleveland doesn't have a whole lot to offer in return, but they could use JaVale and have the money to pay him. The question is are they willing to surrender the assets? Ramon Sessions won't get it done; Tristan Thompson? Trade Meter: Low
Contributor's note: H/T to jsuh0 for correction
Celtics: Tom Ziller recently wrote about the implications of the Celtics shopping Rajon Rondo like he's a shoulder injury away from Andray Blatche. If the Pacers retain their man, Danny Ainge might talk himself into the Javalevator. Hey, he traded Kendrick Perkins for Jeff Green. Yes, I know they were going to lose KP in any case. Truth to tell, if the Celtics are going hard for JVM, they can simply sign him. Or we can sign and trade him for Jeff Green and Mike will go lay down in Dupont Circle during rush hour. Trade Meter: Low
Hawks: Al Horford and the anti-Dwight Ryan Collins, not considering Erick Dampier and Zaza Pachulia, give Atlanta plenty of reliable depth at Center and as long as this team has Joe Johnson on the roster it's in win-now mode. Trade Meter: Off
Hornets: Emeka Okafor and Chris Kaman aren't David Stern's wet dream and NOLA would surely look to trade...but will anybody bother to run that particular gauntlet for anything less than Eric Gordon? Without offering up our draft pick this year that isn't happening, so unless we're trading JVM, Dray and filler for Emeka Okafor, the Trade Meter is: Off
Jazz: Utah is covered quite nicely in big men, thank you. Trade Meter: Off
Kings: Let's see...Demarcus Cousins and Chuck Hayes give the Kings excellent depth in the middle. Aside from DHo, there's no clear upgrade for Sacramento to be had. Unless the Maloofs are planning to bid farewell to Jason Thompson and J.J. Hickson while sliding DMC over to PF the Trade Meter is: Off
Knicks: New York has Tyson Chandler. Even though it's a perfect environment for struggling young players...we'll have to say the Trade Meter is: Off
Lakers: Does L.A. need a Center? If Andrew Bynum is injured, sure. Or whoever their starting Center is next year. They are not about to give JVM starter's money should they strike out on DH12. Trade Meter: Off
Magic: Does Orlando need a Center? If Dwight Howard is injured, sure. Or whoever their starting Center is next year. Otis Smith might actually give JVM starter's money since, you know...he gives it to everyone else. But probably not. Trade Meter: Off to Low
Mavericks: Picking from the cornucopia of Rodrigue Beaubois, Dominique Jones and/or a perpetually low first round draft pick is tempting (now leaving sarcasm land) and the Mabs do owe us, for DeShawn Stevenson 'natch, but they'll be hard on for DHo and JVM will be a bitter consolation prize and they can't offer much of anything for him. If Dallas strikes out on DH12, it's Brendan Haywood...it would be ironic if Haywood finished out his last big contract losing the minutes battle to Epic Vale, though... Trade Meter: Off to Low
Nets: Brook Lopez and Mehmet Okur are on expiring deals and New Jersey is swinging hard for DHo. If they strike out, will they go for the consolation prize? Did the Nets give Travis Outlaw $35 million? Could the Nets reach new levels of ineptitude and lose Brook Lopez for nothing? Maybe! Trade Meter: Off to Low
Nuggets: Can Masai Ujiri sign JVM after retaining Arron Afflalo, Nene Hilario and most likely Danilo Gallinari? Nope. Could they swing a trade? They'll have the contracts...but with Al Harrington living up to his deal and the team deep, young and flexible I don't see a universe where JVM puts them over the top. Trade Meter: Off
Pacers: Roy Hibbert is approaching his RFA and the Pacers will focus their efforts there. Unless Boston swoops in and plunks down a massive offer sheet for Hibbert, there's no interest whatsoever. Trade Meter: Off
Raptors: Andrea Bargnani has finally become the alpha dog Toronto was praying for. Locked up through 2014/15. A McGee/Bargnani front court would give the defensive-minded Dwayne Casey an aneurysm but the Raptors are a wacky bunch. Never forget who gave Hedo Turkoglu a fatter contract than Rondo. Could Aaron Gray and Amir Johnson plug enough holes to float that boat? Oh, that's right, Jonas Valanciunas is coming. Trade Meter: Off.
Rockets: Samuel Dalembert isn't the answer to any question besides, 'Who is the Haitian center playing for Houston that thoroughly dominated JVM this season?' Daryl Morey might be interested. If he is, I shudder to think of him across the negotiating table from EG. Trade Meter: Low to Medium
Spurs: This team can start with DeJuan Blair at Center and succeed. Is there a world in which Gregg Popovich and JaVale McGee form the NBA's version of the odd couple? Of course, San Antonio is where Sam Presti cut his teeth on analytics and if JaVale can be had for a reasonable contract in a S&T, crazier things have happened. But the mind rebels at this image. Trade Meter: Off to Low
Trail Blazers: Marcus Camby, Kurt Thomas, Greg Oden...none of them are long for this (NBA) world. Doesn't have much of anything to offer in the way of assets outside of their core, but they'd probably be interested. Trade Meter: Low to Medium
Warriors: Mark Jackson will take "Kwame [Brown] with one arm over a lot of guys with two arms." But as the Jeremy Lin saga illustrated, he takes what the front office gives him, and the front-office just failed to swipe DeAndre Jordan from the Clippers. All of this with lottery pick Ekpe Udoh on the roster. The Wizards and the Warriors have plenty of history together...keep an eye out. Trade Meter: Medium to High
Plenty to nitpick here if you are so inclined. I'm going to be throwing up a Fan Post for trade deadline ideas, which I expect to see well-stuffed with lots of invective. Happy Friday!