SIDENOTE: Jack Marin profile coming tomorrow.
I don't usually like to discuss fantasy trades that come from our own minds, but I've been thinking a lot about whether Ernie Grunfeld can find a taker for Etan Thomas before the end of the offseason. As I mentioned Friday, I'm surprised that nobody seems even remotely interested in the guy. Yes, he has a bad long term contract with a nasty trade kicker, and yes, he gets injured a lot, but he's a decent scorer, an excellent rebounder, and a model citizen. He strikes me as someone who could be very useful playing 20 minutes a game as the third big guy on a good team. There are a number of contenders out there who could use a good rebounding big man reserve off the bench, so I'm still convinced that there's a chance he could get dealt.
From our perspective, I really think he needs to be dealt. Vanilla Gorilla had an excellent diary today grading our offseason thus far, and he's on point in saying that bringing back both Haywood and Thomas isn't a very good idea, but I think there's an additional layer here that necessitates an Etan trade. Ernie Grunfeld has indicated that his plan is to build for the future. He locked up Blatche for five years, Stevenson for four, and replaced Ruffin and Hayes with rookies Nick Young and Dominic McGuire. Next offseason, I imagine Ernie's priority is to re-sign Arenas, then re-sign Jamison to an affordable short-term deal and potentially limit his minutes. In order to do this and still upgrade around the edges, Ernie needs to eliminate some bad contracts, and Etan qualifies as such.
Etan's game really isn't suited for our team. He's a moderately effective post scorer, but he won't get touches as long as the offense runs through the Big 3 (which it should). He's an excellent rebounder, but that strength is negated because our guards are such bad man defenders. On a team with good perimeter defenders, Etan can afford to stay at home more often instead of utilizing his awful help defense skills, which will invariably lead to more opportunities for him to focus on defensive rebounding. Additionally, because he's a bit undersized for the center spot, power forward might be a better position for him, but as long as we have Jamison, Songaila, and Blatche, he won't get that opportunity.
I think a reasonable return for Etan would be a smallish expiring contract (3-4 million) and another team's mid-level albatross. That would save us enough money to potentially add additional role players to fill in the gaps in the future. We might need to throw in the first-round pick we got from Memphis as incentive, but I'm okay with that.
So with all of that, I'm asking you guys to put your CBA caps on and think of reasonable Etan Thomas trades. Make sure you check the salaries with the trade checker before posting your proposal. I'll pull out the ones I like best in a future post.