So, it's been a while since we did a little trade speculation, and who better than everyone's favorite target, Linas Kleiza. No? We'll make do with Dwight Howard.
Orlando is in a tough spot, salary-wise, Otis Smith is teh crazy. Which panned out for us, and made Lon Babby's opening volley in Phoenix go down less like a box of caltrops. The possibility of an amnesty clause is juicy goodness for trade discussion, and a number of us have been quietly salivating at assuming the dark horse's role for a run at DH12.
First thing's first. Everybody loves when superheroes team up sans collusion, but nobody gets to live that reality. UNLESS. But there's a whole lot of pipe to lay between here and there, so let's get cracking.
Condition #1: Building a contender usually starts with losing games, only in this case it would be Orlando clearly out of the East Elite with the trade deadline approaching. The Magic are all in this year and you've heard the buzz, nothing less than a championship will keep Dwight around. So if the team is looking at the 4-5-6 seed with little hope of progressing past the second (or even first) round, Otis will be quietly listening.
Condition #2: The amnesty clause must be in effect for this scenario. We can offer a combination of young talent and cap relief no other team can match, and that cap relief package is only enhanced by an amnesty clause.
Condition #3: Free agent rules stay recognizable. For the purposes of the scenario we'll assume 125% salary matching and sign-and-trades are still viable.
The Wizards would in theory trade Rashard Lewis, Javale McGee, Jordan Crawford, Kevin Seraphin, and our 2012 1st rounder for Dwight Howard and Hedo Turkoglu. If blood vessels are popping on any particular score, give me a minute to sort a few things out.
- Rashard Lewis' inclusion will raise a few eyebrows. Remember, this scenario takes place towards the latter half of next season, when contending prospects are looking dim and only a fraction of Lewis' 2011/12 salary is left on the board with only $10 million guaranteed in 2012/13...and assuming, as I am, that the free agency rules will be recognizable, that's a trade asset. Don't forget: Gilbert Arenas will get the amnesty clause, should it come to fruition. And Stan Van Gundy would have no objections to bringing Rashard Lewis back in, which brings us to...
- Hedo Turkoglu on the Wizards? Briefly. Not using that amnesty on Lewis means we can take back the Magic's second worst contract and use our amnesty there. Minutes galore at the 3 and 4 for Jan Vesely, Chris Singleton, and Trevor Booker.
- Javale McGee because no Wizards trade for Dwight Howard happens without him.
- Kevin Seraphin because he's the intriguing big man project Otis Smith thought he was drafting with Daniel Orton. Kevin instead of Trevor because Orlando has two PF fighting for minutes, already, and Smith seems to like PF with shooting touch. Still early in his rookie deal.
- Jordan Crawford because Nick Young's one dimensional reputation and higher immediate salary considerations work against him. Orlando is intrigued by Jordan's rookie campaign, and he is still early in his rookie deal.
- Our 2012 1st rounder because any deal without it gets laughed off the board. I'd rather give up a pick in 2013...it depends on how negotiation goes. Giving up so much youth in the first place can probably give Ernie the leverage he needs to hold on to this year's pick, but I usually weight the worst-case scenario.
- Shed Turkoglu's contract.
- Take on trade assets in Lewis' contract, have two first rounders in a deep draft, and two promising 1st rounders from another deep draft.
- Rebuilding is kicked into gear with probably two middle to high 1st rounders in 2012, a fresh infusion of youth, salary cap flexibility, and a monster expiring deal.
- Dwight Howard.
Player rotation is all but cast in stone. Shelvin Mack and Othyus Jeffers backing up John Wall and Nick Young. Jan Vesely, Chris Singleton, Trevor Booker, Andray Blatche, and Larry Owens at forward positions. Hamady N'Diaye playing backup to you know who.
Kicker: Orlando can, and probably will, demand more. Several ways that could play out:
Cap Health Tack - Orlando looks to unload J.J. Redick as well, which demands additional salary back from the Wizards, I believe...unless both teams are under the cap, which I think would be the case if the amnesty clause is in effect. The Magic would, in effect, be gutted, but ready to start new.
Gimme Moar - The Magic demand Trevor Booker, Chris Singleton, or the new American Jan Vesely. Self-explanatory...but oh so painful.
Combination - The Magic add J.J. Redick and possibly Brandon Bass (if Otis doesn't like him that day) to the package in return for adding Andray Blatche. The Magic shed all their dead salary cap and clear minutes for Ryan Anderson while picking up a stretch PF/C.
Of course I'm not the only one who's been thinking about this, via Rook:
Rashard Lewis, Andray Blatche, JaVale McGee, Jordan Crawford + 1st round pick in 2013
Dwight Howard + Gilbert Arenas
Wizards use amnesty on Arenas. They are stuck without a viable PF (unless you think Vesely, Singleton and Booker can hold down the fort until the 2012 Draft (with Sullinger and Anthony Davis available).. With that trade (assuming they release Arenas) the Wizards would STILL be pretty good on the Salary Cap front (roughly $38-40 Million in salaries for 12 players, including 2012 First round pick).
Starting unit: John Wall, Nick Young, Jan Vesely, Chris Singleton (or Booker), Dwight Howard.
Bench: Seraphin, Jeffers, Owens, Mack
That is a TREMENDOUS defensive team…. and a great running team… But it lacks shooting.
The trade gives them a lot of good young players and a high draft pick. Plus if they amnesty Turkoglu ($11 Million), and release Rashard Lewis (saving another $12 Million), their cap situation would be MUCH improved (roughly $37-38 Million in salaries for 9 players)…. Their rebuild could begin immediately, with a core of Ryan Anderson, McGee, Crawford, and Blatche.
Great minds think alike (and so, apparently, do ours), and while I think the price will be higher we hit a lot of the same points. The amnesty offers interesting flexibility for the trade game, and it's going to be interesting to see which GMs make good use of it. It's a long weekend, and hopefully we get some good lockout news to go with our weekend. In the meantime, have at it in the comments.