December 15th, one of the key dates on the NBA calendar, has come and gone. The day is significant because it marks the first day players who signed contracts this past summer with new teams are eligible to be traded. In a league in which incoming and outgoing salaries involved in most trades need to be within reach of each other, the increase in the number of players who are now eligible can only help to facilitate trades. What this also means is ESPN’s Trade Machine should start quadrupling in traffic as fans of every team try to figure out ways to unload their most undesirable players for the same reason no other team would want to trade for them in the first place.
While there hasn’t been a shortage of Lakers trade rumors in light of the team’s lackluster start, there has been a lack of logic amongst fans and writers when it comes to either potential trading partners or targets. As a result, I’ve created a checklist that you’re welcome to use as a reference before believing all those Chris Broussard rumors he likes to attribute to “sources close to the situation” or before sending your trade ideas to either your friends or your favorite writers.
Teams Don’t Want Your Player For The Same Reason You Want To See Him Traded
This is very important and yet seems to be the most forgotten rule when it comes to fans and their trade fantasies. You think Devin Ebanks sucks? Guess what? There’s a good chance that most GMs do too. Ebanks will only be included in a trade if his salary is needed to make it happen. In other words, please stop sending me trade ideas that involve Ebanks being traded straight up for anyone good.
It should also be noted that Ebanks and Darius Morris, who both signed one year deals this past summer, would have to approve any trade because they’d be surrendering their Bird Rights (For more information on this, read Larry Coon’s CBA FAQ #97).
However, exceptions can be made for players who actually have talent, like Pau Gasol. Let’s say you want to see Pau Gasol traded. If it’s because you think he’s washed up, take that into consideration. Don’t tell me he stinks and in the same breath tell me the Lakers should trade him for Chris Bosh. There’s about a zero percent chance that you know something about a player that every GM doesn’t already know.
Teams Who Are Rebuilding Don’t Want Your Trash Unless It Can Help Them
I know Gasol isn’t exactly trash but this is a big one in light of the fact he only has one guaranteed year left on his deal. Just ask yourself, who would trade for the right to pay Gasol $19.3 million in 2013-14 and why?
There aren’t a lot of possibilities as to why a team would trade for Pau. Perhaps a team thinks he could make them a contender and would consider re-signing him when he becomes a free agent after next season. Maybe they’re looking to accelerate a rebuilding plan by moving contracts expiring after his. Or maybe they would acquire him with the plan to trade him again once his value increases.
If a team like the Atlanta Hawks is on pace to have a large amount of cap space next summer, would they forfeit the cap space to acquire Dwight Howard long-term by acquiring someone like Pau, who is not only expensive, but will also turn 33 before the start of next season?
If you can’t answer yes to any of those questions, you should probably go back to the drawing board.
Conference Rivals Rarely Make Trades With Each Other
This is one that doesn’t get taken into consideration nearly as much as it should. The Lakers and Suns have made nine trades in the last 40 years and only four of those were made after 1976. The Steve Nash trade was really just a favor so that Nash wouldn’t be far from his kids who still live in Phoenix. So don’t anticipate the two sides making another deal for quite some time. In other words, Marcin Gortat will not be a Laker any time soon.
Three names that Lakers fans love to tell me they should be targeting are LaMarcus Aldridge, Paul Millsap, and DeMarcus Cousins. Cool story, bros. The Lakers and Blazers haven’t made a trade since October 8, 1980. The last time the Lakers and Jazz made a trade was October 25, 1979 — four months after they drafted Magic Johnson. And the last time the Lakers and Kings made a trade the Kings were still in Kansas City.
Get the point?