I'm usually a proponent of trades but this trade season's rumors have been crazier than any in recent memory. Case in point is the 76ers; they are now offering Andre Iguodala in order to dump Sam Dalembert's contract but in just a few months Sam will become a viable commodity, a decent enough big man with an expiring deal.
On the other hand, a lot of the names out there are guys that people probably shouldn't be looking to acquire unless they are Mark Cuban and don't care about throwing money away. The Pistons would probably love to dump most of their team but does anyone really want four more years of Rip Hamilton? Is there a market for Ben Gordon's contract or Charlie Villanueva?
I wanted to write up an post about the 10 trades that need to happen but I can't really think of that many that actually make sense right now. Most every team in the league right now would be better off waiting until the offseason to make a move. There are a few deals that might make sense but here's my breakdown of how I think the Eastern Conference teams should handle the trade deadline.
Atlanta Hawks: You hate to mess with the chemistry of this team and even though it would seem like trying to upgrade at SF might make sense, the team can't afford to move Marvin Williams for a bigger contract because they have to see what happens with Joe Johnson. I was thinking they could try to work a three team deal with the Hawks getting Luol Deng (Marvin heading to a third team that sends an expiring deal to Chicago) but you don't want Deng's contract to keep you from being able to re-sign Joe. In the end, they might be able to find a small deal to help their bench but I can't see them making a major move.
Boston Celtics: The Celtics have a problem that most teams have: they have a piece they probably should move (Ray Allen) but they'd need to get back a guy at the same position to replace him. There aren't many teams that are looking to dump a younger, talented shooting guard for a short term rental of Ray. In the end, their best bet is probably to hold onto Ray, hope that re-signs for a discount which will enable ownership to spend the full MLE on someone next season.
Charlotte Bobcats: The Bobcats have made some strides this year and I think they could set themselves up for one more move. The Sacramento Kings want to shed salary. The Bobcats don't have the expiring deal to make it work but they do have Tyson Chandler, who has only one year left on his deal. The Cats could offer Tyson Chandler and DJ Augustin for Andres Nocioni, Beno Udrih, and either Jason Thompson or Spencer Hawes. The Cats add two decent bench players in Noc and Beno while bringing in a solid young center to take over for Nazr Mohammed. The Kings cut 13 million off of their 2011 cap and get a solid young combo guard in Augustin who might be a good complement to Tyreke Evans.
Chicago Bulls: The Bulls apparently really want hometown hero Dwyane Wade. I'm not really sure how they are going to pull that off. If they dump their current salaries, all they'll have left is Derrick Rose, Jo Noah, and... Taj Gibson? Not all that appealing. If they hold onto their players, they won't have enough to bring in more than one guy and I'm not sure if Wade or even Joe Johnson is interested in joining a middling team being helmed by Vinny Del Negro. It's a tough call; especially given that the Bulls' last forays into free agency have netted them Ron Mercer and Big Ben Wallace.
Right now, I think the best approach they might have is dumping Kirk Hinrich (maybe to the Lakers for expiring contracts) and trying to move Luol Deng and Ty Thomas to Phoenix for Amar'e Stoudemire. I'm not wild about it (and Phoenix might not go for it) but it seems like it may be the best set-up for next season. Oh, and they should go after Jeff Van Gundy to coach them.
Cleveland Cavaliers: It's hard to tell what's going on. LeBron was upset about the way the Cavs treated Zydrunas Ilgauskas earlier this year but now he's pushing for an Antawn Jamison deal, which would require the Cavs to trade Big Z. Meanwhile, I still think their biggest issue is shooting guard (especially once Leon Powe comes back from injury). Right now, I'd try to find a team with a shooting guard they're looking to dump but would be willing to buy out Ilgauskas so he can rejoin the Cavs. The one guy I might take a look at is Ben Gordon. Not sure if Detroit wants to dump him (although they should) but having an assassin like Ben waiting to feed off of LeBron's kickoffs could be trouble. And yes, his defense isn't great but have you seen Antawn Jamison play defense? (If you haven't seen him play, you've seen as much defense as those who have watched him.)
Detroit Pistons: The honeymoon is about to be over for Joe Dumars. The Pistons are an absolute mess right now and his two big signings this past offseason are not really panning out. It also comes as no surprise that the Rip Hamilton extension is now looking like a mistake. And they still have to re-up Rodney Stuckey this offseason. This team requires an entry all their own but I would say that, right now, there isn't a single untouchable on the roster and they should probably look to dump any contracts they can.
Indiana Pacers: Like the Sixers and Dalembert, I'm not sure if the Pacers best move is to dump Troy Murphy for an expiring deal. At least try to get something back from him; maybe send him back to the Warriors for expiring deals and Kelenna Azubuike? Or one expiring, my main 'Buike, and Rony Turiaf?. If they can give away Mike Dunleavy Jr., (time's running out for them to do it with the Clippers), they should but I'm not sure who is going to go for that. Ray Allen for Dunleavy and Murphy?
Miami Heat: The Heat seem determined to go into the offseason with as much cap space as possible so I'm not sure that they make any trades right now. I hope they deal Michael Beasley soon but they'll probably wait until the offseason to make an offseason on him. They might want to look to swap the unhappy Mario Chalmers out but, again, they might just wait until the offseason for that.
Milwaukee Bucks: The Bucks could have a nice trade asset in Michael Redd's expiring deal (especially if he's out all year and insurance pays for him) but for now, I'm not sure what they do. They have a few expiring deals but I can't imagine there's anything big on their horizon.
New Jersey Nets: They should be trying to dump Keyon Dooling, who someone might be willing to take off their hands, and looking to move Bobby Simmons, Yi Jianlian, and Chris Douglas-Roberts for any of the expiring bigs (Bosh, Amare, Boozer). They shouldn't be afraid to throw in Courtney Lee or Terrence Williams either. Their only chance of wooing LeBron is if they have another piece in place and the sooner, the better. It's not like anyone on their roster besides Brook Lopez is a keeper. If they win the lottery, I'm going to assume that Devin Harris is a goner but they might want to see what they can get for him now. Maybe see what more it would take to get Beasley, Chalmers, and filler for him. I can't imagine Miami does it but there should be some kind of market out there for Harris. (But, again, it's probably best to just wait for the offseason.)
New York Knicks: I like David Lee, Danilo Gallinari, and Wilson Chandler but the Knicks should probably be offering these guys to teams in order to dump Eddy Curry and Jared Jeffiries' contracts. Especially The Rooster and Chandler because they play the same spots as their main target, Lebron. I still think Clippers or Wizards should be the main candidates to take back these contracts; take back just a year of salary and get lotto talent.
Orlando Magic: I was all for the Vince Carter trade but it's not really working. They should try to find a better PG than Jameer Nelson. And I know they love their bench depth but Brandon Bass is completely wasted right now. Rushing into a deal in the next two weeks, however, is probably a recipe for disaster. Even looking for one and getting trade rumors poisoning the locker room is probably bad enough. Unless a great deal falls into their lap, the Magic are probably best off just playing the hand they dealt themselves.
Philadelphia 76ers: Words is that they were in talks with Phoenix about Amar'e Stoudemire but that doesn't make sense to me. Yes, Amar'e's good but they already have a boatload invested in a banged up PF Elton Brand, why add the injury prone Stoudemire? This is another team that needs its own entry but for now, they should stay away from any deals that outright dump their best player. They should also consider moving Thad Young and Lou Williams who are talented players that seem like they're never going to get a good shot at success in Philly.
Toronto Raptors: People are getting excited that the Raptors have won a few games and are inching closer to a more acceptable mediocrity but they're going to lose their best player in a few months and get nothing in return and the rest of their lineup is mostly overpaid and underwhelming. They should move Hedo ASAP; that contract is about to get ugly. The only move that I can really see happening is Bryan Colangelo high-tailing it out of town before people catch on to what a mess he's made in Toronto.
Washington Wizards: As I've written before, they should be looking to use their expiring deals to add young talent for taking on other team's contracts. In fact, they should dump their current talent (Jamison and Butler) for young talent as well. The team needs a reboot in the worst way.