Rare are the 4-team trades (even rarer, than a Bird Writes commenter understanding the importance of Tyreke Evans) so I’ll limit myself to exploring two such scenarios. If you missed part one of these trade machine nuggets, click here to explore the other 4-team tango. This one is a little more far-fetched, but it does solve some shifts in philosophy problems while creating a malcontent super team (it’s more of a twisted fantasy team). The biggest part is that it finally fills that Jamal Mashburn hole in our roster with a player that AD is familiar with, that provides some positional flexibility and comes from a team who once traded us the last person to hold down the 3 serviceably.
Note: I’m thinking a pick has to be involved here, but I’m not really sure where it goes and who it comes from. I think the Kings, or perhaps Memphis get the worst of this exchange so it should go to one or both of them, maybe Boston throws one of their non-lottery picks their way and I could be ok with a top 3 protected pick swap from us.
Why the Pelicans do it:
As I’ve stated, New Orleans’ basketball has not seen a well-rounded player fill out the three since Jamal Mashburn. Peja Stojakovic provided great shooting, but nothing else. However, Peja was the last guy to take hold of that spot so it’s fitting that we try to steal the next Pelicans’ SF from the same squad. Rudy Gay was once an inefficient scorer who has learned to play great team basketball. He does everything pretty well, and has since expanded his value by playing some stretch four on Team USA and with the Kings. If the Pelicans staff know that they don’t want to bring Gordon and Anderson back next year, then we can do a lot worse than adding Gay to the squad. The talk is that Anderson will fetch $18 or more million per year in the new CBA — he isn’t worth that. We could turn him into a better all around player who will be on a better contract over the next two seasons.
Courtney Lee is an up-and-down player who is on an expiring deal. He can audition for a role on this team next year, or be traded for another asset down the road. He at least can help fill the minutes that will become available once Gordon is moved.
Jordan Mickey is a young prospect from LSU, which will energize the Tiger fan base — and maybe he can get paired with another Tiger in this coming draft. This isn’t a major piece, but if he develops then it’s like getting back a first rounder we had traded away. If he doesn’t work out, he’s a cheap body.
Why the Grizzlies do it:
Shooting and youth. Memphis has sent Randolph to the bench — basically putting an end to the Z-Bo and Gasol pairing. Z-Bo has another year left on his contract, so moving that gives them more flexibility to reshape the roster/re-sign Conley this offseason.
They lose Jeff Green and Courtney Lee in this deal, but both have been very inconsistent in Memphis blue — if not for their entire career. Both guys would probably saunter out of town at season’s end anyway. I don’t see Memphis losing sleep over their departure.
They gain Amir Johnson who is a very solid facing big to pair with Gasol. He’s much more athletic than Z-Bo, and is also much younger. He can play the 4 or the 5, so that also adds value. Eric Gordon gives them the outside shooting they’ve needed for 10 seasons, and he gives them a decent ball-handler to help take pressure to create off of Conley. Sullinger is a rebounding guru, who fashions himself as a stretch four — even though he’s never shot 30% from deep in his career. All that Memphis BBQ should keep him planted in the paint where he belongs. While Sully is more of the poster child for the Jalen Rose coined, "Stretch Mark Four," he is a good passer out of the post and is also on an expiring deal — those things along with his rebounding make him a decent piece to add to your roster.
Why the Kings do it:
Because they are insane. Why not build the most combustible team in league history. An insane owner, a flopping guru making personnel decisions, George Karl, DeMarcus Cousins, Rajon Rondo, Zach Randolph and Matt Barnes? Who doesn’t want to watch that? If you do remove the intense personalities from this trade, it does make a little sense. Z-Bo gives Cousins his first legitimate big man to play with. Jeff Green provides some of the offense that you lose in the Gay trade. Jerebko can provide spacing to open up the floor for Rondo and Collison drives. Matt Barnes provides perimeter defense. Also, Green and Barnes come off the books to open up the checkbook for Vlade to spread out to even worse fits at the end of the year.
Why the Celtics do it:
Boston has a ton of picks and redundancy and need to start turning them into real players to pair with Thomas, Bradley and Smart. Danny Ainge has said he needs a go-to scorer (I’d say he has one in Thomas, but…) — enter Ryan Anderson. Anderson will also open the floor up for Thomas and Smart. Boston also is in desperate need of some rim protection (more so now with Amir Johnson being replaced by Ryan Anderson). Koufos is a solid big man that can play some D and is used to playing in faster paced movement offenses. Cauley-Stein was a good defender in college and he has the athleticism to be one in the NBA. He needs time to develop and Sacramento is not the place for that. Boston could save his career. He can also blossom into the athletic young Tyson Chandler-esque player they need.