As a Chicago sports fan, I feel obligated to throw Michael Jordan a bone here. Maybe it's the shrine dedicated to "His Airness" that I have on my night stand. Either way, the Bobcats need help from anywhere they can get it, and that's why I've spent the past day on ESPN's Trade Machine, playing MJ for a day.
I want to clarify that I am in no way, shape or form qualified to be an NBA general manager, and that these trades are not actual rumors (although parts of them may be, and I just haven’t heard).
Under my master plan, the Bobcats would trade Gerald Henderson and Boris Diaw to the Minnesota Timberwolves and receive Luke Ridnour, Wayne Ellington, and Michael Beasley in return.
Let’s break this down by each player’s potential contribution:
- Luke Ridnour—It’s painfully obvious that the trigger-happy backcourt pairing of D.J. Augustine and Kemba Walker isn’t working. At all. Ridnour is a true point guard who is capable of running an offense while keeping all his teammates happy. Because of his spot-up shooting skills, he gives the added drive-and-kick dimension to the Bobcats offense.
- Wayne Ellington—This guy is a poor man’s version of Gerald Henderson: just as young and twice as cheap. Though it hasn’t shown up in the stats, due to a lack of playing time in Minnesota, Ellington is an above-average three-point shooter. He's at 39 percent for his career.
- Michael Beasley—The Bobcats have enough money tied up with selfish players (Corey Maggette). But in this case, the pros of adding Beasley outweigh the cons. He is a talented scorer at the power forward position; an instant upgrade over Tyrus Thomas and D.J. White.
For the Timberwolves:
- Gerald Henderson—The Timberwolves don’t have many holes to fill, but shooting guard is one of them. Wesley Johnson, a second-year guard, hasn't come close to living up to his potential. By bringing in Henderson, Minnesota can keep playing Johnson at small forward. But instead of relying on Johnson to be a source of offense, they’ll have Henderson, which would allow Johnson to focus all of his energy on the defensive end, where his athleticism and lanky build can help make him more of an Andre Iguodala-type of defender.
- Boris Diaw—The bad news: taking on his $9 million contract. The good news: he’s in his last year of that contract. More good news: his willingness and ability to pass the ball as a big man fits right in with Rick Adelman’s No. 1 passing offense in Minnesota.
This trade saves the Timberwolves a little bit of money heading into the summer while landing them a solid shooting guard, and it gives the Bobcats a building block in Michael Beasley to pair with Kemba Walker, as well as a veteran leader in Ridnour.
Now, assuming that trade happened, my next move would be to propose this trade to the Dallas Mavericks:
Tyrus Thomas, Eduardo Najera, D.J. Augustine and D.J. White for Lamar Odom, Yi Jianlian and Shawn Marion.
Again, let’s break this down by player, first for the Bobcats:
- Lamar Odom—Coming off the bench, he’d anchor that second unit. His heart isn’t in Dallas, so perhaps another fresh start is in order.
- Yi Jianlian—He’s still relatively young, and he can stretch the floor with his three-point shot.
- Shawn Marion—Well past his prime, Marion can still help this younger team, starting or coming off the bench, and providing leadership. He can bring a defensive and hard-working mentality to a team that has neither right now.
For the Dallas Mavericks:
- Tyrus Thomas—Tyrus is young, athletic and showed major improvements last season. There’s no explanation as to why he’s fallen off so quickly this year, but the talent is still there. I’d expect him to play better on a winning team.
- D.J. Augustine—Since the departure of J.J. Barea, the Mavericks have been in need of a back-up point guard. With Marion being shipped to the Bobcats, Vince Carter would slide over to the starting small forward spot, allowing Jason Terry and Roddy Beaubois to split time at shooting guard, and D.J. Augustine to back up Jason Kidd.
- D.J. White and Eduardo Najera—These two power forwards, along with point guard Augustine, are all on the last year of their contracts. If the Mavericks are serious about acquiring Deron Williams and/or Dwight Howard, they needed to clear more cap space. Odom and Marion’s hefty contracts would be cleared from the books, leaving the Mavericks with enough cap space to make a convincing push for the two superstars (unless, of course, if Howard and/or Williams are traded by this year’s deadline).
Hypothetically, if these trades happened, this would be the new-look roster for the struggling Bobcats:
Point guard: Luke Ridnour, Kemba Walker
Shooting guard: Wayne Ellington, Matt Carroll, Cory Higgins
Small Forward: Corey Maggette, Shawn Marion, Reggie Williams
Power Forward: Michael Beasley, Lamar Odom, Derrick Brown, Yi Jianlian
Center: Byron Mullens, Bismack Biyombo, DeSagana Diop
Again, these are not, to my knowledge, real rumors. Trade Machine puts the illusion of power in the hands of the ordinary, and this is how someone ordinary would fix the Bobcats if he were Michael Jordan.
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