View Full Version : It's Liberation Day as trade season opens

12-15-2006, 02:30 PM
By Chris Sheridan
ESPN.com http://insider.espn.go.com/nba/insider/columns/story?columnist=sheridan_chris&id=2698296&skipPrestitial=true&action=login&appRedirect=http%3a%2f%2finsider.espn.go.com%2fnba %2finsider%2fcolumns%2fstory%3fcolumnist%3dsherida n_chris%26id%3d2698296%26skipPrestitial%3dtrue

It has been nearly six full months now since Vladimir Radmanovic's cell phone rang in Serbia and Kobe Bryant was on the other end, telling him, "We need your shooting."

And since we're now one-quarter of the way through the season, and since Vlade has knocked down only a dozen shots from behind the 3-point arc, we're prepared to say that Kobe is still of the opinion that the Lakers need some shooting -- just not Radmanovic's.

Relief is at hand for the Lakers should they choose to find it, because as of today, the shaggy-haired shooter and the majority of other players who signed as free agents over the summer can now be traded under an NBA rule that sets Dec. 15 as Liberation Day for teams who now realize that what seemed like a good idea over the summer really wasn't.

Radmanovic's role with the Lakers will increase over the next month due to the injury to Lamar Odom, unless Brian Cook can get himself fully healthy and cement a spot in Phil Jackson's rotation, which would free the Lakers to try to move Radmanovic in a trade.

Radmanovic's five-year, $31 million contract cannot be considered the worst free-agent signing of the summer, but it certainly is close. The signing we're dubbing the most dubious of '06 gives us someone to lead our list of 10 players who (along with Radmanovic) become eligible to be traded today.

So we begin with

1. Nene, Denver Nuggets.
Let's see, he's overweight, he's recovering slooooowly from an ACL injury, and he's earning $60 million under a deal that even Isiah Thomas wouldn't have signed off on. He is one of the main chips being mentioned in Allen Iverson trade talks between the 76ers and Nuggets, but it would have to be a three-team trade because Philadelphia has no interest in being the test tube for another player (see Chris Webber) whose skills were diminished considerably by knee surgery.

2. Marcus Banks, Suns.
We never quite understood why a team with Steve Nash and Leandro Barbosa needed a third wheel in the backcourt. The Suns might not be interested in Iverson, but they do have the kind of package Philly wants -- a young player, Banks, an '08 expiring contract Kurt Thomas, and a No. 1 draft pick or two (the Suns have three: their own, Atlanta's and Cleveland's).

3. Nazr Mohammed, Pistons.
The next time he reaches double figures in rebounding, it'll be the first time in over a month he's done it. The Pistons knew they weren't getting another Ben Wallace when they signed Nazr for the midlevel exception, but they expected more than they're getting. He's serviceable, and his salary is manageable enough that he could be packaged with the next player on our list

4. Flip Murray, Pistons.
for someone who might actually help Detroit. LeBron's backcourt mate in Cleveland last postseason has done almost nothing since the first 10 days of the season, making only three 3-pointers over the past 15 games. We might just start referring to Detroit's other Flip as Tony Delk Jr.

5. John Salmons, Kings.
He's posting the best numbers of his career, but he still hasn't been able to match the production of the departed Bonzi Wells, whose place Salmons essentially took after Kevin Martin moved into the starting lineup. Had a breakout game against Golden State three nights ago with 18 points and 10 assists.

6. Darius Songaila, Wizards.
We've always been impressed by Ernie Grunfeld's willingness to trade everybody and anybody, but we challenge him to find a taker for a player who just signed a five-year, $23 million contract, then got injured at the World Championship and had to undergo surgery for a herniated disc. At least he's back practicing.

7. Mike James, Timberwolves.
If Minnesota ends up being the next destination for Iverson, the Wolves are going to have to include a couple of players making James-type money ($5.2 million) along with centerpiece Randy Foye to make the salaries match. He's been playing much better since his back-to-back goose eggs Thanksgiving weekend.

8. David Wesley, Cavs.
Nice guy, was a nice player a couple of years ago, but hasn't done anything for Cleveland and has logged six DNP-CDs in the past eight games. Someone needing a shooter for the playoffs (Utah?) could get him cheap.

9. DeShawn Stevenson, Wizards.
The word on the street over the summer was that Washington got him to sign for the minimum by promising him a starting job. He has been steady but unspectacular, and his contract makes him easy to move if the Wizards want to shake up one of the East's most disappointing teams.

10. Fred Jones, Raptors.
Let's put it this way: Freddie isn't improving Sam Mitchell's job security. Shooting only a hair above 30 percent from 3-point range, he logged a season-low 11 minutes Wednesday against Orlando.

One caveat before we all start declaring Dec. 15 Liberation Day: It isn't for Bonzi Wells and a few others, because collective bargaining rules state a player must wait until Dec. 15 or 90 days from the date he signed -- whichever is longer -- before becoming trade eligible.

In Bonzi's case, that means he can't be divorced from archenemy Jeff Van Gundy until Jan. 2.

Here is a list of other players who will not become trade eligible until later this season:

Atlanta: Cedric Bozeman, Matt Freije, Dec. 29.
Boston: Michael Olowokandi, Jan. 2.
Charlotte: Melvin Ely, Jan. 2.
Chicago: Andre Barrett, Jan. 2.
Denver: DerMarr Johnson, Jan. 15.
Golden State: Matt Barnes, Anthony Roberson, Jan. 2.
Houston: Scott Padgett, Jan. 2.
Milwaukee: Chris McCray, Dec. 22.
New York: Kelvin Cato, Jan. 25.
Philadelphia: Steven Smith, Dec. 26.
Phoenix: Jalen Rose, Feb. 7.
Portland: Ime Udoka, Jan. 2.
Sacramento: Maurice Taylor, Jan. 3.
San Antonio: James White, Feb. 3.
Seattle: Desmon Farmer, Jan. 2; Andreas Glyniadakis, Feb. 5; Mike Wilks, Jan. 2.
Toronto: Darrick Martin; Dec. 27.