07-06-2001, 11:30 PM
Piecing together trades that could shake the NBA
July 5, 2001
By Mike Kahn
SportsLine.com Executive Editor
Though holiday fireworks have ended, the fireworks that promise to alter the NBA have just begun.
Once the salary cap is reset July 18, and the area in which teams will suffer a luxury tax -- believed to be in excess of $57 million -- is established, then trade winds are expected to blow with gale-like force.
Three big stars and three sometimes stars have already been acknowledged in four deals that are unofficial until the 18th, for salary cap's sake:
Shareef Abdur-Rahim is going from the Memphis Whatchamacallits to the Atlanta Hawks for Lorenzen Wright, Brevin Knight and the rights to first-round pick Pau Gasol.
Jason Kidd is headed east from Phoenix with Chris Dudley to the New Jersey Nets for Stephon Marbury, Soumaila Samake and Johnny Newman.
Jason Williams and Nick Anderson are going from Sacramento to Memphis for Mike Bibby.
Cliff Robinson is out the door in Phoenix for Jud Buechler and John Wallace.
That, very likely, is just the start of what might be potentially bigger and more controversial deals to come.
Seattle continues to vacillate whether to trade All-Stars Gary Payton and Vin Baker, while Portland is having similar contradicting thoughts about Dale Davis. All three are being shopped heavily.
The bigger question, of course, lies with Chris Webber.
Will he force the Sacramento Kings into a sign-and-trade to a team weakened simply by the amount of talent that is required for the deal? There seems little doubt he won't take the money available from teams like Houston and Detroit, so the Kings are hoping he ultimately decides staying put is the best option.
"He's got the bat, the ball and he's throwing the first pitch," Kings general manager Geoff Petrie told the Sacramento Bee. "And we're comfortable with that."
They had better be; they have no choice in the matter. Nonetheless, Webber, along with the other four players, is worthy of some hypotheses at what should be a very interesting summer.
Keep in mind there were several swaps last summer that included at least three teams -- and two included four -- so nothing is out of the question when it comes to maneuvering the salary cap to complete trades these days.
So, here are some concepts worth considering ... even if they require some tweaking under the new salary cap:
Chris Webber to New York for Allan Houston, Kurt Thomas and two No. 1 picks. This is the only real possibility of a deal. The Pacers are interested, but don't want to give up Jermaine O'Neal. Will Houston approve the sign-and-trade here? The Kings were on his list now that he has opted out of his contract, but all points are to Houston staying put and the Knicks won't deal Marcus Camby for Webber.
Gary Payton to the Miami Heat through the Chicago Bulls. The Sonics get Brian Grant from the Heat, and Jamal Crawford and a future No. 1 from the Bulls. The Bulls get Vin Baker from the Sonics and Tim Hardaway and a future No. 1 from the Heat. And the Heat get Ruben Patterson from the Sonics as well. Complicated? Sure, and fun, too.
Dale Davis, Greg Anthony and a future No. 1 from Portland to New York for Allan Houston. This is presuming, of course, that Houston doesn't go to Sacramento. The Blazers need perimeter shooting and a good guy to aid their flagging reputation in the Pacific Northwest. Davis gives the Knicks more interior presence that they're sorely lacking, plus helps Latrell Sprewell and Glen Rice fit together better.
Davis and Anthony (no draft choice) could be considered for Rice, too.
Antonio Daniels, Malik Rose and a No. 1 from San Antonio to Seattle for Payton. With the exception of Daniels, Rose and Tim Duncan, virtually the rest of the key players are free agents, which would allow for the cap to absorb Payton. Then the Spurs could re-sign David Robinson and Derek Anderson. It makes the Spurs much tougher with Payton.
Vin Baker to Philadelphia; Gary Payton to Atlanta; Nazr Mohammed, Tyrone Hill, Speedy Claxton and a first-round pick to Seattle. Philly also gets Alan Henderson from Atlanta.
Vin Baker to New York for Travis Knight and the Pips, uh, Luc Longley or somebody else that adds up. The Knicks can hope Baker turns it around; Knight's contract is shorter than Baker's and Longley might just come to Seattle and retire ... giving the Sonics cap relief and Baker relief all in one fell swoop.