Hello, Sactown. Let me start by saying how sick everyone is about the compounding catastrophe that has been (is?) Kings ownership. Some of the most exciting playoff series in my memory were those great Jazz vs. Kings series when our two buildings were the places no team in the league wanted to play. Good basketball, that. However this mess ends up, I hope you guys have your team in the end. It's the way it should be.
Now to the issue at hand. In Jazzland everyone in chomping at the bit to turn the reins over to our young quartet of Favors, Hayward, Kanter, and Burks. A lot of fans are about ready to riot, they're so impatient. Th ascension of our young guys will happen next season, almost certainly, but that course would mean we let one or both of Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap leave for nothing in free agency. Most of us aren't too fond of that idea. So I've been kicking around a trade idea for a few weeks now, and wanted to get the reaction of Kings fans. This trade would have been more appealing before Varejao's injury, but I still wanted to get your thoughts.
You can find the entire trade so money works here: http://espn.go.com/nba/tradeMachine?tradeId=behq3eu.
There are some spare parts thrown in to make the money work, but essentially the trade works this way:
Kings get: Al Jefferson, Anderson Varejao, and the Jazz 2013 1st from Golden State.
Cavs get: DeMarcus Cousins and Paul Millsap.
Why It Might Make Sense
Pairing DeMarcus with Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters would, I think, greatly appeal to the Cavs. Talent wise, DeMarcus offers more than any of the project bigs in this draft. I think they consider it, especially with the inside track on signing Millsap while Tristan Thompson develops.
Just about every Jazz fan I know would like to gather the picks together to trade up for a top wing or point guard in this year's draft, even though it is weak draft. With our own pick (which would be a lottery pick without our two current best players) and these two picks, we could do that.
Now, why I think it might make sense for the Kings.
Honestly, if the plan is to build through the draft and lose until that young talent matures, this trade isn't going to work for you guys. Keeping Cousins and hoping he and the team get and keep their act together--in Sacramento--probably offers the most upside. But there's a lot of risk there, too. If, on the other hand, the team wants to win more games and gain stability and character to provide a better atmosphere to bring along Thomas Robinson and Jimmer Fredette (and reignite the talent of Tyreke Evans), I think this trade works well.
This off-season's crop of free agents looks like it will be a shadow of what was once thought. CP3 looks to have every reason to stay with the Clippers, and Dwight Howard will probably be either a Laker or, barring that, a Maverick (and the Nets are still insane for him). There's a real chance the two best free agents will be Josh Smith and Al Jefferson, with Paul Millsap coming shortly after that. There isn't a true franchise player out their. This trade gives the Kings the inside track on keeping Al (while giving you the finances to make that happen) while pairing him with a near perfect front court partner. Al's offensive skill combined with Varejao's defensive, glass-eating hustle would be great--better than the Jefferson/Millsap pairing, as Jefferson could play PF, his natural position, while Varejao is a better defender than Millsap. With Varejao under contract for two more years, you'd probably be able to lock down both players for a combined $20 to $22 million--not a bad price for as good a front court as exists in the league. And with these two mentors, I suspect Robinson would be grow into a real beast by the time Varejao's contract is up.
The only reason this deal makes sense for the Jazz is our two young bigs need minutes, plus Jefferson and Millsap are both unrestricted free agents. We can ship off two borderline All-Stars and a first round pick (probably not lottery) to, honestly, get the picks to move up in a bad draft because of circumstance. If the situation were different, this wouldn't make sense.
But as is, I think it might. The Cavs get a young pairing of big/small stars in Irving and Cousins; the Jazz get to add one more high draft pick to our young core as we transition to the future; the Kings get a top of the league front court that also brings stability, character, a chance to win now, and two awesome mentors for Thomas Robinson.
What are all your thoughts? Would this have been attractive if Varejao hadn't been injured? What about now, with him out most of the season? Just curious.