Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Ariza, Collison, Murphy, Lee, Posey Trade Simplified

I've decided to do a graphic like this for all multi team deals to help me figure out what teams are giving up and what they're getting in return, and WHY teams would do what at first looks like a ludicrous trade.

Let's start with the New Orleans Hornets

The Hornets give up Darren Collison, James Posey, and Julian Wright and receive Trevor Ariza and Marco Belinelli (separate trade with the Raptors).

If you were paying attention last season, you'd notice that one of the lone bright spots in New Orleans was rookie Darren Collison putting up great numbers for an injured Chris Paul. In 37 games as a starter he averaged 19 pts, 9 ast, and 3.5 rebounds (40 minutes per). Those are some stellar numbers but they only won 14 games with him starting. Granted there wasn't much talent. They had already gotten rid of alley oop star Tyson Chandler for no great offense Emeka Okafor. They did have David West but after him and Chris Paul, the talent dwindled to Peja Stojakovic and Marcus Thornton.

There have been so many rumors regarding Chris Paul's future, unhappiness, and trade demands and a possible, not-as-great, big 3 in New York with CP3, Amare Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony next summer.

So why did the Hornets make this move?
To keep their franchise player happy. Out goes their back up point guard and in comes a new, slashing, defense minded, 3 point hitting, but can't quite create his own shot, small forward in Trevor Ariza, relegating Peja Stojakovic to the bench for a starting line up that looks something like:

PG- Chris Paul
SG- Marcus Thornton or Devin Brown
SF- Trevor Ariza
PF- David West
C- Emeka Okafor

Ariza can run and finish with Chris Paul on fast breaks and can hit the 3 pointer like Peja could, only he can also cut to the basket unlike Peja. Defensively, Ariza is leaps and bounds better than Peja who can guard some of the league's top swingmen. And by the way, this is Peja's last year of his contract which will give the Hornets $15ish million to spend next summer.

But what about the side trade with the Raptors (Belinelli for Julian Wright)? The contracts are almost identical. Both for two years, both for about $2 mil this season and $3 mil next season. As you can see the SG spot is a little weak with 2nd year Thornton and Devin Brown, Belinelli could offer some depth and options at that spot. James Posey was also playing that SG/SF spot but was being paid far more than he was worth (around $6 mil this season and $7 mil next season!).

Indiana Pacers

So both Posey and Collison are headed over to the Indiana Pacers, who traded away Troy Murphy.

If you've played fantasy basketball, you know that Troy Murphy is an automatic 10 rebounds a night guy. He can shoot the ball and has range that stretches to the 3 point line. Defensively, there's room for improvement but he's at the age where what you see is what you get (30). Out he goes and in comes a point guard to one of the few teams in the league that needed a point guard. James Posey and his contract was the "you can have Collison if you also take this guy off our hands" guy in order to get him Collison.

The Pacers had been playing TJ Ford and Earl Watson at point guard last season. With Earl Watson currently a free agent looking for a team and the Pacers wanting to go in a different direction away from TJ Ford (currently discussing a buy out), the team needed to get a PG and felt up and coming young Darren Collison was the way to go.

Don't get it twisted. There are a lot of things wrong with the Pacers. The PG situation was just one piece of the puzzle, and it might not even work out. They have Brandon Rush at SG (could be James Posey at the start of the season), Danny Granger at SF, their franchise player who isn't quite a franchise player, Tyler Hansbrough and Jeff Foster at PF, rebounders with little offensive talent, and Roy Hibbert and Foster at Center, again, little offensive talent although Hibbert is improving.

But here's some silver lining for the Pacers, next summer they will be busy. A lot of their guys are in the last year of their contract this year (Dunleavy, $10 mil, Ford, $8.5 mil [if they can't get a buyout], Jeff Foster, $6.6mil, Jamaal Tinsley, $5.5 mil). That's a lot of money and they can start building up a team again around Granger and Collison. Things haven't been quite the same since Stephen Jackson, Jermaine O'Neal and Ron Artest were in town...

New Jersey Nets

The New Jersey Nets took on Troy Murphy and his rebounding skills. They also took on his expiring contract of $12 million dollars. But the Nets did need some size. All they really had last year was Brook Lopez, but they just drafted power forward Derrick Favors. They also have Johan Petro who isn't much of an offensive threat and after that, they have a lot of small guys including recent free agent signees: Jordan Farmar, Anthony Morrow, and Travis Outlaw to go along with Devin Harris and Terrence Williams (wow this team couldn't have won more than 15 games last season!)

Houston Rockets

So they didn't really have space or playing time for Courtney Lee. So they sent him to the Houston Rockets. who gave up Trevor Ariza. What kind of deal is that?! Keep in mind The Rockets just signed Ariza last year to a full mid level exception deal to be THE GUY to replace Ron Artest and Tracy McGrady. Well they didn't make the playoffs but that was due in large part to Yao Ming being injured and being sidelined for the entire season.

Since then they acquired Kevin Martin who's getting paid a lot ($11 mil, $12 mil, and $13 mil for the next three seasons). Couple that with Brad Miller's new contract (Around $14 million for three seasons), Luis Scola's long term contract that pays him $11 million in 2014/2015 season, and Kyle Lowry's big deal for the next 4 years at about $23 million. THAT'S QUITE THE PAYROLL especially if they want to re sign Yao Ming next summer. Quite simply put, the Rockets needed to shed salary. That's why all they took on was Courtney Lee's $1.3 million dollar contract with a team option next year. Salary dump at its finest. Add to the fact that Shane Battier can start at SF and play as hard as he ever has and you have a starting lineup that looks something like:

PG- Aaron Brooks
SG- Kevin Martin
SF- Shane Battier
PF- Luis Scola
C- Yao Ming with Brad Miller backing up.

That's a nice starting lineup, one I predict to return to the playoffs.

Overall, I really like this trade for the New Orleans Hornets. Darren Collison was a nice back up but they had a starting PG in Chris Paul. Add to that a great defender and finisher in Trevor Ariza, while shedding the salary of James Posey and this team is definitely better off than they were yesterday.

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