So far, HCA hasn't exactly gone the way of the home team. Five series are tied at one game a piece, two have the high seed in an 0-2 hole, and only the Heat have protected their floor. It's a year where no one is a clear cut favorite to win the championship and after the dust settles in June, the fifteen runner-ups will start looking for holes to fill or scrap their team altogether.
That's where Danny Ainge steps in. When he traded away Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett ten months ago, he was left with a roster of role players that he had intended to complement the Big Three. In June and July, he could find new homes for players who are more apt to shadow star players on a contender rather than be starters on a rebuilding team. Here are a handful of trades that could work:
Omer Asik and Jeremy Lin for Jeff Green and Brandon Bass: It's an oldie, but a goodie. The first two losses to the Portland Trailblazers have proven that the Rockets need something from their bench and scoring from their wings. Howard, Harden, and Parsons have averaged a combined 70+ points, but Kevin McHale is getting little production from anybody else. Jeff Green and Brandon Bass worked well as release valves for Pierce and Garnett and could serve in similar roles for Houston and although Bass is undersized, he's proven to be a versatile defender and really, could he do any worse than Asik, Howard, and Jones have against LaMarcus Aldridge?
Kendrick Perkins for Brandon Bass and Joel Anthony: In crunch time, the Grizzlies have been blitzing Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook to get the ball out of their hands. Outside of Ibaka, there hasn't been another player to pass to that can hit an option shot. Enter BB. He's one of the best mid-range big men in the game. And if you're missing a surly inside presence for defense, Joel Anthony could easily fill that hole for Perk.
Roy Hibbert for Rajon Rondo: You want fireworks? Here it is. They'd have to find a home for current point guard George Hill (possible three-teamer with Houston perhaps and bring back Asik), but grabbing Rondo might be worth it. There's been talk that the Pacers have lost their edge and there's nobody tougher than Rajon, especially in the playoffs. Bird loves him and Rondo would possibly consider re-upping with Indiana.