Disclaimer: It is only out of sheer greed as an NBA fan that this column is even being written.
After an NBA trading season that turned out as nothing more than a whole lot of unfulfilled hype a year ago, the past month has seen one of the busiest markets in NBA history. Four bona fide stars have been traded in three separate deals. Three teams in the thick of the Western Conference playoff race combined to add three of those stars. One more promising youngster went East. One of the game's top veteran presences on defense and the glass has just been sent from the Left Coast to the Midwest.
The beloved Celtics haven't made any moves at all, which also means that they haven't made any ill-advised moves. The latter portion of that is a good thing.
The hated Knicks haven't made any moves at all, which also means that they haven't made any ill-advised moves. That is quite unfortunate, but there is still time.
Indeed, no matter what happens prior to Thursday's 3 p.m. EST trading deadline, NBA fans will have no reason to complain about lack of market activity this season. The past month has been an eventful one, and it has been one that will make the NBA's playoff races that much more intriguing, especially out West.
But as the old adage goes, if some is good, more is better. So without further ado, away we go with five quick last-minute smaller-scale wishes for the NBA's 2008 trading deadline.
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- For Brent Barry to be moved for a second time in 24 hours: In a split-second on Wednesday, the 36-year-old veteran went from hot pursuit of his third ring in four years to team with the league's 27th best record. This guy has done whatever he has been asked over the duration of his career -- and particularly over his three and a half seasons in the San Antone -- and at his advancing basketball age, time is growing short. Barry has always been a classy dude, and it would be nice to see him have another chance elsewhere out West. The Suns in particular have been rumored to be interested in Barry, which should certainly work for him. Run up the floor, shoot, repeat.
- For someone to be willing to take Jermaine O'Neal off the Pacers' hands: This shouldn't be able to happen. It makes no sense at all. None. Damaged goods with huge contracts typically don't sell particularly well. The teams the Pacers have been rumored to be discussing O'Neal with don't make too much sense either. JO looked a lot better for the Nets prior to Jason Kidd's departure. He also doesn't make too much sense in Golden State, since a big part of his problem when healthy this year has been the lack of ease with which he adjusted to Jim O'Brien's fast-paced system. But with all that said, this remains a guy only a couple of years removed from being one of the NBA's top post forces, and with the exception of a few very foolish comments over the past year regarding his status in Indiana, this is a guy who seems to have been a fairly decent character guy throughout his career. At 29, it would be nice to see him get one more fresh start to see if he can indeed recapture his 'A' game once he has had the time to rehabilitate.
- For Mike Miller to get a new home: Yes, he is likely too well-paid for some suitors, and no, I haven't dreamed up some perfect trade scenario for him. But the guy is toiling through his fifth full season in Memphis in relative obscurity, and the fact remains that he plays a very nice game. He is a big dude (listed at 6-8) who shoots the ball very well (50.8 percent on the season from the field, 43.3 from behind the arc), rebounds decently enough (6.5 per game on the year) and his scored effectively throughout his career (16.8 per game on the season, 14.4 for his career). Another good guy who plays hard every night and deserves to be playing for something. If anyone can find a way to entice another team to take on a good player with a big salary for virtually nothing in return, it's Chris Wallace.
- For Ron Artest to get traded to a Western Conference contender: The possibility of Ron-Ron throwing a monkey wrench into the playoff picture is too good to pass up. He could play out-of-his mind great, or he could just be out of his mind. Which means that he could help his team explode in one series and implode in the next. He would just make every possible scenario that much more interesting, and when all was said and done, whatever team he joined would be more likely than not to meet a rather ugly ending, making him less of a threat to those of us rooting for other teams with legitimate championship hopes. The likelihood that he could be going to Denver (word is that this will go down if the Nugs decide they can afford to part with Missouri product Linas Kleiza) to team with AI, Melo and K-Mart only makes this all the more fun.
- That Isiah Thomas keeps the faith in the Curry-Randolph combination: It's been too good to be true all season. Half a year simply isn't enough. Only the removal of Jamal Crawford or the acquisition of VC could possibly make this team any more enjoyable for its detractors.