Tom Ziller of Sactown Royalty brings up an interesting question for Kings fans. Should Andres Nocioni be traded? The overwhelming response seems to indicate that he should be. The Kings are rebuilding and focusing on youth and saving money for next offseason. Nocioni doesn't help them with either priority.
The question that exists now is whether heart and spirit (and the aforementioned talent) is still a need to the degree it was, and if not whether Nocioni's $21 million heart and spirit (and talent) makes enough of a difference to hold onto him beyond the trade deadline, assuming there are suitors?
The aforementioned $21 million is what Nocioni is owed over the next 3 seasons (he has a team option for a 4th year as well). As mentioned, that is quite a paycheck for a guy that is more heart than talent. But while he doesn't do much for a rebuilding team, he'd be an excellent fit on a championship contending team. Could the Celtics be interested ...again?
Rumors from the trade deadline indicate that the Celtics and Kings were in serious trade negotiations for Nocioni. Chad Ford reported the following at the time.
We've heard conflicting claims from both teams on who withdrew first.
Yet we do have agreement that the Celtics and Kings talked seriously Thursday about sending Nocioni to Boston, which seemingly would have been a huge coup for that team, given the hole created by James Posey's departure in the offseason. Nocioni is a rugged, versatile, 2-position forward who does a lot of the same stuff Posey did.
The deal likely would have required Boston to part with at least four players from its oft-criticized bench: Glen Davis, Brian Scalabrine, Patrick O'Bryant and the injured Tony Allen.
Since that trade was discussed, Glen Davis improved his game (and resigned with the team) and Tony Allen came up short on what may be his last chance to prove himself in Boston. Also, the Celtics have added Rasheed Wallace and Marquis Daniels and the Kings have added more young players to the mix. But would these teams revisit these talks sometime before the trade deadline?
For the Kings, the pricetag on Nocioni may be coming down. Tom Ziller concludes:
Now, is an expiring contract enough incentive to trade Nocioni? Moving him for $0 in 2010-11 salary would give the Kings $18-22 million in cap space next summer. (Enough to sign LeBron!) But given the likelihood of the Kings actually spending $18-22 million next summer, perhaps trading for talent or draft picks with salary relief as a minor concern could be in order.
So they would like to get talent and cap space for Andres, and who can blame them? But who knows what other offers they will receive before the deadline?
For the Celtics, I do think they'd still be at least interested. He has a fiery tenacity that makes him perfect for playoff basketball. Like Posey before him, he would be able to fill in for Pierce and take some of the defensive assignments that Marquis Daniels wouldn't be able to handle because of his lack of bulk. In fact, if Pierce ever missed any time this year, I would think that this deal would at least be revisited as an option. He does have a large deal (which is what scared Ainge off of Posey last summer), but the annual salary actually decreases each year.
The principals are still in place for a deal. The Celtics can still offer Scalabrine and Tony Allen as expiring contracts. The trade checker rejects a straight deal of Scal and Tony for Nocioni but it only falls about 7K short. I'm sure the Kings would like someone like Bill Walker. Perhaps Ainge would be willing to give them Walker or Giddens (whomever falls behind on the depth chart). Draft picks don't count in salary matching purposes, so that's not necessary unless the teams think there's an imbalance in value.
So what do you think? Would you want to trade for Nocioni? What would you be willing to give up? When would you want to make such a deal (now or at the deadline)?