I asked for your trade ideas and I told you up front that I would publicly mock them. Well, here's the latest round of mockery.
One name that kept popping up on the incoming column was Emeka Okafor. Who knew that he was such a popular guy? I mean, he's a solid defensive center but I'm not sure he's building block material.
What's that you say? Oh, right, expiring contract that would give us great gobs of cap space this offseason. So of course we'll be able to convince LeBron James to take his talents to Southie. And even better, Okafor has the added "benefit" of being hurt at the moment which means that he won't hinder our tanking process by being competent on the court.
Don't get me wrong, I get the sentiment. I do. The Suns are reportedly willing to use a draft pick in order to upgrade their roster for the playoff push. We have good players that could help a team in such a situation and we could always use some extra cap flexibility. So obviously Celtics fans are going to assume that there's a match there.
The problem is that the Suns would have to want what we have to offer. In fact, they have to like our offer more than all the other offers that they are likely going to get from teams in similar situations to ours (Sixers, Bucks, Cavs, Magic, etc.).
I'll tell you what, I'm going to just skip most of the mockery this time and let you all see the offers for yourself. Here's the Google spreadsheet with each of the Okafor offers (I've hidden the Rondo ones and the non-Okafor ones).
As an extra bonus, I outsourced my response to these offers. I shared the list with Seth Pollack from Bright Side of the Sun and asked for his general impressions. He was kind enough to look over the proposals and provide us with a Suns' fan's perspective.
Here was his response.
Guys, I hate to be the one to throw cold water on all your great ideas to improve your team at the expense of mine but, you know, reality sucks sometimes. I looked over your ideas and see a lot things that basically look like this: Suns get Gerald Wallace and Jeff Green and Celtics get Okafor's contract and a Suns pick. To put it mildly from a Suns perspective, these ideas are crazy talk.
Let's start with Gerald Wallace. Gerald Wallace, who as you very well know, is owed about $10m per year for the next two years. Even in NBA terms, that's a lot of scratch. Gerald Wallace has a PER of 9.5 this season which is 54th at his position. 54th among just small forwards. The Suns starting SF is PJ Tucker. His PER is 27th at his position which isn't great but he also only makes ~$888k this year and is a RFA with a QO of only $1.1m next year. He's also doing exactly the kind of gritty non-stat things on the floor that Gerald Wallace is known for except he's essentially doing them for free (in comparison). P.J. Tucker has also learned how to hit open corner threes. Gerald Wallace has forgotten how to do this for some reason.
And it's not like Wallace just having a bad season. He's been bad (or at least not good) for many years. I honestly don't think I need to tell you guys this.
So, that means Gerald Wallace who is owed ~$20m for two more seasons after this one and isn't all that good isn't an asset. He's a liability. Teams don't give up assets to get liabilities. If you want to trade Gerald Wallace to the Suns, or to any team not being run by Isiah Thomas, you need to give up assets to bribe someone to take his bloated contract. I hope you respect former Celtic Ryan McDonough enough to not assume he's that dumb.
Jeff Green is another matter. Jeff Green is a solid NBA player who can do stuff. His contract is probably fair for what he gives and he would be an upgrade on the Suns roster where he could run with Dragic, Bledsoe, Frye (or Morris) and Plumlee (or Len). I like that starting five but I don't LOVE it.
So maybe if I'm the Suns I give up the Okafor contract (ASSET) and perhaps one of the lesser first round picks the Suns have hanging around. But taking on Green takes away some cap flexibility from the Suns and he's not good enough make them more than maybe a half-level better than they are without him. And that's really the calculation the Suns need to make with a guy like Green (or Thad Young who's basically the same contract but better defensively and more of a pick and roll finisher).
How much better does he make your team given the cost AND the opportunity cost of adding him to your rotation?
For me, the answer is that he's good enough to make the deal if the terms aren't too painful but not good enough that bringing him on should hurt much. That's a very grey line, of course, which is where McDonough's knowledge of the player comes into play.
TL;DR: You are not dumping Gerald Wallace on the Suns. Maybe there's a Jeff Green deal to be made but only if it's not to painful for the Suns AND only if McDonough likes him a lot because really doesn't fit into the Phoenix Suns current rebuilding plans that well.
So there you have it folks. Maybe we can work something out where Jeff Green goes to the Suns and a low first round pick and Okafor comes back our way. I wonder too if there's a chance that old buddies McDonough and Ainge will coordinate a 3 team deal with some of these same pieces involved. Something to keep an eye on at least.
I'll do my best to review some of the other trade ideas and maybe even come up with some favorites. No promises on when I'll get around to it though. Thanks everyone.