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Today's theme across the SB Nation Network:

TRADE IDEAS!

Woo hoo! Let the rosterbation begin! With the dawn of December 15, most of the league is available in trade. And since 25% of the season is in the books, most teams know exactly how big their warts are. For instance, Mike D'Antoni can't figure out how to play Gasol and Howard at the same time.

While NBA GMs are a bit more hesitant, bloggers have identified lots of trade scenarios already for poor Paul and Dwight.

Let's look at the Suns, and then look at some proposed trades.

Is your team a buyer, seller or both?

Difficult to say. The front office believes this team has more talent than last year's group that wasn't eliminated from the playoffs until the next to last game of the season, but they also know there are no guarantees. When the team was struggling with a 7-game losing streak, it appeared time to blow it up. But now after beating two playoff teams in the West, the team may be less inclined to do a knee-jerk trade.

If by late January the Suns are still in the hunt, the team may just be a buyer looking to improve this year's team. But if they are mired at the bottom of the West at that point, you just might see a fire sale.

If buyer, what are the needs?

If the Suns want to make the playoffs this season, they need to trade multiple role players for a star that plays any position. But if they want to brighten their future at the expense of today, then their needs are first round draft picks and young talent with potential (again, at any position). Otherwise, it's just treading water. Or re-arranging decks chairs.

....what specific players should your team target?

Stars, if "buying" for a playoff run: Kevin Love, Josh Smith, Paul Millsap
Young talent, if "selling" for the future: Gerald Henderson (Bobcats), Avery Bradley (Celtics)

...what Suns players are available?

Everyone is available but Luis Scola, who is beholden to the Suns until July 1, 2013 at the least. The Suns could trade anyone on the roster at this point and the fan base won't bat an eye. But the return has to be better than the outlay, in terms of current production or future potential, otherwise the fans WILL revolt. Already, the Suns are experiencing their lowest attendance since opening the arena twenty years ago.

What are your top three trade ideas?

I honestly have no idea what trades to propose. You guys know I'm not good at this.

Looking specifically at Utah (Millsap) and Atlanta (Smith), I don't see a match that doesn't require either Gortat or Dragic going back in the trade. Which again means the Suns are rebooting if they did that. Other than Dragic, what could the Suns offer Utah that they would WANT in place of Millsap, who is not a contractual albatross and is not a malcontent? Same question on Smith.

Each of those guys is expiring next summer but they are playing on winning teams, so those teams would want too much talent for a 4-month rental and a prayer. Is even more cap space more important than winning this season? Not likely.

On a small scale, the Suns could try to acquire J.J. Reddick or a Gerald Henderson for a future #1 if the Magic or Bobcats are really ready to move on. But I have no idea what either would want for them. Reddick has one year left at $6 mill after this (making the Suns interest drop) while Henderson will be a restricted free agent.

(though the Orlando Pinstriped Post is suggesting a Reddick/Derrick Williams swap - seriously?? - maybe they would take a Shannon Brown or a #1, or both?)

I may not be good at this, but that's why we have a huge SB Nation network!

Today is theme day, so let's take a look at what other blogs have proposed in Suns trades and drool or laugh at your leisure.

Other SB Nation Blog Trade Ideas

Washington Bullets - Bulletsforever.com


Houston's Patrick Patterson or Marcus Morris could be brought in on the cheap. Ditto for Morris' twin brother, Markieff, in Phoenix. Even though they're not super-talented, any of them would balance out the roster by providing shooting and defensive rebounding at the four.

If Washington decides to be a little bolder, they could always see if Phoenix would be willing to bribe them to take Michael Beasley off their hands. Yes, he's a space cadet, but Beasley fits the current roster like a glove, and a deal of Beasley and Sebastian Telfair for Trevor Ariza works for both teams. Washington gets a stretch four and a backup point guard on an expiring deal while Phoenix gets a decent wing with only a year and a half left on his deal.

Minnesota Timberwolves - canishoopus.com

Is there a way to thread this needle? I don't know. I certainly would entertain big-package deals with someone like Cleveland (Varejao and Gee) or Denver (McGee and Iggy), but I'd be much more willing to see them try and tinker with a smaller Williams-based proposal for someone like Jimmy Butler, Alonzo Gee, JJ Redick, Jared Dudley, or Luke Babbitt (or someone along those lines) while waiting (and hoping) for a fully healthy top 8 of Ricky Rubio, Alexey Shved, Andrei Kirilenko, Chase Budinger, Kevin Love, Nikola Pekovic, Luke/JJ, and Dante Cunningham. They have a lot of really good players on this team. They just need to be healthy and they need to replace the minutes of Williams and Stiemsma. That's the bit. As I have often said, this isn't rocket science.

The only way that happens (and is a plus move for MIN)
is a Williams/Pek for Gortat/Dudley trade.

I would NOT do Pek for Gortat straight up, but I would do the above trade in a heartbeat. I just don't think that salarywise there is anyway to get Gortat without giving up Pek.
by bbeeck on Dec 19, 2012 8:24 AM MST up reply actions

I could get 100% behind a simple Williams for Dudley deal
He has been a consistently good 3P shooter, can play 2 and 3, and look at his on/off #s at 82games:
http://www.82games.com/1213/12PHO8.HTM#onoff

"It's tough to make predictions, especially about the future." -- Yogi Berra
by Wile E Coyote on Dec 19, 2012 8:25 AM MST up reply actions

Sacramento Kings - sactownroyalty.com

As far as specific targets the Kings should go after, I wrote a piece a couple weeks ago about a few of my favorite potential trade targets. Easily at the top of my list in terms of non-star possibly available players is Jared Dudley, who I think would be a phenomenal fit for the Small Forward spot thanks to his good shooting touch and hustle on both ends of the court. He's one of the best value contracts in the league in my opinion, and just entering his prime.

Also:
DeMarcus Cousins, Francisco Garcia, and Aaron Brooks to Phoenix for Marcin Gortat, Jared Dudley and 2013 1st Round Pick from Minnesota: This is all about proclaiming the rebuild starting in earnest. Sacramento gives up the most exciting player in the deal in the talented but surly DeMarcus Cousins. They get a couple of starters in return as well as a pick.

Philadephia 76ers - libertyballers.com

Trade 2: Spencer Hawes and Sixers 2012 Second Rounder for Marcin Gortat
Gortat's pissed, Sarver is Sarver, Phoenix likes doing dumb things. I don't know how Gortat would love playing behind Bynum if he re-signs here, but he's only here a year after this anyhow. They'd depend on him quite a bit and he'd let Thad do more Thad things without getting killed on the glass.

I'm as thrilled as you are.

Detroit Pistons - detroitbadboys.com

The Detroit Pistons trade Rodney Stuckey to the Phoenix Suns for Wesley Johnson and Kendall Marshall.

Why would Phoenix do this? Thus far, Wes Johnson and Kendall Marshall have been disappointing for Phoenix. Marshall is struggling in the D-League, and Wes Johnson hasn't cracked the rotation, playing only 14 minutes in the last 9 games. Phoenix would be bundling the two for a combined prospective value that would net a stud sixth man guard in return, something the team currently needs. Phoenix has Goran Dragic manning the point, Shannon Brown struggling at shooting guard and no one of consequence behind them in the depth chart. Stuckey could be plugged in for 36 minutes per game behind Dragic and Brown either leading the second act or shifting off-the-ball with the starters. He's currently doing that in Detroit, to the tune of 15 points and 6 assists per game in December. Phoenix could certainly use that off the bench in their back court.

Why would Detroit do this? They'd have a four-year commitment to an excellent passer who needs work transitioning to the pros. Detroit can carve a spot for Marshall, especially in the absence of Rodney Stuckey. This is the kind of talent Detroit can take a risk on, and it happens to fit Detroit's greatest position of need. It could fail, Marshall may not be able to handle the pros, but if he can work himself into even a reserve role, that's a step up for Detroit. As for Wes Johnson, this one-time top four pick has been a terrible bust. Draft expectations aside, however, this is a low-risk, high-reward addition. Detroit would have all spring to evaluate Johnson's talent and what kind of NBA role he could hold. If they decide to pass on him, he expires this summer and Detroit walks away saving $6.5 million of the salary they owed Rodney Stuckey for next season.


I LOL'd that Sixers dream scenario, but I've seen a lot more lopsided trades on BSotS over the years so who am I to judge.

Now it's your turn.

What trade ideas do you guys have?

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For the second game in a row, the Phoenix Suns are facing a road-weary team that's pretty bad on the road regardless of whether they are weary or not.

The Charlotte Bobcats just lost to the Los Angeles Lakers last night in a tight battle, and now must face a Phoenix Suns team that is rested and feeling good about themselves. Charlotte led for most of the game against a Laker team that can't figure out how to play Pau Gasol and Dwight Howard at the same time (they were alternating minutes last night while Metta World Peace took minutes at the 4-spot), but ended up losing by being unable to sink a shot in the closing seconds.

On this home stand, the Suns just beat two teams with winning records (Memphis and Utah) and then overcame a lazy 19-point deficit to beat the struggling Sacramento Kings. Their defense has come alive, allowing 80, 84 and 90 points on 40% shooting in those games.

The Charlotte Bobcats enjoyed 15 of their first 24 games at home but have been unable to take advantage of the early home schedule, losing their last 12 consecutive games after starting the season as good as 7-5.

One of those first early losses came at the hands of the Suns when Shannon Brown dropped 6 threes in the fourth and the Suns won one of their two road games on the season, 117-110. Brown had 24 points, but he wasn't the best player that night.

Michael Beasley had 21 points, 15 rebounds, 7 assists and a steal. Easily still his best all-around game of the season. By far. He may not have tallied 15 rebounds in all the games since, but I'd have to check on that. Marcin Gortat tallied 23 points, 10 rebounds and seven blocks - a career high. Goran Dragic had a good game as well, with 16 points and 8 assists to go with 3 rebounds.

Since then, Charlotte has gotten worse and worse. Even worse than the Suns at their worst - to the tune of 12 consecutive losses (7 of those at home).

Best Players

Kemba Walker is by far their best player at 18.1 points per game and 6.1 assists, along with 2 steals. He is explosive, having eight games of at least 20 points and has been game-high scorer four times. He scored 28 against the Lakers last night.

Gerald Henderson is back from injury to man the shooting guard spot. He averages about 14 points and 3.5 rebounds per night, dropped a huge dunk on Howard's head last night while scoring 19 with 9 rebounds and 4 assists. Henderson did not play in the teams' first meeting last month.

Ben Gordon can still be a microwave as well, with five games of at least 19 points (and three over 25 points). His season averages are pedestrian (ie. Suns-ian) though at 13.4 points per game. He is much more likely to score few points than he is to go off.

Their only other serious threat (besides Mullens going off on 3s) is backup PG Ramon Sessions. Sessions gets to the line nearly three times per game (5.8 FTAs per game). He averages 14.4 points and 4.2 assists. Against the Suns earlier this season, he had 17 points and 9 assists off the bench.

Unfortunately for the Bobcats, two of those best players don't even start for them. Rookie Michael Kidd-Gilchrist has struggled, and the Bobcat bigs are nothing to blog about (unless you're a Bobcats blogger).

Offense

Neither offense is very prolific. The Bobcats have topped 100 points only thrice in the last 13 games, while the Suns have topped 100 only once in their last 11.

Charlotte has the league's 25th ranked offense in terms of points-per-100-possessions (98.5). The Suns have vacillated between 15th and 20th in efficiency, currently sitting at 15th (101.1).

One thing the Suns did really well against the Bobcats in their first meeting was to pull down an astounding 22 offensive rebounds, and convert that to 18 second-chance points. The Suns need to do that again to make life easier on themselves.

Defense

Worried about the Suns defense this season? Well, Charlotte can only dream of being as good.

While the Suns are only 26th in the league in defensive efficiency (105.2), the Bobcats are a solid 30th (107.3). Dead last. Does that mean the Bobcats will give up 107 points to the Suns? Heck no. It just means that they usually give up that many, or more, in a game.

Streaks

While the Suns have won three in a row after losing seven straight, the Bobcats are still mired in the muck. They have lost twelve consecutive games and counting.

Let's hope it's 13.


FG 3PT FT Rebounds Misc
G M M A Pct M A Pct M A Pct Off Def Tot Ast TO Stl Blk PF PPG
Kemba Walker 23 35.3 6.6 15.3 42.8 1.0 3.4 30.4 3.9 4.8 81.1 0.6 2.5 3.1 6.1 2.2 2.0 0.4 2.0 18.1
Ramon Sessions 23 26.7 4.5 11.7 38.7 0.5 1.9 27.3 4.8 5.8 83.5 0.7 2.7 3.4 4.2 1.9 0.8 0.0 1.3 14.4
Gerald Henderson 10 25.0 4.5 10.3 43.7 0.7 1.4 50.0 3.5 4.4 79.5 0.5 2.5 3.0 1.5 1.5 1.1 0.5 2.3 13.2
Ben Gordon 21 22.6 4.7 10.8 43.4 2.0 4.7 43.9 1.8 2.0 86.0 0.3 1.7 2.0 2.5 1.8 0.5 0.4 1.7 13.1
Byron Mullens 23 30.5 4.5 11.8 38.0 1.3 4.5 28.8 1.6 2.1 73.5 1.5 5.7 7.3 1.2 1.4 0.9 0.7 2.2 11.8
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist 23 27.6 4.0 8.4 47.9 0.0 0.1 50.0 2.4 3.1 76.4 1.9 4.4 6.3 1.8 1.6 0.8 1.4 2.6 10.5
Jeff Taylor 22 25.7 2.7 6.5 41.0 0.8 2.5 32.7 1.2 1.5 81.8 0.9 1.5 2.4 1.0 0.8 0.9 0.3 2.2 7.4
Tyrus Thomas 8 17.8 2.3 6.6 34.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 2.1 2.5 85.0 1.0 2.1 3.1 1.0 0.9 0.5 1.4 3.0 6.6
Brendan Haywood 22 23.2 2.4 4.6 52.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.5 0.9 50.0 2.5 3.4 5.9 0.5 1.1 0.2 0.8 2.1 5.3
Bismack Biyombo 21 24.6 2.0 4.0 49.4 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.6 1.4 44.8 2.1 4.3 6.4 0.3 1.0 0.3 1.7 2.3 4.6
Reggie Williams 16 8.9 1.5 3.4 44.4 0.6 1.8 34.5 0.1 0.3 40.0 0.3 0.8 1.1 0.6 0.4 0.5 0.0 0.6 3.8
Hakim Warrick 10 9.5 0.7 2.7 25.9 0.0 0.0 0.0 1.5 2.3 65.2 0.3 1.1 1.4 0.5 0.4 0.4 0.2 0.9 2.9
DeSagana Diop 12 10.1 0.4 1.3 33.3 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.1 0.0 0.4 2.0 2.4 0.5 0.3 0.3 0.5 1.0 0.8

Hey, Hakim Warrick is on the Bobcats! Think he'll take the court tonight against the Suns? He has appeared in 10 games this season, so it might happen. If he does step out there, cheer for him to do well (just not well enough to beat our home team, of course).

Bobcats vs Suns coverage

Check out Rufus on Fire for exclusive Bobcats coverage on SB Nation.

Phoenix Suns 121, Charlotte Bobcats 104 PHOENIX — The suddenly streaking Phoenix Suns will be aiming to win their fourth straight game after seven consecutive losses when the lowly Charlotte...

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This week we discuss some of the details of the Suns three game winning streak, take a victory lap to celebrate the Suns ascension from the worst defensive team in the league to just one of the worst (hey, it's progress) and look ahead at the coming week.

Podcasts will be available at the regular times (Wednesdays) over the holidays, but recording times (Tuesday night) may be different due to Christmas and New Year's. Kris and I plan on doing some themed topics and have other surprises in store in the near future, so check in as we try to keep fresh content coming on a regular basis.

Podcast #3 12.19.12

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Phoenix Suns assistant coach / Phoenix Mercury head coach is followed by Suns.com for 48 hours during the recent road trip. Gaines mixes both parts of his job, working with Suns young players and scouting potential first overall picks for the Mercury.

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