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Time for Trades

After Tuesday’s deplorable loss it is time for to fall back on the internet's safety net of trade speculation. There is only so much discussion that can revolve around depressing game stats and coaching moves that border on idiocy so we’ll leave that to the regular columnists and get an early start on trade talk since players around the league became eligible to be traded tonight at midnight.

Assessing the Sonics trade needs is extremely difficult because of their depth. They really have no shortage of “good” players but need to consolidate a few of those into guys who can be considered “very good” or even “great”. That is no small task as generally teams dislike one for three type deals.

Here are what I would consider the areas of greatest need:

1) Defense regardless of position: Just bring in the players and we’ll find a use for them.
2) A solid veteran for the C position: A guy like PJ Brown would be a nice fit for this team while they mentor Swift and Petro. Unfortunately there are not many of those guys out there.
3) 3 for 1 talent consolidation: Any type of move that can consolidate our roster while adding a single better talent would be a good move. If the Pacers will take Vladi, Flip, and some other piece for Artest it eases the rotation a great deal.
4) Young athleticism: There is a very real argument to be made that last year was a fluke and our level of talent is simply not on a par with the competition. The area we are most lacking is a dominant young athlete who creates physical mismatches with his defender. This would nicely balance out the savvy, less physical players on our roster.
5) A backup PG: Preferably a guy who is bigger, and steadier than Flip Murray

Complicating matters is the fact that the Sonics most tradable pieces tend to be on one year qualifying offers. Vladi Radmanovic, Flip Murray, and Reggie Evans all have the right to refuse any trade and teams acquiring them will lose the “bird rights” to resign them this off season. It is debatable how much teams will be willing to sacrifice for what could be a half season rental player.

With those caveats here are a few trade ideas thrown out there for conversation. As always remember that player salaries must be within 25% plus $100,000 and players in one year contracts cannot be traded without their permission. For a complete breakdown of trade rules see Larry Coon’s FAQ

Sonics acquire Earl Watson for Flip Murray, Vitaly Potapenko, and Rick Brunson:
Watson is exactly what the Supersonics need at the backup PG and comes for a relatively low price player wise. Since Watson would replace Murray in the lineup that loss is minimized and Potapenko and Brunson currently have no role. Denver is supposedly interested in Murray to fill their void at SG and needs a backup C to fill in for the injured Nene. Watson is the best player in this deal but has the worst contract so his value may actually be this low. The contract would likely prevent the Sonics from making this offer.

Sonics acquire Ron Artest for Rashard Lewis:
Chalk this up as a high profile deal that will never happen but is worth talking about. Artests relatively low salary comes close to matching Lewis’ but a minimum salary player would have to be included to make it work. Adding Rick Brunson and Fred Jones to the mix works nicely for the Sonics.

A deal for Artest would dramatically change the nature of the Sonics roster. The toughness and defense next to Ray Allens shooting stroke would hopefully stop defenders from pushing the Sonics around quite so much. Make no mistake about it though, it takes Lewis to get this deal done. Any reports of the Pacers settling on Vladi Radmonovich and some other throw ins just doesn’t cut it. IMO The Pacers need a better player with a longer deal to justify trading Artest.

Sonics acquire Ron Artest for Vladi Radmanovic and Nick Collison: Just as a I say the Pacers won’t settle for Radmanovic it occurs to me that Collison may be the piece that gets the deal done. I like Nick a lot and hate to sacrifice him for Artest but it’s the type of 2 for 1 talent deal I’ve been talking about.

Sonics acquire Chris Wilcox for Vladimir Radmanovic: With Corey Maggette ailing and the team stacked at the 4/5 position Radmanovic may make more sense for the Clippers due to his ability to play the 3 and 4 spots. Vladi is a better player than Wilcox but physically the 3rd year player would provide a presence the Sonics have lacked in recent years. Furthermore Wilcox has another year left on his rookie deal while Vladi is likely to leave at the end of the year. It makes a lot of sense as a one for one deal.

Sonics acquire Brent Barry for Vitaly Potapenko and Flip Murray: This is just a fun one. In a three way deal the Sonics send Flip Murray to Denver(via their injury exception) for a second round pick. The pick and Potapenko go to San Antonio to bring back one of our favorite players who can backup the PG position.

These are all just random ideas with little or no chance of happening. Brainstorming trade ideas is part of the fun of basketball. Post any trade thoughts or comments here: