Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Four Paths: Trading Down or Out of the Pick

Posted By on Wed, May 20, 2009 at 11:22 AM

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If the Grizzlies are content with what they have in the starting backcourt right now and don’t want to take on an 18-year-old point guard, no matter how immense his potential, then there should be no shortage of suitors for the #2 and the rights to Ricky Rubio.

The question is similar to the one about Mike Conley — who needs a point guard and what do that have to offer — except that Rubio have more trade value and could command better deals in return, which is one argument for keeping Conley and marketing the pick.

Let's start with the same set of teams we looked at for potential Conley deals and speculate about better packages those teams might offer for Rubio:

Sacramento — #2 for #4/Jason Thompson: At #4 the Griz look at James Harden/Stephen Curry/Tyreke Evans/Demar DeRozan to improve their paper thin perimeter depth. Thompson, at 6'11", 250 with solid rebounding production his rookie season, should be an upgrade over Darrell Arthur/Hakim Warrick at the four, but is he enough of one?

Minnesota — #2/#27/Greg Buckner for #6/#18/Young Role Player (Craig Smith or Corey Brewer or Ryan Gomes) would make some sense (or a simpler #2 for #6/#18).
Or, more bold, #2/Arthur for #6/Kevin Love. Would the Wolves do this? Probably not, but Rubio's upside makes it worth throwing out.

Golden State — #2/Buckner for #7/Anthony Randolph/Kelenna Azubuike

New York Knicks — #2/Arthur for #8/David Lee — though this would entail perhaps prohibitively complicated sign-and-trade issues

Milwaukee — I don't think they'd have the juice to get up to #2.

Philadelphia — # 2/Buckner for #17/Thaddeus Young would be interesting, and perhaps lead to a deal of Rudy Gay for a power forward.

Atlanta — #2/Arthur/Marko Jaric for Josh Smith and Acie Law (I don't really like this one much.)

Portland — #2/#36/Jaric for Travis Outlaw/Rudy Fernandez/#24, or some variation.

Putting Rubio's pick on the block could also open up other possibilities for more established power forwards. If Phoenix decides to blow their team up, would Stoudemire be available in a deal involving #2. Toronto already has one Spanish point guard, but would the allure of Rubio put Chris Bosh — almost sure to leave Toronto after next season — in play?

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