Tag:Utah Jazz
Posted on: March 3, 2011 1:18 pm
 

Nuggets finding gold, while Jazz sing the blues

Posted by Royce Young



A week ago, two franchises completely turned themselves upside down. Two franchises sent their faces, their breadwinners, their ticket-sellers, their superstars , to another team.

Bold moves, both.

For one, it was absolutely necessary. For the other, it was a preemptive strike before it became absolutely necessary.

But a week later, the presence -- or lack thereof I suppose -- of Carmelo Anthony in Denver and Deron Williams in Utah is still felt. In different ways though.

The two teams face off Thursday night in a battle of the now superstar-less franchises, but also the game is quietly still important in terms of the Northwest Division. You may have assumed that both teams were going to just pack everything up after dealing their best players, but that assumption would be wrong. There are still games to be played, and more importantly, games to be won. Big ones, at that.

Take a look at the Nuggets. Seven days after trading Chauncey Billups and Melo, the two main players that have led the Nuggets to seven consecutive playoff appearances and even a Western Conference Finals berth in 2009, Denver has gone 4-1 with the lone loss coming in Portland in overtime.

Anthony and Billups helped spot the Nuggets with 32 wins prior to the All-Star break, but it's not like the new construction is just mailing the final two months in. Danilo Gallinari (though he's injured currently), Raymond Felton and Wilson Chandler have fit right in to George Karl's system and not only are the Nuggets playing differently, you could argue they're actually playing better. Instead of the primary isolations, the Nuggets play team basketball to the greatest extent. They move the ball, cut, penetrate and shoot. They play together. Which is astounding seeing as half the team is still probably trying to figure out how to pronounce each other's names.

The Nuggets may have actually found something when they dealt Anthony. The team has always embraced George Karl's up-and-down style, but has never been accused of playing much defense. But with the Melodrama finally over, it almost looks like a massive weight has been lifted off the entire city's shoulders.

Karl is smiling a whole lot more, the players seem much more together and some of the new guys are really fitting well into the new system. Wednesday, the Nuggets pounded Charlotte by 40! So I think it's safe to say these guys have banded together.

I almost get the feeling that Karl and the Nuggets are sailing without a sail. They're rudderless. They're just kind of throwing it all out and there with really no idea what's supposed to happen. One night, they're a defensively focused. The next, they try and outscore you. They have no idea what that are, and that's what makes them so fun. One thing they do know: Carmelo Anthony is not part of it, and I almost think that excites them. And the fanbase.

Of course, things catch up a lot of times and in a league where stars win, the Nuggets are currently without one. Nene is a nice player, Chandler is an above average scorer and Gallinari is the definition of a tough cover. But past this season, no one knows what their construction will be. There are a lot of questions to be answered but with the way the group has come out of the gates, the case could be made that a quality core is there.

On the other hand, the Jazz are sliding. But that was happening well before Williams was dealt to New Jersey though. The team is just 1-3 since the deal and can't seem to figure out how to stop anyone. In the four games, Utah is giving up an average of 107.2 points per game and that included the win in which it held Indiana to just 84 points.

Denver made a deal to try and stay competitive while also opening the door to rebuild. Utah, sort of cashed all its chips in. Which is really odd considering the Nuggets were really the only team here having their hand forced.

The Jazz got some first-round picks, Derrick Favors and Devin Harris back for Williams, which isn't enough to keep them in the playoff hunt this season. They've slipped from division contender to now 10th in the West and 1.5 games out of eighth. And with the Grizzlies winning, that gap should widen in the coming weeks.

But it's a necessary pain for the Jazz, or at least in general manager Kevin O'Conner's mind. It was better to do this now than suffer the way the Nuggets have. At least that was the thinking. Granted, it's early and the Nuggets are just a five-game losing streak from potentially joining the Jazz near the bottom of the division, but ironic that Masai Ujiri's apparent bumbling, indecisive way of handling the Melo situation actually has his team in better shape than the preemptive strike launched by the Jazz.

Utah forfeited two final months with Williams that almost certainly would've resulted in a playoff berth and at least half a season for the 2011-12 campaign. Instead of milking every possible win it could out of Williams in the way Denver did with Melo, the Jazz folded on the first hand. The Nuggets made their play on the river, and it's turned out to look pretty good. So far, of course.

In the madness that was the 2011 trade deadline though, two teams made the most noise in terms of exporting. Denver and Utah told their stars to pack and both got quality deals in return. But right now, it looks like one squad may have re-discovered itself, while the other might just be slipping farther down the rabbit hole.

So Thursday night when the two teams lock up in Salt Lake, you'll be looking at two franchises certainly in flux, but headed in opposing directions. But what's surprising is which team is headed up, and which is headed down.
Category: NBA
Posted on: March 2, 2011 8:01 pm
Edited on: March 2, 2011 8:39 pm
 

Utah Jazz sign coach Tyrone Corbin to new deal

The Utah Jazz have announced that they signed head coach Tyrone Corbin to a "multi-year contract." Posted by Ben Golliver. tyrone-corbin

The past month has arguably been the most hectic in decades for the Utah Jazz. Longtime head coach and franchise icon Jerry Sloan abruptly resigned. Almost as abruptly, the team traded franchise point guard Deron Williams to the New Jersey Nets for Devin Harris and Derrick Favors.

On Wednesday, the Jazz took a step towards restoring order by announcing the signing of head coach Tyrone Corbin to a "multi-year contract."
“I am confident that Tyrone is the right man to lead this team into the future.  He is someone with longstanding ties to the Jazz and this community, and who has embraced the core philosophies and ideals this organization holds true.  I feel that his character and leadership qualities will be true assets to the Jazz moving forward for many years to come,” said Greg Miller, CEO of the Utah Jazz.
“I am really excited about the opportunity to lead the Jazz, and to get to follow a legendary figure like Coach Sloan,” said Tyrone Corbin.  “I am truly grateful that the Miller family has the confidence in me to allow me to lead this team into a new era.”
Yahoo Sports! reports that the contract "runs two years guaranteed through 2013, with team option for 2013-2014."

Corbin took over the reigns from Sloan in an emotional press conference, handling a difficult moment with class and dignity by deferring the spotlight to his former boss. Unfortunately, his Jazz are in a bit of a freefall, having lost eight of their last 10 games to fall out of the Western Conference playoff picture. Their playoff hopes seem to dim by the day.

Despite the recent losses, Jazz fans have to like this signing because it represents both continuity and change. Corbin played for Sloan in the early 1990s and served under him as an assistant coach for the past seven years. But he was clear upon his hiring that he would provide a new voice and work to establish his own relationships and systems, a necessity for any first-time head coach in this league much less one who stepped into a difficult situation. 

For the last few years, Corbin has seen his name floated for various head coaching jobs and he's widely respected around the league. Keeping him in Utah is a nice win for the Jazz organization and their fanbase, which surely has its collective head spinning following the events of the last few weeks. 
Posted on: February 23, 2011 1:05 pm
 

Deron Williams trade: Williams unhappy?


Posted by Matt Moore

The Salt Lake City Tribune reports on Deron Williams' reaction to being traded to the New Jersey Nets




The Trib also reports that Williams was "dumbfounded" regarding trade and had no idea it was coming. CBSSports.com's Ken Berger reports the same, that Williams is not happy with this trade. If true, you have to wonder about two different issues. 

1. Did the Jazz make this move too soon and if so, why? The Jazz must have been concerned about Williams leaving them high and dry like LeBron James did Cleveland and Carmelo Anthony threatened to do with Denver. There have been reports about increasing frustration from Williams this season over the team spinning its wheels in place and even regressing. This seems like a reactionary fallout move from Jerry Sloan's resignation, almost as if the Jazz were saying "We don't want the guy who drove Sloan out." Which is kind of insane, considering Jerry Sloan's age and the fact that Williams is an All-Star who don't exactly grow on trees, I don't care how many picks the Nets gave you. If Williams was amiable at all to staying in Utah, the Jazz should have done everything in their power to keep him. But that's fairly obvious, so you have to think at some point, the Jazz got the impression that Williams was not going to be in Utah in 2012-2013, and decided to cash in now. 

2. If Williams didn't sign off on this trade, why did the Nets do it?  The Nets just got through with the Carmelo Anthony negotiations, and were unwilling to take on Anthony without his extension. Williams is unable to sign such an extension until July 9th, but if he's unhappy with this trade, aren't the Nets in the exact same position as they would have been with Anthony in a "rental" situation? If Williams is unhappy in New Jersey and elects not to re-sign with the Nets, Prokhorov will have just traded Devin Harris, Derrick Favors, and two first-round draft picks for 1.3 years of Deron Williams, who could very well just take the subway over to MSG and sign with the Knicks. Sure, it's not the deal that included all those in this trade plus Troy Murphy and another pick the Nuggets were asking for, but it's still quite a bit. This is still a brilliant deal for the Nets, but now the pressure is on to make major strides in order to convince Williams he wants to commit to Brooklyn upon relocation. It's got a huge payoff, but this is certainly a massive gamble without clearing the trade with Williams first. 


Posted on: February 23, 2011 12:41 pm
 

CP3 deems the Deron Williams deal an 'epic fail'

Posted by Royce Young

Chris Paul, who will likely be part of his own trade drama over next season, tweeted out his initial thoughts on the trade sending Deron Williams to New Jersey. And he didn't mince words. Tell us how you really feel, CP3.


Posted on: February 23, 2011 12:37 pm
Edited on: February 23, 2011 3:08 pm
 

Deron Williams Trade: Grading the trade

Grading the trade of Deron Williams to the New Jersey Nets for Devin Harris, Derrick Favors, and two first-round picks. 
Posted by Matt Moore






Deron Williams has been traded to the New Jersey Nets for Devin Harris, Derrick Favors, and two first-round picks, CBSSports.com's Ken Berger reports.  The Nets are also trading bigman Troy Murphy's expiring contract to the Warriors in exchange for Dan Gadzuric and Brendan Wright. It's a stunning move that comes just days after the Nets failed to acquire Carmelo Anthony in last-minute talks at All-Star Weekend. Their efforts included a meeting with Mikhail Prokhorov that failed to convince the All-Star forward. But now, at long last, the Nets have their All-Star, the Jazz are rebuilding, and Deron Williams has the market he's obviously been longing for. 

So how did everyone do in this deal?

Deron Williams

Well, Deron, it's not New York, but it will be. Ken Berger of CBSSports.com reported last weekend that Williams began telling associates last summer that he would look to join Amar'e Stoudemire in New York should Stoudemire sign with New York in free agency.  Now it would appear that Williams gets his wish to play in the world's biggest market, he'll just have to wait a year when the Nets relocate to Brooklyn.  He's playing with a point-guard friendly coach in Avery Johnson and he gets to work with his first true center in Brook Lopez. The only problem? It would appear Williams is not happy with the trade

The frenzy is going to be phenomenally loud for Williams on his way out.  Despite his denials, Williams was linked to a confrontation with Jerry Sloan that was followed immediately by his resignation. Williams is associated with running the 22-year-tenured head coach of the Jazz out of town, and is now bolting. We said that leaving in free agency would be a PR disaster for him afterwards, but this affords him the easy excuse of it being out of his hands. And at the end of the day, he still controls his destiny, able to sign or not sign an extension with New Jersey on July  9th.

Williams gets all the media frenzy that comes with this move, without the hoopla of "The Decision" or the drawn out pressure and exhaustive media scrutiny of Melo's ordeal. He gets the big market with a young core moving to take over Brooklyn as the second New York team, playing for a billionaire willing to spend to win. But he left a contending team for a rebuilding one, in a situation he's apparently not happy about. He may wind up pretty happy in the end, though.

Grade: B-

New Jersey Nets

There's two ways to look at this, and either way, the Nets win.

The first is the conspiracy theory that's going to be massively popular for the next month, which is that Mikhail Prokhorov, owner of the Nets, purposefully raised the price tag on Carmelo Anthony, forcing the Knicks to constantly buckle to higher and higher pricetags, eventually giving up foru starters and a pick for the All-Star forward. Then he turned around and acquried a better, younger All-Star for less. In Soviet Russia, Nets trick you! It's a far-fetched idea that requires a whole lot of dangerous maneuvering and a pretty petty rivalrly. Then again, the Nets put up a billboard outside MSG this summer.

The more reasonable theory is simply that word got passed to Prokhorov during the weekend that Williams was looking to get out and the Jazz were looking to move him for whatever reason.  The package they offered the Nuggets was gold. Absolute gold, and they had already come to terms with surrendering that much in exchange for an All-Star.  So when word got around that the Jazz would be amiable to it, the calls were made and it happened the same way you hear from a neighbor that his friend is looking to sell his car. His brand new, rocket-fueled gold car that he doesn't know how to drive. 

On the court, this isn't going to be perfect right away. Brook Lopez has struggled this season, and that's likely due to Avery Johnson, not Devin Harris. His rebounding is terrible, and his defense has regressed. But he's an effective scorer in the pick and roll, and he just got arguably the best pick and roll point guard in the league next to him. The Nets have shooters like Sasha Vujacic and Anthony Morrow. But they are very much still a work in progress. This isn't going to be seamless, and the Nets will have some growing pains. But this was still a huge upgrade for the Nets and a no-brainer. Because of a simple fact: Deron Williams is an All-Star.

"Get an All-Star." That's been the Nets' objective since this summer: obtain an All-Star, because they are what sells tickets and wins games. Now they have it. Harris was expendable, clashing with coach Avery Johnson. Derrick Favors is a high-upside rookie, but this team wasn't angling for the future. It wants to win now. It had the picks to throw in for this deal. This was a no brainer. They gave up a meager set of assets in the long run for an All-Star point guard to put them on the map. They're no longer a hard sell for free agents, they're no longer a joke to the media, they're a player in the market, with the ability to make themselves into a contender over the next two seasons. Just in time for Brooklyn.

Grade: A+

Utah Jazz

We're going to need to bring in the trauma counselors for the Jazz fans.  In two weeks, they've lost their franchise institution coach for 22 years, and their starting All-Star point guard.  They're now left with Devin Harris and three big forwards.  They've gone from a Western Conference title contender (in some circles), to a second-rate team that may struggle to make the postseason. And worst of all, they have no real star. But they do have a lot of potential. It's clear that this move signifies an admission from Jazz management that they were not going to be able to sign Williams to an extension, and rather than subject themselves to a year like the Nuggets have gone through or worse a year like Cleveland in 2012, they chose to simply get the most they could right now. 

And they got a lot. Harris isn't Williams, by any stretch, but he's a fine point guard, and could thrive on a team with more talent like the Jazz. Favors is high-upside and a little redundant next to Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap, but that could also allow them to move one of the two of them before the deadline or in the summer. That kind of flexibility is important going forward, and the Jazz are no longer bound to try and compete for Williams. They can elect to rebuild or try and swing for the fences with what they have. The Jazz were high on Favors in the draft, hoping he'd fall to ten. Sometimes you get your guy, just later. 

But in the end, this spells the end of an era for the Jazz. Or at least, the death rattle after Jerry Sloan's resignation spelled the mortal wound to said chapter. Things will never be the same again for the Jazz. They had a Hall of Fame coach, an All-Star point guard many considered the best in the league, and the ability to build around him to try and win a title. Now they find themselves among Cleveland, Toronto, and Denver, albeit with a better set of assets. Just another small market torn asunder by the new exodus of stars to their big-market counterparts. 

Grade: B

More Winners and Losers:

Winners:
Brook Lopez: As mentioned above, Lopez is a huge winner here.  His numbers should go up with Williams next to him.

Avery Johnson: Johnson may have been under scrutiny after this season for underperforming but now with Williams his prospects raise considerably. Of course, if he doesn't get it done with Williams, that will pretty much be it for Johnson.

Brooklyn basketball fans: You had to be worried about what kind of team you were getting. Now you know. One with an All-Star point guard. 

The Western Conference: They've now lost two All-Star competitors in two days.

Loser:

James Dolan: Let's see. You gave up four starters and a pick when you're a pick short for a gunning small forward who plays mediocre defense.  Your rival gave up two picks they can afford to trade, a point guard they were looking to dump, and a rookie for one of the best point guards in the league. Oh, and you look like a moron for bringing in Isiah Thomas. Great week, Jimmy.

Tyrone Corbin: Good luck with that, chief. 

Portland Trail Blazers: The Blazers were looking to get Harris for Andre Miller. They're likely to stand pat now
Posted on: February 23, 2011 12:29 pm
Edited on: February 23, 2011 12:30 pm
 

Jazz trade Deron Williams, but why right now?

Posted by Royce Young



It took four excruciating months of hemming and hawing for Carmelo Anthony to get traded to the Knicks. It took a little less than 30 minutes for Deron Williams to go to the Nets.

In a stunning blockbuster, New Jersey acquire Williams, Utah gets Derrick Favors, Devin Harris and two first-round picks. A third team was used as the Warriors get Troy Murphy for Dan Gadzuric and Brandan Wright.

The Nets chased Anthony for four months, trying to schedule meetings, trying to convince him to sign an extension. And after it all fell apart, that's when they got to work. Instead of bringing in Melo, the Nets one-upped the Knicks and got a cheaper and better player in Williams. Mikhail Prokhorov said he didn't care about the Melo situation in Los Angeles. Well, I guess we know why now. Because their Plan B was way better than Plan A.

Everyone is going to talk about the Nets and what an insanely slick move this is. They just nabbed one of the top players in the league and arguably the best point guard for less than they were going to give up for Melo. It's a terrific deal for New Jersey. Like, it couldn't be better.

But on the other end, people in Salt Lake City haven't moved for the last hour. A couple hundred thousand jaws dropped in unison. Deron Williams is gone. Their franchise player, gone. Just like that. And only a couple weeks after Jerry Sloan resigned after 23 years at the helm in Utah. At this point I think you could relocate the franchise and it would be less of a stomach punch than this.

So why? Why was Williams moved now? Why so soon after Sloan's resignation? Are the two things related? So, so many questions.

Williams was already being brought up in talks that he wanted to go to New York in 2012 when he could opt out of his contract, as reported by Ken Berger. So really, the Jazz had the rest of this year and then one more guaranteed season with Williams. And we know what was coming in 2012. Deron Williams would most definitely be the new Carmelo Anthony. Questions every day about his future, rumors flying constantly out of Salt Lake -- it was going to happen.

And the Jazz played their trump card early. They nipped it in the bud. Instead of spending half a season dragging themselves down with trade and extension talks, the Jazz just got rid of the problem before it started.

Utah wasn't going anywhere this season. The offseason move of acquiring Al Jefferson wasn't working out and the team had been slipping since December. Really, this year was kind of a lost cause. Utah could look forward to next year, but again, it would be a year of Derondrama, and that wanted to be avoided. So a deal was made.

Clearly, general manager Kevin O'Conner wasn't confident in Utah's chances of re-signing Williams. I don't need to say that because it's pretty obvious with the deal. But the Jazz aren't a franchise that gets played. They've been successful for a quarter of a century with only a few minor hiccups here and there. They absolutely did not get back equal value for Williams, but they did get a solid package. They'll have to rebuild, which is something they aren't scared of doing.

Because now, Williams is New Jersey's problem. There's no guarantee (that we know of yet) of him signing an extension with the Nets. I'm sure Prokhorov and Billy King figure that will happen, otherwise they don't make this deal, but we don't know for sure. By the sound of it, Williams wasn't really asked. Jazz radio man David Locke tweeted that it wasn't Williams' choice to move and that he was stunned by it. So are we, Deron.

On top of it all, Williams was a bit of a problem child. He had major dust-ups with Sloan, didn't always get along with management and ownership and while he completely embraced the Jazz and Utah, he had some attitude. And the Jazz aren't an organization that routinely works through those type of things. So when you start to pile all of this on top of each other, it starts making more and more sense.

There's potential this works out for Utah. They loved Favors before the draft, got a quality point guard in Devin Harris and two first-round picks that will likely be high. They foundation of Utah has been shaken if not destroyed over the past month, but there's a clear effort to rebuild. And I guess it had to start with getting rid of the team's best player. Williams helped nudge Jerry Sloan out the door and just a few weeks later, he was packing too.

But here's the good news Utah: You've just got a lot better chance at getting Jimmer Fredette now.
Posted on: February 23, 2011 11:12 am
Edited on: February 23, 2011 11:22 am
 

Trade Deadline: Deron Williams traded to Nets

Deron Williams traded to Nets for Devin Harris, Derrick Favors, and two first-round picks.
Posted by Matt Moore

Breaking news this morning as Ken Berger of CBSSports.com confirms a Bergen Record and Yahoo! Sports report that Deron Williams has been traded to the New Jersey Nets for Devin Harris, Derrick Favors, and two first round picks. It's a three way trade in which Troy Murphy is also being traded to the Golden State Warriors for Brendan Wright and Dan Gadzuric

It's a stunning development coming just days after Berger reported that Williams told associates last summer that he looked to play in New York with Amar'e Stoudemire. It's clear now Williams has been seeking a bigger market. He just got one. And the Nets now have their superstar. More coming shortly on this breaking story. 
Posted on: February 21, 2011 4:07 pm
Edited on: February 22, 2011 12:03 am
 

NBA Trade Deadline: Ten Most Wanted

With the NBA trade deadline approaching, we take a look at the league's ten most wanted players for acquisition before Thursday afternoon.
Posted by Matt Moore

The NBA trade deadline is just three days away (Thursday, February 24th at 3 p.m. EST). The Melo trade has held up a lot of movement but there's a lot of talk bubbling beneath it. With it expected to be resolved in the next 24 to 48 hours (like we've said about ten times, but bear with us), it's going to be a fast and furious final trade season under the current CBA agreement.  Many are predicting a toned down deadline due to the CBA, but there are enough buyers (Houston, Boston, Chicago, New Jersey) and enough sellers (Portland, Indiana, Charlotte) to make for some interesting developments as we head down the stretch. But who are the players that everyone's clamoring for? And why are they worth that much?

Saddle up, partner. Here's the true grit behind our NBA Trade Deadline 10 Most Wanted. 

1. Carmelo Anthony: Melo, naturally, is the most wanted. It's not just the vast history of all this nonsense; it's how it's come down to the wire. Two teams, both of which will be located in New York in 2012, with rich, eccentric owners, throwing out asset after asset to try and acquire the All-Star. Anthony's worth it. Even with his defensive issues and relative inefficiency compared to his fellow elite players, Anthony can score anytime, anywhere, anyway. He's a clutch performer who can take over a ballgame and having a 1-2 punch between him and either Amar'e Stoudemire or Brook Lopez would significantly boost the Knicks' or Nets' hopes for the future. His agents have kept the pressure on since July, and Denver has been slowly losing their resolve to keep him. The odds are heavily favored that Anthony will be moved sometime this week and it will kick off a series of deals with the other front offices around the league. And then the New York/New Jersey circus will really kick off. 

CBSSports.com's Ken Berger reports Monday that that the Nets may actually be trying to get two of the assets the Nuggets would get in a deal with the Knicks for two first rounders. If that works out, the Knicks and Nets will combine to give Denver two starters and three picks. It's not the loaded deal the Nets were offering for Anthony, but it's still an insane wagon-full of assets. If they wind up with Raymond Felton, Wilson Chandler, and three first-round picks in exchange for just Melo and Billups, they've still lost because they lost an All-Star. But they also will have successfully set the team up to immediately turn around and compete right off the bat. They'll still be able to move J.R. Smith, Kenyon Martin and have Ty Lawson and Aaron Afflalo to build around along with Nene. This is the dream scenario for the Nugget if they have to trade with New York. 

2. Andre Iguodala: Iggy has been on the market for literally years. He's the consummate supporting player, able to pass, rebound, and score. He's never played alongside a top-flight point guard (sorry Philly fans, Jrue Holiday's not there yet), and has had to play the part of the primary offensive option, which he's ill-suited for. The Sixers have recently made quite a bit of noise about him not going anywhere, which frankly, baffles us. They have Evan Turner who has shown significant signs of progress as the season has progressed, and his value on the market trumps his value to the team as it tries to build a new core. But he has $44 million left on his contract, which is a big price tag to swallow for a guy who should probably be no more than third option on offense. That's not a knock on Iguodala, as we've come to understand the things he does defensively and in support for the system are nearly invaluable, and that's before we factor in his locker room leadership. If a team decides it wants to make a big move and has young assets to spend, Iguodala is a prime target for a late push.

The real answer to whether Iguodala will be moved is whether Rod Thorn and coach Doug Collins think that he's able to co-exist with Evan Turner, and if they think Iguodala can continue to be the face of the franchise with so much young talent around him. Jrue Holiday, Turner, an improved season from Thaddeus Young, and even with Elton Brand performing better than expected. At the same time, the Sixers are right in the playoff hunt, in an underwhelming middle of the Eastern Conference, and a great shot at making a run this season. However, the Sixers would be foolish to commit to Iguodala, turning down a good offer for him just to make the playoffs and get run out of the building in the first round. Part of putting your team in a position to win championships isn't just figuring out what will work, but what won't. Iguodala will continue to elicit calls right up until the deadline, big contract or no.

3. Andre Miller:  Old man game in the house!  Miller is an aging, veteran point guard who has proven he can still drop 40 every once in a while. You know exactly what you're getting with Miller. He is a consistent, reliable scorer who lacks upside and athleticism, but always manages to find a way to get it done. He's a relative steal at $3.6 million (prorated) for this season and $7.8 million non-guaranteed for next season. That means two different types of teams can vie for him: those seeking a veteran point guard upgrade to push them over the top, and those looking to dump salary next year while giving their team a reliable fill in for the remainder of the year. The Blazers have been so-so on Miller since he arrived as a free agent in 2009, clashing with Nate McMillan. But those problems were resolved quickly and he's grown to be a strong force in the locker room, the steady hand on a ship filled to the brim with the injured. Yet, he's 34 and the Blazers look to go younger. Miller has repeatedly been listed as a target in a potential Devin Harris trade, among others.  The Blazers may look to keep him order to push for the playoff income, especially given his ability to connect with LaMarcus Aldridge, but if Rich Cho elects for a full-scale revamp for the long-term, Miller will be one of the first assets put on the block, and one of the first to attract multiple offers. 

Miller's attitude may be a huge factor. He doesn't want to leave the Blazers, but is also tired of being discussed under trade talk. Moving to a rebuilding project, however, would be extremely difficult for him at this point in his career and could create an ugly situation with any team that trades for him who isn't on the up and up. On the flip side, he's a perfect option for a contending team looking to acquire a capable back-up point guard to get them over the top. While there's been little noise about this, Orlando would be one team you'd think might be giving Portland a call to inquire about Miller, should the Nets not immediately move Harris for Miller in the next few days, either through Denver or independently.

4. Marcus Camby: Speaking of the Blazers, they've got another aged, talented, productive player starting for them, and he too could be on the move. Camby has a little less than $17 million (prorated) left on his contract. He's a versatile, talented defensive center who can impact a game at both ends, is reliable and capable. He's a seasoned veteran who does his job, has an expiring contract after 2012, and can push a contender over the top. The only problem? He doesn't want to leave. Sources have said he would "contemplate retirement" if he was traded to a rebuilding situation, and his agent has talked strongly about how much he wants to stay in Portland, where he's moved his family. We've seen this before, as older players really love the atmosphere and lifestyle of raising their families in Portland, on a team with a loving fanbase that always tries to contend. Still, Camby can't control what happens, and if presented with an opportunity to win a ring, he would likely welcome the opportunity wholeheartedly. 

The same problem exists for Rich Cho with Camby as it does with Miller. They're both huge reasons why the Blazers are still in the playoff hunt and moving them would almost certainly result in a drop to the lottery. The Blazers are likely aiming to get a deal that frees them up long-term while still taking on players of a solid caliber. They know it will be difficult to improve with a trade for Camby, but they may be able to move his conract while still adding talent to keep them in the same place. Houston has been mentioned by CBSSports.com's Ken Berger as a possible destination for Camby.

5. O.J. Mayo:  Talk about a bad year. In Summer League, the Grizzlies pressed O.J. Mayo to play point guard, resulting in some terrible, turnover-filled performances after which he was yanked following a handful of performances. He was cut from Team USA despite their need for perimeter shooting. In preseason, Lionel Hollins questioned him publicly. He started the year in a shooting slump, so significant that Hollins decided to move him to the bench, in order to improve their bench scoring, the first time Mayo has come off the bench in organized ball in his life, mostly likely. His name started to appear in trade rumors. He watched as Mike Conley got a $40 million extension, with Lionel Hollins backing him for two years despite his struggles, while Mayo was yanked to the bench at the first sign of a slump. He got into a fight with Tony Allen on a team flight over a gambling dispute and got his lights knocked out. And then he got busted for a performance-enhancing drug, earning him a ten-game suspension. 

So why then is Mayo then such a popular trade prospect? Because he's very good. In his first two years in the league he was a high-level perimeter threat, able to score both in spot-up situations and off the dribble. He has a ways to go on defense, particularly against larger two guards where he's almost always undersized, but he shows great quickness and anticipation. He's still on his rookie contract and will be an RFA under the newly modified CBA next summer, meaning he's not a risk to depart a team that acquires him. And he's one of the few players who is truly capable of dropping 30 on a given night when he's hot. He's everything you want in a trade prospect. Unwanted by his team, available for affordable extension, talented, still with upside, and with low trade value due to off-the-court issues and team decisions which don't signify long-term problems. The Grizzlies have consistently said publicly that they plan to re-sign Mayo and not trade him. But there have been suggestions across the league that teams have inquired about him and received positive feedback that he can be had for the right price, though that's expected to possibly be too high. Mayo is teetering on the very edge of a move. If a GM gets itchy to acquire a player of that ilk, he's likely to go. 

6. Aaron Brooks: Seems like only yesterday he was carving up the Lakers in the 2009 playoffs, prompting L.A. fans abroad to ask "Who IS this guy?!" Now he's an upcoming free agent without an extension, disgruntled and unhappy as the Rockets have done what they usually do. Get the most out of a player's ability without ever over-committing to a contract they would regret later. They did the same thing with Carl Landry, eventually signing him on the cheap, then trading him to Sacramento for Kevin Martin. Now they face a similar situation with Brooks, only he represents an expiring contract, increasing his trade value. 

Brooks' value on the open market isn't sky high. He's an undersized point guard who's not particularly efficient. He doesn't have insane athleticism, nor does he possession tremendous vision .He's just a good, solid, young point guard who can be had for a reasonable price. And even with the depth of the point guard position, those are still valuable. Brooks has incredible speed and is a tremendous finisher at the basket. He's had some trouble with Adelman but this season has been the first where he's struggled with team issues. What's more, the Rockets won't horde him, trying to get the most value out of him. Instead, he can be had in a combination package with some of the rest of the Rockets' young talent. But Brooks can be used as the centerpiece in the deal. A team looking for a backup point guard to provide scoring will likely look to Brooks first when they go to market. 

7. Andrei Kirilenko: It's baffling that in the midst of what seems more and more like a disastrous season for the Utah Jazz, Andrei Kirilenko's name hasn't started foaming from sources' mouths like the sources have Russian Freak Wing Rabies. Kirilenko is 29 with several good years still left in him, averages 13, 6, and 3, with 1 steal and 1 block in 32 minutes per game. But biggest of all? He has a $17.8 million expiring contract. Close to $18 million coming off the books. There's been a lot of talk that expiring contracts won't hold as much value this year with the CBA coming up, which doesn't make a lot of sense. For starters, the new CBA likely won't affect luxury tax payments for this season. Next, even if the cap is decreased significantly, and even if it is made into a hard cap, space under that cap will still be valuable. Especially for teams looking to park contracts like Kirilenko's to get rid of their players and change things up. Kirilenko isn't the star the Jazz hoped he would be when they signed him to his last contract. But he's still a tall, strong, veteran player who can contribute to a contending team, or help a rebuilding franchise transition. Kirilenko will likely start popping up in rumors as the deadline draws nearer. 

The problem is that even by paying for a rental with Kirilenko, you don't know what you're going to get. His time with Utah has been described with significant high points and low points. He's been a big reason for the Jazz' continued success, but has also never taken the next step that management thought he would when the signed him to the extension. Teams trading for him have little way to tell how he would react in another locker room, and that's a big gamble for the remainder of his $17.8 million contract. 


8. Devin Harris: Harris was thought to be the building block of the Nets' rebuilding project when they traded Jason Kidd for him. But he's only been above average, never great, especially after that first season. When the Nets were in the lead for the John Wall sweepstakes last year, which of course they lost, there was rampant talk that the Nets would trade Harris once assured of the No.1 pick. We never got to find out the answer to that as the Nets wound up with Derrick Favors, instead. Harris isn't as young as some folks think, turning 28 three days after the deadline. But he's in his prime, and still able to run an offense, has little injury history, good explosiveness, nice scoring ability and good vision. Which is why he's been a part of the Nets' talks for Melo since the beginning, and why should a deal fall through for Anthony, he's likely on his way out anyway. 

Harris has suffered with poor teammates but the thoughts from several front office officials is that he could produce were he on a contending team. It's difficult to go from a playoff team like Dallas to a rebuilding project, especially when his second season in New Jersey was historically bad. Throw in the weight of trade rumors hovering overhead and there's enough to cloud the issue of Harris' performance. But the Nets will have to capitalize while that value is still in effect or they'll wind up with nothing for him. Portland has expressed interest several times, including the aforementioned deal for Andre Miller, and Dallas has shown similar interest. 

9. Stephen Jackson / Gerald Wallace: One of them will probably go. Not both, most likely, but one. The Bobcats need to cut salary. They're looking at an uphill climb to the playoffs, and even then the odds of any progress there are nonexistent. They need to get rid of some of the older players on large, sizeable contracts, and these two represent their biggest sale items for such a move. Jackson has been involved in more talks. He's a veteran scorer who can drop 30 regularly, has played on a championship team (Spurs 2003), has led the most unlikely upset in NBA playoff history with the Warriors, and is respected across the league as a fierce competitor and locker-room leader. 

Sure, he's a little nuts, but who isn't? Jackson's off the court issues have vanished with age, and now his biggest liability is his contract. Golden State surrendered a massive extension to him that leaves over $20 million still left on his contract over the next two and a half years, all guaranteed. Jackson will be 35 when his contract expires. That's a pretty old player with a less-than-elite ceiling to be paying over $10 million to. But considering the possibility of CBA rollbacks on current contracts, and the chance for Jackson to contribute to a winner, he's likely going to be high on the list. The Mavericks have been most prominently discussed as a viable buyer, with Caron Butler's expiring as bait.

Wallace on the other hand was an All-Star last season, is only 28, and is a high-price addition. He's got $21 million left on his deal over three-years, and a player option for the third year. But Wallace could contribute immediately to a contender. He's a wing that can rebound, provide assists and scoring, and is an elite defender. He's reliable and has no discernibly blatant weaknesses in his game, despite a low ceiling for performance. Wallace isn't going to drop 40 on you, but he is going to stuff the stat sheet every night. Jackson has received more attention, but it's Wallace who may wind up getting stronger offers he can't refuse as the deadline nears.

10. Ramon Sessions: Sessions was drafted in the second round, spent time in the D-League, then showed up with the Bucks and  immediately showed promise. But he was then buried by Scott Skiles, and wound up signing an offer sheet with Minnesota, who of course, mishandled him, then traded him to Cleveland. Sessions has played for most of the season as the starting point guard for the team who lost the most consecutive games in history (with Mo Williams missing significant time due to injury). So why are so many teams interested in him?

Because he's talented, consistent, and efficient. Sessions has a strong ability to attack the basket, good handle, and is cheap. He's got just $10 million left on his deal over three years with a player option in the third year. He has a 19 PER and has proven to be coachable, talented, and has considerable growth potential. He's simply been passed from one bad team to the next. On a good team he could wind up as a serious addition off the bench. Which is why the Knicks and Hawks have both made inquiries about him. Sessions is the kind of player who deserves a fresh start. Maybe he'll get one to get off this disaster of a Cavs team. Either way, expect a lot of talk about him before Thursday afternoon.

(All salary info courtesy of ShamSports .)

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com