Trade No. 1:
The Celtics proved last season you can take the Miami Heat to seven games without a true center. But taking them to seven games and beating them in seven games are two different teams, and the East is a stronger conference than it was a year ago. Boston would have to part with the two players it drafted last June in the first round, and a capable young defender in Bradley who has become somewhat superfluous (when he is read to come back) because of the arrivals of Jason Terry and Courtney Lee.
Trade No. 2
Yes, the Spurs love Leonard and gave up a good player (George Hill) to acquire him (along with the draft rights to Erazem Lorbek). But this would still basically be a collection of spare parts, perhaps with a No. 1 pick thrown in, that would give them the one component they were so conspicuously missing in last year’s Western Conference finals against Oklahoma City. If San Antonio wants a true center, be it Cousins or Utah’s Al Jefferson (who everyone expects to be moved, but who makes a ton more money), they are going to have to pony up some assets and hope Gregg Popovich and the Spurs’ culture can have an impact on whoever they acquire.
Trade No. 3
Cousins to the Portland Trail Blazers for Meyers Leonard, Luke Babbitt, Victor Claver and several future second-round picks (Blazers are owed four of ’em). This is not as good of a deal as the other two, but Meyers has more long-term upside at center than Melo or Blair, and Claver actually has more potential than Babbitt, a bust.
Trade No. 4
It is no secret that the Raptors are one of the teams most eager to trade, and this would be a no-brainer from a talent standpoint. Big V is still two years away from being a three-year project.