Will it Happen? I’d say it’s a 50-50 proposition. Mitch Kupchak doesn’t want to trade Howard, but Kupchak isn’t in charge. Jim Buss is. Lakers need to acquire rebuilding assets. Something is better than nothing, this season is lost already, and this deal does not alter their long-term cap plan.
Why it Makes Sense for Utah: They will lose Jefferson for nothing this summer if he leaves as a free agent, and they have a capable starting center in Enes Kanter who is ready to move into a bigger role. They are not fooling themselves into thinking they are a championship contender this season, and they get a return on Jefferson along with a point guard to keep the playmaker seat warm until Mo Williams is ready to return. Kanter/Splitter ain’t bad at center for the next five years. If they do a Paul Millsap deal, too, they trade him for their future PG.
Why it Makes Sense for San Antonio: They upgrade at center from Splitter, whose game has improved considerably, and they get a center whose defensive shortcomings are well-chronicled but can be fixed with the proper prodding from the proper coach, Gregg Popovich. They strengthen what is already the best team in the West, and they get the payoff they were after since the day they hired Scott Layden away from the Jazz to be their assistant GM. They also make a deal with their “incestuous” buddies (explained in the link).
Will It Happen? I lean 60-40 in favor of yes. Jazz can’t lose Jefferson for nothing, and GM Dennis Lindsey was in Spurs’ front office when they got Lorbek’s rights from Pacers in George Hill deal. Lorbek is good.
Why it Makes Sense for Detroit: They get a pick that likely will be in the mid-lottery (Raptors’ pick is protected 1-3), replacing the pick they sent to the Bobcats in the Corey Maggette-Ben Gordon trade. And they get a return on Bynum, who is on an expiring contract. If Toronto hits the lottery and keeps its pick, the Pistons would get it in 2014 – when the protection drops to top 2. (The pick becomes unprotected in 2018.)
Why it Makes Sense for Oklahoma City: They get a veteran, savvy player who can replace what left with James Harden left (ballhandling capability). They also get someone who can cut down on the high number of turnovers from Russell Westbrook, who can play off the ball if Bynum (who scores more than 40 percent of his points in fourth quarters) is running the point. They ditch Maynor, who is in Scott Brooks’ doghouse. They don’t have to rely on untested Reggie Jackson as their fail-safe, which could be a season-killer.
Will it happen? Sam Presti loves having lottery picks, but he also knows when to cash in a valuable trade chip. Luke Ridnour might be his fallback.