Obviously, I haven't posted in awhile. Rather than get into the reasons, I'm just going to dive back in with a series of catch-up posts trying to summarize the situation as I see it, with the draft fast approaching. Next up - what are the latest Corey Maggette trade rumors?
It seems like this deserves a new front page post, as opposed to just a refresh of the old 'Maggette For...' FanPost, which you can still re-visit and which I will also update.
One important thing to remember about Maggette's situation is that, unless he opts out before the draft Thursday (which certainly looks highly unlikely at this point), a trade involving draft picks is pretty unlikely. The draft has to happen before Maggette's status is resolved, and while teams and agents may try to agree to some terms in advance, there's always a chance that the deal will go south. So I'm not saying it's impossible, but it's very complicated.
I suppose that's why Chad Ford reported this 'Maggette for Barbosa' trade as something that could only happen if Maggette played out the final year of his current contract. It's not strictly speaking true - it could always be done later as a sign-and-trade. But if draft picks are to be part of the deal, it's easier if Maggette plays out the current deal. It would fit the Suns 'now or never' approach of the last few seasons - get rid of the relative bargain of Barbosa, who is signed for 4 more seasons, for a one year rental on Maggette. Shaq is 102, Nash is 96 - the window is in fact already closed, but they can pretend that it's open for one more season I guess. But Maggette has said all along that he's opting out, so if we take him at his word it's an S&T or nothing for Phoenix. It's worth reiterating John R's point in that case - if Maggette wants to get the big payday, then he it's far less likely he'll be a Sun. Barbosa is making $6.1M next season. This deal gets a lot more complex if Corey makes more than $7.7M or so, and even more complex if he gets over $8.4M and becomes a BYC player. So if he wants to play super fun basketball with the greatest point guard and the greatest center of this era (albeit with their reigns coming to an end), he'll have to settle for less money.
Then there's the discussion of what's a fair trade. Is it Barbosa and the 15 pick for Maggette? Is it Barbosa for Maggette straight up? Is it Barbosa and the 15 pick for Maggette and the 7 pick? I don't find it particularly surprising that it was reported as involving both picks, giving the Suns a MAJOR upgrade into the middle of the lottery for the inconvenience of taking a 20 point per game scorer off the Clippers' hands. Clearly Corey Maggette is undervalued in the national media - no doubt a big part of that being the fact that his coach spent the vast majority of two seasons saying nasty things about him. Certainly Barbosa fits the Clippers' needs better than Corey right now, and I'd think the team would love to do a straight up deal (especially considering that Barbosa will make less next season than Corey was scheduled to make). But trading from the middle of the lottery to out of the lottery is a pretty steep tax to pay - I wouldn't do it. Not in this draft.
We haven't thoroughly explored the question of what happens if the Clippers actually KEEP Maggette. The TJ Ford rumors seemed pretty strong, but now it seems Toronto may be getting close to a deal with Indiana involving Jermaine O'Neal. And you can completely forget about Calderon. I like the idea of a Hinrich deal, but the Bulls just don't NEED Maggette, and I figure that if they really intend to move Captain Kirk it will be for someone who at least resembles a post scorer, even if you have to squint a little. My point is - maybe the Maggette's not going anywhere. Then what?
The idea of a starting lineup of Livingston, Maggette, Thornton, Brand and Kaman is intriguing to say the least. First of all, it's a HUGE team, with the one, two and three all going one position bigger on average. Unfortunately, either Maggette or Thornton or possibly both would have to defend against a top perimeter scorer, and that could be a disaster. But with Kaman and Brand defending the basket, you could design some really interesting schemes that say, 'Go ahead, penetrate, and say hello to my little shot blocking friends.' Of course, this is all dependent on Livingston being able to, you know, walk and stuff, which is looking suspect right now. But in the 'put your best five players on the floor and make the other team adjust to you' approach, it's an interesting lineup.
If Maggette stays with the Clippers, but doesn't wind up playing the two, are there enough minutes to get the proper productivity out of both he and Thornton? Well, yes - but only if you reduce Tim Thomas to spot duty. (This all assumes that everyone stays healthy of course.) You can let Brand take the back up center minutes, play Maggette, Thornton, Brand and Kaman in that 34 minutes per game range give or take, which leaves maybe 10 minutes per game for Thomas to play as the designated shooter. If he's hot, you leave him in; if he's cold, you give him the early hook.
Given the Clippers' current roster, I remain convinced that trading Maggette for a guard makes the most sense, assuming the team can get something close to equal value. I just don't really see what that deal is. Re-signing the team's leading scorer and trying to get the most out of an admittedly front-court-heavy roster is the next best thing. And they both beat the alternative of losing him in free agency for nothing.