Fake Trade That Will Never Happen But Should

The NBA's trade deadline is today at 3 pm and I have a deal that I love the more I think about, but it will simply never happen. Why? It makes too much sense. And one of the players involved wouldn't waive his no-trade clauses but it would never get to that point because there's just zero chance of the GM's coming together to make it happen. But it should. Because it would make all three teams better. Holy blockbuster here's the deal and yes, the salaries work:

Lakers get:
G Rajon Rondo (BOS)
F Jeff Green (BOS)
F Lamar Odom (LAC)

Celtics get:
C Dwight Howard (LAL)
G Steve Nash (LAL)
G Eric Bledsoe (LAC)

Clippers get:
F Kevin Garnett (BOS)

That's it. That's the trade. Every name you've heard from these teams in trade rumors (plus Nash and Odom) all for each other and somehow with all the zillions of trade restrictions in the NBA, it actually works. Here are the positives and negatives for all involved.


The first and biggest mental hurdle of this trade is the Lakers willingness to trade Howard. They insist they're not. I've long said they should and this deal in particular makes sense for multiple reasons. The reason you keep Howard is he gives you a next superstar after Kobe Bryant retires. By getting Rondo, you get that and you do so at a position of need. While Nash has been alright offensively this year, he's never been a great defensive player. Rondo is better than Nash at both ends at this point in their careers and in the point guard heavy western conference, having a stopper at that position is essential.

Unlike Howard, he has the competitive drive to keep up with Bryant and while "every night Rondo" is different than "national TV Rondo" he never fails to show up for big games and that would resonate with Bryant. Now for the thing you didn't think of.

If the Lakers keep Howard, they have to fire Mike D'Antoni for reasons well documented (they hate each other). D'Antoni's on a multi-year deal. The Lakers are still paying Mike Brown. They'd have to hire a new coach (and would flirt with the uber-expensive Phil Jackson). That's a whole lot of money. So who could possibly run Mikey D's system?

What is needed is a younger Steve Nash. I pass-first point guard with an outstanding handle who looks to pass first but can also score. Also known as Rajon Rondo. Nash was/is a much better shooter than Rondo (understatement) but Rondo puts pressure on a defense much like Nash did which opens the passing angles that pick-and-rolled Nash to two MVP trophies. By also adding Green, the Lakers get younger and more athletic at the four spot. Green's a stretch four too which is essential to D'Antoni's system. Pau Gasol shifts to center. Earl Clark and Green play the four or Green can play some at the three for the most athletic lineup the Lakers have had in years. Bada boom. Bada bing. You don't have to fire D'Antoni and the only financial hell you're in is your luxury tax instead of players and coaches dismembering the Buss family bank account.

Is it a perfect, fool-proof plan? Of course not. Rondo and Bryant could butt heads as to who's the alpha-male much like Rondo has with Pierce. Unlike with Pierce, Rondo would lose this battle and who knows how he would handle it. Rondo could also look at all the other guys who think D'Antoni is clueless, not listen to him and not come close to the production Nash enjoyed in Phoenix. While Rondo can lock in defensively, he likes to gamble much like Bryant which could cause very inconsistent defensive play and Gasol isn't exactly an elite rim protector like Bryant used to have with Bynum/younger Gasol/Odom or Rondo has had in KG.

If my options are "keep malcontent Howard and either have to fire a coach/lose him for nothing this summer" or "guarantee something to build around, not have Russell Westbrook, Tony Parker and Chris Paul dribble in circles around me in the playoffs and get the added bonus of not kill my finances," I'll take the latter. Does it wave the white flag on this season cause Rondo's hurt? Probably, but the Lakers are about titles and if you think this team is winning a title this year, you haven't been paying attention.


The Celtics are willing to trade Rondo in part because they realize their window is closing as fast as the Lakers is with Bryant. They weren't very good this year with Rondo and are playing better now without him (hooray ball movement!) but in the playoffs they'll miss him if they don't make a move. Unlike the Lakers who are trying to compete in the point-guard heavy west with the Spurs, Thunder and Clippers, the C's have one opponent in mind: Miami. What's the way everyone thinks is best to beat Miami? Size.

By bringing in Howard, Boston at worst stays neutral or more likely upgrades defensively over KG depending on Dwight's back. Maybe not competing with Green for minutes re-inspires Brandon Bass and you don't wind up missing Green at all and it also creates an interesting backcourt dynamic. Courtney Lee moves to the bench and you start Nash with Avery Bradley. It's a small backcourt but who has two supreme offensive guards? Milwaukee, who's trying to trade one. So no one and it's not a problem. Bradley guards the more explosive offensive guard (Wade, Raymond Felton/JR Smith, Paul George, etc) while Nash can stand in the corner with Ronnie Brewer and Mario Chalmers. I love Mario as a spot up guy, but if the offense is being run through him and not Wade/LeBron, advantage not Miami.

Lee then comes in with Jason Terry who can spark the second unit (again thinking the "new role, stop playing like garbage" theory here) while Lee can be your traditional pressure the ball 94 feet backup point guard.

You miss the leadership of KG but gain a lot of it back in Nash. There's potential tension between Pierce and Howard but if you convince Dwight that Pierce is a billiondy times better version of Hedo Turkoglu whom he took to The Finals in '09 maybe they play nice. Also, Doc Rivers isn't exactly Mike D'Antoni at managing egos. Which is a good thing.


If the Clippers make it out of the west and meet Miami in The Finals, do you feel good about their chances? As we saw last year with OKC and really Miami before that, there's a process in the NBA and you have to learn to win. This group of Clippers is just too young and outside of Chris Paul and Chauncey Billups, them coming up short on a big stage wouldn't be shocking. Enter KG.

While it would no doubt still be Paul's team, Garnett would provide some experience amongst the bigs and his presence might do even more in the long-term development of Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan (who I managed to keep in LA doing this deal) than help LA this season. From a basketball standpoint, he also provides them stability in late game situations. Right now you're scared to play Jordan or Blake, nevertheless both, late in games because each is a horrific free throw shooter. Add in the fact that neither is an elite defender and the decision to play Garnett over one of them is easy.

While no one's talking about it, Dwight Howard isn't the only superstar in LA with an expiring contract. Paul's deal is up when the season ends as well and it makes sense that maximizing this year's playoff run maximizes the chances Paul resigns. While you give up uber potential in Bledsoe, you've got plenty of guard depth and he's a backup guard. Is he one of the best backup guards in the league? Yes, but he's a backup guard. This logic also applies to Lamar Odom who might actually be the deal breaker (see below).

Why it doesn't happen

Nash signed in LA this summer so that he could be close to his kids in Phoenix. While he doesn't have a no-trade clause, the Lakers aren't trading him even though this move makes a ton of sense as it would be a horrible look for the organization. That kind of classlessness could set off Kobe too and how the Lakers come off after the passing of Dr. Jerry Buss is important. Garnett does have a no-trade clause and has said he's not going anywhere unless the Celtics trade Pierce, which they wouldn't do because in this scenario they're still going for it this year, just without Garnett.

Odom is the interesting piece. I had to throw him in for salary purposes but that's actually the closest thing to a deal breaker in this whole thing because trading him away takes away such a unique piece of the Clippers bench, their biggest strength and gives more to the Lakers who lack it, making one of your rivals stronger. The argument to do it anyway is Garnett is an upgrade on Odom on both ends, Jordan becomes a bench player because KG takes his starting spot and to hell with the Lakers because you think you're the better team and can beat them.

You could also do this trade subbing Jordan for Odom. The salaries still work and the Clippers keep an experienced piece in Odom while giving up a guy who still has a lot of potential and is definitely getting better in Jordan. You're basically sacrificing future for present. While the thought of another young, athletic piece for the Lakers is exciting if they keep D'Antoni, the chance to re-unite Bryant, Gasol and Odom along with the fact that Odom's on a one-year deal is probably more appealing to the Lakers. Either way, I'd pull the trigger if I'm any of these teams.

The reality is this trade will never ever be discussed nevertheless happen. If it were somehow to make it to the right desks though, who (besides Garnett), says no?