Who likes fake trades? Week 9 Power Rankings are on the block!


Image by Anthony Bain

The only thing I love better than Hunting Wabbit season is Trade Deadline season. Wait, did I say I love it? I meant that it sucks the living life out of me living life. It’s not that I don’t enjoy change. I love change. I love the changing of the guard or point guard. I love seeing new faces rejuvenate new places. I really enjoy watching new parts of a system getting implemented in a short amount of time that rarely leaves enough time to accomplish the short-term goal of a kick in the pants for a team.

But the rumors make me want to punch the internet in the face. Everything is about to happen. People “hear things” constantly and by hear things I’m guess they mean they read the idea on some message board. Everybody wants to give something up without giving anything of value because it’s the best way to improve your team. So I decided to just make up some deals for each franchise in spirit of what is or isn’t going down on Thursday.

Onto the rankings! 

I can’t believe you’ve won that many games

15. Charlotte Bobcats (6-34, 3-15 home, 3-19 road, -13.6 differential, 13th in the East)
Hollinger Playoff Odds: HistoricallyGettingAwkward%
Currently: So bad it’s making people consider Kentucky vs. the Bobcats
Games behind 8th seed: Too many to even count games
Okay, I have two trade ideas here. First trade is the Bobcats send Gerald Henderson and Eduardo Najera to the Minnesota Timberwolves for Michael Beasley and a future 2nd round pick. The Bobcats need to hit a homerun on a player and maybe another change of scenery or two will be what puts everything into perspective for Beasley and what he needs to do with his career. If it works AND the Bobcats can land Anthony Davis in the draft, then you’ve got a great core to jumpstart the dead battery of your franchise with. If it doesn’t work, it’s a short commitment to Beas and relatively painless.

The second trade idea I have is we gun the DeLorean to 88mph, bring Ben Swanson back to 1993 and let him blog about the Charlotte Hornets. We’ll trade him for a case of those kickass Starter jackets. It’s not that I want to get rid of Ben. I just want him to be able to blog about an awesome team for once. Oh and since he’d be blogging in 1993, he’d basically invent blogging and become a billionaire. It’s a win-win.
Games this week: back-to-back (at Houston, at Dallas), home to Toronto, home to Philly

14. Washington Wizards (9-31, 6-16 home, 3-15 road, -8.5 differential, 14th in the East)
Hollinger Playoff Odds: Hey, Randy Wittman… whaaaaaaat’s happening%
Currently: Setting the record for hilarity
Games behind 8th seed: About one for every point Andray Blatche scores
It’s time to shake things up with this team. What if we all agreed to amnesty Andray Blatche this summer and then trade JaVale McGee and Rashard Lewis to the Milwaukee Bucks for Andrew Bogut and Stephen Jackson? You get a headache of Stack Jack for two years but you also upgrade your center position with Andrew Bogut (you know… assuming he stops hurting himself all the time). It’s probably time to get more serious about not ruining John Wall’s life and bringing in a defensive-minded center that won’t get you half of the highlight reels on SportsCenter’s Not Top-10 would be a huge boost for the psyche.

That would leave you with Jordan Crawford and Nick Young as the only space cadets on the roster. You should never have more than two and that’s really pushing it. The Wizards have four and for some reason they can’t stop being the laughing stock of the league. Start thinning out the herd and get the team willingness to do the dirty work back on the rise. It’s a risk taking Bogut and his injury history/present, but it’s also a risk to continue to give John Wall the thousand-yard stare that seems permanently tattooed into his eyes.
Games this week: at Dallas, back-to-back (at Hornets, at Atlanta), at Memphis

You’d be much more watchable if you could get a center

13. Toronto Raptors (13-28, 7-14 home, 6-14 road, -4.0 differential, 12th in the East)
Hollinger Playoff Odds: 0.7%
Currently: 13th in East
Games behind 8th seed: 4.5 games
Can we trade $10 million Canadian dollars for Jonas Valanciunas? I’m not sure what the exchange rate is but it’s possible that Lithuania would then be able to buy back Linas Kleiza. OH! Let’s just trade Linas Kleiza and $5 million Canadian dollars for Jonas Valanciunas and allow him to play on the roster from now on. I have no idea if he’s going to be mediocre, good or awesome. I’ve seen good things and I’ve seen cringe-worthy things. You know what else I’ve seen from Jonas? HE DRESSED UP AS A REFEREE AND A WIZARD DURING AN ALL-STAR GAME!

Apparently this is something that happens in Lithuanian All-Star games. There is a costume competition right between the speedo quarter and eveningwear. I don’t want to sound xenophobic but… THAT’S WEIRD, RIGHT?! “Oh hey coach, I need to be subbed out real quick. What’s that? No, I’m not tired. I just need to change into my wizard costume. No, don’t worry; I still plan on dressing like a ref later in the game. Hey, can you zip me up?” Let’s get this guy at the NBA All-Star Weekend.
Games this week: 4 games in 5 nights (at Cavs, at Nets then at Memphis, at Charlotte)

12. New Jersey Nets (14-29, 4-15 home, 10-14 road, -6.4 differential, 11th in the East)
Hollinger Playoff Odds: 1.2%
Currently: 12th in East
Games behind 8th seed: 4.5 games
Okay, I couldn’t get the Trade Machine link to work, but trust me when I say this deal works. As you can probably guess, this involves the Nets acquiring Dwight Howard from Orlando. But wait there’s more! We’re bringing in the Wolves to help facilitate the action and sweeten the potential pot (no pun intended) for Orlando. The Nets send Mehmet Okur, Kris Humphries (with his approval), Jordan Farmar, Johan Petro and Brook Lopez to the Magic along with a couple of first round picks. The Nets send Anthony Morrow and Shawne Williams to the Minnesota Timberwolves. The T’Wolves send Michael Beasley to the Magic (see? I really didn’t mean a pun up there) and Wes Johnson to the Nets. The Magic send Dwight Howard, Hedo Turkoglu and Daniel Orton to New Jersey.

This gives Orlando some pretty decent pieces to rebuild with, gives them much coveted draft picks and cap space, and they get rid of the wasted checks to Orton. The Wolves get a 3-point shooter that doesn’t make me want to vomit most nights. And we finally get Dwight to Brooklyn to pair up with Deron Williams and… well… we’ll figure that out later. Also, it would get people to stop talking about where Dwight might go and Jay-Z will start having to fit “Turkoglu” into some lyrics. There is no downside to this at all.
Games this week: home to Toronto, back-to-back (at Orlando, home to Hornets), home to Cavs

This is why people want a 16-team playoff and not eight from each conference

11. Detroit Pistons (15-27, 12-11 home, 3-16 road, -6.0 differential, 13th in the East)
Hollinger Playoff Odds: 0.7%
Currently: 11th in East
Games behind 8th seed: 3 games
How in the Stephen Jackson are the Detroit Pistons three games out of the eighth seed right now? Not only that, but how bad do you have to be to be three games out of the playoffs with 24 games to play and still only have a less than one percent chance of making the playoffs? Anyway, let’s fix the Pistons. The Pistons just need to shed salary cap right now like a German Sheperd getting rid of its winter coat. So let’s pretend Charlie Villanueva gets amnestied this summer, how do we get Ben Gordon off the books and clear some of the logjam in the backcourt?

How about Ben Gordon going to the Clippers for Randy Foye and Ryan Gomes? I know the Clippers are sort of wanting to shed salary while picking up a backcourt scorer, but Ben Gordon could still be 2008 Ben Gordon if he’s on a team that matters. The Clippers would have another crunch time weapon to utilize also. For Detroit, they aren’t getting anything sexy back, but they are getting out of long-term money commitment. With the amnesty, Detroit goes from roughly $5 million over the cap to $11 million under the cap.
Games this week: at Kings, at Phoenix, at Clippers

10. Cleveland Cavaliers (16-23, 9-12 home, 7-11 road, -3.7 differential, 9th in the East)
Hollinger Playoff Odds: 10.9%
Currently: 10th in East
Games behind 8th seed: 0.5 game
This isn’t 2010 anymore. None of us are going to believe that adding Antawn Jamison to a roster is going to boost the odds of going deeper into the playoffs. Doesn’t matter if he IS an expiring contract or an expiring career or whatever. I think it’s great that people want to make up rumors of trading Jamison for Josh Smith. It’s possible Atlanta wants to amnesty Joe Johnson and get rid of Josh Smith to overhaul the roster and start from scratch. It’s also possible that this bungling ownership would never give up their guaranteed playoff revenue in order to do the right thing for their fans.

How about this small deal? Trade Ramon Sessions to the Blazers for Nolan Smith and Luke Babbitt? I know it’s not an earth shattering move, but it would take away the urge to play Sessions extended minutes for the Cavs. You’d get Kyrie on the floor a lot more, which can’t be a bad thing. Also, he’d have a fellow Dukie backing him up and Luke Babbitt could end up being the Luke Jackson that we always dreamed of! It’s the little things in life…
Games this week: back-to-back (home to Toronto, at Bucks), back-to-back (home to Atlanta, at Nets)

9. Milwaukee Bucks (18-24, 10-9 home, 8-15 road, -1.9 differential, 10th in the East))
Hollinger Playoff Odds: 60.1%
Currently: 8th seed
Games behind 7th seed: 4.5 game
I am having a hard time believing the Bucks are going to make the playoffs. I’m also having a hard time believing they are set up for anything in the future with their current roster. So… LET’S BLOW IT ALL UP! I thought about having the Bucks offer up Bogut and Jennings to the Lakers for Bynum and Goudelock and two draft picks. It would clear cap space if they were able to sign-and-trade Bynum while also relieving them of the headache of an extension with Jennings. But what if THIS happened instead?

Three-team deal with the Bucks sending Jennings to Portland and Bogut to the Suns (Warlock Trainers!), Phoenix sending Marcin Gortat to Milwaukee and Grant Hill to Portland, and the Blazers sending Nic Batum to the Bucks and Jamal Crawford to the Suns. Bogut would finally get to finish seasons and a Crawford-Nash backcourt would be fun for two months. Milwaukee would shed long-term commitments while having Gortat and Batum as building blocks and/or trade assets. And the Blazers would get an answer at point guard that they could really mold. Let’s make it happen!
Games this week: home to Cavs, at Warriors

8. New York Knicks (18-24, 11-10 home, 7-13 road, +0.3 differential, 7th in the East)
Hollinger Playoff Odds: 39.8%
Currently: 9th in East
Games behind 8th seed: tied with Milwaukee
THERE ARE TOO MANY PROBLEMS WITH THE KNICKS! LET’S NOT GIVE THEM TIME TO GEL! IT’S TIME TO GET MELO OUT OF THERE!

How about this ridiculous trade? Knicks send Carmelo Anthony and Jeremy Lin to the Nets, the Nets send Deron Williams and Anthony Morrow to the Knicks with Mehmet Okur, Brook Lopez and Marshon Brooks going to the Magic, and Orlando would send Dwight Howard to the Nets. The Nets had like four draft picks to give too, right? Send two to Orlando and two to the Knicks. Now we have everybody happy! Knicks would be better suited for D’Antoni’s system, Nets get to move to Brooklyn with stars and Orlando… well… they still get screwed. But big markets win!
Games this week: home to Portland, back-to-back (home to Indiana, at Indiana)

Somehow, you’ve become the beacon of light in this back end of the playoff race

7. Boston Celtics (22-19, 16-8 home, 6-11 road, +1.2 differential, 8th in the East)
Hollinger Playoff Odds: 87.4%
Currently: 7th seed
Games behind 6th seed: 2 games
Now that Danny Ainge has come out and said that he isn’t going to trade Rondo and the Rondo-Pau deal was never discussed, it’s totally time to trade Rondo. He’ll never see it coming! So let’s just trade one headache rumor for another and try to flip Ethan Sherwood Strauss on his head.

Celtics send Rajon Rondo, Chris Wilcox and Mickael Pietrus to the Atlanta Hawks for Josh Smith and Jeff Teague. This would do a lot for the Celtics. They’d get a young-ish defensive highlight reel to put around their aging core while still avoiding playing Avery Bradley full-time at the point. For the Hawks, they’d get a real life facilitator and some veteran help to round out the bench. Also, Hawks fans wouldn’t have to pretend to think Jeff Teague has All-Star potential anymore. Furthermore, we’d get some great Rondo pouting when he is passed over as an All-Star so Joe Johnson can keep making the team.
Games this week: at Warriors, back-to-back (at Kings, at Denver), at Atlanta

NTTH – Never Trust The Hawks

6. Atlanta Hawks (24-17, 12-6 home, 12-11 road, +1.8 differential, 6th in the East)
Hollinger Playoff Odds: 99.9%
Currently: 6th seed
Games behind 3rd seed: 2.5 games
OR… what if we mess with Ethan like this and put Josh Smith on the team ESS loves to hate?! Hawks send Josh Smith and Jeff Teague to the Warriors for Andris Biedrins and Steph Curry. NOW, you can slide Horford over to the PF position where he’ll murder people (not Ivan Johnson murder people but figuratively murder people /jokes), play Biedrins at center for some rebounding something or other, and have Steph Curry running in a backcourt with Joe Johnson. That could actually be a pretty fun team. On the Warriors side, they’d have Udoh and Smith to flank David Lee on defense, meaning Lee is officially a really nice weapon on offense because he defense doesn’t matter anymore. And you’d get a decent point guard in Teague that Monta can bully into giving him the ball.

Also, it’s not like we can trust Steph Curry’s ankles anyway…
Games this week: back-to-back (at Denver, at Clippers), home to Wizards, back-to-back (at Cavs, home to Boston)

Make a deal and make me a believer!

5. Indiana Pacers (23-16, 11-5 home, 12-11 road, +2.6 differential, 3rd in East)
Hollinger Playoff Odds: 99.4%
Currently: 5th seed
Games behind 3rd seed: 2.5 games
This is going to sound like a lot to give up, but hear me out on this. The Pacers should trade Danny Granger and David West to the Lakers for Pau Gasol, Matt Barnes, and Andrew Goudelock. If you want Paul George to grow, you need to set Danny Granger free. He’s just taking up PG’s opportunities to be baptized by fire here. Also, pairing Roy Hibbert and Pau Gasol together would be a ridiculously fun combination. Barnes would give the Pacers a little depth back at the wing position and Goudelock could be a nice shooter for them off the bench. For the Lakers, it gets Pau out of there (apparently having a great big man is a problem) and gives them some much-needed scoring.

The Pacers would essentially give themselves the best frontcourt in the East with a legitimate lowpost scoring threat all game long. You’d never grab a rebound against them and they’d still be very deep. They’d be a Paul George scoring leap away from becoming a lock as one of the top teams in the East with a chance to contend sooner rather than later. Make it happen!
Games this week: 4 games in 5 nights (home to Portland, home to Philly then at Knicks, home to Knicks)

4. Philadelphia 76ers (25-17, 16-8 home, 9-9 road, +7.5 differential, 5th in the East)
Hollinger Playoff Odds: 100%
Currently: 4th seed
Games behind 3rd seed: 2 games
Remember back when there was discussion of Monta Ellis for Andre Iguodala? What if we tweaked that a bit and sent Monta Ellis and Dorrell Wright from Golden State to the 76ers for Thaddeus Young and Evan Turner? A Turner-Curry backcourt with Young filling the wings would be almost all of the fun for the Warriors. And the Sixers would get a MUCH needed full-time scorer for the team. Lou William is really nice and it’s fun to have “different guys capable of stepping up” at any time. What if you just had a ridiculously good scorer in Monta flanked by Jrue Holiday and Andre Iguodala?

I still believe the Sixers are a crunch time scorer away from being right there with Chicago and while I’ve never been the biggest Monta Ellis fan, this almost seems too good to fail. The Sixers would have lots of outside shooting with Ellis’ iso and PnR game to go along with Wright pouring in 3s from the wing. Iggy doesn’t have to do so much on offense at weird times. Lou Williams could easily play off of Ellis.
Games this week: at Indiana, back-to-back (home to Miami, at Chicago), at Charlotte

3. Orlando Magic (27-15, 14-7 home, 13-8 road, +2.5 differential, 4th in the East)
Hollinger Playoff Odds: 100%
Currently: 3rd seed
Games behind 2nd seed: 5 games
Let’s just get it over with: Dwight for Bynum and then Hedo for the trade exception from the Odom exile. It would give the media the fetish they desire so and it would really piss off fans. It’s the only way. ANARCHY RAINING ON YOUR HEAD!
Games this week: back-to-back (home to Miami, at Spurs), home to Nets, back-to-back (at Miami, home to Chicago)

We’ve got ourselves quite the game of phone tag here

2. Miami Heat (31-9, 18-2 home, 13-7 road, +8.9 differential, 1st in the East)
Hollinger Playoff Odds: 100%
Currently: 2nd seed
Games behind 1st seed: 2 games
AAAAAAHHHHHHHH! WHO HAS RINGZZ NOW!?!?!


Games this week: back-to-back (at Orlando, at Chicago), at Philly, home to Orlando

1. Chicago Bulls (35-9, 17-3 home, 18-6 road, +9.2 differential, 2nd in the East)
Hollinger Playoff Odds: 100%
Currently: 1st seed
Home court advantage? 1.5 games lead
Okay, now I’m legitimately trolling Bulls fans. But you get your wing scorer!
Games this week: home to Miami, back-to-back (home to Portland, home to Philly), at Orlando

You can’t spell “The New Orleans Hornets aren’t interesting” without “New Orleans Hornets” … and “garish”

15. New Orleans Hornets (10-32, 4-17 home, 6-15 road, -5.2 differential, 15th in the West)
Hollinger Playoff Odds: Same odds of Chris Paul coming back%
Currently: Looking for a buyer and a roster
Games behind 8th seed: One for each player worth keeping on the roster
Once again, I’ve been trying to figure out a way to make something interesting about the Hornets exist and outside of finding out where the Wolves’ draft pick ends up and whether or not they get first crack at Anthony Davis, there really isn’t anything. How about we just use them to help out other teams instead? They have very little to offer up on their roster, but they could help out a couple of contenders by jettisoning some expiring contracts of players who can be nice role players.

Here is a deal in which they help both the Thunder AND the Mavericks. Hornets trade Carl Landry to the Thunder and Chris Kaman to the Mavericks (German National Team reunion!). The Mavericks send Yi Jianlin to the Thunder and Dominique Jones, Lamar Odom and Sean Williams to the Hornets. The Thunder send Cole Aldrich and Nazr Mohammed to the Hornets as well. It would give the Thunder a decent scoring presence off the bench in the frontcourt and the Mavs would have a big more size to score with in the playoffs. Other than that, let’s just wait for the lottery to hit before we talk about this Hornets team.
Games this week: back-to-back (home to Lakers, home to Wizards), at Nets

You’re hanging onto unrequited dreams!

14. Sacramento Kings (14-27, 10-7 home, 4-20 road, -6.7 differential, 14th in the West)
Hollinger Playoff Odds: 0.1%
Currently: 14th in West
Games behind 8th seed: 7.5 games
This is probably a stupid thought process, but is it the right time to sell high on Tyreke Evans for the Kings? So far, it seems like DeMarcus Cousins is probably a better centerpiece for this team and with all of the drama surrounding the last head coaching situation before Smart took over (it wasn’t all DMC), maybe it’s time to have a singular focus and build from the inside out. Also, I feel like Jason Thompson is wasted on this team and I’d love to get him to a contender where he could shine as a role player.

This trade takes care of all of that. The Jazz send Derrick Favors to the Kings and Paul Millsap to the Mavericks. The Mavericks send Lamar Odom to the Jazz and Roddy Beaubois to the Kings. The Kings send Tyreke Evans to the Jazz and Jason Thompson to the Mavs. Millsap and JT would bolster the Mavs’ run in the playoffs while still remaining tradeable in order to have space to go after Dwight and Deron this summer. The Jazz would get their logjam inside cleared up while having Evans be the backcourt savior. Kings would have a great young frontline to build around while freeing up the congestion in the backcourt. It’s probably stupid but you’ve made it this far into the rankings.
Games this week: back-to-back (home to Warriors, home to Detroit), home to Boston, home to Wolves

13. Golden State Warriors (17-21, 10-10 home, 7-11 road, -1.7 differential, 12th in the West)
Hollinger Playoff Odds: 16.0%
Currently: 13th in West
Games behind 8th seed: 3 games
DON’T EVER CROSS ME AGAIN, ETHAN! TAKE THIS! 
Games this week: 4 games in 5 nights (at Kings, home to Boston then home to Bucks, at Utah), home to Wolves

12. Phoenix Suns (19-22, 12-10 home, 7-12 road, -1.7 differential, 13th in the West)
Hollinger Playoff Odds: 6.8%
Currently: 12th in West
Games behind 8th seed: 2.5 games
I was thinking it was about time we got the band back together. Forget what is good for the organization or the other organizations. Let’s get Amare-Marion-Nash as the trio that once ruled our hearts. This trade makes it happen. Mavericks send Marion to Phoenix, Knicks send Amare to the Suns and the Suns send Gortat to Dallas and the trio of Childress-Hill-Frye to the Knicks. We could even trade Alvin Gentry for Mike D’Antoni.

The Phoenix ownership is just living off of the past anyway so might as well make this throwback feeling into something tangible. Also, the Mavericks once wanted Marcin Gortat and were rebuked by stupid contract matching rules. GIVE MARK CUBAN HIS POLISH CENTER!
Games this week: back-to-back-to-back (home to Utah, at Clippers, home to Detroit), home to Houston

8th Seed Musical Chairs

11. Portland Trailblazers (20-21, 14-7 home, 6-14 road, +3.4 differential, 8th in the West)
Hollinger Playoff Odds: 41.6%
Currently: 11th in West
Games behind 8th seed: 1.5 games
I’m not even going to try to get cute with this one. Let’s just have the Blazers trade Wes Matthews to the Clippers for Mo Williams. Is this a sexy deal? Not really. I guess it depends on if you have a Tas Melas-level infatuation with Wes Matthews. But it would give the Clippers a much needed 2-guard and the Blazers would get to try out Mo Williams as the point guard instead of having Felton as the full-time starter.

Mo Williams is more of a successful Aaron Brooks than he is a point guard, but stretching the defense and throwing competent post-entry passes to your star power forward are the worst things to have your point guard do. The worst thing to have your point guard do would be challenging him to recreate Mount Vesuvius with jelly-filled donuts and the cities of Naples and Pompeii with various Doritos and Bugles. Then have an eruption of nacho cheese and gravy pretend to be a volcano that engulfs the region, only to step in as “god,” screaming out “I’LL SAVE YOU LIKE THE SAVIOR I AM,” and then eat everything in the model so there was never any sign of a struggle. I’m looking at you, Raymond.
Games this week: back-to-back (at Pacers, at Knicks) at Chicago, at Thunder

10. Houston Rockets (22-20, 15-6 home, 7-14 road, -0.1 differential, 6th in the West)
Hollinger Playoff Odds: 36.6%
Currently: 8th seed
Games behind 7th seed: 0.5 game
So you want to keep Kyle Lowry and still find a way to acquire Pau Gasol? I mean, you really should get Pau so Daryl Morey can finally have his cake and play it too. Well, I think I can find a way to make everybody happy in this deal while not making it feel like the league has rigged loaded up the Lakers with depth.

BOOM! Lakers send Pau Gasol to the Rockets and the Rockets send Luis Scola, Jonny Flynn, Chase Budinger and Hasheem Thabeet to Hollywood. There is no reason to make Lowry leave this Rockets team, especially not just to pump up Andrew Bynum’s legacy. Okay, maybe that wasn’t the reason, but I still like this deal for all sides regardless. Lakers fans, let’s really see how tired of Derek Fisher you truly are!
Games this week: back-to-back (at Thunder, home to Charlotte), back-to-back (at Clippers, at Suns)

9. Minnesota Timberwolves (22-21, 12-12 home, 10-9 road, +1.0 differential, 10th in the West)
Hollinger Playoff Odds: 54.1%
Currently: 9th in West
Games behind 8th seed: 0.5 game
Speaking of depth for the Lakers!

Besides the Lakers and their fans, who says no to this deal?
Games this week: 4 games in 5 nights (at Utah, at Lakers then at Kings, at Warriors)

8. Utah Jazz (20-21, 15-6 home, 5-15 road, -0.9 differential, 11th in the West)
Hollinger Playoff Odds: 27.0%
Currently: 10th in West
Games behind 8th seed: 1.5 games
There are so many reasons I want to trade Andrew Bogut, Stephen Jackson and Brandon Jennings to the Jazz for Al Jefferson, Enes Kanter and Alec Burks:

1) Stephen Jackson would be living in Utah.
2) Brandon Jennings wanted to do his homework on big markets? Well, Salt Lake City has fantastic facilities for completing such homework.
3) Andrew Bogut went to college there.
4) Stephen Jackson would be living in Utah.
5) I think it actually gives the Bucks some nice options for figuring out where their franchise is headed.
6) Yep, you guessed it. Stephen Jackson would be living in Utah.
Games this week: 4 games in 5 nights (at Phoenix, home to Wolves then home to Warriors, at Lakers)

I don’t see any of you realistically falling out of the playoffs.

7. Dallas Mavericks (23-20, 15-7 home, 8-13 road, +1.8 differential, 3rd in the West)
Hollinger Playoff Odds: 63.7%
Currently: 7th seed
Games behind 6th seed: 0.5 game
Why wait, Dallas? I’ll do this for you!

Trade Jason Terry and Shawn Marion to the Magic. Trade Lamar Odom and Jason Kidd to the Nets. Acquire Dwight Howard and Deron Williams for said players. That seems like a brilliant sort of billionaire move for the Mavericks to make. Then they can just re-sign those guys, put them next to Dirk for the tail end of his career and we’d eventually get a moment in which Dwight receives a diamond-encrusted Superman cape instead of a championship ring and Deron Willliams would get a platinum and diamond-saturated hairpiece, WITH attachable sideburns!
Games this week: home to Wizards, home to Charlotte, home to Spurs, at Denver

6. Denver Nuggets (23-19, 12-10 home, 11-9 road, +2.7 differential, 9th in the West)
Hollinger Playoff Odds: 73.7%
Currently: 6th in West
Games behind 5th seed: 1 game
Don’t pretend like this wouldn’t make The Association: Denver Nuggets even more interesting.

Now that everybody has learned the TEAM concept a lot more over the past year, what if we have a do-over in Denver and see if Melo is happier there than getting criticized for ruining Jeremy Lin’s legacy by existing. George Karl would be SUPER open to the idea of welcoming him back to this TEAM. I really don’t see any downside to it at all.
Games this week: home to Hawks, home to Thunder, home to Boston, home to Dallas

You’re all one flaw away from being contenders

5. Los Angeles Clippers (23-17, 12-7 home, 11-10 road, +1.8 differential, 4th in the West)
Hollinger Playoff Odds: 87.7%
Currently: 5th seed
Games behind 4th seed: 1 game
The Clippers simply don’t have enough defense for my liking and it’s keep me from really thinking they can matter on a title contending level in the next couple of years. So it seems only right to load their team up with defensive players in order to get them there. LET’S DO THIS!

Dwight Howard, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute and Taj Gibson all join the Clippers in order to bolster their defensive presence. NOBODY is scoring on this team. They only have to give up DeAndre Jordan and Ryan Gomes to the Magic, Eric Bledsoe to the Bulls and Blake Griffin to the Bucks to make this work. Then Blake and Jennings can use their skills to build the biggest bazaar on the planet in Milwaukee. Nobody will have a bigger market than Milwaukee! And the contracts match up so you know this is legit.
Games this week: 4 games in 5 nights (home to Atlanta, home to Phoenix then home to Houston, home to Detroit)

4. Los Angeles Lakers (25-16, 18-2 home, 7-14 road, +2.3 differential, 5th in the West)
Hollinger Playoff Odds: 96.7%
Currently: 3rd seed
Games behind 2nd seed: 2.5 games
How many Lakers fans will read this trade idea and then just nod their head before calling their friends and saying they heard from a reliable source that this is about to happen?

I mean… the contracts DO match up…
Games this week: back-to-back (at Memphis, at Hornets), home to Wolves, home to Utah

3. Memphis Grizzlies (24-16, 15-5 home, 9-11 road, +2.2 differential, 7th in the West)
Hollinger Playoff Odds: 96.4%
Currently: 4th seed
Games behind 3rd seed: 0.5 game
Now, you’re going to look at this trade and think to yourself, “there is no way this deal gets done.” We’re still updating the trade machine to be able to include these features but the bugs haven’t been worked out yet. What you don’t see in this trade is that Tim Tebow is actually included from Denver as well. They have his basketball rights since he plays there for the Broncos and you know John Elway will be happy to kick him to the curb.

The reason this deal gets made is both parties get Executive Producer credit and money when we debut the show “Two Bo(w)s and a Birdman.” The premise is Z-Bo and Tebow and Chris Andersen all live together in a penthouse apartment in Memphis. They have to complete tasks every week, such as running a prayer group or clearing out a strip club in a way that borders on being a felony without actually crossing that line. It’s going to be INTENSE!
Games this week: home to Lakers, home to Toronto, home to Wizards

I’m really hearting both of you guys right now

2. San Antonio Spurs (27-13, 16-4 home, 11-9 road, +4.0 differential, 2nd in the West)
Hollinger Playoff Odds: 99.7%
Currently: 2nd seed
Games behind 1st seed: 4.5 games
Tell me you wouldn’t want to see Gregg Popovich challenge Matt Barnes’ manhood only to see him wet himself whilst simultaneously having a conversation with Ron Artest (I’m not calling him that) about ANYTHING IN THE WORLD.  
Games this week: home to Orlando, back-to-back (at OKC, at Dallas)

1. Oklahoma City Thunder (32-9, 18-2 home, 14-7 road, +6,2 differential, 1st in the West)
Hollinger Playoff Odds: 100%
Currently: 1st seed
Games behind home court advantage: 1.5 games behind Chicago
I will not give up on this dream. NEVER! I don’t care how much I have to besmirch the name of Russell Westbrook. I mean… he seems like a nice enough guy. I don’t think he’s the jerk we’ve all pretended he is. But I want to see Dwight-Durant-Harden running the show with Collison and Thabo providing defensive help off the bench.

This scenario would only work if we traded Eric Maynor’s knee for Robocop’s knee. Then we could just let him run the team and keep giving this face after each great play.

Games this week: home to Houston, back-to-back (at Denver, home to Spurs), home to Portland

Wow, that really turned into me just trolling everybody pretty quickly…

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