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Three Way?

This one gets its own post, mainly because I've tried to tune the basketball world out over the holiday weekend. At 1:06 a.m. Chad Ford updated us on the Amare rumors, and Philadelphia is mentioned in a couple of different scenarios.

It appears as if the Suns are having serious discussions with the Cavs about Amare, but their preference is to trade him to the Sixers in a package returning Andre Iguodala and Sam Dalembert. Ford says Phoenix has upped the offer to include Leandro Barbosa, but I don't see how that's really upping the offer. Barbosa is a slightly better version of Lou Williams in that he's an undersized combo guard who is a defensive liability of the highest order. He's also signed through 2012, meaning if the Sixers were to make this trade, their core players after next season would be:

  • Elton Brand
  • Lou Williams
  • Leandro Barbosa
  • Jrue Holiday
  • Thad (if they extend him or no one else signs him as a RFA)
  • Jason Smith (ditto Thad's situation)
  • Marreese Speights
  • 1st round pick 2010
  • 1st round pick 2011

If that seems like something you may be able to work with, consider this. That group of 9 players would be making a minimum of $45M in the first year of the new CBA.

The alternate version Ford puts forth involves the Sixers as the third team in a three-team deal that would land Stoudemire in Cleveland. In this version, the Sixers would wind up with Ilgauskus, Barbosa and JJ Hickson. If that deal went through, the Sixers would have 10 players under contract for 2011-2012 for roughly $48M.

Whatever you think of Hickson, I think it's a stretch to project him as an impact starter in the league, if a starter at all, that's simply not a good haul for Iguodala alone, let alone Iguodala and Dalembert. The team simply won't clear enough cap space to become any kind of player in free agency. In fact, they'd probably have to fail to offer Thad even a qualifying offer and renounce his rights to clear enough room in 2011 to do anything. Taking back Barbosa's contract, which is a terrible, terrible contract, would effectively lock them into the core I noted above unless they can miraculously find a way to package Brand with one of their young guys (hopefully not Jrue) to unload that contract.

If either of these represents the best offer on the table for Iguodala, the rumors that Ed Stefanski is no longer interested in moving Iguodala had better be true, because either of these trades would be an unmitigated disaster.