Is Trading Your Young Players for a Superstar Advisable?

Chris Paul and Dwight Howard, when and where they get traded, will haul in a boatload of pieces whether they be young talent or draft picks. We have seen it in recent years with players like Kevin Garrnett, Ray Allen, Jason Kidd and more recently Deron Williams, Carmelo Anthony and Al Jefferson. Is it smart to mortgage most of your future for a guy who’s a superstar, but won’t do diddly by himself? Look at the recent examples of superstars by themselves. LeBron went to a Finals with the Cavs, but lost to the Spurs because his supporting cast’s front runners were Drew Gooden, Larry Hughes and Donyell Marshall. Chris Bosh accomplished nothing in Toronto with Rasho Nesterovic and Jarrett Jack. Dwayne Wade won a title, but struggled after losing Shaq. Ditto Kobe. Then there’s the stars that have a good or even great supporting cast and succeed with it. Tim Duncan has run a dynasty in San Antonio with Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili among others. Kobe Bryant and the Lakers won two titles in a row recently thanks to Pau Gasol and the rest of the Lakers. It pains me to say it, but Kevin Durant is building on what looks like a real good team now and later, but is also deep with the Oklahoma City Raiders. Nothing against Durant. He’s a great player and future MVP,  but seeing Clay Bennett succeed and me being from Seattle…. Well, you get the point. Point is that you need a solid if not spectacular supporting cast for your star. Not a smorgasbord mash-up of over-the- hill lottery picks and minimum salary guys who are used to fill out 5-5 scrimmages in practice. You need good players to step up when the star player is on a once-in-a-blue-moon-colder-than-leftover-turkey-sandwhiches-on-Black-Friday cold streak. You need the Robert Horry or the Tyson Chandler. I could go on rattling off players like this for ages, but the main point of this so far, 332 words of babble, is to convey the point that you need players who are good other than your star(s). If you’re the Clippers don’t sacrifice Eric Gordon for Chris Paul. Don’t cave to pressure and dump your good young players for a superstar. Here are two prime examples of this. You’ll probably know who these teams are, but play along.

Team A has two of the most prolific scorers in the NBA who are probably two of the top 10-15 players in the league plus another guy who is probably in the top 50 guys in the league.

Team B has one superstar on the team. Team B also has solid, if not great, role players surrounding him and can go at least ten guys deep and still beat you.

Now you read this and think that Team A is obviously the better team and had a better record and made it farther in the playoffs and blah blah blah. But team A is none other than the Super Friends New York Chapter. While Team B is the Chicago Bulls, a team who had the best record in NBA and went to the Eastern Conference Finals. If you remember correctly the Knicks got handled by the Celtics in the first round after getting crawling into the playoffs on a cold streak.

If you look at those teams’ transactions feeds you’ll see that the Knicks re-did the Nuggets team store Jersey section by sending Wilson Chandler , Danilo Gallinari, Raymond Felton and Timofey Mozgov to Denver for Carmelo Anthony, Chauncey Billups, Shelden Willams, Anthony Carter and Renaldo Balkman.

Carter was a role player buried in the rotation, and Blakman played six minutes per game more than Mel Gibson did with the Knicks. So cross those two out.

Williams actually started some games for the Knicks,  but he only averaged four points. Williams and Carter’s contracts are up, so they are probably gone. Ditto Billups when his expires, because the Knicks want cap room to go after Chris Paul. Balkman would probably be gone if his contract didn’t extend for two more years.

The Knicks gave up a potential scoring threat in Danillio Gallinari as well as talented slasher Wilson Chandler, underrated center Timofey Mozgov and a point guard who was having an All-Star year in New York in Raymond Felton. I’m not saying the Knicks would have filled the rafters with banners with Gallinari and Chandler, but hypothetically let’s say the Knicks get Chris Paul if they didn’t acquire Carmelo.

Would you rather have Paul, Landry Fields, Chandler, Gallinari and Amare?

Or an aging Chauncey, Fields, Melo, Amare and Ronny Turiaf?

As much as I love Ronny Turiaf’s game, I’d go with the first starting five. Granted, this is all saying that the Knicks would come away with Chris Paul for some mix up of Bill Walker, Toney Douglas, Andy Rautins, Mozgov, and picks. I don’t see the Hornets doing this in any way shape or form unless David Stern wants a league dominated by the Miami Heat versions 2-30.  So, maybe it happens that the Knicks would have to drag out this year with another 6-8 seed, with Melo still in Denver and lose in the first round and wait for Paul. Maybe they sign Tyson Chandler, and then we’re talking. Point is they’d be built around their superstar(s) and have a complete team, not two superstars and little to no depth.

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