Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
I received an email on Wednesday night from one of my NBA fantasy brethren which said, "Are you interested in upgrading at the guard position?" and "Would you be interested in Derrick Rose or Kobe Bryant?"
I was skeptical of the email, seeing as how Bryant (25.4 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 5.0 apg) and Rose (24.6 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 82 apg) are playing at an MVP level, but being of sound mind and body I immediately replied, yes I'm interested, and what would you want in return?
It took a while, as the other fantasy owner was on the road, but after what seemed an interminable wait I got the answer...he was offering Rose or Kobe along with Celtics guard/forward Paul Pierce and wanted from me either Dallas forward Dirk Nowitzki or Hornets David West and New York Knicks guard Ray Felton.
I smiled as I read the second email, knowing that at least he was serious about making a deal. He wasn't known to be one of those who spams all the other owners with bogus trade offers, but his second email proved he wanted to make a move.
I usually like to evaluate a deal by ranking the players involved. In most two-for-two deals which actually are completed, one side gets the best and worst players (No.1 and No.4) and the other gets (No.2 and No.3).
So it was time to look at the numbers. In this particular league, there are bonus points when your player reaches 10 rebounds or 10 assists. So it slightly favors a player with a high average in one of those categories over one who helps out in each category evenly.
We all know Kobe's statistics, he's a great scorer, maybe the best finisher at crunch time and despite his age (32) and wear and tear of all those playoff games is still averaging over 25 ppg and contributing about five rebounds and assists per game. On the other hand, he's gotten the 10-rebound/assist bonus just seven times this season.
Rose has stepped up his game in 2010 and become a real NBA MVP candidate. He's scoring just a hair less than Kobe, but 16 times has reached the bonus, so in this fantasy league they are virtually equal.
Pierce is a great team player, and a solid stats filler, but at 19.1 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 3.3 apg is definitely on the downside of a great career. And he's on a team which "feeds the hot hand" whether that is Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen or Rajon Rondo. Which means he's going to be inconsistent, getting 14 points one night and 32 two days later.
On my side of the offer is one of my favorite players - Nowitzki. But emotion can't play into trying to better your team and trading a favorite player, while difficult, is a necessary evil in our game. The Mavericks superstar's numbers are slightly down from last season, primarily due to his missing two weeks in January because of a knee injury. Still he's averaging 23.2 ppg, 6.9 rpg and 2.5 apg and coming off his best effort since returning with 29 points and 11 rebounds against the Knicks on Wednesday night.
David West is an under-publicized fantasy star. While Chris Paul gets all the attention, West is the No.1 scorer on the roster and a primary rebounder. He averages 18.9 ppg and 7.4 rpg and was coming off a 20-point, 15-rebound effort. If I could make the deal with West instead of Nowitzki, I'd likely pull the trigger right away, but I doubt he'll take the lesser player.
Felton plays for the run-and-gun Knicks and is averaging 17.1 ppg along with 8.9 apg. In his first year running Mike D'Antoni's offense, he's hit the 10- assist bonus 23 times and even posted a triple-double on January 7th against the Phoenix Suns.
So rating the players, I have the order; 1) Bryant, 2) Rose, 3) Nowitzki, 4) Felton, 5) West and 6) Pierce.
I send a return email, offering Felton and West for Bryant and Pierce, all the while knowing he will respond asking for Nowitzki.
He does just that, asking for Nowitzki and Felton and offering Rose and Pierce. I return saying I must have Kobe, but in my mind, after looking closely at the numbers, I might be willing to accept Rose.
He responds and asks if I would accept Paul Millsap instead of Paul Pierce.
Millsap (16.9 ppg) doesn't score quite as much as Pierce, but he's a tough rebounder who has hit the 10-rebound mark a dozen times this season. With his rebounding prowess, he's a more consistent scorer than Pierce. I say I'll accept Kobe and Millsap for Nowitzki and Felton.
I get a phone call a few minutes later, he wants to add a couple of backup guards to the deal. His son is a Philadelphia 76ers fan and would like Jrue Holiday. I'm feeling good, Holiday was to be my fourth-string guard anyway behind Monta Ellis, Kobe and Devin Harris and send the second-year point guard as part of the deal in exchange for Jason Terry.
He and his son are now happy and we all agree to the deal of Bryant, Millsap and Terry for Nowitzki, Felton and Holiday. And that's the key to making a trade...everyone must be happy at the time of the transaction.