It's been 42 games for Evan Turner's pro career, which would be a full season for him at school. He's shown signs recently of being the player he was at Ohio State and is coming off an efficient 14-8-5 effort against Phoenix. Turner should be starting for Jodie Meeks already, but if Collins is intent on keeping a shooting wing in the starting lineup, O.J. Mayo is thought to be an available target.
As our Memphis Grizzlies blog Straight Outta Vancouver wrote, Mayo has just lost his starting spot to Xavier Henry, and while he's been diplomatic about the demotion, can't be excited about his diminishing role on a 22-23 Grizzlies team. Money pinching Memphis owner Michael Heisley doesn't want to shell out the cash for eventual Mayo/Thabeet deals and especially not renew Zach Randolph, nametag of the colossal expiring contract, so a trade could be just what the doctor invented.
Hit the jump for all the goods.
O.J. Mayo - 2 years, 10.1 million (Q.O. for 7.4 million)
Hasheem Thabeet - 2 years, 9.9 million (Team Option for 6.5 then a Q.O. for 8.4)
Tony Allen - 3 years, 9.5 million
Andre Iguodala - 4 years, 54.6 million
Thaddeus Young - 1 year, 2.9 million (Q.O. for 4 million)
This idea blossomed where all good ideas do since 2009: Twitter. A simple query to Matt Moore, of CBS Sports, NBA Fanhouse, Ridiculous Upside, Pro Basketball Talk, Hardwood Paroxysm and everywhere else where orange balls are discussed on the internet, about the Grizzlies interest in Andre got the ball rolling. As a Memphis fan and analytical basketball mind (a rare combination...I kid), Moore was an optimal target for a Twitter back and forth.
Here's what Moore warned me about Thabeet after pitching the deal.
I want to ditch Thabeet so badly I'm willing to take back two small forwards when they just gave $80 mil to their 3.
Let me put it this way. I've never seen a seven footer hit the bottom of the rim. Thabeet does it repeatedly.
Nobody is going to claim that Thabeet has been a stud at the professional level. But he's a legitimate 7'3 prospect who could hypothetically turn himself into a terrific defensive/rebounding big man. Even if his offensive game never develops, his ceiling is much higher than that of former Sixer Samuel Dalembert's was. And when you pair that upside with a guy like former prep legend O.J. Mayo, who is having a rough go of it under coach Lionel Hollins, you're getting two could-be special prospects and unloading a big contract at the same time.
The loss of Thaddeus could be tough for some, considering the strides he's taken under the eye of Doug Collins, but he's a restricted free agent after this season, and it's likely he'd be gone soon anyway. If they did resign him, recent history dictates it would be for far too much money for far too many years. With the Grizzlies, he'd get a chance to start at the 4 next season when Randolph goes, or play a similar role to the one he has now behind Rudy Gay and Darrell Arthur as a hybrid 3/4.
Moore had concerns about playing Gay and Iguodala together because he feels they are somewhat redundant. Both are at their best when they are attacking the basket, sure, but Andre is a much better passer (20% assist rate), hits the defensive glass harder, and plays much better defense than either Gay or Mayo. The biggest area the Grizzlies would improve upon (and the Sixers would dip) is on defense, where they are ranked 17th in the NBA. With Andre playing between Mike Conley and Gay, and Marc Gasol at center (and a new contract after Randolph expires), the Griz will have a young, well-rounded team that is a good power forward away from making some noise in the West. And they can escape from the Thabeet mistake without catching too much heat for the admission since they'd be receiving two generally well thought of players in the NBA.
The Sixers, meanwhile, would have Mayo next to Turner and Jrue Holiday to gel over the next few seasons as one of the youngest, high-upside back three's in the NBA. Louis Williams, Meeks and the defensive-minded Tony Allen would come off the bench for the guard spots, while Andres Nocioni and Craig Brackins got Thad's minutes at the 3/4. Ideally, they'd go into next season with Hasheem lining up next to Elton Brand in the front court, letting Thabeet work through his struggles nightly with a guy like Brand to help him on the glass. This team would be pretty lethal in the half court when you consider Mayo's scoring ability, Elton and Jrue working the pick and roll, and Turner filling Andre's spot of doing everything else but with more offensive proficiency. All Thabeet would have to do is be big, gobble some offensive rebounds and flush some alley-oops to be contribute offensively. Mayo, sandwiched between above-average defenders like Evan and Jrue, would not be completely exposed for the poor defender he is like he was in Memphis next to Gay and Conley. Sliding a draft pick like Kenneth Faried into the 4 spot after Brand has gone would fit nicely too, allowing Marreese Speights to focus on offense while Faried and Thabeet clean up the glass and the D.
There's a chance that Mayo is just a ballyhooed chucker, Thabeet never develops, and Tony Allen makes Lou-Will look like he plays efficient basketball. But the Sixers aren't winning anything in the near future, and this could be a trade that brings two all-world talents to Philadelphia if their abilities can be harnessed and molded in the right way. And even if it all goes to hell, each of their contracts could be up before the 2013/14 season, where only Jrue, Evan, and Brackins would be on the books.
Let me hear it.