NBA superstar trades

Jerry West had some interesting comments yesterday on superstars demanding trades in the NBA. Basically, he says wait them out. His two arguments:

  1. Players and agents will “resign” themselves to the situation and “re-sign” since their current team can offer them as much as $30 million more than another team (by NBA rules)
  2. Even if they don’t, the value you get in a trade is crappy

I disagree with point 1 (Exhibit A: LeBron James), but he’s right about point 2. In my South Beach Talents model, I argue that teams that trade for superstars almost always end up better off than the team that started with the star (the Nuggets are a notable exception, with the successful Iverson and Anthony trades). West backtracks later in the article and admits that teams might have to start over completely if “calling their bluff” doesn’t work. But, he argues that this could still be better than just giving a guy away.

What surprises me is that teams can’t get better value for their superstars. Why don’t the Bulls offer Joakim Noah (underrated right now because of a slow start) or Carlos Boozer, Luol Deng, maybe another couple guys, and four or five draft picks to Orlando? The Bulls are looking pretty good right now, but there are nights where they fall behind, Rose decides it’s not worth throwing his body around for the whole second half, and they lose. Howard and Rose together would get them to the finals, regardless of who’s around them.

I’m actually pretty certain that Dwight Howard will leave Orlando this summer. There’s been too much posturing on both sides for that not to happen. The question is, can Orlando find a trade partner willing to pay the right price?

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