Five trades we’d like to see (and we’re not talking ‘Melodrama)

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It’s been quiet. Too quiet.

Serious trade chatter is down around the league. People are talking but there is less meaningful dialogue going on than in an Adam Sandler movie. Maybe it’s fear of the new CBA. Maybe it’s Carmelo Anthony creating a bottleneck. Maybe people are too busy playing Angry Birds.

Well, we are not a patient people. We want action, not empty words. So we’re just going to throw some trades out there. What follows are trades that work under the cap but are not things we’ve heard or things likely to happen. In fact, we’d be shocked if any did happen. Just consider this a list of things we’d like to see.

Knicks get Steve Nash; Suns get Raymond Felton and Danilo Gallinari. I know the Suns are not going to trade Nash until this summer, if ever. I know Nash doesn’t want to be traded. But by not moving him the Suns are only admitting going to be mediocre until they start the rebuilding process when he leaves. The window has closed, time to move on. Yes Knicks fans, Felton has been good, but he is no Nash and Chris Paul (more than ‘Melo or Dwight Howard) should be the ultimate target. Nash is the two-year stopover. The city loves him and he the city. The Knicks become much more of a threat (not a contender, a threat). The Suns get a good young point guard and a guy who can knock down the outside shot, guys that don’t fit the system. They don’t get much worse. Both Felton and Gallo have two-year deals so the Suns can move them again next season depending on their direction.

Orlando gets Troy Murphy and Johan Petro; New Jersey gets Jason Richardson. This works for both teams on some level. For the Nets they get more money off the books this summer to help with rebuilding and don’t give up any talent that is not replaceable in Petro. For Orlando, if Murphy is healthy and can play he is the kind of stretch four they miss along the front line. And his help defense rotations can’t be worse than Hedo Turkoglu, can they?

Chicago gets Anthony Parker; Cleveland get Omer Asik. I know, trading a young promising big for a steady but not spectacular wing is not usually a good move. But the Bulls are a threat this season and they need better play at the two spot, Parker will give them that. He is a veteran steady hand. The Cavs should not turn down anyone young with potential.

New York gets Joel Pryzbilla and Greg Oden; Portland gets Eddy Curry and Kelenna Azubuike. This has no chance of happening, but it’s a relatively harmless move for both sides because every deal is expiring. The Knicks need some more steady play in the paint without screwing up their cap, they get that with Pryzbilla. The Blazers certainly will try and may be ale to get more for Pryzbilla. But this gives them the chance to try out Azubuike and still clear out cap space at the end of the season. And they can still re-sign Oden. If they really want to.

New Orleans gets Chris Kaman; Los Angeles Clippers get Trevor Ariza, Marucs Banks, Marcus Thornton. We’re throwing this out there but frankly we’re not convinced we’d do it if we were the Hornets. New Orleans GM Dell Demps is working it hard right now to find some more help along the front line. Chris Kaman, when healthy, is a good NBA center. He can score, defend, makes smart plays. Chris Paul would like him. For the Clippers, they need to go with DeAndre Jordan at Center and this gives them some guys on the wing that would be a good fit with the current roster.

Okay, none of those are happening. But hopefully soon we can see something real to talk about.

Hawks, coach Mike Budenholzer agree to part ways

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This was expected.

It was pretty obvious Mike Budenholzer didn’t want to stick around and lose a lot of games with the Atlanta Hawks as they rebuild the next few years, especially after he had been stripped of his GM powers. Budenholzer went well down the road with the Phoenix Suns about their open coaching position before thinking better of it. Since then he has set up a meeting with the Knicks about their coaching vacancy, a job he reportedly wants badly.

At this point there was no need for the Hawks and Budenholzer to continue their sham marriage, so they have agreed to amicably separate, a story broken by Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN and since confirmed by the Hawks.

Budenholzer said this to Wojnarowski of ESPN:

“I am grateful for the five years that I spent as coach of the Atlanta Hawks, and will always cherish the incredible contributions, commitment and accomplishments of the players that I was fortunate enough to work with here,” Budenholzer told ESPN on Wednesday night. “From ownership to management, support staff to the community, I’ll look back with great pride on what we were able to achieve together with the Hawks.”

For Budenholzer, the long-time Spurs assistant and a strong Xs and Os coach, look for him to both push for the Knicks job and be in the running if/when the Milwaukee Bucks job opens up whenever their season ends. In both cases he’s a fit — those are teams that need a culture and system reset, and Budenholzer proved he can bring that to Atlanta (that was a good team before they let Al Horford and Paul Millsap walk for nothing).

With Atlanta, they likely will turn to a top assistant coach who will get a chance to develop young players on that team (and not cost Atlanta as much as an established coach). Stephen Silas of the Hornets is a rumored name, but there are others.

LeBron James overrules controversial finish with game-winning 3-pointer (video)

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LeBron James‘ turnover with the game tied late looked like a bad call. LeBron’s block of Victor Oladipo on the ensuing possession looked like a goaltend.

Did the Cavaliers get robbed of a crucial possession? Did the Pacers get robbed of two go-ahead points?

LeBron nullified those questions with a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to give Cleveland a 98-95 win and a 3-2 series lead. The game-winner capped a great game by LeBron (44 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists) and moves the Cavs to the verge of advancing.

When a team with home-court advantage can close out a best-of-seven series with a road Game 6, it has 52% of the time. It has won the series 92% of the time.

The odds are even better with LeBron. LeBron has won 11 straight closeout games, nine of them on the road. He’ll have another opportunity Friday with Game 6 in Indiana.

Raptors’ ‘culture reset’ shines in Game 5 win over Wizards

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The Raptors promoted ball movement. They emphasized 3-point shooting. They empowered their reserves.

This was why.

Backups Delon Wright and C.J. Miles and starting center Jonas Valanciunas – who was benched in previous postseasons due to his old-fashioned style, but expanded his game beyond the arc this year – scored Toronto’s final 18 points in a 108-98 Game 5 win over the Wizards on Wednesday. Stars DeMar DeRozan (0-for-4 from the field) and Kyle Lowry (0-for-1 from the field, 0-for-2 on free throws) struggled down the stretch, as the Raptors burst open what had been a one-point lead.

Though DeRozan (32 points) and Lowry (17 points and 10 assists) were good overall, they succumbed late in previous playoff games. Toronto didn’t want that duo stuck with the burden of creating so much in a stagnate offense.

Hence, Masai Ujiri’s famous “culture reset.”

The results have been mixed so far against a tougher-than-average-eight-seed Washington. But at least the Raptors – up 3-2 entering Friday’s Game 6 in Washington – are on the verge of advancing.

When a team with home-court advantage can close out a best-of-seven series with a road Game 6, it has 52% of the time. It has won the series 92% of the time.

Raptors honor victims of van attack before Game 5 (photos)

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TORONTO (AP) — The Toronto Raptors honored the victims the deadly van attack Monday with a moment of silence Wednesday night before Game 5 of their playoff series against the Washington Wizards.

Players from both teams held up banners with the hashtag #TORONTOSTRONG as they stood on the court during the tribute and the national anthems that followed:

The Raptors, the Wizards and the NBA will make a donation to a fund for victims and those affected by the incident.

Raptors President Masai Ujiri spoke about the attack after the Raptors practiced Tuesday.

“What we do doesn’t really matter sometimes,” Ujiri said. “I can’t imagine what it would be like to be on that sidewalk.”

Guard Kyle Lowry said he was impressed by the actions of Const. Ken Lam, who earned international acclaim for peacefully arresting of suspect Alek Minassian.

“In America he would definitely have been shot up,” Lowry said. “He did an amazing job of making a judgment call. I think more people could learn from that.”

Coach Dwane Casey was struck by how close the carnage occurred to his own Toronto neighborhood,

“It’s not too far from up the street from where I live,” Casey said.

Casey and his coaches were in the midst of a meeting Monday afternoon when assistant Rex Kalamian’s phone buzzed with someone informing him of the tragedy. The coaches stopped their meeting and turned on a television to find out what had happened.

“It’s very unfortunate,” Casey said. “Just this weekend I was talking to people saying how safe Toronto is, how it’s a melting pot and you don’t have the same crime. Hopefully though, sport can offer a relief, some reprieve.”

Like Casey, Ujiri said he is proud of Toronto’s reputation as a safe, welcoming place.

“Everywhere I go, I brag about this city,” Ujiri said. “It’s the safest place in the world. It’s the best city in the world and it’s going to continue to be the best place and the best city in the world.”

Toronto police said the 10 people killed and 14 injured in the attack were “predominantly” women, but have declined so far to discuss a motive. The 25-year-old Minassian has been charged with 10 counts of first-degree murder and 13 counts of attempted murder.