Winderman: The “Take my Turkoglu, please” trade deadline

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The shame of the NBA trading deadline is that it does not follow the post-Christmas “Boxing Day” tradition of Canada and other countries, where you spend the day after sorting out the junk from the actual gifts.

In the NBA, it remains an all-in-one process, which is why, in this space over the past few days, you’ve read entries of, essentially, two(or more)-for-one packages that have been floated by potential deadline sellers.

Basically, the process has become a joke, a Henny Youngman-type joke, as in, “Take my Turkoglu, please.” (Kids, if you don’t get it, ask your parents or anyone who has vacationed in the Catskills.)

This is where the NBA, with its impending more-punitive luxury tax, has delivered us.

It is why some of the Dwight Howard speculation regarding deals that match up for Howard’s $18 million salary is wrong. The starting price in matching salaries is closer to $29 million, because you had better be prepared to take on Hedo Turkoglu’s salary, as well.

Ditto for Andrew Bogut reportedly coming on the market, but only if Stephen Jackson rides out of town on a sidecar.

Or the Wizards’ current plus-one offer of JaVale McGee with Andray Blatche along for that ride.

Until now, the term “trade kicker” when it came to a move was the added salary percentage a player would get if dealt. Now it actually embodies, well, an actual body.

For a team like Orlando, it’s almost mandatory, because even if you remove Howard’s $19.5 million 2012-13 salary from their payroll, the Magic only would drop to $48 million against the cap, hardly room for a replacement. Take away Turkoglu’s $12 million for 2012-13 as well, and at least there is wiggle room for some type of post-Dwight replacement part.

The two (or more)-for-one sales are not unique only to the Magic, Bucks and Wizards. Virtually every team that lived large under the less-punitive tax of the previous collective-bargaining agreement now is left with at least one salary skeleton in its closet, in each case a player underperforming a contract that extends beyond this season.

Among the plus-ones who could find themselves along for the ride at Thursday’s NBA trading deadline (with their 2012-13 salaries):

Atlanta’s Marvin Williams ($8.3 million).
Charlotte’s DeSagana Diop ($7.3 million).
Denver’s Chris Andersen ($4.5 million).
Los Angeles Clippers’ Ryan Gomes ($4 million).
Los Angeles Lakers’ Luke Walton ($5.8 million).
Minnesota’s Darko Milicic ($5.2 million).
New Jersey’s Jordan Farmar ($4.3 million).
New Orleans’ Jarrett Jack ($5.4 million).
Phoenix’s Hakim Warrick ($4 million).
Sacramento’s Francisco Garcia ($6.1 million).
Utah’s Raja Bell ($3.5 million).

Remember, though, a player acquired in a trade cannot later be subjected to the “amnesty” provision. So a team acquiring such a player, provided it has not already utilized the one-time provision, could not then simply discard the “plus-one” player via amnesty.

No, he (or at least his salary-cap burden) becomes theirs to keep.

Much like “Boxing Day,” there could be plenty left curbside this coming Friday.

Ira Winderman writes regularly for NBCSports.com and covers the Heat and the NBA for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. You can follow him on Twitter at @IraHeatBeat.

Remembering Notre Dame, Laker legend Tommy “the hawk” Hawkins

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Tommy Hawkins passed away recently at the age of 80.

The former NBA player was the first black athlete to earn All-America honors in basketball at Notre Dame (he still holds the school’s total rebounds record), was drafted in the first round, and went on to have a 10-year NBA career playing for the Minneapolis/Los Angeles Lakers as well as the Cincinnati Royals. Los Angeles fans may also remember him as the long time director of communications for the Los Angeles Dodgers after his playing days ended.

The NBA put together this well done video look back at Hawkins’ career.

Celtics’ Brad Stevens said early September tests will show if Thomas ready for camp

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Isaiah Thomas said he expects to be ready for the Celtics’ training camp next month. The guard’s All-NBA season came to an early end in the playoffs when he aggravated a labral tear in his right hip initially suffered back in March. At least the injury did not require surgery.

Players are also about the worst judges of when they will recover from an injury. They pretty much all think they are invincible and will be healthy faster than doctors predict.

Coaches tend to be more pragmatic. Take Boston’s Brad Stevens, who told Chris Mannix on The Vertical Podcast that tests in a couple of weeks will show if Thomas is ready for camp.

“He has another follow-up and another scan in the early part of September. Obviously, it’s been a lot of appropriate rest, a lot of rehab. There have been some good strides here certainly in the last month or few weeks, but we’re not going to know that until after that early September timeframe.”

The Celtics are understandably going to be cautious with Thomas, while Thomas wants to prove he is healthy and has no ill effects from the injury as he enters a contract year (one where he expects to get PAID). Also, the Celtics could use him in camp as they start to figure out how he and Gordon Hayward can share playmaking duties.

Still, from the outset, the timelines have suggested he should be ready for camp in late September. Coaches are just cautious on these things by nature.

Allen Iverson predicts LeBron James will win MVP

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LeBron James has four NBA MVP trophies in his case. (Does he keep that case in his home in Akron or the one in Los Angeles… that’s a question for another day.) Only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (six) and Michael Jordan (five) have more.

Could LeBron James add a fifth to his case this season?

Allen Iverson said yes at last weekend’s Big3 playoffs in Seattle.

LeBron was fourth in preseason odds to win the MVP at 15/2, behind Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant, and Kawhi Leonard.

To me, LeBron could be a good bet. If/when Kyrie Irving is traded, the chances of LeBron getting the MVP go up. If LeBron puts up impressive numbers (again) and leads a depleted Cavaliers team to a top two seed in the East, he is certainly going to be in consideration. And should be.

It’s a long season, and personally, I think you need to get midway through the season before seriously considering the year-end awards. But history says LeBron will be in the mix, and Allen Iverson could be proven prophetic.

Phoenix Suns with quality solar eclipse joke on Twitter

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With the cooler-than-I-expected solar eclipse on Monday came a lot of bad solar eclipse jokes on Twitter. Because that’s what Twitter does. Especially the NBA Twitterverse. We knew a lot of “where on the flat earth will Kyrie Irving watch the eclipse?” jokes were coming.

There were a couple of good ones, however.

Appropriately, the Phoenix Suns won the day.

One personal favorite here, an old meme that never goes out of style.