Updated: Feb. 14, 2007, 3:02 PM ET

Beware high Gasol prices

I was traded once in my career. The deal came on Christmas Eve. I flew from Atlanta to Houston on Christmas day.

Thanks, guys.

For today's players on the trading block, getting dealt on Valentine's Day might be a better deal, and give them a legitimate excuse why their gifts to wives/girlfriends might be late.

Right now, the biggest present out there is Pau Gasol.

The biggest suitor out there is Chicago. If I'm the Bulls, I'd do a deal. It could include Ben Gordon, Andres Nocioni and a draft pick. Or sub in Luol Deng or Kirk Hinrich. The question the Bulls would be asking themselves is if they want to break up their current combinations. But if they want to make a run in the playoffs, getting the Grizzlies center would install them as the team to beat in the East.

The Bulls are a jump-shooting team. Even the Suns have a post player in Amare Stoudemire, and Dallas has Dirk Nowitzki, Jerry Stackhouse and Josh Howard with those capabilities. You need that guy down low.

Of course, if I'm in Memphis, it's very unlikely I'd do almost any deal involving Gasol. He is an underrated player putting up terrific numbers on a bad team.

Also, if you deal him, the Grizzlies can't bank on getting Greg Oden or Kevin Durant in the draft, even if they finish with the worst record. If they keep him, then I'm sure they could still get quite a bit back for the pick should it turn out to be No. 1 or 2 and they want to make a deal.

Gasol could have a similar elevating effect on Washington. The Wizards don't seem to have a lot to offer outside their Big Three, but I'm sure they could part with Antawn Jamison in a package. Still, I don't see that one happening.

Another name out there on the block is Nets point guard Jason Kidd. The Lakers are one possibility.

I know the Nets have been talking about getting a new building. With Vince Carter potentially being a free agent at season's end, I think you're basically getting rid of both if you trade Kidd, because Vince won't come back if Kidd isn't there. Who's the face of franchise then going into a new home?

At this point, I'm not sure Kidd would bring that much back, given the money he makes (over $40 million combined in the next two years), his age and health.

When I was down in Miami Sunday working the ESPN on ABC game, the talk was of Clippers point guard Sam Cassell coming to the Heat. He's a scorer who needs the ball, a proven playoff guy who has a couple of rings and knows what it takes to win a championship.

But I don't know if Sam is the right kind of point guard for Miami. I think they need a point guard who is a knockdown 3-point shooter, the kind who will make opponents pay for doubling Shaq. Eddie Jones played well Sunday; Jason Kapono has the top 3-point shooting percentage in the league. You put a third guy out there who hits the 3 and that's big. The drawback is if the Heat traded James Posey, they'd be giving up their best defender.

Those are deals still in the works that might not happen. We had an actual deal on Tuesday when the Bobcats sent Melvin Ely to the Spurs for Eric Williams. Not earth-shattering. I think the Spurs might just need to play up-tempo a little more. I know Gregg Popovich emphasizes defense, but the Spurs look much better at a quicker pace.

ESPN analyst Jon Barry retired last year after 14 years in the NBA.

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Impressive Rap Sheet
Great white whales
AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh
Raptors forward Chris Bosh (25 points, 14 rebounds) looks to pass against Chicago's Kirk Hinrich, left, and Ben Wallace during a 112-111 win for the Raps, now 28-24.

Looking At You, Kidd
Jason Kidd

Mario: Jason Kidd to LA? Break it down like Legos for us, Marc.

Marc Stein: I honestly can't believe that the Nets would trade Kidd for Kwame Brown, expiring contracts to make up the difference and a future first-round pick or two. I realize Kidd isn't as young as he used to be. I realize Kidd still has two years and nearly $45 mil on his contract after this one. I know all the supposed strikes against him. But I'd like to think that the Nets can still get at least one player back who they're sure can, you know, actually help them right now. You're telling me that the Lakers are going to get a difference-maker like Kidd while keeping Odom and Bynum off-limits?

If it does happen, though, then the Lakers are all the way back. They're one player away, just like the Chatter Box informant said in my Weekend Dime recently.

Hold on, doorbell's ringing.

Sorry about that. My copy of the Amaechi book just arrived.

Anyway … one last thing on the Lakers. History shows that fortune always seems to deliver them an all-timer in hard-to-believe circumstances like these. So I won't be surprised at all if Kidd winds up there and the West gets that much sicker.

Vinnie (Newark, N.J.): Kidd couldn't take us to the next level, and we have Vince and RJ. The Lakers have Kobe, and sometimes Lamar Odom. Why would they want Kidd?

Marc Stein: What? Are you serious?

The Nets went to the Finals twice with Kidd. That's about five levels better than they ever were before. The Lakers would also have a topflight big man in their trio; Odom indeed ranks as a topflight 3/4 on this scorecard. So the Lakers -- to add Kidd to Kobe, Lamar and Bynum -- would throw in the Laker Girls to get this deal done.

Complete Marc Stein chat

Elias Says

Eddy Curry's dunk with 7.1 seconds remaining gave the Knicks a 107-106 win against the Lakers. In the last 10 years, only one other player made a field goal in the last 10 seconds of the game to give his team a one-point victory on the road against the Lakers: Antoine Walker hit a 3-pointer with 1.8 seconds left in the fourth quarter to give Boston a 109-108 win at the Staples Center on Feb. 19, 2002.

Elias Sports Bureau | More from Elias

Records At A Glance

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AP Photo/Morry Gash
Bucks guard Earl Boykins (5-5) runs into a screen by 7-foot Mavs forward Dirk Nowitzki. The Mavericks won 99-93.

Extreme Behavior
Dirk Nowitzki

Tuesday's Best
Mavs forward Dirk Nowitzki: Down 16 in the second half to Milwaukee? No problem for Dirk's 43-9 team. He nets 38 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists in the Mavs' 99-93 win over the Bucks.

Chris Paul

Tuesday's Worst
Hornets guard Chris Paul: First, the good news. Ten assists. But when you miss all seven of your shots in a 108-104 loss to lowly Memphis, then it's safe to say CP3 shot more like C3PO.

Quote of the Day
"A lot of people don't give him a lot of respect. He should have been MVP the last two years for what he's done for this team. I think he's proven his point."
-- Mavs forward Josh Howard, on teammate Dirk Nowitzki

See how all 143 who played stacked up
Playoff matchups if season ended now

-- Andrew Ayres

Daily Dish: Reviewing Cats
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Chad Ford talks about the key issues surrounding the Charlotte Bobcats. What's wrong with Adam Morrison? What will Michael Jordan's role be and how will it affect Bernie Bickerstaff?

Daily Dish: Ammo's challenges

No Oden, Durant? A KU Consolation Prize
Julian Wright

Kansas forward Julian Wright has been an enigma all season. On talent, he's just a step behind Kevin Durant and Greg Oden. But on production it's been a different story. With the exception of his total first-half domination of Florida on national television, Wright has too often tried to meld into the background. Lately he's been increasing his aggressiveness defensively and on Saturday, he blew up on the offensive end, dropping 33 points and 12 boards (8 offensive) on Missouri.

Wright has such a unique game that scouts believe he can be, like Durant, a unique type of player in the league. He's long, athletic, is a brilliant passer … he just needs to shoot. Yes, the jump shot is shaky, but he's got the talent to score in just about every other way. Games like the Mizzou outburst remind scouts of just how special he is. A few more like that, and his place in the top five of the NBA draft should be secured.

Complete Chad Ford blog

Dime Mailbag: And Another Thing …
Baron Davis

Reading your article on guys whose game is going to step up once their physical abilities erode … Baron Davis. This guy could have been better than Jordan, but he always played recklessly and it caught up to him early on. I believe he had knee problems before UCLA, at UCLA, and now after UCLA in the pros and the guy is still amazing.
-- David Pollack (Los Angeles)

The reason that C-Webb's play has been so much better in Detroit is because in Philly he was a malcontent and he was dogging it almost the entire time. Remember all of his whining and back-biting about AI and worrying about getting his shots, and all of the feigned injuries that he couldn't play thru?
-- West Trenton

I just have one comment on your midseason grades for the Miami Heat. I agree about giving them a C- but to say that Dwyane Wade is the only one giving it his all is a bunch of crap. There's no doubt that Wade is the best player on the team, but you shouldn't have included Alonzo Mourning as part of the -.500 jokers.
-- Bryan (Miami)

One key element I see with the Pistons, especially Sheed and Webber, is that they appear to once again be having fun. Sheed looks to be rejuvenated because he can now roam around the perimeter which opens his options. It's no secret for Detroit. When Sheed is "feeling it," they are very capable of blowing open any game because they are playing better team defense. Webber's passing and enthusiasm is becoming contagious and their recent success directly displays this.
-- David Greene (Alameda, Calif.)


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