Evaluating a Four (and a Half) Team Trade

Multiple team trades in the NBA are not common events. Four team trades are a rarity. Four team trades with a fifth team involved in the periphery are as rare as championships in Cleveland. So today’s Pacers-Hornets-Rockets-Nets with a little Raptors on the side partty presents a unique opportunity to break out my analysis toolbox for a spin.

As always wins are generated using the Wins Produced model. The salary numbers come from Hoophype.

The Principals:

There were seven players involved in the two trades (summarized in the table below):

So the big piece in this trade is Murphy with Ariza and Posey being complementary pieces and Collison being all about potential.

What does it Mean for 2011?:

If I do a quick and dirty projection based on averages for the last 3 years for minutes, weighted averages for ADJP48 and the position adjustments for 2010 reveals:

By team:

  • The Nets are definitely improved. They added a super productive PF to Pair with their productive Center (Lopez) and their rookie PF (Favors) at the cost of a below average SG & $1o million in salary (which is pocket change for their owner). Murphy will be helped by the fact that he can play more minutes at the 4. Grade : A+
  • Indiana traded a productive player away but they have pieces with potential there. They replaced it well particularly if Collison is their starter and they move TJ Ford. They also saved money  Grade : B waiting on the possible TJ Ford trade
  • Houston saved money and cleared some space in their backcourt (hello Chase Budinger). Grade : B
  • Toronto saved money and dumped some bad players. It’s rebuilding time in Canada.Grade : A
  • The Hornets just drove up the price of FreeChrisPaul.com. They saved money yes but they got much worse. Grade : F for Free Chris Paul

Seriously this is going fast!!!!

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    • 8/11/2010

      True. The defense adjusment is still something of a work in process. His three Year avgs. and the fact that i expect him to play a lot more at PF still make it a win for the Nets though.

      See here
      For his opponent stats. WinScore of the opponent is:
      As a PF: .05 better than expected which is about .081 in WP48 or 3.9 Wins @2311 MP
      As a C: .092 better than expected which is about .148 in WP48 or 7.1 Wins @2311 MP
      Overall: .071 better than expected which is about .115 in WP48 or 5.5 Wins @2311 MP
      So if he’s primarily a PF he’s good for about 9 to 10 wins (more if he reverts to 2009 form)

      • Austin

        Alright, that seems more reasonable and makes more sense. I gotta remember to consult that QCH page. Thanks!

  1. Chicago Tim

    I knew I could count on you for a quick analysis!

    • 8/11/2010

      Yes. It caught my attention and diverted me from the planned post for the day (which was either a post on the Jazz or the start of a series on Wins over Replacement Level :-))

  2. 8/11/2010

    It’s mind-boggling to me that the best NOH could do with Collison is Ariza. The kid has loads of potential and was above average as a rookie playing PG.

    I’m curious to see how this impacts NJ. If some of their young guys (i.e., Lopez) improve, and if Harris returns to form, they could actually improve dramatically from last season.

    • 8/11/2010

      I think they have to improve. Their Frontcourt is set and they have some pieces in the backcourt (Morrow & Harris) . This team could be fighting for that 8th seed. We will see.

  3. 8/11/2010


    Maybe they missed? Maybe NOH was targeting Murphy based on our analysis, got confused by the four team thing and then ended up with Ariza. . . .maybe? If he stops shooting threes though it may help out NOH. I still don’t see them as playoff material.

  4. Tom Mandel

    I agree with your analysis — hard not to. Also, as usual, your framing is witty and entertaining. I love that freechrispaul.com is still available!

    Yet, can you tell me — methodologically — why it’s preferable to use Ariza’s ’09-10 WP48 rather than his much better ’08-9 WP48 in analyzing his value in the trade?

    Obviously, it’s a more recent number — but is that fact a defensible methodological justification? After all, the previous two years provide more minutes, i.e. a better dataset.

    Am I wrong to say that the value of your analysis is virtually *entirely* in the data you use? And that the rest is not much more than arithmetic?

    Hence, how much confidence do you have that the data you use is the right data to assess this trade? And what justifies that confidence?

    • 8/11/2010

      Thanks for the complement.
      I started to write an epic reply but once I cracked open the Minitab it became a post. I’m putting it up at midnight.

  5. Tom Mandel

    Cool. I’ll go off and read it right now!

  6. Leon

    This trade is great news! The nets might win some games, the raptors have improved. It might justify slightly paying £39 (nearly $60) to watch these two play in London….

  7. […] kind of thing wouldn’t happen, since the trade is so mismatched, but the Nets might have just done even better when they moved Courtney Lee for Troy Murphy in the big four team trade.  Sadly, the Nets […]

  8. Ben R.

    I think there’s a good chance Ariza returns to his old form on the Lakers–he’s can’t make his own shot enough to be an efficient volume shooter, but when he picks his spots and does the dirty work, only taking easy shots he finds in the flow of the game, he’s much more effective. In New Orleans hopefully with Chris Paul running the team and some other good pieces he’ll return to being more of a complimentary player, a role he’s good at (and that he produces wins at). Then again, if they ask him to be the number 2 scorer and he keeps chucking up jump shots…scratch all that.

    The point being that it could not be quite as much of a bust for the Hornets as you say (though agreed, they could still get way better value for Collison, and Posey too to a lesser extent)

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