So after what seems to be confirmation that Brook Lopez is in fact going to remain "untouchable" in any new trade, I would like to offer my opinion on who in this league is untouchable for each team. Before we start here, I would also like to submit my view on what an untouchable is. To me, an untouchable is a player who is so good that you would be crazy to move them. This is also relative(see Detroit) because some players might become untouchable when paired with other players. This also assumes that an organization actually handles players in a smart manner, because you could always trade an untouchable for another untouchable if the mix of players then becmoes more cohesive.
I am sure this list is to be met with controversy, especially around NY, Miami, and NJ, but they are just my opinions, so here we go:
Dallas - Dirk Nowitzki. I have been convinced to change my opinion here. Dirk is the best shooting 7 footer to play the game. He hasn't won, and often crumbles under playoff pressure, but he is an incredible piece to build around. Something has to be said about being loyal to the franchise also. This is a tough call though because he so good in name, but has fell short many times when the team needed him most.
Houston - With Kyle Lowry really putting on a strong showing, that kind of makes Aaron Brooks a pretty good trade chip wouldn't you say? This is a team that has a lot of good talent, but no game changers. If I were the Rockets, I would probably make Battier the closest thing to an untouchable, but if the right deals come along, everyone can be moved here.
Memphis - Rudy Gay, Marc Gasol. Finally we have some clear cut untouchables. If you're the Grizzlies you want to do everything you can to build around those 2 guys. Gasol is a very talented center who does it all with no glaring flaws. He can also use his left hand almost as good as his right. The problem with the Grizzlies is that they seem to just be amassing talent just to amass talent, there is no blue print for the team. They need to move some other pieces around and decide what type of team they want to run.
New Orleans - Chris Paul. This is a no brainier here. I don't see anyone else that cant be moved.
San Antonio - Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili. Now similar to Dallas, this team is old, but unlike Dallas, these players have won, and won a lot. Tim Duncan is the best PF of all time, but I would do whatever I could to hold onto Ginobili. This guy is a game changer, and should be in the running for MVP this year.
Denver - Carmelo Anthony. You need to do what you can to build your team around a talent like this. PG's like Chauncey Billups and Allen Iverson are not the answer if you ask me.
Minnesota - Kevin Love. This is one of the highest values untouchables on this list. He is showing this year what he can do when given minutes, and respect. The organization probably already screwed up, and if I were Love I would split the second I get the chance. He is not a pure scorer, but scores with hard work, and that is invaluable. You can build a team around a talented scorer and still count on a guy like Love to grab you 15 boards a game and work for points, and now he has added the long ball to his arsenal.
Oklahoma City - Kevin Durant, Russel Westbrook. Ibaka really hurts Jeff Green here. Is Ibaka able to play big minutes at the C spot? If so, I think you do whatever you can to keep the big 3 together here, but Green's #1 ability is to score, and with Durant and Westbrook you really don't need to label him an untouchable. Try, but I only see to clear cuts here.
Utah - Deron Williams, Paul Millsap. I think you need to do whatever you can to keep these 2 guys together. Deron is a no brainer, but Milsap is one of those guys again that can do it all. I highly value those type of players. Al Jefferson gets left out here, but he comes pretty darn close. For now he is just a very good piece.
Golden State - Stephen Curry. It will be interesting to see how they can build team around a pure shooter at the PG spot, but he is an incredible talent. Ellis and Lee are good pieces.
Los Angeles - Clippers - Blake Griffin. Have you seen him play? If not, you should be ashamed. He is going to revolutionize not only the PF, but every other position. The most explosive second jump I have ever seen. Eric Gordon is a great young player, but he needs to show me more. Are this years #'s a fluke, or will he play more like last year when they get a consistent PG? If he keeps up this play with the aggressive driving and dishing I would include him on that untouchable list.
Los Angeles - Lakers - Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol. Not much to say here. They are getting up there in age but still have a few good years left to build around.
Phoenix - Steve Nash. It looks like the window has closed here, but Nash will be a great scorer and an assisting machine until he retires. Its too bad for the Suns they seem to be incapable of keeping players to surround Nash with.
Sacramento - Tyreke Evans. Another interesting player that is an incredible talent, but not positive will ever be a winner. Cousins is a mess, and causing trouble everywhere he goes. I wouldn't think twice about shipping him off.
Washington - John Wall. If he can get his body right he is out of this world. Andray Blatche is a good individual player, but he will always be a good player on a bad team unless he can all of a sudden figure out that he plays on a team. Javale McGee is very athletic, and if he can ever learn to control his body more and stop trying to dunk from the FT line, I could see him being moved to the untouchable list.
Orlando - Dwight Howard. Dwight is the only real untouchable here, and his extreme athletic ability makes up for his lack of having a natural knack for basketball. This is a centerless league after all, and Dwight is the best.
Miami - Chris Bosh, Dwayne Wade, Lebron James. Bosh is not the best, but he is still a guy to build around. Remember its a team game. Speaking of team... Lebron James. Lebron is a terrible player, and an amazing talent. I feel like he has become to big for his own good. Crowned the King before his first NBA game. The Heat only started clicking when Wade took over, and when the Heat falter its usually because they revert back to Lebron ball where he usually slows the game down to a snails pace so he can go 1on1 and force up a putrid fade away lebrick. The key to Lebron is less about himself, and more about having coaches and player to surround him with that will make him play to his strengths. There is no way the most athletic guy in the league should not be sprinting up the court whenever he can. This is why the Cavs never won, and the Heat will not if they revert back to it. Never the less, he is clearly an untouchable, but handle with care.
Charlotte - Sorry Charlotte, maybe if MJ suited up again, but you have no untouchables. Gerald Wallace is a menace to society, and no player on the court is safe from injury when he is near by, including his own team, and even spectators.
Atlanta - Al Horford, Joe Johnson, Josh Smith. Now there is a problem here. These untouchables are all too close in position. You have the 2,3, and 4 spots filled with untouchables and the 1 and 5 with near nobodies. I have always been a firm believer in spreading out the talent/ability. There needs to be at least one spot in between(unless you have Lebron who really plays a good point man). All 3 guys are above average passers for their positions as well. Getting past that though, all 3 guys are great NBA players, and Josh Smith was flat out snubbed last year from the all star team.
Indiana - Danny Granger. Granger can fill it up, and is very active on defense. He needs to be surrounded by a lot more though. Roy Hibbert is a good young center, but he needs to show some consistency. He has far to many stinkers to be an untouchable right now.
Detroit - Richard Hamilton, Tayshaun Prince. Talk about a mismanaged team. You have a hard worker do it all guy like Prince who can win you a game on both ends of the court, and you have the best off screen shooter in the league, and you mess that up? They are untouchable, especially together.
Cleveland - Sorry Cleveland. All good pieces, no untouchables.
Chicago - Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah, Carlos Boozer. This is what I was talking about with separating talent. Yeah they now have good 4 and 5's, but you have some distance with Rose being at the 1. Rose is Rose, Boozer can be great if he stays motivated and happy, and Noah is a great young Center who brings intensity, which is one of the most valuable assets.
Toronto - None. Sorry Andrea Bargnani, all you can do is score.
Philadelphia - Andre Iguodala. Man what ever happened to Elton Brand. A few years ago he would have been an instant lock for untouchable, now he is just another piece. Jrue Holiday doesnt impress me much, especially with the PG class being the most crowded. Iguodala is a multi talented SF who only has one flaw, which is his shot %.
New York - Raymond Felton, Amare Stoudemire, Wilson Chandler. This will cause some stir here on this board, but I even include Wilson Chandler as an untouchable. Chandler is one of those do it all guys that I just cant see replacing. He will win the game on both ends of the floor, and shoots at a great %. He has been consistent his whole career, and if he were on a team like the Nets last year I think he could have easily averaged 25 ppg. Amare is Amare, and I love Felton. People were bashing Felton from here to kingdom come when he was acquired by the Knicks, and he has done nothing but prove me right. On the Bobcats he did nothing but what he was asked by Larry Brown, and he is showing his versatility on the Knicks. If you throw out the small period of time where he was getting used to playing a completely different up tempo offense, he averages over 10 assists a game. He scores, has range, is a willing passer, and plays great D for his position.
Boston - Rajon Rondo, Paul Peirce, Kevin Garnett. Sorry Ray Allen, but you are just a very good addition to a team. Those other 3 untouchables are where the wins are going to come from. This is a perfect example again of why this is a team game. The big 3 had some luck, but nothing even close the luck when they put an entire team around them. Rondo is a great PG with great court vision, and a big mouth, which you need to motivate and lead.
New Jersey - ... Sorry to Nets fans(and me), but I see no clear cut untouchables here. I want to say Favors, but I have seen so many times a team think they have someone and hold on to them only to never have anything substantial develop. Especially with guys like Wall and Griffin out there, I dont want to gamble if I can get back a sure thing in return for a maybe/hopefully. I wouldn't just give him away, but I just don't want to label him untouchable. Brook is a fabulous scorer, who has never in his career shown me he can either play defense, or learn from his many mistakes. He is a good center in a centerless league, and league that sent Brad Miller to the Allstar game, and this year the selection of C's on in the West with Yao out is non existent. I see him as a good piece(depending on the surroundings obviously, like every other piece out there) and if he ever learned some more fundamentals He could definitely elevate himself to untouchable status.
Now the Job of the Nets is to go workout some deals in which we could steal some untouchables away from other teams who either don't know they have untouchables, or are too incompetent to actually do anything with them. I see A few options out there of teams that just aren't working well together and I don't see those organizations doing much about it. Hypothetically speaking, the best pairing I can see with a guy like Carmelo Anthony would be Kevin Love. These 2 players wouldn't do anything that would offset one another like what is happening on the Hawks for example, and they would both still put up numbers, and I think would both be better together.