Imagine you have a friend who just emerged from a coma-like state after being unconscious from late October until mid-April, just in time for the NBA playoffs. Ignore the unrealistic nature of this premise and stay with me for a minute.
You are both huge NBA fans, and you need to explain to your friend the insanity of this season. (Also, you have a bit of an uneasy relationship with this friend. Let’s be honest — this friend can be a tool sometimes, and you discuss this friend with your other friends and become closer with your other friends by complaining about this friend.)
In certain situations, we could see some trades that functionally swap one big man for another in an attempt to change dynamics and alleviate a strained relationship. However, the problem with negotiating and projecting those types of moves is that they require general managers who have either different evaluations of the players in question or different constraints in terms of desired contracts.
That becomes even more complicated because many of the teams with centers on their trade block do not want one in return, so it would be hard for the conversation to even occur. They arise from larger negotiations but could be hard to sell their owners and fan bases on.
Even with all those elements in place, part of the fun of this offseason will be seeing which front offices misread the situation and keep up the tradition of overpaying seven-footers. The same structural factors were in place last summer, and numerous teams still bit the bullet. The same will happen this July.