During my time in the Phoenix Suns' front office, I always marveled at a phenomenon I like to call the "ecstasy of gold" -- borrowed from the old Westerns where men searching for gold will often turn on each other as they get closer to it. Teams that get close enough to a championship often make irrational decisions, going against their principles and fiscal responsibilities in an effort to capture the ultimate prize. It is a dangerous game, as going all-in for a trade may actually hasten the closing of the contention window.
Previously, I highlighted the top trade deadline deals since 2008. One of the main features in each of these trades was the ability to set the team up for success not only in the current season but also for seasons to come. Often, contenders that feel they are "one piece away" from a title will consider deals that mortgage their futures in exchange for that piece.
However, history shows that over the past 25 years there have been just three midseason deals -- Mark Aguirre to Detroit, Clyde Drexler to Houston, Rasheed Wallace to Detroit -- where a team acquired a player who would play more than 24 minutes per game for them and win the championship in the same year. So when a contender makes a move to put itself over the top, there needs to be an outlook that extends beyond the here and now.
Here's a look at five of the rumored deals involving current contenders and whether they make sense beyond this season.