NBA Rumors: One Trade Every Team Should Make Before the Deadline
NBA Rumors: One Trade Every Team Should Make Before the Deadline
With the NBA trade deadline just over one week away, all 32 teams are faced with a series of decisions: Are we buyers or sellers? Which contracts do we want to try and unload? What does our draft position look like? What about our future roster?
Last season's trade deadline was a straight bonanza with stars like Nikola Vucevic, Evan Fournier, Aaron Gordon, and Norman Powell switching squads. But it's often under-the-radar moves like the Bucks acquiring P.J. Tucker or the Suns acquiring Torrey Craig that can help push a squad over the edge.
As we approach Thursday, February 10th, let's take a look at a solution for each NBA team.
NBA Trade Deadline
Trade John Collins or Danilo Gallinari for a defensive forward
The Hawks are in the awkward position of needing to shed salary but also fighting to stay alive in the playoff race after a surprise trip to the Eastern Conference Finals last year. Collins or Gallinari would help get their books in order and would provide them with some much needed frontcourt or wing defense. They have enough offensive firepower with Trae Young, Clint Capela, Kevin Huerter, and Bogdan Bogdanovich.
Trade Dennis Schroeder for draft picks or a backup big man
Schroeder has been a reliable source of points this year, but there are plenty of teams who would pay for a point guard for a playoff run (Cavaliers, Lakers, Nuggets, etc.), The Celtics can still make a run with Marcus Smart and Payton Pritchard (who is averaging 13 points, five rebounds and five assists per 36 minutes).
Trade for Justin Holiday
With Kevin Durant sidelined with injury for a a while longer, it has become evident that the Nets need a reliable 3-and-D wing player. Holiday makes almost nothing in NBA terms ($6 million) and can be a reliable bench piece when Durant returns. We know the Pacers are going to be sellers so the price should be right.
Trade for Myles Turner
The Pacers being the centerpiece of several trades will be a theme this year. Charlotte's defense ranks 26th in the NBA and they badly need an upgrade at Center. Turner and his shot-blocking and rebounding ability would solve both of those problems in a hurry.
Spend 2nd-round draft picks or trade exceptions on veteran bench players
The Bulls currently have the outright lead in the East even without Lonzo Ball and Alex Caruso, so we likely won't see them do too much. Ayo Dosunmu has been a revelation and they still have Coby White lurking, but he is their only reliable bench option. They need a veteran presence (likely a wing player) to stabilize the bench which currently consists of White, Matt Thomas, Troy Brown and Tyler Cook.
Trade for a backup point guard
Dennis Schroeder certainly might be a fit here as the Cavaliers are still looking to replace minutes left behind by the Ricky Rubio and Collin Sexton injuries. But if the Cavs choose to prioritize defense with another guard, they could go after someone like Eric Gordon and let Darius Garland continue to cook at point guard.
Trade Dorian Finney-Smith for draft picks
The Mavericks are somewhat stuck in terms of salaries, but we know they will want to try and resign Jalen Brunson who will be a free agent this offseason. Finney-Smith is also a free agent this year and makes just $4 million. That's pennies to a team who needs a defensive stopper on the wings for a playoff run. That would free up a little money for Brunson and the Mavs can just slide Reggie Bullock into the starting lineup to try and continue their rise in the West.
The Nuggets solidified their bench by trading for Bryn Forbes and signing DeMarcus Cousins. Now they need to just continue their solid play (7-3 in their last 10) until they can get Jamal Murray back towards the end of the season. If they must make a move? Trade Jeff Green for a power forward with more defensive chops.
Trade Jerami Grant for the best draft picks possible
Grant's name has popped up all over the place recently in trade rumors. With just this year and next left on his contract, Grant and his $20 million deal could easily be the final piece of some contender's puzzle to get them to the later rounds of the playoffs. This is probably pie in the sky thinking, but the Grizzlies have missed Dillon Brooks all year and have multiple first-round draft picks in 2022...
Golden State Warriors
Sign veterans in the buyout market
Truthfully, all the Warriors really need to do is get completely healthy. But if they are looking to fortify their roster, they can shop around in the veteran bin after several of them are bought out following the trade deadline. Finding some battle-tested playoff veterans would make them even more formidable.
Trade all of Christian Wood, Eric Gordon, and Daniel Theis for draft picks
I personally feel like Wood should be a part of the rebuild with Kevin Porter and Jalen Green but it doesn't seem the Rockets feel that way. Basically only Porter and Green should be the two untouchables as the Rockets look to the future. I am sure they would love to find a suitor for John Wall's $40+ million contract this year and next, but that is HIGHLY unlikely. Theis' contract also is problematic, but much less so than Wall.
Trade everyone not named Chris Duarte or Malcolm Brogdon for first-round picks
If the Pacers could trade Brogdon as well, I'm sure they would. But Brogdon has a trade restriction and can not be moved this season. But all the rest of Caris LaVert, Myles Turner, Domantas Sabonis, Justin Holiday, Torrey Craig, and Jeremy Lamb should be available. Their terrible 19-33 record is likely telling the Pacers' brass that they had their shot with this group and the assets they can demand are worth more than one or two pieces that could potentially help them move up a spot or two in the East standing.
Los Angeles Clippers
Trade away veterans like Eric Bledsoe, Marcus Morris, and Serge Ibaka for draft picks
According to Spotrac, the Clippers are currently looking at a $93 million luxury tax bill if nothing changes. That's problematic considering the Clippers are likely going to make the playoffs, but do it without Paul George and Kawhi Leonard. The Clippers have several friendly contracts like Terrance Mann ($1.7 million), Nic Batum ($3.1 million) and Isaiah Hartenstein ($1.7 million), but they need to move on from the veterans who will sink their salary cap.
Los Angeles Lakers
Trade for someone, anyone to play some defense
The Lakers are in a horrible position in terms of trades with so much of their roster tied up in huge salaries of their big three. I suppose someone like the Rockets would trade Eric Gordon for a group of veterans on expiring contracts and a draft picks. Justin Holiday might fit as well. But the Lakers will need to find a team that is willing to accept their expiring junk in return. Only tanking teams without a plethora of young pieces would consider it.
Trade Tyus Jones, Jarrett Culver, and a first-round draft pick for Harrison Barnes
The Grizzlies are the surprise elite team of the year and now have their sites set on a long playoff run. They have three first-round picks in 2022 which combined with one of their logjam backcourt options could net them a replacement at the 3/4 for Dillon Brooks. In this deal, Sacramento could get rid of Barnes and gain a draft pick plus two expiring deals. The Grizzlies are currently projected to be $19 million under the cap and Barnes makes $18.4 million next year.
Nothing + Get Victor Oladipo geared up for the playoffs
The Heat have received tremendous contributions from players like Caleb Martin and Omer Yurtseven when their big guys have missed time, so it's clear they have a deep roster ready to compete. They will make their big addition when Victor Oladipo is ready to join the team, potentially in February. At that point, they will be nine deep with quality players and ready for the Eastern Conference gauntlet.
Trade for a Center
The Bucks are in a precarious situation with their salary cap up against the luxury tax threshold. But they also have spent the year without Brook Lopez and need to fortify the position before the postseason. Bobby Portis has been excellent for them, but Giannis can't continue to be his backup in the postseason. Perhaps trading Donte DiVencenzo for someone like Daniel Theis or Paul Millsap (small ball lineup) makes sense.
Trade Taurean Prince for Marvin Bagley III
This is a fun little trade to consider. Prince does not play in this Minnesota rotation, but the Timberwolves could use a backup PF/C as it becomes more clear that they are going to make the postseason. Bagley could back up both Vanderbilt and Towns and give some bench rebounding and scoring the Wolves seem to lack. Sacramento gets an expiring contract and the numbers work as these two make within about $1 million of each other.
New Orleans Pelicans
Trade Josh Hart + trade exception for Buddy Hield
At this point, the Pelicans are likely playing for next year and hoping/praying Zion Williamson is happy enough to stay with the team. It might entice him to do so if the Pelicans picked up another scorer or playmaker like Hield. Williamson doesn't have to battle Hart for rebounds when he returns and Hield is with them for a few years. The Kings get control of a young all-around player plus a huge trade exception that can become assets in future deals.
New York Knicks
Trade Kemba Walker for a point guard they actually like
A trade that might make some sense is Kemba plus a future first/second-rounder plus a throw-in for Spencer Dinwiddie. Adding an impact player like Dinwiddie would likely catapult the Knicks to a playoff spot and the Wizards would only be tied to one more year of Kemba Walker. Walker has battled injuries this year, so trading him might be tough. But it's clear both of these guards are on the teams that no longer want them.
Oklahoma City Thunder
Trade for one of the league's terrible contracts plus draft picks
The Thunder already own at least four picks in the 2022 draft, so why not add some more or add on to the 2023 draft haul. They are far under the salary cap so could take on a Westbrook or Wall if the Lakers or Rockets wanted to move them and give up picks. Draft pick compensation would certainly have to come with those players and the Thunder could shed players like Derrick Favors or Ty Jerome. According to Spotrac, the Thunder currently are projected to be $57 million under the cap. Dort plus SGA plus Giddey plus some stud rookies and free agents is a solid team.
Trade Terrance Ross for draft picks
The Magic will be in a rebuild for a while after they sent Vucevic, Gordon, and others packing at last year's trade deadline. It does seem to be fast-tracked with how well Cole Anthony, Franz Wagner and Jalen Suggs have performed, plus they still have Mo Bamba who will be a restricted free agent and the ghost of Markelle Fultz is still lurking. Many playoff teams would fight over Ross and his instant offense off the bench.
Actually make up their minds about Ben Simmons
Listen, Daryl Morey. Ben Simmons is a pariah right now. His value is not going up and no one is willing to pay what you are likely asking. If Morey is serious about wanting James Harden or another megastar this offseason, he is going to have to get Simmons' contract off the books. He will eventually have to take what he can get. Embiid plus Harris plus strong role players like Tyrese Maxey and Seth Curry could really get somewhere with a third star added to the mix. But no one is trading their stars for Simmons this year.
Shop Dario Saric and Jalen Smith for more defense
You aren't getting anything out of these players this year, so why not send their expiring contracts to another team for even more defense. One of the top defensive teams in the league can just get richer with an addition like Robert Covington, Norman Powell, or Paul Millsap.
Portland Trail Blazers
Trade McCollum, Covington, and Nurkic to get one more run with Damian Lillard
It's getting late early for Damian Lillard's NBA career. He may not actually come back this season with the Blazers with a record nine games under .500. But if they trade McCollum for a young star and get something back for the expiring contracts of Nurkic and RoCo, they could be a serious player in free agency this year. They have already seen how great Anfernee Simons, Norman Powell, Larry Nance and Nassir Little can be. Give Lillard another star and let that team start to cook.
Trade Hield, Bagley, Barnes, and Thompson for draft picks or young assets
More than 15 years out of the playoffs and this team isn't getting in either. It's time to blow it up and start over with De'Aaron Fox, Tyrese Halliburton and perhaps Richaun Holmes.
San Antonio Spurs
Trade Thaddeus Young for draft picks
Young has already been very vocal about his role in San Antonio and it's clear he wants to be on a playoff contender this year before his contract expires. San Antonio should add draft picks so they can cheaply add to their locked-up core of Dejounte Murray, Derrick White, Doug McDermott and Jakob Poeltl. The Spurs also project to be $16 million under the salary cap so they have room for an impact player this offseason as well.
Trade Goran Dragic's expiring contract for some scorers
Despite not getting a single thing from Dragic this year, the Raptors have managed to play really well after their COVID issues. They are now eighth in the East and are making a climb up the rankings. With just the 25th best field goal percentage in the league, the Raptors need some scoring and three-point shooting, particularly off the bench. Players like Eric Gordon, Jeremy Lamb or Caris LeVert might make sense.
Trade for a wing to replace Joe Ingles
After losing Joe Ingles to a torn ACL, the Jazz will be in the market for a shooting guard/small forward type who can fill that role. I imagine they would be unwilling to move any of their core pieces of Conley, Gobert, Mitchell, Clarkson, O'Neale of Bogdanovich, so it may have to be a move for second-round draft picks plus a guy like Rudy Gay.
Trade Spencer Dinwiddie
Reports out of Washington lately are very concerning and are unanimous that both sides want a separation. There will be plenty of suitors and the Wizards could look to spread out that salary among point guards and wing players. They are seemingly set with big men with Thomas Bryant, Montrezl Harrell and Davis Bertans, but they just need those guys to stay healthy.
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