Thursday, February 16, 2017

10 NBA Trade Deadline Deal Ideas

With the NBA trade deadline right around the corner, on February 23rd, here are 10 trades that I could personally either see happening, want to see happen or just plain makes sense that it could happen. Keep in mind that these trades are all independent of one another, so there are multiple trades that include some of the same trade pieces.

Trade #1: Lou Williams Returns To The Atlanta Hawks

Atlanta Hawks receive Lou Williams
Los Angeles Lakers receive Tiago Splitter and 2018 1st Round 1-14 Protected Pick (Minnesota)

Why This Makes Sense For Atlanta: The Hawks have went from a team who were considered to be blowing things up when they traded Kyle Korver to the Cavaliers, to a team who is looking to add on to their playoff push toward becoming a top 4 team in the East. Lou Williams would seem to fit perfectly as some fire power off the bench as well as a veteran presence to keep the young guards in check and he also fits due to his familiarity with the organization as he played for Atlanta for 2 seasons from 2012 to 2014.

Why This Makes Sense For Los Angeles: The Lakers are going with a youth movement that obviously does not include Lou Williams. Trading Williams will not only free up more playing time for their young backcourt in Jordan Clarkson and D'Angelo Russell but it also adds some much needed pressure in not having Lou Williams as a crutch in crunch time. Another plus to trading Lou Williams for the sake of the Lakers future is the fact that he recently spoke out against tanking due to not wanting to lose his job to a rookie, which if the Lakers want to lose on purpose, that attitude has to scare the Lakers brass a little bit.

Why This Trade Will Not Happen: If Lou Williams is traded, he will likely go to the highest bidder. Los Angeles may want to trade him to a contender and a team that he has history with but if Atlanta's offer is not the best, I am doubting that the Lakers have too much loyalty to him to not just trade him anywhere. The future of their franchise is more important to them than making Lou Williams feel good about where he is being dealt. Also Atlanta trading 1st round pick in 2018, no matter how protected, may be too steep a price for the Hawks to pay for a guy that may not be on the team past that draft.

Trade #2: LeBron Gets His Playmaker And Big Man
Cleveland Cavaliers receive Darren Collison and Kosta Koufos
Sacramento Kings receive Iman Shumpert, Jordan McRae, Kay Felder and 2017 2nd Round 31-55 Protected Pick (Charlotte)

Why This Makes Sense For Cleveland: The Cavaliers find themselves in a pickle caused by being the highest payroll in the NBA with an unhappy generational star that has left them once before. LeBron caused a stir about a month ago when he called out management saying that they needed another playmaker and another big man. If the Cavaliers have learned from their mistakes during LeBron's first go around in Cleveland, they will get him what he wants and this trade will do that for them. Especially now with the injury of Kevin Love, Kosta Koufos could be more important to them now than when LeBron initially asked for the help.

Why This Makes Sense For Sacramento: The Kings seem to always be in a constant state of rebuilding and this will give them something in return for Darren Collison who will be a free agent at the end of the season. Jordan McRae and Kay Felder could play minutes for this Kings team this year and hopefully in the future. Iman Shumpert could also be a huge part of this trade if he can increase his trade value with being more of a focal point in the Sacramento offense playing off of Rudy Gay and DeMarcus Cousins to the point that he could be moved for more future assets next season.

Why This Trade Will Not Happen: Sacramento is not getting a whole lot in return for Kosta Koufos in this deal. The pick is meaningless as it will most likely not be exchanged as Charlotte will not finish with one of the best 5 records and they could likely wait for Cleveland to make another trade that they need a roster spot for where they may release McRae or Felder in the process. Iman Shumpert may also prove to be more of a risk than potential reward. Adding a volatile Shumpert to a volatile superstar in DeMarcus Cousins could be a recipe for disaster in an already dysfunctional franchise.

Trade #3: Celtics Add A Big Man To Their Young Core

Boston Celtics receive Nikola Vucevic
Orlando Magic receive Terry Rozier, Tyler Zeller, 2018 1st Round 1-14 Protected Pick (Boston) and 2017 2nd Round Pick (Minnesota)

Why This Makes Sense For Boston: The Celtics missed out on Serge Ibaka due to an unwillingness to part with Terry Rozier, they will not make that mistake when it comes to Vucevic. Ibaka has 1 year left on his contract but Vucevic has 3 years, making him a more attractive option for the Celtics to add to their core. Not to mention,Vucevic had almost become taken for granted with Orlando but I feel like a team like Boston would appreciate his abilities. And Tyler Zeller has fallen out of favor in Boston's rotation of big men which would push him even further out with Nikola Vucevic added to the equation which makes him expendable.

Why This Makes Sense For Orlando: The Magic have been trying to figure out what exactly has gone wrong with their promising future as they have taken a step back this season. Frank Vogel is most definitely looking to shake things up with his new team and trading Vucevic for two new young pieces in Rozier and Zeller for Vogel to figure out if they can fit into his vision for the new Orlando Magic future. The 2 draft picks also give the Magic some more much needed fire power whether it be future players or future trades.

Why This Trade Will Not Happen: Boston held firm on not trading Terry Rozier, which may mean they see him as a bigger part of the Celtics future than other teams believe that he is which would mean they wouldn't give him away so easily in a deal for Vucevic either. Orlando may not want to trade away another big guy after trading away Serge Ibaka to Toronto for Terrence Ross, especially a player who has been one of their most consistent players over the past few years in Vucevic unless they were receiving a more essential piece to replace him with right now.

Trade #4: Utah Receives Help For Their Playoff Push

Utah Jazz receive Ricky Rubio
Minnesota Timberwolves receive Dante Exum

Why This Makes Sense For Utah: The Jazz find themselves looking at the cream of the crop in the West in a battle for home court advantage in the first round. Shaking things up may not be their best interest but getting a player of Ricky Rubio's ability without giving up a player who has played a role in their success this season. Losing such a high recent draft pick in Dante Exum would sting a little bit but not completely if Rubio can bring depth and stability to the point guard rotation not only for this playoff run but for future playoff runs as well.

Why This Makes Sense For Minnesota: The Timberwolves have had a changing of the guard since Rubio was considered a major part of their future. With Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns as the new faces of the franchise and Zach Lavine and Kris Dunn as options at point guard, trading Ricky Rubio has been a long time coming. In this deal, the Timberwolves receive another combo guard with the potential to be a huge piece of their future rotation if new coach Tom Thibodeau can light a fire under the former #5 overall pick of the 2014 draft.

Why This Trade Will Not Happen: Utah has had a successful season up to this point and may not have any interest in making any drastic changes to their rotation. Dante Exum has never fully returned from his ACL injury in his rookie year and this could not only cause Utah to worry about giving up on him too quickly but also could cause Minnesota to worry about the return Exum could actually offer them for parting with Ricky Rubio when they could potentially receive a future pick or additional big man help as opposed to yet another guard to add to their collection.

Trade #5: Russell Westbrook Gets Some Scoring Help

Oklahoma City Thunder receive Wilson Chandler
Denver Nuggets receive Alex Abrines and 2018 2nd Round Pick (Oklahoma City)

Why This Makes Sense For Oklahoma City: The Thunder had come into this season looking to recover from the loss of Kevin Durant, especially in the scoring department. Russell Westbrook has done anything and everything they possible could to make up for the loss but they still find themselves at the bottom of the West standings with looking for help. This is where a player like Wilson Chandler could be a huge help. When healthy, Chandler has shown he can be an effective scorer in this league and with the Nuggets rotation looking to be overloaded, he could be a huge asset for Oklahoma City on their road to the playoffs.

Why This Makes Sense For Denver: The Nuggets have a very crowded rotation on a young team that will only look to get younger during this trade deadline. Injuries have overshadowed the ability of Wilson Chandler since the Carmelo Anthony trade and this may finally be the time that they can rid themselves of him and bring in another young piece to their somewhat scattered puzzle. Alex Abrines is a bit of a wildcard in this trade as he could potentially find himself as a rotational piece for the Nuggets but this trade would be more about freeing up playing time for their current players than it would be about acquiring Abrines.

Why This Trade Will Not Happen: The Thunder may not want to acquire an oft-injured scorer by giving up a young player that has played well for them. Chandler will most definitely help in the Thunder scoring department when he is healthy but with the way that Westbrook is rolling right now, lack of chemistry between Chandler and Westbrook may rear it's ugly head in the Thunder's post-Durant season. Denver may also be able to receive more in return for Wilson Chandler, such as a protected first round pick in this upcoming deep draft.

Trade #6: Houston Rockets Add Another Shooter
Houston Rockets receive Danilo Gallinari
Denver Nuggets receive Corey Brewer, K.J. McDaniels and 2017 1st Round 1-14 Protected Pick (Houston)

Why This Makes Sense For Houston: The Rockets look at themselves as a championship contender and if they really want to be a contender, they need to add as many weapons as they possible can. One weapon that has been rumored to be on the trade market and that also fits with Houston's shoot threes and get to the free throw line mentality is Danilo Gallinari. Gallinari, when healthy, could be that number two scorer for the Rockets after being the number one option for the Nuggets ever since being traded for Carmelo Anthony.

Why This Makes Sense For Denver: The Nuggets add themselves a 1st round pick in what is widely considered a very deep draft in 2017 along with a young defensive minded wing in K.J. McDaniels who can be added to their already young and stacked rotation. This trade will be a little more about the changing of the guard in freeing up minutes with trading Gallinari than it would be about adding pieces, but McDaniels and the late 1st round draft pick is definitely a nice enough return for the Nuggets.

Why This Trade Will Not Happen: The Rockets may not have enough to entice the Nuggets enough to trade away Gallinari, especially if the Nuggets ultimately decide to trade Wilson Chandler. The price for Gallinari may be too steep that it would take away from their depth that has made them so successful this season. Denver does not have to trade Gallinari, especially if they still view him as a part of their future. The Rockets may need to figure out a way to give up a little more to get Gallinari but as they sit at the top of the West elite, they may not feel as though the addition is quite worth how much they would be giving up.

Trade #7: Gordon Hayward Reunites With Brad Stevens

Boston Celtics receive Gordon Hayward and Raul Neto
Utah Jazz receive Marcus Smart, Jae Crowder, Tyler Zeller and 2018 1st Round 1-5 Protected Pick (Boston)

Why This Makes Sense For Boston: The Celtics have a stockpile of assets and would love to get their hands on an all-star caliber player to team up with Isaiah Thomas and Al Horford. The player that makes the most sense due to his history with former college coach, Brad Stevens, would obviously be Gordon Hayward. Hayward can give them a three headed attack that could propel the franchise from championship hopeful to championship contender. They will be giving up a premium price for Hayward in trading Smart, Crowder and a top 5 protected pick but it may be worth it in the end.

Why This Makes Sense For Utah: The Jazz are in the middle of a playoff run that is being head up by Hayward but the constant rumor of him leaving for the Celtics eventually to be with his former college coach has been looming over the Jazz ever since he accepted the Boston Celtics head coaching job. Instead of eventually losing Hayward to the Celtics, receiving three pieces in Smart, Crowder and the 1st round pick and getting those players acclimated with the team now may be the best case scenario for the team's future. 

Why This Trade Will Not Happen: Utah does not have to trade Hayward now due to him still having another season under contract with the Jazz past this season. Gordon Hayward is important to the Jazz franchise and in the middle of an all-star season, it would be a tough sell to the fans to trade him away without him demanding a trade or being a free agent at the end of the season. Although Boston would love to add Hayward to their team this year, they know they have that connection with Stevens as their coach to go after him in 2 years and may not want to lose as many assets as it would take to acquire Hayward right now.

Trade #8: Carmelo Finally Gets To Play With LeBron

Cleveland Cavaliers receive Carmelo Anthony
New York Knicks receive Tristan Thompson, Iman Shumpert and 2017 2nd Round 31-55 Protected Pick (Charlotte)

Why This Makes Sense For Cleveland: The Cavaliers has been the most rumored location for Carmelo Anthony since the rumors began of him possibly being traded this season. With the injury to Kevin Love, that could make the Cavaliers more motivated to add a splash of talent to their roster with an eye on an eventual championship match-up with the Golden State Warriors. LeBron James had pushed hard for Tristan Thompson to get his huge contract from Cleveland but that loyalty may not be so tight if it comes to a chance to play with his good buddy, Carmelo Anthony.

Why This Makes Sense For New York: The Knicks have been in turmoil all season, which seems to be culminating with Phil Jackson pushing for a head to head battle with Carmelo Anthony. This would rid the team of Anthony and officially make this Phil Jackson and Kristaps Porzingis' team. The Knicks rebuild, especially needed after the failed attempt to revitalize the franchise with the Derrick Rose trade and Joakim Noah signing, would finally begin with the completion of this deal. Not to mention, Carmelo has a no trade clause so he needs to sign off on any trade being made by the Knicks with him involved, which limits their options.

Why This Trade Will Not Happen: New York may be witnessing what Phil Jackson has been known to do as a head coach and that is him trying to light a competitive fire under Carmelo Anthony. His true intention may not be to trade him, but to see how Carmelo responds. Also, this is ultimately James Dolan's call, which there is no guarantee that he will choose Jackson over Anthony. Cleveland also may not want to lose Thompson after losing Kevin Love, as he would replace Kevin Love as their small lineup center as opposed to Anthony, who would likely either push LeBron to the small lineup center or force Channing Frye into playing more minutes.

Trade #9: Suns Land A Star To Team With Devin Booker
Phoenix Suns receive DeMarcus Cousins and Ben McLemore
Sacramento Kings receive Eric Bledsoe, Alex Len, Marquese Chriss and 2017 1st Round (1-5) Protected Pick (Phoenix)

Why This Makes Sense For Phoenix: The Suns have seemed to be on a downward spiral ever since deciding to trade Goran Dragic and Isaiah Thomas due to their over abundance of point guards. As they find themselves at the bottom of the West standings, they would love to turn their lot of assets into something that could turn this franchise around along with the emerging star, Devin Booker. That something could very well be DeMarcus Cousins. It would take a lot of assets in order to pry him away from the Kings, but Bledsoe, Len, Chriss and a top 5 protected first round pick for the upcoming draft may be enough to make it happen.

Why This Makes Sense For Sacramento: The Kings have to decide if they want to continue on their path, looking past the immaturity of DeMarcus Cousins and ride his ability to what they hope is a bright future, or move on and get the most they possibly can for him. In this scenario, they are deciding to get a huge haul for their superstar and speed up the rebuilding process with a go to player in Eric Bledsoe, a replacement big man in Alex Len, versatile big in Marquese Chriss and hopefully a pick in the highly touted 2017 draft class. The Kings could do a lot worse for their big man.

Why This Trade Will Not Happen: Sacramento is most undoubtedly not looking to trade DeMarcus Cousins, especially in a season that they are competing for a playoff spot and actually looking toward a possible .500 season. It would be counterproductive to trade him away now that they are finally receiving some type of results. Also, Phoenix may not be giving up enough in order to get who most people consider to be the best big man in the NBA right now. Their 2017 1st round pick may need to be unprotected in order to make this deal happen and in a draft where Phoenix has to like their odds of a top 3 pick, that may be too much to give up at this point.

Trade #10: Butler, McCollum & Okafor Find New Homes
Portland Trail Blazers receive Jimmy Butler and Michael Carter-Williams
Chicago Bulls receive C.J. McCollum and Jahlil Okafor
Philadelphia 76ers receive Allen Crabbe, Denzel Valentine and 2017 1st Round Pick (Cleveland via Portland)

Why This Makes Sense For Portland: The Trail Blazers have a major problem that we have seen before in recent history with the Golden State Warriors. They have two undersized scoring point guards who are not known for their defense without enough talent around them to make up for their lack of defensive ability. The decision has to ultimately come down to Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum, and the Blazers are more likely to stick it out with Lillard than turn the keys to the franchise over to McCollum. Jimmy Butler is arguably the best player in this trade and would keep the Blazers their 1-A option on offense next to Lillard while also drastically increasing the defensive ability of their starting backcourt.

Why This Makes Sense For Chicago: The Bulls are at a cross roads in their franchise. They just recently decided that Jimmy Butler would be the face of the franchise and went ahead and signed Rajon Rondo and Dwyane Wade in hopes that they could keep the Bulls championship hopes alive while ridding themselves of the oft-injured Derrick Rose and the quickly declining Joakim Noah. This attempt has not gone as planned this season for Chicago and caused Butler to voice his displeasure on multiple occasions. This combined with a previous issue that has Butler disgruntled of management threatening his playing time during extension talks may mean it is time to hit the reset button. Turning Jimmy Butler into C.J. McCollum and Jahlil Okafor is quite possibly the best they could do considering the circumstances.

Why This Makes Sense For Philadelphia: The 76ers would be involved due to C.J. McCollum being labeled as a Poison Pill Player which means he still counts as his $3 million cap hit on Portland's side but will count as his extension amount of $21 million to the team trading for him. Since neither Portland nor Chicago has cap space to make a Butler for McCollum trade work, a team with cap space needs to be involved. Enter the 76ers, who have cap space and a need to move the odd man out of their big man rotation, Jahlil Okafor, who's hometown happens to be Chicago. The emergence of Joel Embiid and the excitement around Ben Simmons, they would surely welcome adding versatile players like Allen Crabbe and Denzel Valentine who could become vital in their mission to becoming a playoff team.

Why This Trade Will Not Happen: There are too many moving parts in this deal to ever fully predict something like this to happen. Chicago and Portland both find themselves on the fringe of making the playoffs in their respective conferences and may not want to completely change the course of their franchises in the middle of playoff runs. This type of deal is more likely to happen in the off-season as opposed to the trade deadline. Philadelphia really would have no reason to not want to do this deal except for the huge contract that was given to Allen Crabbe. Though Crabbe would seem like a fit for the 76ers, they were not reported as being very aggressive in pursuing Crabbe during this past off-season which may indicate that they may not be interested, even if it means opening up their big man logjam.

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