What Else to Expect from the NBA Trade Deadline
See you later, Melo. Pack your bags, Jimmy Butler. Take a hike, Reggie Jackson. The NBA trade deadline is now just hours away and after the Boogie Cousins blockbuster, who knows what else may happen prior to 3 pm on Thursday afternoon.
The excessive rumors and hype surrounding the deadline always bring some degree of disappointment when hardly any notable trades actually come to fruition. But at the same time, it is just those rumors that have everyone so excited for it. These high speculations and hanging onto the possibility of reeling in a great player – even though it’s understood that it may not happen – is what makes the hours coming up to the trade deadline so enticing and tantalizing.
With all of this in mind, I feel like it is my job – nay, my public duty – to add onto the speculation. Thus, I give you the NBA Trade Deadline Special. There are two segments to this: Buyers or Sellers and Crystal Ball Trades.
Buyers or Sellers
It’s always interesting to see which way the middle teams go at the deadline. Should a .500 team right around the No. 8 seed pursue help to make a push, or sell and think of the future?
Indiana Pacers (29-28): Buyers
Indy already said they are making their first-round draft pick available to add more talent around Paul George, and I believe them. All of their moves in the last year resemble that they want to win as many games as soon as possible, and seeing that they are the No. 6 seed in the East, management isn’t likely to ship key players away.
Detroit Pistons (27-30): Sellers
I don’t agree with it, but it seems like Detroit is leaning towards selling rather than buying. The Reggie Jackson rumors have picked up some steam, and even Andre Drummond has been thrown in some talks. In the end, it has been a frustrating season for Stan Van Gundy and his Pistons and I wouldn’t be surprised if they try to shake things up by trading important members of their team.
Miami Heat (25-32): Buyers
They may be seven games under .500 at the All-Star break, but Miami is still one of the hottest teams since the new year began. They went from being second worst in the East, to now just two games out of the eighth seed. I expect them to go after more talent to help them continue storming up the standings.
Teams in Contention for No. 8 Seed in the West…
Well, clearly the Pelicans are buyers and the Kings are sellers. What a blockbuster out of nowhere! I mean, there was speculation all Sunday online but who would’ve thought that AD and Boogie would be paired together in New Orleans? Who else around that No. 8 seed should make a push, and who should shy away?
Denver Nuggets (25-31): Sellers
Despite being the one team to currently own the eighth seed out of six contenders, I actually think Denver will be sellers. Their management has done a great job focusing on the future and now that they are building around Nikola Jokic, there are dispensable pieces on the roster that they can sell for more young assets or picks.
Dallas Mavericks (22-34): Buyers
They are still long ways away, but Dallas is trending in the right direction after a horrid start to the season. Beating the Spurs and Cavs surely boosted the ego of Mark Cuban and management enough to strive towards another try at the playoffs. Although they will likely shop Andrew Bogut and perhaps Deron Williams, those players aren’t key to their recent success.
Portland Trail Blazers (23-33): Sellers
They have already proven that they can win quite a few games last year with Lillard and McCollum as the featured players, but Portland must retool. Shipping off Mason Plumlee hints at this trend, but the fact of the matter is that the Trail Blazers have too many bad contracts to be buyers. They can buy some players, sure. But ultimately, they kind of have their hands tied unless someone is willing to take on any of their pricey, long-term contracts.
Crystal Ball Trades
Let me blow your minds by predicting four deals that will happen today or tomorrow leading up to Thursday’s trade deadline:
Boston Celtics trade: Amir Johnson, 2017 2nd rounder
Denver Nuggets trade: Kenneth Faried
Danny Ainge isn’t going to give up his great assets just to make any move. It’s likely the Celtics will hold onto their top assets and instead look for the cheapest roster additions that can help their weakness in rebounding. Kenneth Faried is not only cheap right now (the Nuggets seem willing to give him up for any asset at this point), but brings better rebounding to the power forward position to replace Amir Johnson. Among all forwards in the league who have played in at least 25 games this year, Faried is second in REB% and third in rebounds per 100 possessions. AKA when he is in the game, he rebounds very well.
For Denver, it’s all about the flexibility. Dumping one of their most expensive contracts (Amir Johnson’s is expiring so they could clear up his $12 million this summer) allows them to continue focusing on the future. Faried’s $12 million a year would have clogged up their money for a bit over the next three years, so the value of getting rid of that is significant in itself. Speaking of the future, the second rounder doesn’t hurt either.
New York Knicks trade: Derrick Rose to Minnesota; 2nd round pick to Detroit
Detroit Pistons trade: Reggie Jackson to New York
Minnesota Timberwolves trade: Ricky Rubio to Detroit
This is one of the 3,238 trades that I saw on Twitter and actually got on board with.
Coach Thibs gets reunited with DRose without a long-term commitment while dumping the rest of Rubio’s contract. The move would pave the way for rookie point Kris Dunn, while also providing some veteran insight from Rose for the remainder of the season.
New York gets a younger point guard on a longer contract to help focus on the future. Rose wasn’t going to lead to anything in New York, so swapping him (and a second rounder) for Reggie Jackson would be a huge win for them.
Detroit gets a true playmaker who could do a better job of creating for Drummond and the other Piston starters, plus a second rounder to sweeten the deal.
A little change never hurt anyone, right?
Alright screw it…I tried to be realistic but that wasn’t very fun — let’s get crazy:
Chicago Bulls trade: Jimmy Butler
Say WHATT? Jahlil Okafor and Jimmy Butler have perhaps been in the most trade talks since this summer, but never together! Let me ask you this, though: why not pull the trigger if you are on either side?
It’s tough to give up an All-Star but for the Bulls, the first-rounder would likely net a top five draft pick in what is a very deep upcoming rookie class. If they are afraid that a healthy Embiid and the addition of Jimmy B lowers the value of the pick, then they have some insurance for it: The pick comes with the option to swap with the Kings if the Sixers have a better record. Without Boogie, that could become a very high pick. Other than that, the Bulls also add a talented young center and some solid wing players, one of which is only 26.
Meanwhile, the Sixers can quicken ‘the process’ and have an established All-Star in the middle of their young core of Embiid, Ben Simmons, and Noel. From Philly’s standpoint, I would imagine that this would be a no-brainer.
New York Knicks trade: Carmelo Anthony to Oklahoma City
I’ll admit that I was kind of all over the place on this one and honestly, I question whether this would be worthwhile for New York or even Portland. However, this deal is structured around the Thunder landing Melo since, y’know, I had to back up my explanation of why Melo would work out in OKC with the right circumstances. Granted I did also explain why it wouldn’t happen, I would still love to see it happen. Anyway, OKC gets a small forward who can actually hit threes! Obviously, Melo would pose as a much better scoring threat and would create an intriguing lineup with Russ, Oladipo, and Adams.
Portland isn’t giving or getting too much here, they are just retooling their arsenal. The first-rounder they would be giving up doesn’t have significant value since it’s coming from Cleveland. Domantas Sabonis is an upgrade over Noah Vonleh, and Kanter will be healthy soon and could provide inside scoring for Lillard and McCollum. Shedding Crabbe’s contract would be the first of many steps needed to create significant more cap space. This would be a healthy shakeup for a team who have lost their identity.
For New York, they get some young assets. Vonleh has really shown signs of development lately, and Crabbe has the potential to be a legit scorer in the league. Shedding Melo for these new pieces would rejuvenate the culture in New York.
A quick note on other players surrounded in rumors:
- I think there will be no suitors for Brook Lopez due to Brooklyn’s asking price and his pricey salary.
- Nikola Vucevic’s attractive contract will not be enough to attract buyers into paying the assets needed to land him.
- Forget about Paul George and Blake Griffin, who had no legitimacy in trade talks to begin with.
Happy trade deadline everyone! May all of your trade rumors come true.
Photo of Butler via the Flickr Creative Commons.