The NBA trading deadline is rapidly approaching and it also happens to be one of the most exciting times in the NBA calendar. Sometimes, the deadline comes and goes without any deals happening, but other times, we get to see a flurry of activity that ends with players switching teams faster than it takes for Russell Westbrook to make a coast-to-coast assault on the rim.
So as the countdown to the trading deadline approaches, we’ve made up our own trades. Yes, your resident know-it-alls are at it again. Get the pitchforks ready and remember that this is merely a predictive exercise of unlikely trade proposals. The fun in all of this is we get to put on our “faux” GM hats and make up fake trades that would be pretty exciting if they did go down.
Should’ve already happened, but probably won’t anymore
Marcus Smart, Jae Crowder, Amir Johnson, and its own 2017 first round pick for Carmelo Anthony and Willie Hernangomez
Few things to remember here. That 2017 first round pick the Celtics would send to the Knicks is NOT the Brooklyn pick. There’s no chance that Boston does this trade if Phil Jackson asks for that pick. None. Zero. But this is as good a haul as the Knicks will get for its disgruntled star. The other two teams that could compel Melo to waive his no trade claus—the Cavs and the Clippers—don’t have as many assets as the Celtics have. More importantly, it gives Jackson a chance to finally build around Kristaps Porzingis with two guys—Smart and Crowder—that can play well with the Zinger’s skill set. Throw in Johnson’s expiring contract with Derrick Rose’s own expiring and New York finally finds itself without enough breathing room to make a quick rebuild.
As for Boston, this is the all-in move that Danny Ainge has been waiting for. Losing Crowder and Smart may hurt from a depth standpoint, but it gets a motivated Melo with Isaiah Thomas, Al Hordford, Avery Bradley, and a cohesive second unit. That’s a lineup that could threaten Cleveland for Eastern Conference supremacy.
Won’t happen in real life, but the possibilities are there
Dario Saric, Sergio Rodriguez, Nerlens Noel, and a 2017 1st round pick (from LA Lakers) for Klay Thompson
This one isn’t going to happen, so before you start casting stones our away, we’re making that point crystal clear. Still, it’s a fascinating one that can benefit both teams in the long run. Golden State may be giving away one of its four All-Stars, but it’s returning an athletic, defensive oriented center in Noel, a good young player with some upside in Saric, Rodriguez’s expiring contract, and a 2017 first round lottery pick in what many believe to be one of the most loaded drafts since 2003.
As for Philly, the get Klay to form a pretty formidable cornerstone beside Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. Again, it’s not going to happen, but imagine the possibilities of a more balanced Warriors team and a Sixers squad that can now claim to have a bonafide Big Three, or at least until Simmons can prove himself to be worth the hype.
Sneaky trades that could happen
Maurice Harkless and DJ Augustin to Washington; Jason Smith and Mario Hezonja to Portland; Trey Burke, Tomas Satoransky, and Washington’s 2017 first round pick to Orlando
After struggling in the first month of the season, Washington finds itself as one of the hottest teams in the NBA, resting on the shoulders of one of the best starting fives in the league. That said, the Wizards’ bench unit remains an abomination, but with this trade, it can bolster its depth with a young three-and-D guy in Mo Harkless and a smart veteran in DJ Augustin.
Meanwhile, Portland gets to clear up its depth in the three position while getting a decent backup center in Jason Smith and a shot at resuscitating Mario Hezonja’s stagnating career. Orlando gets out of Augustin’s lengthy contract, swaps out Hezonja for Satoransky, and receive a first round pick in the process.
Brandon Bass, Alan Anderson, and LA’s 2018 first round pick to Miami; Amir Johnson and Josh Richardson to LA Clippers; Wesley Johnson, Paul Pierce, and Miami’s 2018 second round pick to Boston
Despite its recent winning ways, Miami is still in rebuilding mode and that 2018 first round pick from the Clippers is a good asset to have considering it doesn’t have its own first-rounder in the same draft.
The Clippers give up one rotation player in Wesley Johnson and get back two in Amir Johnson and Josh Richardson in one could be its last hurrah in the CP3-Blake-DeAndre-Doc era.
The Celtics get a solid, defensive-minded backup in Wes Johnson, a returning legend in Pierce, and another asset in that 2018 second-rounder that could just as well be a late first-round draft, minus the guaranteed money.
The annual 'wishful-thinking semi-blockbuster' trade
Tyreke Evans, Omer Asik, New Orleans’ 2017 first round pick (unprotected), and 2019 first round pick for Jimmy Butler, and Chicago’s 2020 second draft pick
New Orleans gets out of Omer Asik’s albatross contract, but it has to give up to potentially premium first round picks in the process. It does return Jimmy Butler, who now orms an imposing duo with Anthony Davis. Chicago may feel the sting of losing Butler, but it could lead to Dwyane Wade and Rajon Rondo opting out of their own contracts and set the stage for a quick rebuild in the Windy City with some premium draft picks.
The blockbuster deal that could shake up the NBA
Julius Randle, Jordan Clarkson, Larry Nance Jr., and LA’s 2020 first round pick and 2021 second round pick for DeMarcus Cousins
The Lakers gut their young nucleus and give up another first round pick in exchange for one of the game’s best big men. Sacramento loses its marquee player, but gets a nice haul of young upstarts and more potential pick assets down the road. Seems straightforward enough, right?