The NBA trade deadline is this Thursday, February 8th. You may have already listened to our recent podcast where I was able to highlight trades that I would like to see around the league, but in this space I want to propose deals I think teams should do that will benefit both sides. I have come up with five trades I think make sense for all parties involved.
I tried to work within the realm of reality as well. On the podcast I outlined a trade where the Spurs get Kemba Walker that I think makes sense for both teams, but it seems the Hornets want more than what I have the Spurs offering and the Spurs simply don’t trade first round picks.
*Disclaimer: I don’t think DeAndre Jordan is going to get traded. I really tried to find something and I don’t see a deal that makes any sense. The Clippers don’t have a desire to take back money without getting a premium asset as well, and no one is giving up a premium asset for DJ. The Clippers would prefer to let DJ walk than take on Tristan Thompson’s deal just to get their hands on the 25th pick of the first round.
Hornets Receive: Ricky Rubio, Joe Johnson or Derrick Favors, 2018 1st round pick (top 3 protected, becomes 2019 1st round pick top 3 protected, becomes 2020 1st round pick top 1 protected)
Jazz Receive: Kemba Walker, Marvin Williams
Michael Jordan is saying he will only trade Kemba for an All-Star such as Kawhi Leonard. Well, there is no chance of that happening. Other reports, however, have the Hornets interested in using Kemba in a larger trade to get off bad contracts and acquire draft picks. The contracts they’re looking to alleviate themselves of are Dwight Howard, Nicholas Batum, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, and Marvin Williams.
The Hornets get to dump Marvin Williams in this trade while bringing in either Joe Johnson or Derrick Favors on an expiring contract. They also get a first round pick from Utah. They would have to take back Rubio, if for nothing else than salary filler. But Rubio can help Jordan in his mission to be a perennial seven seed, and claim the team “isn’t tanking or rebuilding.” Rubio isn’t long-term money either since his deal expires after the 2019 season. This will help worsen the teams draft pick for 2018.
The Jazz have the ability to clear about $18 million in cap space this offseason and could venture into the free agent market, but I can’t envision a big name relocating to Salt Lake City. The Jazz need to utilize the draft and trades to build their roster. Kemba and Mitchell would form a small backcourt, but the Jazz need a dynamic offensive creator such as Walker.
Don’t look now but the Jazz are surging toward the 8 seed in the West. They’re on a 6 game win streak and are 8-2 in their last 10 games. The Jazz are actually 13th in offensive net rating, and have the highest offensive net rating in the league since January 17th. With the Cousins injury and a potential fire sale looming for the Clippers, the Jazz can make a real run for the playoffs this season and build toward 2019.
The bad contract the Jazz should take back, I think, is Marvin Williams. He can provide the spacing for Gobert that Favors can’t. Williams is shooting a career high 43.4% from deep this season. He is a career 36% shooter from distance so there isn’t much evidence this is sustainable. He does have a season of 40% and 39%, and is a career 81% free throw shooter so he can at least be affective and perhaps stay around 40% moving forward.
Cavs Receive: Avery Bradley
Clippers Receive: Channing Frye, 2018 1st round pick.
The Cavaliers need to trade their first round pick. It is the perfect gamble to make knowing they have the Brooklyn pick. I understand the Warriors are unbeatable and if LeBron leaves the Cavs should have as many picks as possible to rebuild, but you can’t waste a year in which LeBron could possibly bring you a title. We don’t know what will happen before we get to June. Steph could slide on a slippery spot on the court. Something could happen to Durant’s knee. Draymond could kick six people in the balls and get suspended for the rest of the season. If you have MVP caliber LeBron, you have to go for it.
The Cavaliers defense is not good. Stop the presses, I know. They’re 28th in defensive net rating, ahead of only the Kings and the Suns. This team has serious defensive limitations with any lineups that include both Isaiah Thomas and Kevin Love. Avery Bradley is the exact 3 and D guy the Cavs need, especially in a match up with Golden State. He is also on an expiring deal, so if LeBron leaves and the Cavs want to tear it down they can just let Bradley walk.
The Clippers may find it more valuable to hold onto Bradley and potentially re-sign him in the offseason than to get a pick this late in the first round. But apparently they think they have a chance at LeBron and probably won’t want to use their cap space on Avery Bradley. In that case, they should get an asset for him instead of letting him leave for nothing. Getting the Cavs first is as good an asset they can reasonably expect in return.
76ers Receive: Lou Williams
Clippers Receive: Trevor Booker, 76ers 2018 2nd round pick, 2018 2nd round pick from Philadelphia that is the more favorable pick between the Clippers and Knicks
The 6ers have a treasure trove of 2nd round round picks thanks to Sam Hinkie. I think they should be aggressive about making the playoffs this season. Yes, any year in the lottery is better long-term but the 6ers will probably end up with the Lakers pick this season which will be in the top 10. The fans that have stuck through the entire process deserve to see the postseason, and getting this young group experience in the playoffs as early and often as possible can only be beneficial.
The 76ers have had trouble closing out games this season. They don’t always blow the game, but they will squander leads and end up in nail-biters. I don’t want to just eschew this as simply an inexperience issue, but inexperience is certainly a factor in the equation. Adding a veteran like Lou who can handle the ball will help tremendously.
The Clippers should move all of their expiring contracts to the highest bidder. I don’t think they are going to wind up getting a first round pick for Williams. That’s why I think Philadelphia has an advantage in trade talks. They can swoop in at the last minute with more second round picks than anyone else can offer and getting two seconds is a decent haul for the Clippers. (The 76ers may pull this exact maneuver to get Tyreke Evans)
Hawks Receive: Maurice Harkless, 2018 1st round pick
Blazers Receive: Marco Belinelli, Malcolm Delaney
Between Marco Belinelli, Malcolm Delaney, and Ersan Ilyasova, the Hawks have $15.1 million of expiring money. If they don’t use some combination of those expiring contracts to eat bad money and get a draft asset for their services, it is a failure by the front office.
The Blazers will be just under $11 million dollars below the luxury cap threshold next season before coming to an extension agreement with Jusuf Nurkic. They will also have to make decisions on if they want to bring back Shabazz Napier and Pat Connaughton. They have three contracts they would love to offload: Harkless, Evan Turner, and Meyers Leonard. No one is taking Evan Turner’s deal while the Blazers may think it just makes sense to send off the inferior player between Leonard and Harkless in a salary dump trade.
Grizzlies Receive: Al Jefferson, 2018 1st round pick
Pacers Receive: Tyreke Evans, James Ennis III, 2018 second round pick (most favorable out of Memphis, Charlotte, Miami)
The Grizzlies seem rather reluctant to take back money in any trades involving Evans, Ennis, or Brandan Wright. They are also looking to get a first rounder for Evans. When the Lakers traded Lou Williams to the rockets last season, he had another year of team control left and the Lakers had to take back Corey Brewer. Evans is a free agent after this season so he is most likely a rental for whoever acquires him.
I think it would be best for the Grizzlies to be willing to take on salary in a trade for their expiring contracts. It will net them a better asset. Jefferson’s deal extends for one more season after this year and only $4 million of the $10 million remaining is guaranteed, so it isn’t exactly an albatross.
If the Pacers can get off Jefferson without having to waive or waive and stretch him, and decline Lance Stephenson’s team option, Indiana could have $24 million in cap room come July. In a market where only a handful of teams will have cap space this can give Indiana leverage to acquire an asset if they’re willing to take on some money, or they can chase the best free agent on the market in their price range. They may even just give a new deal to Evans if he fits in well.
I also think this is a smart move for the Pacers. I believe the race for the 4-8 seeds in the East is wide open and Indiana could end up with home court in the first round by adding a weapon like Evans.
Sending out a first round pick for two rentals and moving off $4 million in dead money is pricey, so basically the Grizzlies are trading up from the top of the second round to somewhere around the 20th pick. The Grizzlies, today, would pick 7th in the second round, so 38th overall. Moving up about 18 spots isn’t so bad.
The other option for the Grizzlies is to do a deal with Boston where they don’t take on any money and Boston sends it’s first round pick for Evans. Right now that would be the 28th pick. If you held the 20th pick and a team called to offer the 28th and 38th pick to move up to 20, would you take the deal? It’s a hard no for me.