It’s getting to that time of the year when trade rumors are flying around the NBA. Here are some trades that I think could benefit the agendas of the teams involved.
Denver Nuggets receive: Dennis Schroder
Atlanta Hawks receive: Kenneth Faried and Emmanuel Mudiay
Denver finally gets a proven lead guard in Schroder and they can let Jamal Murray thrive off the ball in his natural scoring role. The Hawks would be able to dump the long-term salary of Schroder and in return, they can take a chance on Mudiay’s physical gifts turning into something legitimate on the court. Despite shooting a career-high 40% from three thus far, he’s only playing about 20 minutes a game. Without the positional pressure in Atlanta, Mudiay could have the freedom to show if he is worth a large investment. Faried may not stick long-term for the Hawks, but he brings an intensity that could definitely help a young, upstart team.
Utah Jazz receive: Nikola Mirotic
Chicago Bulls receive: Derrick Favors and Utah 2018 top-10 protected first-round pick
With a no-trade clause, Mirotic has a lot of the power in deciding where the Bulls can deal him. Utah has emerged as a team he is interested in and starting big man Favors is the best salary match on a one-year deal. The Bulls need to flip Niko while his value is high and there is almost no way Utah wants to keep Favors past this season. The type of protection on the first-round pick is the biggest point of discussion, but top-10 seems like a fair asking price from the Bulls considering Mirotic’s shooting ability seems to perfectly complement rim-running center Rudy Gobert. Once Gobert returns, the Jazz should compete for a seven or eight seed. The Bulls may choose to cut Favors but the best part of the deal is adding a mid-first-round pick.
Cleveland Cavaliers receive: DeAndre Jordan and Lou Williams
Atlanta Hawks receive: Sam Dekker, Channing Frye, Ante Zizic, and higher of Houston 2018 top-3 protected first-round pick and Cleveland 2018 first-round pick
Los Angeles Clippers receive: Kent Bazemore, Tristan Thompson, and lower of Houston 2018 top-3 protected first-round pick and Cleveland 2018 first-round pick
Now I’m sure any conversations between Cleveland and LA have involved that Brooklyn pick, but if the Clips continue to remain average, this could be one of the few scenarios where the Cavs could bring in immediate help without sacrificing that pick. For the Clippers, they get two starting-caliber players that are locked up for the multiple years. Bazemore is an excellent defender who has upped his three-point shooting to 39% and is performing well with more ball-handling duties. Especially without Pat Beverley, the Clips are in need of someone who can defend the top guards and wings in the West. Thompson is obviously a very poor man’s DeAndre, but he is still one of the elite glass eaters in the league and a reliable lob finisher.
Obviously, they’d love that Brooklyn pick and may say now they won’t do a deal without it, but when push comes to shove, keeping DeAndre and Lou Will with that realistic chance that both leave for nothing this summer is not a risk worth taking. Cleveland obviously gets everything they need: a paint protector that can erase defensive miscues and an offensive weapon that can get their own shot when things stall out. The Hawks would just be dumping Bazemore’s salary for a couple young role players, Frye’s expiring salary, and a higher late first-round pick.
Los Angeles Lakers receive: Devin Harris, Nerlens Noel, Alex Len, Milwaukee 2018 second-round pick
Phoenix Suns receive: Jordan Clarkson, Larry Nance
Dallas Mavericks receive: Julius Randle
Magic Johnson seems intent on opening up as much cap room as possible for free agency this summer, though I’m not expecting them to land nearly as many pieces as he expects. Clarkson is a solid third guard and probably the most underappreciated young Laker. But he does have a few years left on his contract and Lonzo Ball is the present and future at point guard. Phoenix has suspect guard play, so adding a shot-maker won’t hurt. Neither will bring in another bouncy forward in Larry Nance. Though Len is having his best year (8.6 ppg and 8.3 rpg), he’s still not scaring anybody. The Lakers could take three expiring contracts in Len, underperforming defensive specialist Noel, and a heady backup point guard in Harris. Parting with Randle is inevitable since they have a stud in Kyle Kuzma at his position and Magic has been fairly dismissive of him since he was hired. If you’re Dallas you might as well take a chance on a powerful hometown kid that is a good playmaker at his size and has potential to be dangerous if he ever develops some consistency.
Detroit Pistons receive: Tyreke Evans
Memphis Grizzlies receive: Stanley Johnson, Detroit 2018 top-10 protected first-round pick
The Pistons are buying into Reggie Bullock’s success and are now open to trading a former top-10 pick in Johnson. Memphis wants to get rid of Tyreke in his contract year in what’s been the best year of his career, averaging 19.9 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 4.6 assists on 41% shooting from deep. He has been a new man and sensational for a team devoid of talent. So it does beg the question if he can do the same with a competitor, but the sample size is large enough to see a newfound maturity to his game. Detroit will be a playoff team with a pick likely somewhere in the 15-20 range, so there likely won’t be an impact player there. If all else fails, they can look to swap one of their assets, like Reggie Jackson, for a package including a first rounder. Stanley Johnson brings that grit that Memphis has lost in the last few years. He can be elite on defense, but the 21-year-old is still a struggling offensive player. On a sorry team like Memphis, there should be the time for Johnson to find himself on that end.
Chicago Bulls receive: Amir Johnson and Furkan Korkmaz, Houston 2018 second-round pick
Philadelphia 76ers receive: Robin Lopez
Philly is going to need another big that can provide some offense when Joel Embiid is out, which is inevitable as the year goes on. They should be in the market for a post in the next month. Lopez is a solid low block scorer averaging a career-high 12.7 points for the Bulls. Though Chicago loves what he brings to the young team and community, they can open up a good chunk of money for next summer while adding another pick. Johnson is a useful energy big off the back on a one-year contract, but will likely require fewer minutes to give Lauri Markkanen more burn. Korkmaz doesn’t really look to be in the 76ers’ plans with wing minutes occupied by young talent. The Turkish rookie is a 6-foot-8 skilled shooting guard that can stretch the floor. At only 20, he would be able to hone his game for a team not yet ready to compete.