BY the time you read this article, almost every NBA team will have played their 41st game of the season, marking the halfway point in the 2018-19 campaign. Whether it’s dumping a bad contract, fast forwarding a rebuild or a contender seeking that final piece, each team has a different trade agenda for the back half of the season. Some teams have been circulating in the trade rumour mill more than others, but to aid everyone’s cause, I created a hypothetical trade for all 30 teams with each some of the deals much more complicated and interesting than others. In every individual case, I tried to make it as fair as possible but let each team come out as the perceived winner of the deal. Full disclosure, some of the players in these deals can’t be dealt until later in the month, but with the trade deadline looming it’s time for NBA GM’s to put their thinking caps on if they want to make some noise this trade season.
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WHILE all the trade chatter in Atlanta is centred around Kent Bazemore, I have my eye on dealing Jeremy Lin. With Trae Young clearly their floor general of the future, Lin can contribute much more than his role in Atlanta currently allows him. Portland is one such team that could use another ball handler and scoring punch off the pine and while sacrificing a future first, albeit protected, seems like a lot to give up, the Blazers are in a win now mode.
Atlanta receives: Seth Curry, Maurice Harkless, 2021 1st round pick (top-10 protected)
Portland receives: Jeremy Lin, DeAndre’ Bembry
DANNY Ainge has shown us time and time again that he is a wizard when it comes to acquiring future picks. While I believe you can never have too much depth the Celtics have a logjam on their roster, with restricted free agent Terry Rozier the clear odd one out. Kyrie Irving has established himself as the face of the franchise, which means re-signing Rozier is unlikely this offseason and the time to cash in on him has come. Orlando has a gaping hole at point guard and while a trade could lead to a first-round matchup in the playoffs between the two sides, Boston will happily do the deal if they secure more draft capital.
Boston receives: Jerian Grant, Wesley Iwundu, 2020 1st round pick (via OKC), 2020 2nd round pick
Orlando receives: Terry Rozier, Robert Williams, 2020 2nd round pick
BROOKLYN is in a fortunate position with a bunch of expiring contracts giving them plenty of future cap flexibility. They could opt to enter free agency and land a big fish or try pry a star away from a team via trade as well. Considering how often we have seen teams try to land star free agents and fall short I think it’d be wise for the Nets to cash in on their current assets. There aren’t too many All-Star talents available right now, but one such player that could help move the needle is Kevin Love. Getting off of Allen Crabbe’s $18.5mil player option in 2019-20 would be a bonus and they have the expiring deals to tempt Cleveland.
Brooklyn receives: Kevin Love, J.R. Smith
Cleveland receives: Allen Crabbe, Jared Dudley, Kenneth Faried, 2020 1st round pick (via DEN)
Image from elitesportsny.com
BARE with me, this one’s a doozy. Ditching some of their huge contracts would really make the Hornets happy this trade period and if they want to keep Kemba Walker, they need to convince their franchise player they are serious about winning as well. Therefore, I’ve built a complicated three-team, 10 player deal in which they can achieve both. Nikola Vucevic is also a free agent this upcoming offseason, so they have the option to pair both he and Walker together if things go well in the second half of the season or let Vuc walk if things go pear-shaped. Milwaukee gets involved with Orlando to get depth at the wing and snag a young Frank Kaminsky.
Charlotte receives: Nikola Vucevic, Terrence Ross, Ersan Ilyasova, Wesley Iwundu
Orlando receives: Cody Zeller, Nic Batum, D.J. Wilson, 2020 2nd round pick (via WAS), 2022 1st round pick (via CHA, top-10 protected)
Milwaukee receives: Frank Kaminsky, Jonathan Simmons, Jerian Grant
EVERYONE seems hell-bent on the Bulls ditching Jabari Parker. However, considering they own a team option for his contract next season, they can wash their hands of the Jabari experiment if it keeps trending downwards. Besides, finding a buyer will be tricky, making others on their roster more appealing. Another player that is drawing interest is Robin Lopez, who can help solve other team’s big man issues. With Chicago seeking more minutes for Wendell Carter in the frontcourt, they can dangle Lopez and demand a pick in exchange. If they’re willing to take on the bloated deal that belongs to Chandler Parsons, Memphis might just give up an unprotected pick as their window to win is rapidly closing.
Chicago receives: Chandler Parsons, 2021 1st round pick
Memphis receives: Jabari Parker
FOR the Cavs an ideal scenario would see them keep Kevin Love on their books, maintain their spot in the top-3 of the Draft and explore trade options for him in the offseason. A team like Houston is crying out for help on the perimeter and Cleveland has a bunch of guys who they could part ways with and demand a pick/expiring deal in return. Rodney Hood, J.R. Smith and Alec Burks are three expendable pieces who come to mind, with the Rockets happy to Brandon Knight’s deal and their 2019 first in exchange for a combination of those players.
Cleveland receives: Brandon Knight, 2019 1st round pick
Houston receives: J.R. Smith, Rodney Hood
THE Mavericks have a clear winner on their hands in Luka Doncic and their plan over the next few offseasons should be to surround him with as much help as possible. Dallas might be against trading with Atlanta again, but two proven guys like Kent Bazemore and Vince Carter can only help their future for the small cost of Wesley Matthews’ expiring deal. Besides, if one of the Hawks is being moved, we may as well relocate the entire cast of the ‘Winging It’ pod.
Mavericks receive: Kent Bazemore, Vince Carter
Atlanta receive: Wesley Matthews, 2022 2nd round pick
Image from bostonglobe.com
DENVER is one of the few teams who aren’t likely to make a move in case they disrupt the chemistry of their team. There’s every possibility that this Nuggets team can be a future force and the only thing standing in their way is keeping their core intact. Jamal Murray is due for a payday soon and although Will Barton has been a great serviceman, his 4-year, $53 million extension he signed last summer doesn’t fit. Moving Barton and Mason Plumlee to get two contributors from the Jazz, who have shorter deals mind you, helps Denver’s present and future in one swift movement.
Denver receives: Derrick Favours, Jae Crowder
Utah receives: Will Barton, Mason Plumlee
IT’S tempting to try and move on from Andre Drummond, but I think there’s still a way that he and Blake Griffin can succeed in Detroit. The same can’t be said for Reggie Jackson, who appears more and more likely to be moved. Dallas has verbalised their desire to find another landing spot for a point guard of their own in Dennis Smith Jr as they seek out for the best partner to pair with Luka Doncic. Enter the Detroit Pistons.
Detroit receives: Dennis Smith Jr, Wesley Matthews
Dallas receives: Reggie Jackson, Glenn Robinson III
Golden State Warriors
SHAUN Livingston is going to go down in Warriors’ folklore, but as he nears 34 it’s time to move on. Even with DeMarcus Cousins expected to return soon, adding some depth in the backcourt to their team could be a huge difference maker for Golden State in their quest for yet another championship. With the real possibility that their core disperses after this season, they have to double down and focus on winning now. No Dubs fans, you’re not allowed to steal Anthony Davis.
Golden State receives: Courtney Lee,
New York receives: Shaun Livingston, Jacob Evans, 2019 1st round pick
HOUSTON came within one dodgy hamstring of making the Finals last year and the way they’re playing right now signals they could be in for another serious push. The only area they might tinker with is adding some depth to their defensive guard stocks and Brandon Knight’s contract is yet again a tempting piece. With KCP struggling to find his mojo in L.A. they might even be able to trade for him and not give up a first, as unlikely as it seems.
Houston receives: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Isaac Bongo
Los Angeles receives: Brandon Knight, 2021 2nd round pick
Image from foxsports.ph
WHILE the Pacers are deploying a ‘strength in numbers’ philosophy, they need another stud piece if they want to get serious in the postseason. They have some fruitful trade chips and packaging them together could see them net a decent player in return. With Darren Collison and Victor Oladipo holding down the backcourt, a move for a promising athlete like Aaron Gordon definitely works in their favour while also allowing them to shed Tyreke Evans’ contract off the books
Indiana receives: Aaron Gordon, Jarrell Martin
Orlando receives: Thaddeus Young, Tyreke Evans, TJ Leaf, 2019 1st round pick (top-5 protected)
THERE is a real chance that the Clippers can land a max free agent (or two?!) once the season expires. However, knowing the reputation of the Lakers’ younger sibling there’s every chance they will miss out as well. Jimmy Butler might not be a fan of the Sixers locker room and if there really is trouble in paradise, L.A. can pry him away and give him the keys to the city. Tobias Harris is a great fallback plan if their free agent aspirations fail, but exchanging him for an All-Star talent now is the way to go.
L.A. receives: Jimmy Butler
Philadelphia receives: Tobias Harris, Luc Mbah a Moute, 2021 1st round pick
Los Angeles Lakers
IF I’m running the Lakers there’s no harm in seeing how the season unfolds and entering the Anthony Davis sweepstakes with all my assets. That’s no fun though, so to spice things up, Los Angeles could snag another elite All-Star talent without sacrificing too many trade toys. Previously Washington has said they want two good young players AND two picks for the likes of Bradley Beal, but this deal might be the best they can get for the former Florida Gator. It’s tough to see Anthony Davis wanting to play anywhere else if they own LeBron James and Beal.
Los Angeles receives: Bradley Beal, Ron Baker
Washington receives: Lonzo Ball, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Josh Hart, 2019 1st round pick, 2021 2nd round pick
ANOTHER blockbuster of a three-team trade is the best way for Memphis to move on from the Mike Conley-Marc Gasol era. Let’s face it, even if they scrape into the playoffs, Memphis won’t be doing any serious damage this year, so blowing it up and securing as many picks as possible is key. While it stings to see their past legends depart, multiple picks and a few young pieces give them hope for the future. San Antonio and Phoenix get involved in the weird deal that completely reshapes Memphis’ roster and their direction moving forward. Besides, who wouldn’t want to see the Gasol bro’s play together?
Memphis receives: T.J. Warren, Patty Mills, Jakob Poeltl, Ryan Anderson, Dante Cunningham, 2020 1st round pick (via PHX), 2020 1st round pick (via SAN)
Phoenix receives: Mike Conley, Marco Belinelli, Bryn Forbes
San Antonio receives: Marc Gasol, Garrett Temple, 2020 2nd round pick (via PHX)
WHILE snagging John Wall is tempting, no one wants to pay him the absurd amount of money he will be owed in the coming years. Therefore, to try and find a floor general of the future Miami looks at another division rival in Charlotte in an effort to swipe Kemba Walker away. Yes, I know he’s a free agent, but with a serious lack of direction, the Heat need to jumpstart their team to avoid floating in middle ground. Should Kemba leave in the offseason they can reload and completely clean house. If not, they get to build around a scorer in his prime.
Miami receives: Kemba Walker, Cody Zeller
Charlotte receives: Tyler Johnson, Wayne Ellington, Rodney McGruder, 2019 1st round pick
ONE of the best teams in the league won’t likely have too much to say before this year’s deadline. If a move was on the cards though there’s every chance they try to chase an upgrade on the wing and Orlando is oozing with available players. After showcasing his clutch gene already this season, getting a bonafide bucket off the bench in Evan Fournier would definitely strengthen their championship chances.
Milwaukee receives: Evan Fournier
Orlando receives: George Hill, 2023 2nd round pick
WITH Tom Thibideau out in Minnesota it’s time for the T-Wolves to do what they should have done in the first place. Rebuild around Karl-Anthony Towns. The acquisition of Jimmy Butler accelerated their timeline, but now they can focus on building a team with a purpose. As an Andrew Wiggins naysayer, I’ve got no problem with Minnesota sending him and his bloated, current contract packing. Sacramento is one team with a bit of space they could utilise, allowing the Timberwolves to wash their hands of Wiggins and start anew.
Minnesota receives: Zach Randolph, Nemanja Belicia, Iman Shumpert, 2020 2nd round pick (via DET)
Sacramento receives: Andrew Wiggins, Luol Deng
New Orleans Pelicans
THERE is bad news for all the Pelicans fans out there crying for the organisation to find Anthony Davis some help. No one is selling. I think that Davis’ supporting cast isn’t that bleak and the right move could see them vault back into playoff contention. They don’t need to do anything stupid by taking on a ton of future money as Davis might flip the bird and bounce any day now. As long as they don’t have to lose a first-rounder they should be able to convince the Cavs and Magic to give up some bench depth and improve NOLA’s chances of keeping the generational big man.
New Orleans receives: Jordan Clarkson, Terrence Ross, Rodney Hood
Cleveland receives: Solomon Hill, Frank Jackson, 2019 2nd round pick (via NOP)
Orlando receives: Wesley Johnson, Andrew Harrison, 2020 2nd round pick (via NOP)
New York Knicks
IN my opinion more draft picks aren’t a necessity for the Knicks given their already young core. Instead, they can use some of their younger, lesser known guys and swap them for a borderline All-Star. A starting backcourt member from the Portland Trailblazers would be a nice place to start and it’s highly unlikely that the Blazers will part ways with Damian Lillard. C.J. McCollum however, could be taken for the right price and they have enough able bodies to make a deal work. A protected first later and McCollum can call the bright lights of MSG home, while New York stays in the race for Zion.
New York receives: C.J. McCollum, Al-Farouq Aminu
Portland receives: Tim Hardaway Jr., Frank Ntilikina, Mario Hezonja, 2021 1st round pick (top-8 protected)
Oklahoma City Thunder
THIS trade might be the most boring, yet simple of all. The OKC Thunder are bad at shooting the deep ball, period. In order to help them correct their issues, I propose a three-team deal that nets them a pair of fine shooters who can help bump up their averages. In return, they can send away the struggling players on their bench and potentially consolidate a championship roster. Win-win.
Oklahoma receives: Wayne Ellington, Troy Daniels
Miami receives: Alex Abrines, Hamidou Diallo
Phoenix receives: Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot
THERE is only one piece missing in the Orlando puzzle if you ask me and it is clearly at point guard. Boasting a variety of lanky, young big men and plenty of competent wings, the time to land a game changer could be now. Given the age of their roster and their current trajectory there is no rush to swing for the fences for someone like John Wall, but instead of waiting around for the right guy to fall in their laps, they can take matters into their own hands and trade for someone like John Wall. Someone has to pay him right?
Orlondo receives: John Wall, Ian Mahinmi, 2020 1st round pick (swap-worst with WAS)
Washington receives: Aaron Gordon, Jonathon Simmons, Melvin Frazier Jr., 2020 1st round pick (swap-best with ORL), 2021 1st round pick (top-3 protected)
Image from wizofawes.com
FORGETTING the Jimmy Butler noise for a moment, Philly needs to address their bench. If they’re legitimate about making a run this year they can’t have the likes of Furkan Korkmaz, Jonah Bolden or Amir Johnson playing meaningful minutes in the playoffs and I have the answer to their woes. Those type of players help you to get through the regular season, but when you shorten your rotation to eight or nine guys in the playoffs you need people like Robin Lopez and Patrick Beverly to help make a difference. Oh and freeing Markeele Fultz at the same time is only fair.
Philadelphia receives: Robin Lopez, Patrick Beverley
Chicago receives: Markelle Fultz, Mike Scott, Jonah Bolden
L.A. receives: Mike Muscala, Bobby Portis, 2019 2nd round pick (via PHI)
THE Suns still need help in every aspect and considering they are hovering around the bottom of the league trading for someone of Kevin Love’s ilk doesn’t make sense. They could, however, convince someone that Dragan Bender is worth taking a chance on in an effort to find another young point guard. Markelle Fultz is the popular name and a deal for him could be manufactured, but I like them targetting a Cory Joseph type who can at least make the engine go while they chase the man of the future.
Phoenix receives: Cory Joseph, 2021 2nd round pick
Indiana receives: Dragan Bender, Troy Daniels
IF Portland wants to get serious about winning and not waste Damian Lillard/C.J. McCollum’s talent they could get ballsy and go for it in the trade market. The only problem is a lot of their other assets don’t scream ‘trade for me’. They can afford to take a gamble on a guy with a team option on his deal next year and at the same time wipe out some of their non-contributors, hopefully putting themselves in the top-4 conversation. It could cost them a first-rounder, but it’s a gamble I think they have to take.
Portland receives: Jabari Parker
Chicago receives: Maurice Harkless, Meyers Leonard, 2019 1st round pick (top-12 protected)
THE proud owners of the most cap space in the league, Sacramento needs to be careful not to make a mistake this trade season. Considering how many leaps and bounds their roster has taken though, swiping a versatile forward from the Wizards could be a good way to utilise their expiring contracts. While Bradley Beal would be their preferred target, their backcourt rotation appears set giving them a good reason to try and complement the rest of their squad with Otto Porter.
Sacramento receives: Otto Porter, Markeiff Morris
Washington receives: Iman Shumpert, Zach Randolph, Skal Labissiere
San Antonio Spurs
IMAGINE what Gregg Popovich could do if (insert name here) became a Spur? Unfortunately for San Antonio, the G.O.A.T coach might not be around for much longer, meaning they need to capitalise on his genius while they can. No offense to Pau Gasol, but he isn’t the same big man he once was and calling GM’s with his name attached to this year’s first rounder might net them something worthwhile. Draymond Green’s shooting numbers are down this year, but securing arguably the most versatile defender in the league would be a nice way to complement DeMar DeRozan and LaMarcus Aldridge as the third member of a new ‘Big 3’. There’s no way they would pull the trigger, but I have the power to override these deals, so tough luck Dub Nation.
San Antonio receives: Draymond Green, Damian Jones
Golden State receives: Pau Gasol, Jakob Poeltl, Dante Cunningham, 2019 1st round pick
LET’S be honest it’s now or never for the Toronto Raptors. 2019 poses the best chance the franchise has ever had to win it all and with Kawhi Leonard’s future up in the air, they can’t let this opportunity go to waste. There’s no need for a game-changing deal, but they can use and abuse the salary cap space in Sacto to their advantage. Shipping Norman Powell’s lengthy contract in exchange for Nemanja Bjelica and a poised Frank Mason might not seem like it moves the needle much, but some extra depth across the board for the small cost of Powell and a second rounder needs to be done.
Toronto receives: Nemanja Bjelica, Frank Mason
Sacramento receives: Norman Powell, 2020 2nd round pick
Image from raptorshq.com
THE Utah Jazz are in a strange spot as their sophomore sensation Donovan Mitchell struggles to recapture the vibe from his first pro season. He clearly needs support putting the ball in the hole and there aren’t a ton of cheap options out there. While Derrick Favours has been a great servant, they should entertain the idea of moving him and attaching a first-rounder to net a scoring punch. A team like the Cavs covets draft picks and if Utah is happy to part with a few of them, they could find the bucket-getter they need and then some. If you ask me, both sides should call it in.
Utah receives: Kevin Love, Rodney Hood
Cleveland receives: Derrick Favours, Thabo Sefolosha, 2019 1st rounder, 2021 2nd rounder
HOW can we fix Washington in one trade? The short answer is I can’t. That being said, not all hope is lost, as long as someone is brave enough to take John Wall’s mega-deal off the Wizards hands. With Wall out for the season, a team could trade for him without worrying about it affecting their draft stock this season. For Washington to really win this deal though, moving Otto Porter’s contract for a shorter term deal that costs a bit less in the form of Harrison Barnes makes sense. If the Wiz are happy to part ways with ATL’s second rounder this season, likely a top-35 pick then Dallas would probably agree to throw in Dennis Smith Jr, giving Washington real positivity for the franchises next chapter.
Washington receives: Dennis Smith Jr, Ryan Anderson, Harrison Barnes, 2021 1st rounder (via PHX), 2023 1st rounder (via PHX)
Phoenix receives: John Wall
Dallas receives: Otto Porter, Elie Okobo, 2019 2nd rounder (via ATL)