NBA Trade Extravaganza – Solving the Biggest Issues in the League Before the 2022 Trade Deadline

As we hit the halfway point of the NBA season, fans are aware of the popular trade rumours doing the rounds with big names like Damian Lillard, Ben Simmons and Kyrie Irving all mentioned in hypothetical deals. Although we know most of them will eventuate into nothing, there is bound to be some player movement over the coming month before the 2021-22 deadline arrives and we could even see some popular players change teams despite the ongoing COVID complications enveloping the league.

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Myles Turner, Pacers

The trade that could happen – Dallas Mavericks
Deal details: Myles Turner for Dwight Powell, Josh Green, Jalen Bunson & picks

The trade that should happen – Charlotte Hornets
Deal details: Myles Turner for Mason Plumlee and P.J. Washington

Let’s get crazy – L.A. Clippers
Deal details: Myles Turner for Ivica Zubac, Luke Kennard & picks

Other suitors – Celtics, Trailblazers, Knicks

It’s no secret that Myles Turner is seeking a bigger role than what Indiana can provide for him. The defence-first big man is ready to find a new home and there are a bunch of teams that could deploy him in the middle of the paint. Charlotte is shaping up as the most logical fit and the Hornets have been linked to the Pacers center for a little while now. However, the league leader in blocks is bound to attract interest from rivals as the deadline approaches, with Dallas looming as another fit for Turner that could help the Mavericks vault into the upper echelon out West.

Ben Simmons, 76ers

The trade that could happen – San Antonio Spurs
Deal details: Ben Simmons for Dejounte Murray, Thaddeus Young & picks

The trade that should happen – Portland Trailblazers
Deal details: Ben Simmons for CJ McCollum & picks

Let’s get crazy – Houston Rockets
Deal details: Ben Simmons & Isaiah Joe for Christian Wood, Eric Gordon & Kevin Porter Jr

Other suitors – Mavericks, Cavaliers, Pacers, Kings

The biggest domino expected to fall during trade season is easily Ben Simmons, with the star Sixer featuring heavily in hypothetical swaps. His future is still well and truly up in the air with Simmons not suiting up for Philly and the front office seemingly happy with letting their sizeable playmaker rot away. A team with title aspirations, it would make sense for the 76ers to cash in their 6-11 trade chip for an All-Star calibre guard or a young point with similar potential, à la De’Aaron Fox, Dejounte Murray, CJ McCollum or in a best-case scenario, Damian Lillard.

Image from bleacherreport.com

Buddy Hield, Kings

The trade that could happen – Memphis Grizzlies
Deal details: Buddy Hield for Dillon Brooks & Kyle Anderson

The trade that should happen – Philadelphia 76ers
Deal details: Buddy Hield, Marvin Bagley & picks for Ben Simmons

Let’s get crazy – New York Knicks
Deal details (3 teams): Buddy Hield to Knicks; Eric Gordon & Kevin Knox to Kings; Alec Burks & Obi Toppin to Rockets

Other suitors – Mavericks, Wizards, Pacers, Hornets, Clippers, Timberwolves

The best thing going for a potential Buddy Hield trade is his complementary skill set that could be utilised by virtually every NBA team. Emerging as a pure knockdown shooter from the day he entered a league, there’s no team that Hield won’t fit on – the tricky part is finding the franchise that wants to pay him. The Kings snipper is halfway through a 4-year/$94M deal and if a middling team like the Knicks or Mavs can find the salaries to match, a deal could eventuate. I still want to see Hield on the Sixers, but either way, I’ll be stunned if he remains in Sacramento following the trade deadline.

Damian Lillard, Trailblazers

The trade that could happen – New York Knicks
Deal details: Damian Lillard & Tony Snell for Kemba Walker, Evan Fournier, Kevin Knox II, Immanuel Quickly & picks

The trade that should happen – Philadelphia 76ers
Deal details: Damian Lillard for Ben Simmons, Tyrese Maxey & picks

Let’s get crazy – Boston Celtics
Deal details: Damian Lillard for Jaylen Brown, Dennis Schröder & Juancho Hernangomez

Other suitors – Pelicans, Raptors, Heat

Portland’s 6x All-NBA stud holds all the cards when it comes to a possible trade and all signs point to Damian Lillard waiting until seasons end before exploring any change of jerseys. However, if Dame wants to flee the City of Roses sooner there will be a plethora of teams cueing up with trade offers. Most casual NBA fans have linked him with a move to Philadelphia to help Joel Embiid contend for a chip, but the Knicks may have the best collection of young assets and picks to entice Portland into a deal.

Jerami Grant, Pistons

The trade that could happen – Chicago Bulls
Deal details: Jerami Grant for Coby White, Troy Brown Jr & Patrick Williams

The trade that should happen – Portland Trailblazers
Deal details: Jerami Grant & Trey Lyles for Robert Covington, Anfernee Simmons & Nassir Little

Let’s get crazy – Utah Jazz
Deal details: Jerami Grant for Bojan Bogdanovic, Jared Butler & picks

Other suitors – Pelicans, Mavericks, Timberwolves, Wizards

There’s a lot of trade scuttlebutt at this time of the year, with big names swirling around the rumour mill. Ultimately, a lot of these players won’t be moved, but Jerami Grant is someone who could be shipped out of Detroit. Having catapulted his worth in the past two seasons, the scoring wing has interest around the league with his middle-tier contract making Grant a very tradeable asset. Personally, I’d love to see him join Utah although there are other underachieving teams in the West that may pull the trigger.

De’Aaron Fox, Kings

The trade that could happen – New York Knicks
Deal details: De’Aaron Fox for Kemba Walker, Alec Burks, Obi Toppin & picks

The trade that should happen – Philadelphia 76ers
Deal details: De’Aaron Fox for Ben Simmons

Let’s get crazy – Washington Wizards
Deal details (3 teams): De’Aaron Fox to Wizards, Ben Simmons to Kings, Bradley Beal to 76ers 

Other suitors – Celtics, Pelicans, Rockets

All signs point to a potential divorce between De’Aaron Fox and Sacramento in the near future, with the Kings able to hand the reins over to promising prospects like Tyrese Haliburton and Davion Mitchell. Fox has taken a step back in production this season but will still generate substantial offers based on his previous track record. New York may opt to pounce on the dynamic guard while a straight-up swap for Ben Simmons, sending Fox to the Sixers, makes sense for all involved parties.

Image from sactownroyalty.com

Caris LeVert, Pacers

The trade that could happen – Atlanta Hawks
Deal details: Caris LeVert for Bogdan Bogdanovich

The trade that should happen – Minnesota Timberwolves
Deal details: Caris LeVert for Malik Beasley & Josh Okogie

Let’s get crazy – Cleveland Cavaliers
Deal details (3 teams): Caris LeVert to Cavs; Cedi Osman to Pelicans; Isaac Okoro, Tomas Satoransky & picks to Pacers

Other suitors – Knicks, Nuggets, Kings

The majority of the trade buzz out of Indiana revolves around Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis, but Caris LeVert is another attractive piece that could be dealt. Having faced his fair share of medical/injury issues in his young career already, some franchises will be wary when considering a trade for LeVert. An average close to 19 PPG over the past three seasons indicates what he can bring to the table and a team looking to take the next step like the Hawks, Timberwolves or Cavaliers could all emerge as a new home for the former Michigan prospect.

Domantas Sabonis, Pacers

The trade that could happen – Golden State Warriors
Deal details: Domantas Sabonis for James Wiseman, Jonathan Kuminga, Moses Moody & picks

The trade that should happen – Portland Trailblazers
Deal details: Domantas Sabonis & Jeremy Lamb for Robert Covington, Anfernee Simons, Larry Nance Jr & picks

Let’s get crazy – Boston Celtics
Deal details: Domantas Sabonis for Marcus Smart, Grant Williams, Romeo Langford & picks

Other suitors – Timberwolves, Kings, Spurs

There aren’t too many PF/C types that have the same skillset as Domantas Sabonis and while I’d rather hold onto the unique talent, Indiana isn’t married to that idea. If he does get moved, the Warriors loom as a dangerous landing spot and a near-perfect fit for Sabonis, although there’s no certainty Dub Nation will part ways with their young players in any negotiation. San Antonio could integrate themselves in trade talks and fast forward their rebuilding phase by acquiring the versatile forward and the Celtics are bound to kick the tyres on a deal to pair him with their All-Star scorers Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum.

John Wall, Rockets

The trade that could happen – New York Knicks
Deal details: John Wall for Kemba Walker, Evan Fournier & Alec Burks

The trade that should happen – L.A. Clippers
Deal details: John Wall for Serge Ibaka, Eric Bledsoe & Luke Kennard

Let’s get crazy – Philadelphia 76ers
Deal details (3 teams): John Wall & picks to Sixers; Russell Westbrook and Talen Horton-Tucker to Rockets; Tobias Harris, Danuel House, D.J. Augustin & Shake Milton to Lakers 

Other suitors – Thunder, Lakers

Steph Curry is the only NBA player who is making more money than John Wall this season and his astronomical $44M contract is the only reason he hasn’t yet been dealt. The 5x All-Star proved he can still offer a meaningful contribution to a contending outfit, averaging 20.6 points and 6.9 assists in his 40 games with Houston last year while he had a clean bill of health. His stupid high salary eliminates a lot of trade possibilities and even though both sides are keen to find a solution a buy-out that would allow Wall to join a contender seems like the most logical end scenario.

CJ McCollum, Trailblazers

The trade that could happen – New York Knicks
Deal details: CJ McCollum for Alec Burks, Evan Fournier, Kevin Knox II & picks

The trade that should happen – Philadelphia 76ers
Deal details: CJ McCollum, Anfernee Simons & picks for Ben Simmons

Let’s get crazy – Dallas Mavericks
Deal details (3 teams): CJ McCollum, Tony Snell & Jusuf Nurkic to Mavs; Jeremy Lamb, Dwight Powell, Myles Turner, Caris LeVert to Blazers; Kristaps Porzinigs, Larry Nance Jr & picks to Pacers

Other suitors – Raptors, Celtics, Pacers, Thunder

If Portland is planning on blowing up their current roster in the near future, I’d be trying to pry CJ McCollum away. The borderline All-Star has missed more than a month with a punctured lung, but once he returns to full health there’s bound to be interest from rival franchises. A team like the Mavericks could vault themselves into true contending status by adding CJ to their mix, with Indiana, New York and Toronto showing varying degrees of interest. Much like the Damian Lillard situation, a McCollum trade probably won’t come to fruition until the offseason at the earliest unless a team comes calling with a healthy package full of draft picks/swaps.

Marvin Bagley, Kings

The trade that could happen – Detroit Pistons
Deal details: Marvin Bagley & Buddy Hield for Jerami Grant, Josh Jackson & Frank Jackson

The trade that should happen – Dallas Mavericks
Deal details: Marvin Bagley for Dwight Powell and picks

Let’s get crazy – Chicago Bulls
Deal details: Marvin Bagley for Coby White & Tony Bradley

Other suitors – Spurs, Pacers, Lakers

It’s fair to assume the Marvin Bagely experiment has failed in Sacramento with the former No. 2 pick dealing with multiple injury woes and an inconsistent amount of playing time – including completely falling out of Luke Walton’s rotation before his firing. Having averaged just 24.8 minutes a game through his 138 game career as a King, a fresh start could be exactly what the doctor ordered for Bagley and there are bound to be suitors who will insist they can help him unlock his potential. Any swap would likely see him join another lottery-bound franchise, but there are a few in that mould ready to make a play at Bagley.

Small Time Solutions

T.J. Warren, Pacers to Lakers – Any potential Lakers deal would hopefully see them keep hold of Talen Horton-Tucker, but I don’t like their chances of pulling off a decent move without THT involved. Forgotten man T.J. Warren is yet to be cleared for a return to the court, although the upside he possesses as a 3-and-D wing should appeal to the Lakers.

Dennis Schröder, Celtics to Nets – Part-time All-Star, part-time distraction Kyrie Irving is back in the mix for Brooklyn, alleviating their need for another scoring guard. With that said, there will be a large portion of games that Kyrie can’t feature in, which opens the door for the Nets to make a play at a cheaper, hassle-free type such as Dennis Schröder. Splitting his time between the bench and starting-5 so far this season, adding Schröder would give Brooklyn more depth and help cover the absence of Irving.

Thaddeus Young, Spurs to Suns – While Thaddeus Young is more likely to be a buy-out candidate it would be wise for San Antonio to cash him in and get something in return. Enter the Phoenix Suns who wouldn’t say no at the chance to add some depth in their frontcourt and parting with a second-round pick or two would likely get the deal done.

Goran Dragic, Raptors to Mavericks – Teammates on the Slovenian national team, everyone has been expecting Goran Dragic and Luka Doncic to join forces sooner or later. One way or another Dragic appears destined to head to Dallas and the buy-out market looms as the probable pathway. It’s unlikely that the Mavericks will want to part ways with Tim Hardaway Jr and/or Dwight Powell, but throwing them in a deal may fast forward a move for Dragic.

Image from dallasnews.com

Tim Hardaway Jr, Mavericks to Pistons – Speaking of Tim Hardaway, he continues to play a role in Dallas but I’m sure the Mavs would love to make an upgrade on the wing if they could find one. Should they be willing to part ways with a draft pick or two, they may be able to pry Jerami Grant away from Detroit in a win-win move for both franchises.

Eric Gordon, Rockets to Knicks – It’s no secret that Houston is looking to cash in on Eric Gordon’s form spike and the Knicks have emerged as a potential landing spot. Evan Fournier is starting to find his footing, but New York may look to offload his contract (by attaching some draft assets) and acquire Gordon who is viewed as a better fit in Thibs’ system.

Terrence Ross, Magic to Celtics – Orlando is virtually at the bottom of the pecking order by NBA standards, stockpiling young talent in an effort to catapult their rebuild. While the Celtics have had plenty of swings with selections in the lottery, none many of them have developed at the rate they would have liked. A change of scenery might help a youngster turn their fortunes around and Terrence Ross would happily depart the Magic for a team with playoff and title aspirations.

Pipe Dreams

Russell Westbrook to the Knicks – How good would it be to see Russ playing at MSG each night? I can’t see the deal happening without Julius Randle or RJ Barrett being included, but if they ditch everyone else and keep that duo plus Westbrook, the Knicks would certainly put bums on seats.

Karl-Anthony Towns to the Warriors – This would almost be unfair. KAT is being wasted on a perennial cellar dweller in Minnesota and I’m sure he’d welcome a trade to a contending Warriors outfit. Golden State may part ways with Andrew Wiggins to match salaries, but they have enough decent young players and picks to push a deal through.

Dejounte Murray to the Celtics – If Boston is serious about chasing a ring with their All-Star wings, then they should make this trade a priority. Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum and the addition of Dejounte Murray doesn’t give the Celtics a stereotypical Big-3, but if they can pull off this trade and keep Robert Williams on their roster, it will certainly elevate their chances in a competitive Eastern Conference.

Kristaps Porzingis to the Nets – Why not make multiple parties happy with this trade; Porzingis in a straight swap for Kyrie Irving. On the surface, people would argue that Dallas clearly wins the deal, but if the Nets could haggle and fetch a pick or two, it may work out for both franchises. Removing the Kyrie distraction from Brooklyn and allowing the Mavericks to end the Kristaps experiment gives each team a chance to reset and still remain firmly in the title hunt.

Brandon Ingram to the Grizzlies – Memphis has been one of the feel-good stories so far this season, so why not enhance their chances by adding a star scoring wing? Flush with picks and tradeable pieces, they could convince a free-falling Pelicans franchise to mix things up and add some promising young players to their nucleus. Desmond Bane would likely need to be involved in the transaction, although the chance to pair Ja Morant and Ingram on the same team makes it worthwhile.

Pascal Siakam to the Kings – Clearly, the Sacramento Kings don’t have much of an identity right now and being stuck in the middle isn’t where any franchise wants to find themselves. In an effort to fix that, they should make a play for Pascal Siakam, providing them with a stud forward to compliment their budding backcourt of Tyrese Haliburton and Davion Mitchell.

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