It’s my favorite time of the year. We’re less than 24 hours from the NBA trade deadline and every couch GM is trying to argue how their small-market team could trade for Anthony Davis (it’s not happening guys). That’s not what we’re doing here. If New Orleans hasn’t taken the Lakers‘ latest Godfather offer, he’s either not going anywhere or he’s going somewhere no one predicted. No, here we’re going to discuss some other players that could be dealt at the deadline. Most of these players have been rumored to be in deals except maybe one (a personal favorite I would like moved somewhere else). Lastly, before we get into it, I won’t be covering Marc Gasol or Mike Conley trades either. Dozens of articles with trade ideas for those two have been published since last year.
Scary Terry’s New Home?
Man, the hype on Rozier has been nearly extinguished. I’d be more worried if the rest of the Celtics were doing fine, though. Instead, everyone not named Kyrie Irving has regressed this year and Brad Stevens has seemed confused the entire season. I am confident that Rozier would return to the player who averaged 11 points, nearly five rebounds and three assists per game while shooting 38.1% from three in a new location. There haven’t been a lot of rumors going around about Rozier lately but he’s a restricted free agent this coming offseason and I don’t see Boston paying him. There are several teams absolutely thirsty for a building block at point guard and Rozier is the purest PG prospect out there.
Possible Suitors: Phoenix, Orlando, Post Fire Sale Memphis
New York Fire Sale
Not even the Knicks’ firefighter jerseys can stop a fire sale happening in The Big Apple. They just sent their franchise cornerstone, Kristaps Porzingis, out and have no reasons to keep competitive players around. I’m actually a fan of the trade for the Knicks: getting a legitimate point guard prospect, cap relief, and two first rounders is not a bad haul for post-injury Porzingis. Also, 7 footers with previous leg injuries give me a bad feeling. It’s time to sell off the veterans, though. Enes Kanter, DeAndre Jordan, and Wesley Matthews are all on expiring contracts and are valuable as playoff-run pieces. Kanter is a great source of scoring, albeit coming off the bench due to his old-fashioned play style. Wes has never looked the same after a devastating Achilles injury, but can still provide 3 and D value off the bench. I refuse to believe DJ is washed. Committing to the Clippers just to have them turn around and trade the stars surrounding him has killed his love for the game. He needs to be dealt somewhere that can reignite that flame for him.
Kanter Suitors: Charlotte, San Antonio, Houston
Matthews Suitors: Philadelphia, Utah, Houston
Jordan Suitors: San Antonio, Lakers, Milwaukee
Clippers Reduce Logjam
The Los Angeles Clippers are one of the deepest teams in the league. They are dominating with a collaborative team effort reminiscent of the 60 win 2014-15 Atlanta Hawks. That being said, they have an overabundance of guards and it is keeping one of their best players on the pine. The Clippers have Patrick Beverley, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Avery Bradley (who Doc inexplicably loves), and Lou Williams soaking up minutes. So I ask Jerry West: please trade Milos Teodosic. He is one of the most enjoyable players to watch when he gets minutes and can actually be a contributor on many teams. Last season he averaged nine points and 4.6 assists a game while shooting 37.9% from three. A lot of teams could use a spark plug off the bench for the stretch run, especially one who sets up the offense as beautifully as Teodosic.
Possible Suitors: Washington, San Antonio, Detroit
Orlando Does Something Right
All signs point to the Orlando Magic holding onto Nikola Vucevic through the trade deadline. I get it, you haven’t been to the postseason in six seasons and are right in the thick of it right now. But that isn’t the smart play. Vucevic was just named an All-Star. His trade value is never going to be higher than it is right now. In addition to that, he’s an unrestricted free agent this offseason and no one sticks around in Orlando. Don’t lose him for nothing, snag a young point guard or a nice pick for him. Any team that thinks they will run into the Warriors in the playoffs should inquire about “Vooch”. Golden State doesn’t have many weaknesses but their death lineup has been susceptible to old school, bang in the post big men. Example: Jusuf Nurkic dropped 27 points and 12 rebounds on them in a win earlier this season. Enes Kanter (also available! last season, when he was actually playing minutes, averaged 29 points and 17 rebounds per 48 minutes against the Warriors.
Possible Suitors: Clippers, Utah, Houston
The Heat have made a habit of paying for mediocrity. They have committed over $55 million to the quartet of Tyler Johnson, Kelly Olynyk, James Johnson, and Dion Waiters. Only two of those players currently start. Sacrificing over half of your salary cap to those players isn’t going to get it done. Unfortunately, it won’t be easy to offload salary. The only realistic player rumored to being moved is Wayne Ellington. Ellington was an absolute sniper last year shooting 7.5 threes a game and hitting them at an elite 39.2% clip. This season, however, he has been buried on the bench. Any team in need of some bench shooting (pretty much every team in the league) should give the Heat a call and see what they want in return for him.
Possible Suitors: Milwaukee, Denver, Oklahoma City
The whole year we’ve heard that this trade deadline will be quieter than it has been in recent years. I don’t buy it. We’ve already had the Kristaps Porzingis blockbuster and the Philadelphia 76ers turning into an Eastern Conference superteam, not to mention the hilarious overpaying for Rodney Hood. I’d be willing to bet a number of the players mentioned above get moved and possibly another blockbuster or two. Perhaps we’ll see if New Orleans takes a lesser offer just to be petty. Wouldn’t that be fun? Regardless, it should make for an entertaining next day.