Do you feel the heat? It’s the trade deadline. The NBA’s trade deadline is February 20th and teams are starting to feel the pressure. There is such a large discrepancy between the contenders and the tankers that one would assume there will be a ton of activity in the coming weeks.
Gauging what to believe and what to disregard during the weeks leading up to the trade deadline is kind of like weaving through a Presidential campaign. Some of it is true, some of it is partially true and some of it is complete BS. You kind of have to roll with the punches and not get too high or too low. Unless news is broken by the NBA or Adrian Wojnarowski, aka Woj, of Yahoo! Sports I usually don’t believe it.
With all of that said I would like to present a couple of NBA deals that I believe should happen before the trade deadline. If you are ever interested in attempting to create trades on ESPN’s magical trade machine you should also probably have a working knowledge of which teams owe other teams future first round picks. Go ahead and bookmark that bad boy. Without further ado let’s get started!
Pau Gasol to the Phoenix Suns
We’ve covered this trade already. At some point the Lakers are going to trade Pau Gasol. It makes no sense to keep him. Are the Lakers really content with letting Gasol walk at the end of the season without getting any value for him? That’s playing checkers, not chess.
Here’s the trade: The Suns would trade one of their four first round picks (Yes, FOUR!!!) to the Lakers along with Emeka Okafor’s expiring contract for Gasol. It’s simple. It works for both teams. Fax it in! By the way, do teams still really fax in trades to the NBA’s league office? How outdated is the league office if they’re still receiving faxes? Figure it out Adam Silver.
Evan Turner Hates Cheesesteaks
Or perhaps the Cheesesteaks don’t like him. Despite the fact that Turner is averaging a career-high 18.1 points with 6.1 rebounds and 3.8 assists, the Philadelphia 76ers are eager to trade him.
The writing was on the wall when the Sixers traded away PG Jrue Holiday during the 2013 NBA Draft to the New Orleans Pelicans. GM Sam Hinkie has no interest in keeping Turner around as he rebuilds the team through the draft. Turner’s rookie deal is up at the end of the season and will become an unrestricted free agent unless the Sixers, or whomever he plays for, pick up his $8.7 million qualifying offer for 2014-15.
The Sixers are interested in acquiring multiple 2014 and 2015 first round picks and already have two 2014 first rounders. Grabbing another 2014 pick would give them the flexibility to trade a pair of their picks to move up in the draft. So where does Evan Turner fit? How about in the ATL!
I really like this deal for the Atlanta Hawks. The Hawks are desperate for a solid wing player with potential to pair with Al Horford, when he returns next season, and Paul Millsap. The Hawks are eligible to swap picks with the Brooklyn Nets this season, which they might not get to do. That pick looked a lot more attractive earlier in the season when Jason Kidd was in full Jason Kidd mode. However, the Nets are now 21-25 and would hold the 16th pick in the 2014 draft. For as great as this 2014 draft pool is, it is very top heavy. Would you rather have a former #2 overall pick who could be a 20-point scorer or Kyle Anderson from UCLA? I have nothing against Anderson but I’d roll with Turner.
As for the Sixers, this trade would net them another first round pick to play around with and would give them two expiring contracts. That’s a perfect trade in Hinkie’s mind.
Greg Monroe gets to leave Detroit
The 23-year old Power Forward is one of the best up-and-coming big men in the NBA; however, he is on a team, the Detroit Pistons, which has the best young Center in the league and an extremely talented, if not overpaid, Small Forward in Josh Smith. The Pistons tried to figure the offense out with all three guys on the court but it simply doesn’t work. One of them has to go.
The odd man out is Monroe, who will be a free agent after the season. So what assets can the Pistons get for a player like Monroe?
How about this “blockbuster”?
Greg Monroe and Anthony Davis working together could be a thing of beauty in New Orleans. The Pelicans already have Jrue Holiday and Tyreke Evans, which means that Eric Gordon is expendable. Gordon’s contract is hefty and he’s often injured. This would be a risk for the Pistons; however, the combination of Gordon and Ryan Anderson would fit fell with Drummond and Smith. The Pelicans would get financial relief with Rodney Stuckey and Charlie Villanueva’s contracts coming off the books at seasons end.
This trade is a huge risk for both franchises but could ultimately get them on the path to being a contender in the near future.
Oklahoma City can win the NBA Championship this season with or without Arron Afflalo. Jeremy Lamb has contributed admirably during Russell Westbrook’s absence and the Thunder have been steam rolling opponents all season. However, isn’t Afflalo the perfect addition to this team?
Afflalo is having one of his finest offensive seasons and is one of the best on-ball defender in the league. He would spread out opposing defenses for Kevin Durant and Westbrook. I truly believe that if the Thunder were able to acquire Afflalo it would put them over the top. Westbrook and Afflalo were teammates for one year at UCLA and I believe they would be the perfect backcourt tandem for the next couple of seasons. But how do you get Afflalo to OKC?
The Thunder and GM Sam Presti would have to do some serious negotiating with the Orlando Magic to pull this one off and would definitely have to give the Magic their two first round picks in the 2014 draft. Yes, one of those picks is dependent on the Dallas Mavericks having a later pick than #20 overall but that pick would be realized at some point during next three seasons anyways.
Here’s the point: The Magic would have to take on Kendrick Perkins’ contract, which would be a win for the Thunder. However, the OKC would be taking on Afflalo for an additional two years and Glen Davis for another season. That’s a huge financial commitment for a team that just traded away James Harden because they “couldn’t afford” him.
The reason I believe this deal is feasible is because it feels like the Thunder realize they made a mistake in trading away Harden and understand that they a perfect opportunity to win right now and that they need to take advantage of it while Westbrook and Durant are under contract.
It’s clear that the Clippers are one of the better teams in the Western Conference and are fringe NBA title contenders. However, as we’ve discussed before, they need a third big man to pair with DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin.
Who should they target?
Taj Gibson of the Chicago Bulls. Clippers fans seem to genuinely believe they can win the NBA Championship with the roster as currently constructed. I couldn’t disagree more. Without a third big I don’t think the Clippers can even make it to the Western Conference Finals.
I also know that Clipper fans genuinely love Jamal Crawford and for good reason. J Crossover can ball. However, in order to get the pieces you need to win a Championship sometimes you’ve got to take a chance. The Clippers have plenty of shooting from J.J. Redick and Jared Dudley. That’s not the issue. Crawford is a valuable piece; however, if the Clippers truly have Championship aspirations then I believe Gibson would be a much more valuable piece.