With the NBA trade deadline quickly approaching, multiple teams are in need of upgrades to be taken seriously as title contenders.
Will the Boston Celtics finally pull off that blockbuster trade for a big man? What about the surprising Denver Nuggets out west? Are they in line for a major trade?
It’s in this that we give you five bold predictions for the NBA trade deadline, including a certain future Hall of Famer heading to South Beach.
Andre Drummond dealt to the Celtics
We already know that Detroit has put this All-Star big man on the trade block ahead of Thursday’s deadline. Unfortunately for the Pistons, they are not receiving a ton of interest in a guy that will likely opt out of his contract this coming summer. That complicates things for contending teams.
In the market for a defense-minded big man after having to rely on Enes Kanter this season, the Celtics seem like a perfect fit. Drummond has led the NBA in rebounding each of the past two seasons and is on pace to accomplish that feat once again in 2019-20. He’s also averaging a career best 17.3 points per game.
A move of this magnitude would force Detroit into taking on Gordon Hayward’s bloated contract to make the salaries work. In turn, Boston sends over multiple first-round picks. That includes the selection it has from the Memphis Grizzlies. It just makes too much sense.
Kevin Love to Mile High
Sitting at 34-16 on the season, the Denver Nuggets have a real shot to earn a top two seed in a stacked Western Conference. What we’ve seen from Michael Malone’s squad seems to suggest that going all in makes sense. Find another star to team up with Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic.
That’s where Love comes into play. Sure he’s injury plagued and is playing on a bloated contract. But adding a stretch four to go with Paul Millsap inside would make this team nearly unstoppable and a legit title contender. In this scenario, Denver gives up young stud Michael Porter Jr. in lieu of draft picks. It also sends Gary Harris and the expiring contract of Mason Plumlee to make the finances work.
DeMar DeRozan back to the Raptors
Winners of 11 consecutive games and currently the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference, the defending champion Raptors have a darn good chance to return to the NBA Finals come June. Relying on the likes of Pascal Siakam and Fred VanVleet, Nick Nurse’s team has been among the most surprising in the NBA.
It’s in this that we expect Toronto’s brass to make a splash ahead of the trade deadline. Why not go back to the well and re-acquire DeRozan in a trade with the Spurs? He’d be a perfect fit with what the Raptors have built since moving the All-Star in the blockbuster Kawhi Leonard trade.
It’s already known that the San Antonio Spurs are looking to start anew with a full-scale rebuild. Moving a player in DeRozan who will likely opt out of his contract this summer makes sense. In return, San Antonio takes on the expiring contract of Marc Gasol, a stud youngster in that of OG Anunoby and a 2020 first-round pick. It’s a match made in heaven for both teams.
Lakers make a splash
We’ve read rumors that the Western Conference’s best team will look to move star young forward Kyle Kuzma ahead of Thursday’s trade deadline. It’s pretty much the only tangible asset the 37-11 Lakers have. But it’s a darn good one.
I am going to boldly predict that the Lakers get more for Kuzma than most people expect. That could come in the form of Marcus Morris from the New York Knicks or Derrick Rose of the Detroit Pistons. Either way, expect general manager Rob Pelinka and Co. to pull off the unexpected this week.
Heat pull of Chris Paul stunner
Miami was previously bandied about as a potential landing spot for Paul after he was acquired by the Thunder last summer. Said rumors quickly died down some. But with the Heat in the midst of a surprising season, we would not be surprised if front office head Pat Riley pulled off a major blockbuster.
Here, the Heat add an All-Star in Paul who is still playing at an elite level. He’d team up with Jimmy Butler to create a tremendous one-two punch. Add in the likes of Bam Adebayo, Kendrick Nunn and Goran Dragic, and this would be a championship-caliber team.
In return for Paul, Oklahoma City nets itself 2019 first-round pick Tyler Herro a 2020 first-round pick and cap fillers in that of James Johnson, Dion Waiters and Kelly Olynyk. It just makes too much sense.