Getting into trade season
Now that the 2018-19 campaign is more than half over, we’re getting into trade season around the NBA. There’s likely going to be an uptick in moves this February with more teams involved in playoff races than in the past.
But there certainly are squads that will be sellers. Among those, the Cleveland Cavaliers and Chicago Bulls have assets to move. Could we also see a blockbuster trade involving New Orleans Pelicans standout Anthony Davis?
These are among six realistic NBA trades we’d love to see come to fruition ahead of next month’s deadline.
Kevin Love to the Portland Trail Blazers
The idea here would be for Portland to add a front-court scoring option to go with the stud back-court combination of Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum. Love’s injury could impact whether he’s dealt prior to the trade deadline in February. But if he were to come back healthy prior to then, there’s a good chance the downtrodden Cavaliers would focus on trading the All-Star.
In order for the money to work, Cleveland would have to take on the expiring deal of Al-Farouq Aminu and Evan Turner’s bloated contract. In turn, Portland could offer up multiple first-round picks to entice the rebuilding Cavaliers.
Harrison Barnes to the Sacramento Kings
The Kings have done good for themselves thus far this season. They are currently over .500 and right in the thick of the Western Conference Playoff race. The combination of Buddy Hield and De’Aaron Fox have picked their game up big time in the backcourt. Even then, it’s well known that Sacramento is looking for a wing. Already linked to Barnes, this would make all the sense in the world.
Barnes could easily come in and be the Kings’ third scoring option. It also wouldn’t be a shock to see Dallas move on from the remainder of Barnes’ four-year, $93.4 million deal as a way for the team to become players in free agency this summer. It’s in this that dealing Barnes for the expiring contracts of Iman Shumpert, Kosta Koufos and/or Zach Randolph makes sense. As a way to sweeten the pot, the Kings could also offer up big man Willie Cauley-Stein.
Jabari Parker to the Denver Nuggets
Parker will likely be moved by the Bulls ahead of February’s trade deadline. He’s fallen out of favor and almost completely out of the rotation — playing in just six of the past 18 games. It’s certainly not the hometown reunion Parker and the Bulls had hoped for when he signed a one-year $20 million deal with a team option for the 2019-2020 campaign.
Even then, the forward still has some trade value. First off, he’s technically an expiring contract. That could make it easy for contending teams to make a move for the former No. 2 overall pick. If so, Denver seems like a logical fit. He could come in and see action at both the three and the four — providing the team with more depth down the stretch. A package surrounding Mason Plumlee and a combination of lesser-known players would work financially.
Anthony Davis to the Boston Celtics
We don’t see blockbuster trades of this ilk too often in-season. As one of the best all-around players in the game, the Pelicans are going to do everything possible to retain Davis long term. The issue here is that this team continues to exist in mediocrity out west. How much longer will AD put up with it? We can’t be too sure, especially given that larger-market teams are interested in Davis.
Should New Orleans wait until the summer to deal Davis, it likely would get less in return. Currently the 12th seed out west, it makes sense for the Pelicans to at least entertain trade offers for Davis. That’s where these Celtics come into play. They have both the draft assets and young players to offer up Nola in a trade.
Under this scenario, Boston would move on from either Jaylen Brown or Jayson Tatum as the centerpiece of the package. From there, Marcus Smart and/or Terry Rozier become possibilities. Potentially boasting first-round picks from the Clippers, Grizzlies and Kings, Boston could also offer up a ton of draft assets to the Pelicans in order to make this work.
Hassan Whiteside to the Brooklyn Nets
Whiteside and the Heat have seemingly smoothed things over after a drama-filled 2017-18 campaign. In no way does this mean that he has a future in South Beach. Much like the Pelicans out west, these Heat are existing in obscurity back east. Despite currently being in playoff positioning, they are one game under .500 without a whole lot to look forward to.
Moving Whiteside gives Miami the best opportunity to rebuild on the fly while remaining somewhat competitive. Moving him to the Nets would also make the most sense. Brooklyn has been among the most-surprising teams in the Association this season. Flush with front-court talent, adding Whiteside to that core would go a long way in helping the Nets earn a surprising playoff appearance.
Kent Bazemore and Jeremy Lin to the Thunder
Oklahoma City is in an interesting situation in that the team has the capability to add to the core group of Paul George and Russell Westbrook. Currently No. 3 out west, there’s a good chance this will happen ahead of February’s trade deadline. If so, the shooting guard position has to be the Thunder’s primary target. After all, Terrance Ferguson is averaging under seven points per game as the primary starter at that position.
In adding Bazemore and Lin to the mix from Atlanta, the Thunder would be creating both depth and shooting from the perimeter. The two have combined to average nearly 25 points per game this season. To make this work, Oklahoma City would have to get a third team involved to take on Dennis Schroder’s contract and other fillers.