5. NBA trade deadline
Now that the All-Star Game itself has concluded, the short-term focus of the NBA turns to this week’s trade deadline. Will there be any blockbuster trades between now and Thursday? If so, how will that shake up things in each conference?
We’ve already seen a couple of semi-major moves take place with the Denver Nuggets acquiring Mason Plumlee and the Toronto Raptors picking up Serge Ibaka. But the expectation here has to be that there will be some significant additional movement over the next several days.
The Philadelphia 76ers have long had Jahlil Okafor not he trade block. It even got to the point earlier this month that Philly sat Okafor due to what seemed to be an imminent trade. Some of those talks have taken place with the New Orleans Pelicans, who are looking to find another big to team up with Anthony Davis (more on that here).
Outside of the Sixers, it appears the Orlando Magic are looking to be active. They already moved Ibaka for pennies on the dollars and reportedly turned down a trade for DeMarcus Cousins earlier in the season. Orlando is active on a lot of fronts, as recent trade discussions with the Pistons for Reggie Jackson have heated up.
None of the teams mentioned above stand a real good chance to make an impact as the season draws to a conclusion. Instead, it’s going to be all about what teams like the Cleveland Cavaliers (more on that later), Houston Rockets and Boston Celtics do.
Boston has been the most active of the bunch and is expected to pull off a somewhat major trade between now and the deadline. That could come with the team acting as a facilitator or it could involve the lottery pick it acquired from the Brooklyn Nets. Boston is the true wild card here.
It has the assets to pull off a major trade that could shake up the Eastern Conference. And with Isaiah Thomas playing at an MVP level, this is something general manager Danny Ainge and Co. might consider doing. A deal involving Brooklyn’s pick (potentially No. 1 overall) would have to net a major asset in return. That’s where both Paul George and Jimmy Butler come into play.
Either way we spin it, the next few days between now and the deadline promise to be action packed. It just remains to be seen whether there will be a deal that shakes the foundation of the Association. It hasn’t happened in recent years, but it most definitely could change here soon.