5 teams who should make a blockbuster trade ahead of NBA trade deadline
NBA trade season is here and likely to be in full swing from now until the Feb. 7 deadline. With much of the league feeling like they have a chance at getting into the playoffs, more teams are looking to be trade market buyers than in the past. We have already seen some of the pieces falling into place around the league. Players like George Hill and Trevor Ariza have found new homes on teams hoping they will help solidify a roster ready to contend.
As of Dec. 15, players who signed with a new team in the offseason became eligible to be moved. Jan. 15 represents another big day of trade eligibility for some players, and there are other special trade eligibility dates for certain players spread throughout the league. Trade talks will pick up as these dates pass and we get closer and closer to the trade deadline. As the NBA readies itself to see some player movement around the league, here are five teams who should be looking to making big splashes on the trade market.
Fewer teams in the league are harder to pinpoint currently than the Detroit Pistons. The Pistons have gone on a three-game winning or three-game losing streak four times so far in less than a half a season. Trouble to sustain success and not slide backwards after finding a run of wins has been tough for them, despite getting great play out of their All-Star frontcourt of Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond.
While it would be expected that these two putting up numbers would be a recipe for success, they are often doing it with little help. As a team, they rank in the bottom five in the NBA in 3-point percentage and overall field goal percentage. Despite being the 11th ranked defense, their bottom-10 offensive rating is holding them back.
The duo of Griffin and Drummond desperately needs help. Reggie Jackson was supposed to be the No. 3 guy on this team, but he continues to fall short. Averaging fewer 3-pointers, assists, and a lower efficiency from deep than Griffin, he is obviously not the answer for Detroit at point guard. The Pistons are built for present success, and they need to make a move if they want to capitalize on that.
Going all in to put pressure on the Charlotte Hornets to trade Kemba Walker would be the ideal move for Detroit if Charlotte ever decides to listen to offers. Walker could add instant scoring from them and help bring the Pistons’ offense into the top half of the league. It would require giving up a lot, but it would be worth trading just about every player not named Blake Griffin or Andre Drummond if they could make that trade happen.
Life without LeBron James has been tough for the Cleveland Cavaliers. Their fourth consecutive trip to the NBA Finals has been followed up so far with an 8-27 record, keeping them at the bottom of the East standings. Some regression was expected, but Cleveland has quickly had to adjust its previous plans of remaining a contender to focusing on the future.
With the change in direction, there is a lot of roster left in place that needs to go. Players like J.R. Smith and Tristan Thompson, whose salary and timeline don’t line up with the team’s goals, could be on the way out. One name stands out as a must-move player, however: Kevin Love.
Love signed an offseason extension for four years and $120 million in the offseason. This was when the Cavs saw themselves as at least a playoff team. As their self-identity has adjusted, so should their personnel. The Cavs should seek a blockbuster trade, as a seller, shipping Kevin Love out of Cleveland.
Unable to be traded until Jan. 24, Love has missed some time due to toe surgery in November. Scheduled for a January return, it is likely he could come back and prove he still has something to offer teams with title, or at least playoff, hopes before the deadline. If so, Cleveland should look to flip him for any kind of asset or young talent it can acquire.
After hitting a few rough patches and injuries early on in the season, things were looking a little better for the Houston Rockets. Just as James Harden started to catch fire and the team pulled itself out of the basement of the Western Conference, Chris Paul went down with a hamstring injury. With Paul out for a minimum of two weeks, this team already in need of help and additional depth finds itself in an even tougher spot.
They have been able to make moves to help mask roster issues, such as starting Eric Gordon or getting the most out of young names like Gary Clark or Danuel House. The signing of Austin Rivers will help cover some of the minutes left up in the air following Paul’s injury, but likely won’t be enough, even after Paul returns. Though they missed out on the Jimmy Butler sweepstakes, the Houston Rockets should seek out a blockbuster deal adding another big name to their roster.
Similar to their proposal to land Butler, a trade offer on their part would have to rely heavily on picks, as they don’t have much depth to sacrifice. Potentially adding another key player to the roster would allow them to not rely on Clint Capela for as much scoring as they have had to and relegate Eric Gordon back to his role as sixth man. The addition of a player who could help improve the team’s ability to defend would be ideal. There aren’t many big names who fit their needs, but a strong push for a player like Otto Porter Jr. could add some much-needed help to this Houston team.
The Charlotte Hornets continue to meander about at the bottom of the East playoff picture. Despite a stellar season from Kemba Walker, who is putting up career highs in both points and assists, the Hornets are 16-17. It is hard to imagine them breaking through into the next echelon in the East to compete with teams like the Toronto Raptors, Boston Celtics, Milwaukee Bucks, Philadelphia 76ers, or Indiana Pacers. Given their ceiling, now is the time to sell high on Kemba Walker.
It may seem crazy to some, but the blockbuster deal they should seek is moving Walker and getting as much as possible in return. The team has expressed disinterest in moving on from the upcoming free agent, and there is mutual desire for him to re-sign with the Hornets.
However, Charlotte has no cap flexibility going forward. Even if the Hornets retain Walker on a new contract, they have no way of building around him. He keeps the team too successful to have any quality picks, and the other contracts on the roster prevent them from being able to make meaningful signings.
If the Hornets rip the bandage off now and trade Kemba Walker, that trade could be used to help their future. They could package him alongside with some unwanted salary and start clearing the books moving forward. If they want to get a head start on the future, a Walker trade could return draft picks or young talent to develop while they wait out their current cap situation.
Either way, initiating a blockbuster deal by trading away Kemba Walker now could be their best move in the long run.
The jury is out on how effective trading for Trevor Ariza will be for the Washington Wizards. Ariza is a solid role player and could provide some grit to this team. It shouldn’t be ignored, though, that trading for Trevor Ariza just might not be enough. Currently 11th in the East at 13-22 and one of the most disappointing teams in the NBA, the Wizards are in need of big-time help.
Even though they face issues scoring at times, especially from deep as they are bottom five in 3-point efficiency, they already have the personnel to correct this. The biggest concern for this team is their lack of size down low, especially with Dwight Howard injured. This has left Washington forced to play Markieff Morris at center or rely on players like Ian Mahinmi to provide meaningful contributions. A blockbuster trade for a proven big man is exactly what the Wizards should be looking for.
Players who could help are Nikola Vucevic or Kevin Love. Vucevic and the Orlando Magic had a great start to the season, but they are now seeing some backpedaling with their record. If all signs indicate that the Magic could miss the postseason, they could deal Vucevic in favor of giving rookie Mo Bamba more playing time and bringing in assets. If so, the Wizards could find themselves able to get their big, while retaining their core and depth by sacrificing some picks.
The post 5 teams who should make a blockbuster trade ahead of NBA trade deadline appeared first on ClutchPoints.