by Zack Lambert
If you can find it in you to ignore the wild summer free agent frenzy, you might realize that the NBA hasn’t been the trade hotbed that it normally is, especially around the deadline. Most teams have opted to work within the confines of their own roster. For a lot of organizations that’s a pretty good idea. For the fans… well, we want to see some shake ups! Give up blockbusters! Give us fireworks! So to satiate that desire for action we decided to put together 10 trades that would change the complexion of not only the teams involved, but also the playoff races as a whole.
The Trade: Andre Drummond to Dallas; Courtney Lee, Dwight Powell, Conditional 1st Round Pick to Detroit
Blake Griffin has been in and out of Detroit’s lineup with lingering injuries, but now a knee issue and surgery will probably end his season. It’s time for the Pistons to admit their failed experiment and hit the reset button. This trade more revolves around the 1st round pick than anything else. The Mavs are giving 2021’s 1st and another 1st from ‘23-25 to the Knicks. If Dallas could convince New York to hold off on the 2nd pick for now, a 2023 1st could be good enough for Detroit. Drummond would be a great fit as a forceful interior presence and shore up any rebounding woes for the Mavs. He could take the pressure off the other superstars while giving Dallas the boost they need to become a legitimate contender in a stacked West.
The Trade: Karl Anthony-Towns to Golden State; D’Angelo Russell, 2022 2nd to Minnesota
KAT would be another fun name to see on the move since a lot of fans are probably sick of seeing him waste his prime in the frozen tundra of the Twin Cities. Russell was a player that Minnesota was looking at before he was traded to Golden State and he would address the huge gap that needs filling at point guard. Towns would be the first big man to fit the scheme that Steve Kerr runs since Andrew Bogut in the early years of the Warriors dynasty, and Towns is a better shooter. If rolling out a lineup with Curry, Thompson, Green, and Towns in it doesn’t motivate the Warriors, I’m not sure what would. Also, if Minnesota wants more for their prized piece the Warriors have an available 1st in 2022 that they would likely be willing to part with.
The Trade: Kyle Kuzma, Avery Bradley, 2023 2nd Round Pick to Sacramento; Bogdan Bogdanović to Los Angeles Lakers
Why not give LeBron more firepower? The Lakers are looking for better perimeter play to take some of the load off the superstars and Danny Green, and Bogdan checks all the boxes. He’s shooting 38% on nearly seven 3s per game and spaces the floor better than anyone on the Lakers’ roster. The other option is that he could come off the bench like Kuzma already is and supply the punch that Los Angeles needs when LeBron is on the bench. Kyle Kuzma gives the Kings a very good young prospect that should fit their roster nicely. He can play anywhere on the court and his shooting and pace will allow Bagley, Fox, and Hield to operate as normal.
The Trade: Kevin Love, Ante Zizic to Houston; Russell Westbrook to Cleveland
Let’s be honest, here. Russell Westbrook is declining a lot and it doesn’t look like he’s the piece that can push Houston over the edge. His shooting is is the worst it’s been since the 2009/10 season and that doesn’t work well with the James Harden scheme. You know who does fit? A 6’8 power forward that’s shooting 38% from 3, can pick and pop, and run center in a small ball lineup. Houston is clearly not committed to defense so why not just turn them into an offensive juggernaut? The salaries are both a lot so matching them should be enough to get this done.
The Trade: Andre Iguodala to Los Angeles Clippers; Maurice Harkless, Rodney McGruder to Memphis
Have you ever wanted to see a team that can shut down any five players in the world while still being functional on offense? Well introduce Andre Iguodala to the Clippers and that’s what you have. Iguodala is getting old but his versatility on defense and overall basketball intelligence could propel the Clippers through a tough playoff series. The Grizzlies would be getting a pair of good players in return and the Clippers could throw in an assortment of picks to make them happy. Los Angeles gets their man and Memphis gets a return on the money they’re already paying.
The Trade: J.J. Redick to Denver; Will Barton to New Orleans
Will Barton is in no way a bad player or bad shooter, but he’s no J.J. Redick. Barton is shooting 36% from 3 on 4.3 attempts per game and scoring 14.8 PPG. Redick is shooting 46.4% from 3 on 7 attempts per game and scoring 15.8 PPG. You do lose some stats in a few other areas but Redick isn’t that type of player. He’s a smart shooter that causes headaches for defenders and possesses valuable playoff experience. New Orleans would get a young, promising player in return that could be a leader for the rebuilding franchise. This is a win-win for both players and franchises.
The Trade: DeMar DeRozan to Toronto; Marc Gasol, 2022 1st Round Pick to San Antonio
Oh, yes please. How good would this be? So much amazing in every way. The Spurs are getting their prototypical big for the rest of the playoffs that won’t shut their season down, plus Gasol is on an expiring contract. The 1st round pick gives some guarantee and should be around when Toronto starts to fall off. And how could Toronto resist? Thank Marc for his contributions and welcome back their pre-success hero. DeMar and Toronto love each other, plus he’s still got it. He can score, pass, and provide good on-ball skills while Siakim rests, plus this would be so much fun to see the gang back together.
The Trade: Derrick Rose, Melvin Frazier Jr. to Los Angeles Lakers; Langston Galloway, Quinn Cook to Orlando; DeMarcus Cousins, Mo Bamba, Conditional 1st Round Pick, 2024 2nd Round Pick to Detroit
This might take some convincing on the part of Orlando, but if they were willing, it would be a blockbuster to benefit for everyone. Starting with Detroit, they’d unload Rose and Galloway for the crazy upside of Mo Bamba plus some picks. Orlando has all their 1st round picks so giving Detroit their choice and maybe making it top 5 protected would work for everyone. LA would also give a 2nd. Orlando would get the proven commodities of Quinn Cook and Langston Galloway who would fuel their playoff hopes for at least the time being. And the Lakers get Derrick Rose, the playmaking, offense initiating, jersey selling phenom that they need. Win-win-win! Fun-fun-fun!
The Trade: Jrue Holiday to Miami; James Johnson, Justise Winslow, Conditional 1st Round Pick to New Orleans
This is another trade that makes me so excited. New Orleans clearly isn’t competing this season and Jrue Holiday is a seriously hot commodity. His two-way prowess and leadership would fit in perfectly with the Heat in every way. He’s another proven scorer with great vision and he’s an absolute shutdown defender. As for the Pelicans, they take a decent bench big man that can fill minutes and cap space along with a great young player in Justise Winslow. Both players bring an incredible work ethic and Winslow would be a perfect leader for the young players that the Pels are nurturing. The pick would have to move around depending on where OKC takes their, but it would be far enough away that the Heat wouldn’t care about the year.
The Trade: Dāvis Bertāns to Philadelphia; Mike Scott, 2024 1st Round Pick, 2026 2nd Round Pick to Washington
Dāvis Bertāns is the only unknown on this list but his skills are close to being the most valuable. Bertāns is 5th in the NBA in 3-point percentage among players with at least 150 3-point attempts and 3rd among players with 200 attempts. He might end the season as a 50/40/90 shooter that isn’t a liability on defense. He’d bring some much needed shooting to a playoff contender who’s in dire need of stretching the floor. Washington would get some decent picks far enough in the future that Philadelphia might be on the decline. It’s the perfect situation for both sides.
The Trade: Danilo Gallinari to Indiana; Myles Turner, Conditional 1st Round Pick to Oklahoma City
It’s time for Indiana to be honest with themselves, Domantas Sabonis and Myles Turner can’t play well together. They clutter the floor too much and there isn’t enough spacing even for drives from guards. Danilo Gallinari is here to save the day. The Italian power forward is a spectacular shooter and would provide the spacing that Sabonis needs to operate in the post while keeping the lane free for driving guards. Mayles Turner will help OKC start their rebuild as a solid post presence and the conditional 1st will add to the massive stash that Oklahoma is already hoarding.
The Trade: Chris Paul to Milwaukee; Robin Lopez, Eric Bledsoe, Ersan Ilyasova, Donte DiVincenzo, Wes Matthews, Sterling Brown to Oklahoma City; Milwaukee Signs Free Agent Darren Collison
Oh boy, this is a big one. How fun would it be to see The Point God link up with the Greek Freak? Milwaukee fans might be apprehensive, but let me sell you.All those players you’re giving away? They don’t have very much impact, especially this season. You can find players to eat up those minutes from anywhere. The only big loss would be Bledsoe, but do you want to risk him being a liability in the postseason for a 3rd straight season? Enter Chris Paul. The Skate Instructor. Paul has never made a Finals, yet alone won one, so you know he’ll be committed. You don’t have to give up a pick since his salary is so high plus he’s the most clutch player in the NBA this season and has the 8th best PER in history. How can you turn down that leader to help Giannis and Milwaukee return to the promised land? Plus in order to help fill out the roster you get Darren Collison back in the game since he made it clear he wanted back in. Most teams only have a 7 to 8 player rotation in the playoffs so most of those lost players wouldn’t be major factors anyways. Trust me, you’d love this.
Before you get mad, I know a lot of these trades wouldn’t be accepted by a decent amount of teams, but you have to admit these changes would be a lot of fun to see. Almost every team benefits in these trades and they could all happen without hiccups this season; not a single one would conflict. They would be long shots, but they would be fun. Let’s all pray for a healthy trade deadline!