The offseason circus has just ended, and the season has only just begun, but we cannot stop thinking about transactions. This is part of the game if you love the NBA. The way teams trade superstars, role players, and young prospects is one of the reasons why we love the NBA. Seriously, you cannot go into basketball forums without running into a “possible trades” topic. So, with that in mind, we decided to put together a list of 15 NBA trades that could shake up the Association this season. Before we get into our picks, let’s just clarify a few things. All of the trades we will mention could happen under the salary cap rules, but we also have to consider that some of the teams could not agree to the trade of assets we are proposing.
Nevertheless, we took everything into account as it pertains to the landscape of the NBA. It is just the reality that some teams are looking for that last piece of the puzzle that could put them over the hump and help them contend for a championship, as is the case with the Portland Trail Blazers and the Washington Wizards. Meanwhile, there are also those teams that want nothing more than to start the rebuilding process right away. Those guys who know they will lose their star players to free agency and will unavoidably look for new pieces before they start tanking. So, without any further delay, we present to you the 15 trades we came up with. Hate them or love them, let us know what you think afterward.
15 Eric Bledsoe To The Denver Nuggets
The Denver Nuggets are just coming out of their rebuilding period and are now looking to start actually winning games and gunning for a playoff spot. The Phoenix Suns, on the other hand, must look to the future and build around their new superstar, Devin Booker, who has already proven he could become one of the deadliest scorers in the league. So, Phoenix is looking to open cap space in a tanking season.
Meanwhile, the Nuggets are desperately looking for a point guard, and Eric Bledsoe could fit that team like a glove. A good scenario would involve Phoenix sending Bledsoe in exchange for Darrell Arthur and Emmanuel Mundiay. The Suns get a good point guard prospect and a player they can waive, while the Nuggets get a point guard who could contribute now and help them win.
14 Dennis Schroder to the San Antonio Spurs
This trade scenario might be a long shot, but it is also a scenario that does make some sense. The Atlanta Hawks should have come to their senses and realized that the team they have now cannot win anything. And if the Sixers have taught us anything, it is that there is no shame in tanking. With that in mind, it doesn’t make sense for the Hawks to keep players who have massive contracts like Dennis Schroder and Kent Bazemore.
A team that could use one of those guys is San Antonio. However, to get one of them, the Spurs would have to give up Tony Parker, which doesn’t seem to be such a bad idea. Parker is slowing down and could be retiring after the end of the season, which the Hawks wouldn’t mind. On the other hand, Schroder seems to be the kind of player who could become a monster under Greg Popovich.
13 John Henson to the Orlando Magic
A lot of people have tried to describe the Orlando Magic, but the best one we heard was when an announcer called the Magic weird. Indeed, they are an odd team. And we are not saying that because of Elfrid Payton’s hairstyle. No, the Magic are just bizarre in how they play and how it seems to work somehow. The one thing they could use, however, is some physical help in their frontcourt, the kind of support that could come from a player like John Henson, whom Milwaukee seems to want to trade in order to get some cap space relief.
This trade could involve the Magic sending Terrence Ross the other way, which would give the Bucks a $1 million break on their payroll as well as a year less to worry about since Ross only has two years left on his contract while Henson has three.
12 Kent Bazemore to the New Orleans Pelicans
We have already talked about the possibility of Schroder being traded from Atlanta, but if that is not the case, we find it hard to believe that the season will be over and Kent Bazemore will still be a Hawks player. Bazemore is not a bad player, but he certainly is not someone who fits what the Hawks are looking for right now.
On the other side of things, the Pelicans are desperately trying to find a way to convince Anthony Davis that he could have a future in New Orleans. And the only way to do that is to win now. However, as we have seen so far this season, the Pelicans are not a team that is going to win without some help. Bazemore, who is a tremendous two-way player could be a piece to turn that around. It would take a couple of pieces like Jordan Crawford and Solomon Hill to bring him over, but it would be worth it for New Orleans. We just wonder if they will be able to convince the Hawks that opening cap space is worth this trade.
11 Kenneth Faried to the Indiana Pacers
The Denver Nuggets have a guard problem. The Indiana Pacers need someone to help Myles Turner in their frontcourt, a role that would suit Kenneth Faried. Al Jefferson is still good, but the big guy is already 33 and is not the scorer or the rebounder he was back in his prime. This could become a tricky trade, but one that could prove useful for both sides.
There is no reason for the Nuggets to keep Faried around when it doesn’t seem like there is space for him in their frontcourt and he is eating up almost $13 million a year. They also need some reliability at the point guard spot, which a guy like Cory Joseph could provide. But that trade would leave the Pacers with Joe Young as their only remaining point guard. Still, that void could be filled by free agents like Ty Lawson or even Brandon Jennings.
10 Jahlil Okafor to the New York Knicks
There is no easy way to put it, Jahlil Okafor is not a piece the 76ers need right now. So far, we were led to believe that the Sixers are done with tanking, so they want to win now. And for that to happen, trading Okafor is one of the most realistic scenarios. However, this kid could still prove to be an asset for other teams. A team that could use him right now is the Knicks.
Common sense says the Knicks should try and tank again, but if you know Kristaps Porzingis, you know that he will not allow that to happen. That guy is so good he could win enough games on his own to force the front office to make some changes. Bringing Okafor in would provide Porzingis with the frontcourt mate he so desperately needs. In exchange, the Sixers could get a good three-point shooter to help them score the ball from outside, which they also need. This could be either Doug McDermott or even Courtney Lee.
9 Kyle O’Quinn to the Philadelphia 76ers
This is one guy who has yet to come to realize the reality he lives in. Not only do the Knicks have a lot of centers, but they also have a lot of mediocre centers. Topping the list are both Joakim Noah and Kyle O’Quinn. At least one of those two guys has to go in order for the Knicks to get another piece or two that they need to build around Kristaps Porzingis.
Especially if that other piece is a center, like we mentioned a possible trade for Jahlil Okafor, either O’Quinn or Noah will have to go. Here’s where the problem lies for poor Kyle: No one is going to take the Noah contract. Seriously, who would be willing to pay $18 million a year for three more seasons for that guy? We don’t know where he will land, but with $4 million a year, and still 27 years old, O’Quinn could very well be traded by the Knicks this season.
8 Dwight Howard to the Milwaukee Bucks
It is no secret to anyone that Michael Jordan is one of the worst general managers in the history of the NBA. The guy is undoubtedly the greatest player ever, but that did not translate well to the front office. The most significant proof of that is that Jordan just fell victim to the Dwight Howard trap. Every year since he left Orlando, we find the new team willing to give Dwight a chance, and they always end up being wrong.
So here is a little way out we found for Jordan that could also benefit the Milwaukee Bucks. Milwaukee is trying to get rid of their cap problems, and, as weird as this may sound, trading for Dwight could be an answer. If the Bucks send both Henson and Teletovic, they will have a similar payroll but with a shorter contract. On the court, who knows, Dwight could pair up well with Giannis. Meanwhile, the other two forwards could certainly help Charlotte in both rebounding (Henson) and stretching the floor (Teletovic).
7 Greg Monroe to the Philadelphia 76ers
If there is a win-win trade in this entire article, it might just be this one. The Bucks are trying to get rid of their cap space problem, so there is nothing more reasonable to do than to get rid of one of their largest contracts by sending Greg Monroe to a team that has lots and lots of cap space. As we said before, the 76ers are trying to get rid of Jahlil Okafor, and a perfect way of doing that with more upside than downside would be trading him to Milwaukee for Monroe.
While Okafor could become a valuable asset, providing another offensive threat to put around Antetokounmpo, Monroe could become the experienced voice in the locker room that the Sixers so desperately need. And if he doesn’t, his contract only has one year remaining.
6 DeMarcus Cousins to the Portland Trail Blazers
Earlier in this piece, we said the Pelicans are trying their hardest to show Anthony Davis that there is a future in New Orleans, but the reality is that there is no future there as long as they keep making terrible decisions like bringing in guys like Rajon Rondo and Tony Allen. Davis still has four more years on his contract, but only a miracle will keep him from opting out in that last season. More than that, he could demand a trade before the time comes. That is just the reality, unless he is a guy who is okay with not winning, which doesn’t seem to be the case.
So, if you are the Pelicans, you could either start rebuilding or begin to make trades that make some sense. The first of them could be sending DeMarcus Cousins to the Portland for a piece like Evan Turner and a prospect like Zach Collins. Boogie is in the final year of his deal, and he probably won’t re-sign, but a contender like the Blazers could use him this season.
5 Would The Pelicans trade Anthony Davis?
Okay, let’s delve into an impossible scenario here. We know this probably won’t happen, but since we are talking about trades that could shake up the league, let’s just imagine for a second that the Pelicans make peace with the idea they are terrible and that it is time to tank and pull a Philly. What they have been doing to Davis is nothing short of a crime, and it is not like we have never seen a club trading their star player. It would also not be hard to see Mark Cuban trying to make this happen. With Dirk on his way out, Cuban will undoubtedly be gunning for a new face for his franchise. Unfortunately for Harrison Barnes, we have a hard time believing that will be him. Nevertheless, Barnes could be part of that new Dallas.
The Mavericks have a lot of cap space. Enough space to take in a contract like Anthony Davis’s if they trade a few guys like Wesley Matthews and Seth Curry along with a bunch of draft picks. Meanwhile, imagine a lineup with Dennis Smith Jr., Harrison Barnes, Anthony Davis, Dirk Nowitzki, and Nerlens Noel. Goosebumps. Unfortunately, this is too unrealistic.
4 Kevin Love to the Utah Jazz
Yet another tough trade to happen, but one that has roots in reality. Whether they would like us to believe it or not, the person who runs the show in Cleveland is LeBron James. And who knows, maybe management could start seeing a problem with that. The many rumors of LeBron leaving after the year is over along with his reluctance to sign a contract extension, could lead the Cavaliers’ front office to do something harsh.
Maybe they could try to hold LeBron hostage at some point by saying, “hey, we did everything you wanted. Now you commit to us that you will come back, or we’re going to start rebuilding.” One way of doing that would be to trade Kevin Love to Utah. The Jazz have so many young prospects you could pick and choose, and they would not say no to a trade for Kevin Love. People might not realize this, but the Jazz could be a contender this year. Getting rid of a couple of guys like Derrick Favors and Alec Burks (maybe even Dante Exum) along with a pick for Kevin Love? That’s a no-brainer for them. LeBron would be pissed though.
3 Kanter-Oladipo swap
If this offseason proved anything, it is that Sam Presti is the best GM out there. Seriously, even if it was just for one year, the Oklahoma City GM turned Victor Oladipo, Sabonis, Kanter, and Doug McDermott, into Paul George and Carmelo Anthony. If someone went back in time a couple years and told you this would happen, you would call them crazy. Now let’s add some more salt to the wound. How hilarious would it be if the Knicks and Pacers decided to swap what they got in exchange for George and Anthony? Or at least half of it.
At the end of the day, an Victor Oladipo for Enes Kanter swap doesn’t seem that weird or bad for either team. The Knicks have too many big men and lack a promising shooting guard. Meanwhile, the Pacers need a big who can score. This is a trade made in heaven and one we are sure Sam Presti would be laughing at after it happened.
2 Mike Conley to the Denver Nuggets
Another long shot that could virtually happen would be a trade that sends Mike Conley from the Memphis Grizzlies to the Denver Nuggets. Now, judging by the way the Grizzlies have looked early in this season, we find it almost impossible for them to trade a pillar like Conley. But the Nuggets have some assets that could be interesting for a team that has a cornerstone guy like Marc Gasol.
We put together a little trade in which the Grizzlies only sent Conley to the Nuggets in exchange for Kenneth Faried, who would certainly be an improvement for Memphis at the power forward spot; Wilson Chandler, who could provide a scoring spark off the bench; and the most puzzling point guard prospect in the league, Emmanuel Mundiay. Hard to believe? Yes. Impossible? We never say never.
1 Boogie to the Washington Wizards
Somehow all roads seem to lead back to New Orleans. This time we are back for another possible DeMarcus Cousins trade, and let’s just say that out of the whole bunch of potential Cousins destinations, Washington seems to be a real one. The Pelicans would never get a guy like Bradley Beal in return, but the Wizards could very well be tempted to send Otto Porter Jr. and scraps in exchange for Cousins.
Like we said before, the Pelicans shouldn't and probably are not betting on Cousins re-signing with them, so why not put your money on a prospect like Otto Porter Jr.? The Wizards seem to have moved on from him and decided to go with Kerry Oubre Jr. as their starter at the three. We also don’t need to add that with Boogie at center, the Wizards would turn into a real contender.