We are already a month and a half into the NBA season, and there has been no shortage of drama. Newly acquired superstars such as Paul George, Carmelo Anthony, and Chris Paul are trying to fit into their roles with their new teams. The Golden State Warriors look like a championship caliber team, while the Cavaliers are struggling to find some chemistry. Kyrie is leading the Celtics on a tear while Lonzo Ball is floundering in Los Angeles.
Among the drama on the hardwood, there are several trade rumors floating around the league. After all the movement we saw this past offseason as several teams tried to play catchup with the Warriors and Cavs to prevent a fourth straight Cavs/Warriors final, big names moved around. We can expect more, both at the deadline and in the summer.
Will New Orleans be able to hold on to both their big men? Will LeBron recruit some help for the postseason? Well, at TheSportster, we try to answer these questions and more. Think like a GM, crunch the numbers, and stay tuned while we predict 8 NBA trades that will happen before the trade deadline and 7 in the offseason!
15 Before The Deadline: Greg Monroe To Atlanta
Atlanta is arguably the worst team in the Eastern Conference, but in such a weak division, anything could happen throughout the course of the season. That's where Suns big man, Greg Monroe, comes in. He's currently on the last year of his contract, and will be a big name in the free agent market next year. He was recently traded from Milwaukee to Phoenix in a deal that involved Eric Bledsoe, but Monroe doesn't fit into the Suns' rebuilding plan. They will most likely deal him again before the deadline in return for future picks.
That's where the Hawks come in, as they have an abundance of draft picks and could use the former Georgetown Hoya to secure the paint. We will just have to wait and see.
14 Offseason: Al Horford Back To Atlanta
So, if the Monroe deal doesn't get done, Atlanta will still be searching for a big man, and what better player than Al Horford, who started his career in ATL? Currently, Horford is playing great, but the Celtics have been known to make some crazy moves such as bringing in Kyrie Irving, signing Gordon Hayward, and reportedly being interested in other big men like DeMarcus Cousins and Anthony Davis.
With Horford under contract until 2020, making a little less than $30 million per year, it would be wise for Boston to deal him to free up some cap space, and bring in another superstar. I fully expect Danny Ainge to put him on the trade block in the offseason, and fully expect Atlanta to be interested.
13 Before The Deadline: Andre Drummond To Sacramento
Drummond is under contract until 2020 with a player option through 2021 with Detroit, and the Pistons are currently sitting third in the eastern conference. If their season trends up, expect Drummond to stay. But, if towards the deadline, the Pistons are playing bad, expect Drummond to be on the trade market, and possibly even dealt to Sacramento.
The Kings have youth on their side with budding talent like Buddy Hield and De'Aaron Fox, but could use a veteran presence in the paint. While you may think this is unlikely, reports surfaced over the summer stating that Drummond would most likely be traded by the end of the season. Whether these reports are true or not is left to be seen, but for now, they seem likely.
12 Offseason: Julius Randle To Toronto
The Lakers have some difficult rebuilding years ahead of them, and it's hard to see Julius Randle in that plan. The fourth-year man out of the University of Kentucky has developed into a solid player, but Los Angeles is not giving him enough love. They failed to reach a contract extension in the offseason and will have to deal with Randle as a restricted free agent in the summer of 2018.
Now, Randle may get dealt before the deadline, but if not, Toronto would be a great landing spot for him. He would be able to play with All-Stars Kyle lowry and DeMar Derozan, and really contribute to a winning team. Maybe the Lakers will match his offer sheet come next year, but for now, all signs point to Randle heading out in LA.
11 Before The Deadline: Luol Deng To Philadelphia
Speaking of the Lakers, they are holding the veteran forward, Deng, hostage. In 2016, they wouldn't let Deng compete in hopes they would tank and get a better pick. In an interview with ESPN, Deng had this to say:
"Most of these young guys don't understand the business of basketball, so if I come in here and I'm angry every day, I'm taking something away from them. I have to be smiling, I have to be in the best mood I can be in, because they're living their dream of being an NBA player."
That all being said, Philadelphia would be a perfect fit for the former All-Star. Their rebuilding process is over, and they could use some more veteran leader if (and when) they make the playoffs.
10 Offseason: Joakim Noah To Miami
Let's be real, Joakim Noah isn't the player he once used to be. He even admitted it to himself, saying he could "probably not" play to the level he once was at. After coming off a 20-game drug suspension, Noah has yet to be active on the Knicks roster. With Noah under contract until 2020, it's best that the they trade or buyout the former Florida Gator in order to free up cap space.
The best landing spot for Noah is probably Miami. Think about it; he could help on the defensive end, and play second fiddle in the paint behind up and coming star, Hassan Whiteside. The seven-footer might not be playing like he used to, but there still has to be some gas left in that tank.
9 Before The Deadline: Nikola Mirotic Or Bobby Portis Out In Chicago
If you didn't know already, Bulls teammates, Mirotic and Portis, got into a pretty serious fight before the season began. It started off with some pushing and shoving, but soon turned violent when Portis sucker punched the fourth-year forward, who began his career overseas in Spain. Mirotic required hospitalization and serious surgery, and since has been cleared to participate in light-duty activities with the organization. You can say things aren't going to well in the Bulls locker room.
It's clear Chicago needs to make a move before the deadline when Mirotic is healthy. He even came out and said he would like to be traded because he did not want to play with Portis. Either the two hug it out, or we could see some roster tinkering in the Windy City.
8 Offseason: Kenneth Faried To Indiana
Nuggets need to let go of their sixth-year veteran as soon as the right opportunity arises. They have a big man in Jokic who has exceeded many experts expectations, and they can't afford Faried's salary anymore. It was even reported in the offseason that Denver was calling teams hoping to get something in return for the former Morehead State star.
Now that we are into the season, it's hard to imagine Faried getting dealt by the deadline, since he is commanding $13 million per year and is under contract until 2019. A great spot for Faried would be the Pacers, who have an abundance of cap space, and could use him as trade bait midway through next year. This trade is extremely plausible because the Pacers are going to go through a rebuilding process, and don't look like contenders.
7 Before The Deadline: Jahlil Okafor To Phoenix
Phoenix is planning on rebuilding for many years to come. They traded away Eric Bledsoe at the beginning of the season, and are looking to be at the basement of the Western Conference for the time being. One young player that they could develop, who has been on the trade block recently, is Philadelphia's Jahlil Okafor.
The third-year center out of Duke University needs the opportunity to develop and play, but the 76ers have him riding the bench. Even his dad wore a "Free Jah" shirt recently, in regards to letting him go. The Warriors have apparently showed some interest, but I think the 76ers would never give him that satisfaction, and would send him to Phoenix. It's time to ride the Embiid train in Philly and say goodbye to Okafor.
6 Offseason: Tristan Thompson To Chicago
How the hell is Tristan Thompson commanding over $16-million per year? He is average on the offensive side of the ball, and isn't even the leading rebounder on his own team (third behind Love and James). But, since his contract is not team-friendly, it would be hard to deal him, and he's been deemed unmovable (up until his contract ends in 2020).
But, If LeBron James goes elsewhere in the offseason, you better bet Thompson will be out in Cleveland. James' support of Thompson is one of the contributing factors to his exorbitant contract. A good place for Mr. Kardashian to go would be the Bulls. They are in need of some veteran leadership, and maybe we will see what Thompson's made of without LeBron by his side.
5 Before The Deadline: Paul George To Cleveland
I was shocked this past offseason when OKC GM, Sam Presti, was able to grab Paul George, and then Carmelo Anthony. Along with reigning MVP, Russell Westbrook, the Thunder are looking to compete with the Golden State Warriors to win an NBA championship. So far this season though, the All-Star trio's chemistry is not there, leaving us to question their next step.
If by the deadline, the Thunder cannot get their act together, it's likely that George will be traded. He is a free agent at the end of the year and already expressed his desire to move to L.A. in the offseason. If the stars align, Cleveland may be able to grab him in hopes of beating the Celtics in the east, and setting up a fourth-time matchup in the Finals with the Warriors.
4 Offseason: LaMarcus Aldridge Back To Portland
Rumors swirled last offseason that San Antonio was going to send their power forward, LaMarcus Aldridge, back to his former team, the Portland Trail Blazers. Aldridge was experiencing a significant decline in production throughout the postseason, and was not playing up to his over $20 million salary. The deal eventually fell through since Portland was not willing to give up enough in return.
That all being said, Aldridge will most likely remain a Spur for the time being. He signed a two-year contract extension in the offseason, and is playing well so far in 2017. But, in the back of all our minds, there is a glimmer of hope that Aldridge may one day make his way back to Rip City.
3 Before The Deadline: DeMarcus Cousins To The Celtics
The Celtics are the real deal. Their front office, led by GM Danny Ainge, has made some crazy moves over the past year, and they have already gone on a 15-game win streak this year! Kyrie Irving is playing lights out, and first-round pick Jason Tatum is stepping up in Gordon Hayward's role after Hayward suffered that gruesome ankle injury opening night. Even though Horford is playing better than last year, Boston needs to explore their options down low.
That's where the New Orleans Pelicans, and "Boogie" Cousins, come in. The All-Star center out of the University of Kentucky is under the last year of his contract, and is unlikely to re-sign with New Orleans. Therefore, they should trade him to Boston, get some picks and maybe Horford in return, and make a run for the title.
2 Offseason: Anthony Davis To The Celtics
But, if the above trade doesn't work out, the Pelicans could move their other big man, Anthony Davis, to Beantown. In this scenario, Cousins would leave in free agency, most likely to big market team, and New Orleans would be left at square one. Even with just Davis, it would be hard for them to compete at high level in the Western Conference. They could dump Davis to Boston, in exchange for a few players (maybe Horford again) and some future picks, setting the Celtics up to be a perennial powerhouse.
Clearly, all these potential trades are speculations, but they make sense. New Orleans fans probably won't be happy if they let got the face of the franchise, but "The Brow" would look great in Celtic green.
1 Before The Deadline: Blockbuster Deal Involving Kevin Love & Marc Gasol
Finally, the biggest trade that MIGHT happen before the deadline is the exchange of Kevin Love and Marc Gasol. Financially, this makes complete sense. Both Love and Gasol are under the same contract through 2020. Now, Gasol's worth is a little bit more than Love's, so Cleveland would have to sweeten the deal with some future draft picks, or even throw in Iman Shumpert.
Both Memphis and Cleveland have been adamant that these two players will not be included in trade talks, but that's just what they want you to think. Everyone has a price! If this deal were to go down, it would be one of the biggest, if not the biggest trade in the last five years. In reality, there is a percent of a percent that this deal will ever happen, but in the words of Lloyd Christmas, "So you're tellin' me there's a chance."