The most anticipated time in the NBA regular season is the trade deadline. A lot can happen during the trade deadline. Teams could add a star player and become contenders just like that. Some teams may trade key pieces to get draft picks and start a rebuilding process. The trade deadline for some teams is a make or break day and for some teams is a fresh start.
This season, a lot of big names could be on the move and it could shake things up such as, the playoff picture, LeBron’s streak of reaching the finals and the Warriors’ title defense. Some general managers may be looking to trade their star players and get something in return, rather than watch them leave in the summer for nothing. This year's free agency period is deeper than most years, so there will be plenty of GMs shopping around. Will the Raptors make a big move to cement themselves as true contenders in the East? Will the Thunder add another piece with the disappointing first half from their big 3? Will the Cavaliers provide more help for LeBron to challenge the Warriors again? What can the Celtics do that they haven't already done? Here are some of the players that could be traded before the 2018 trade deadline and where they may go.
15 Kenneth Faried to the Milwaukee Bucks
The Denver Nuggets have been looking to trade Kenneth Faried. Even though Paul Milsap will be out for roughly three months, Denver still has Mason Plumlee and Guillermo Hernangomez to fill in that spot. Faried has a large contract worth four years, $50M. Nowadays that is not a large contract, but, for someone who doesn’t get much playing time, it's a salary that Denver should look to dump. It's time for the Nuggets and Faried to part ways.
Kenneth Faried can have a solid bench role with the Milwaukee Bucks. The Bucks are paying Matthew Dellavedova $38.4M for four years.
The Bucks could trade Dellavedova for Faried and that will help both teams.
That would mean Dellavedova would team up with Nikola Jokic, Garry Harris, and Jamal Murray, Paul Milsap.
Kenneth Faried could join Giannis Antentokunmpo, Khris Middelton, Jabari Parker, and Eric Bledsoe, coming off the bench with Malcom Brogdon. That would be a fun and solid bench to look out for.
14 Robin Lopez to the Boston Celtics
The Chicago Bulls traded Jimmy Butler during the 2017 NBA Draft with the intension of rebuilding. Robin Lopez’s contract is worth 4 years, $54M. That is a large contract considering the fact that he is averaging 13 ppg and 5 rpg playing only 30 minutes per game. Lopez is one of the better talents that the Bulls have. So, it makes sense for the Bulls to trade Lopez and let him play for a contending team, such as the Boston Celtics.
You may be wondering if the Boston Celtics or LeBron and the Cavs will be in the finals again come June. This season may be different because this Kyrie Irving led Celtics team seems special, at least in the regular season. Lopez will fit this team well because right now their center is Aaron Baynes and Lopez would be an upgrade. If the Celtics land Robin Lopez, that's just another piece that can help them overcome Cleveland.
13 Chandler Parsons to the Orlando Magic
The Memphis Grizzles signed Chandler Parsons last season to a four year, $94M deal. He has not lived up to expectations and has been very injury prone. The Grizzles are currently sitting near the bottom of the Western Conference. It's essentially a lost season with Mike Conley injured and Tyreke Evans struggling to stay healthy. The Grizzles should trade Parsons mainly for a salary dump and re-tool for next season.
The Orlando Magic were interested in Chandler Parsons last season. That could help Orlando win more games, and potentially make a late season push for the playoffs.
Mario Hezonja is playing well as of late and the Grizzles need a consistent small forward. Not only will they get rid of Parsons’ huge contract, they will also get a solid small forward. It will help both teams.
12 Joakim Noah to the Oklahoma City Thunder
As odd as this may sound, the Thunder need bench depth. They also need a backup center. Joakim Noah’s interior defense could help OKC, especially in the playoffs. With Patrick Patterson, Alex Abrines and Raymond Felton being the offensive options off the bench, Jerian Grant being the defensive player off the bench, they will have another solid defensive player in Joakim Noah.
So, what could OKC give up for Noah? They could trade Josh Huestis who is only 25 years old, Terrance Ferguson who is only 19 years old, and P.J. Dozier who is only 21 years old and this will help the Knicks’ rebuild, plus get rid of Noah’s large contract. If the Knicks truly want to rebuild, they will trade Noah and get rid of his 4 year, $72M contract. This will benefit both teams and the OKC’s chance at winning come playoff time.
11 Derrick Favors to the Portland Trail Blazers
Derrick Favors is on a four year, $46M contract. The Portland Trail Blazers may be a power forward away from having a contending team and challenge the elite teams in the Western Conference. Right now they have Al-Farouq Aminu, Noah Vonleh, and Ed Davis at the power forward spot. Ed Davis and Noah Vonleh are both defensive players. Even though the Blazers have an amazing back court with Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum, they need more help.
Derrick Favors would help the Blazers on the offensive and defensive end. They have a big three in Damian Lillard, C.J. McCollum, and Jusuf Nurkic. They also have a good bench player in Evan Turner, so if they can add Favors they will be more of a threat in the stacked Western Conference. The Utah Jazz would likely receive Noah Vonleh and Maurice Harkless for Derrick Favors and likely a draft pick.
10 Nikola Mirotic to the Los Angeles Lakers
Ever since Nikola Mirotic came back from his injury, the Chicago Bulls have managed to win more games. But, the plan for the Bulls was to rebuild this season. That means the more they lose, the higher draft pick they could get. So, it makes sense for Mirotic to be traded. The Bulls are willing to trade Mirotic but only for draft picks and/or expiring contracts. The Lakers should trade Corey Brewer whose contract is expiring by the end of this season.
Corey Brewer is a great hustler, slasher, and hard worker. But, he alone will likely not win many games for the team. As for the Lakers, they may surprisingly have a chance at the playoffs if they keep Jordan Clarkson and Julius Randle, and on top of that add Nikola Mirotic. So, where will Mirotic fit on the Lakers? The Lakers can move Kyle Kuzma to the small forward spot. Have Mirotic start at the power forward spot, Larry Nance Jr. come off the bench at the power forward spot, and Julius Randle at the center spot. This trade will benefit both teams' needs.
9 Luol Deng to the Minnesota Timberwolves
Luol Deng’s contract is worth 4yr/$72M. Deng has not played a game for the Lakers this season. Deng has vented out his frustrations about not playing. He repeatedly stated that all he wants is to play. Deng to the Timberwolves may not be likely, but, under coach Tom Thibodeau, Deng’s former coach, he may help the Minnesota Timberwolves with depth and veteran leadership alongside Jamal Crawford. The Timberwolves could very well land Deng for just a draft pick.
This will benefit the Timberwolves because of Deng’s experience. He could mentor Jimmy Butler and Andrew Wiggins. This will benefit the Lakers because they will gain a draft pick and get rid of Deng’s contract, opening up space to sign not one, but two maximum free agent contracts. Deng should see playing time on Minnesota, of course off the bench but that will help Minnesota with rebounds, defense, and a little bit of scoring.
8 Tyson Chandler to the Milwaukee Bucks
Tyson Chandler’s contract is worth 4yr/$52M. The Bucks need a center. Thon Maker and John Henson are both inconsistent and can’t be trusted come playoff time. Chandler is a veteran who is still a good rim protector and could score in the post. He is also an elite rebounder. With Jabari Parker set to come back from injury in February, the Bucks may look like a strong candidate to at least make it to the Eastern Conference semi-final.
The Suns would likely want a couple of draft picks from the Bucks, as Phoenix is in a rebuilding process. That being said, Eric Bledsoe and Tyson Chandler could reunite in Milwaukee and make some noise in the playoffs with Giannis Antetokounmpo leading the team. Off the bench they could have John Henson play one night and Thon Maker the next night until they figure out who they could trust as a backup center to Chandler.
7 Greg Monroe to the Orlando Magic
Greg Monroe’s contract is worth 3yr/$51M. The Orlando Magic have a good starting center in Nikola Vucevic. However, off the bench they have Bismack Byombo as the center. Byombo’s liability on the offensive end is what the Magic can’t afford. As for the Suns, they need an interior defender like Byombo protecting the paint.
The Suns already have a lot of offense with minimum defense. So, Byombo would be a great fit for Phoenix for whatever that’s worth considering the fact that the Suns are nowhere near contenders this season and likely for a couple of more seasons to come. Greg Monroe could be an automatic go to off the bench for the Magic and will help their depth tremendously. Byombo could see a significant increase in minutes if he gets traded to the Suns due to the lack of talent they have at the center position.
6 Tristan Thompson to the Los Angeles Clippers
Tristan Thompson’s contract is worth 5yr/$82M. The Clippers lost Patrick Beverly for the season due to a knee injury. Currently, the Clippers are without Blake Griffin for until late February and Danilo Gallinari is constantly inured. Milos Teodosic has returned and looked good in the games he has played. With Milos, Lou Williams, and DeAndre Jordan leading the team, missing three key pieces, it is going to be difficult to win games.
But who would the Clippers trade in order to land Tristan Thompson? Well, with their championship aspirations seemingly hopeless in a tough Western Conference, perhaps that could start selling off some of their more expensive contracts and turn their attention to future seasons. Who's coming back the other way?
5 DeAndre Jordan to the Cleveland Cavaliers
DeAndre Jordan’s contract is worth 4yr/$87M. DeAndre Jordan is an elite rim protector and an elite rebounder. That is exactly what the Cavaliers are missing. With DeAndre’s rebounding ability and rim protection and Kevin Love’s offensive skill-set, they may have one of the best big men duo in the NBA. LeBron James as we all know is the best player in the NBA right now, getting Isaiah Thomas back in January, and if they add DeAndre Jordan they will be very hard to beat.
They will be able to challenge the top Western Conference teams without a doubt and breeze by the Eastern Conference with the addition of DeAndre Jordan. They would likely have to trade Tristan Thompson, Iman Shumpert, and Ante Zizic to land Jordan. DeAndre will help fill in all the Cavaliers’ weaknesses which is mainly rim protection, and having a big body in the middle. So, this deal should be made, and it will benefit both the Cavaliers and Clippers.
4 DeMarcus Cousins to the Boston Celtics
DeMarcus Cousins’ contract is set to expire and there are doubts that he will re-sign with New Orleans this summer. The Pelicans will likely squeak in to the playoffs this season but with Anthony Davis and Rajon Rondo being injury prone, it's hard to think they're going to go very far. Keeping Cousins likely isn't the difference between an early playoff exit and a championship. With Cousins hitting the open market and the Pelicans seemingly at a dead end, it would make sense to get some pieces for next year.
The Boston Celtics seem like the ideal fit for Cousins. The Celtics have a lot of young assets. The Celtics could get Cousins by giving Terry Rozier, Daniel Theis, and Jason Tatum, Marcus Smart or Jaylen Brown. This will help the Celtics every which way. Not only will Cousins team up with Kyrie and Horford but they will have a serious chance at dethroning the King. If the Celtics manage to keep Cousins, they'd have a big 3 next year of Kyrie, Boogie and Hayward.
3 Lou Williams to the Oklahoma City Thunder
Lou Williams’ contract is also set to expire. He is the best sixth man in the NBA. He is a ‘professional’ scorer and that is exactly what OKC needs off the bench. The reason the Clippers should trade Williams is because he is an unrestricted free agent next season and likely won't re-sign with the Clips. Williams made it very clear that he doesn't want to play on a team in tank mode. He wants to win.
OKC needs bench depth and Lou Williams is the perfect guy. The Thunder will likely need to give Terrance Ferguson, Dakari Johnson, and a draft pick for Lou. If OKC lands Williams this season they will have a much higher chance to upset the Golden State Warriors, Houston Rockets, or San Antonio Spurs. With OKC already having star power in the starting five, Lou Williams off the bench would give this team the boost it needs to become the contender they were expected to be.
2 Marc Gasol to the Boston Celtics
Marc Gasol is on an expensive contract and the Grizzlies are headed nowhere this season. The Boston Celtics are in need of a center, whether that is DeMarcus Cousins or Marc Gasol. The cost to land Gasol would likely be high and some names the Grizzlies would ask for would be Terry Rozier, Daniel Theis, and Jason Tatum, Marcus Smart or Jaylen Brown.
The Grizzles will likely look to tank this season in order to get a high draft pick. The Celtics again will have an increased chance to dethrone the King. Marc Gasol’s well rounded ability as a big man added to Al Horford’s well-rounded ability as a big man could be a big problem for the Cavaliers. It's hard to see the Celtics not making another big move this season.
1 Julius Randle to the Dallas Mavericks
Julius Randle will become a free agent at the end of this season. He spent the last few years on a reasonable 4yr/$13M deal. However, next season Randle will want a max contract and rightfully so. Randle is like a Draymond Green type of player minus the elite defense that Draymond brings. He has been a big positive for the Lakers on both ends of the floor.
There have been rumors swirling about Randle all season and the Lakers have made it clear to teams that they're listening. One trade that makes sense would be for Randle to go to Dallas in exchange for Nerlens Noel, who needs a fresh start. The Mavs are trying to accumulate young assets and re-build. With Randle being from Dallas, perhaps he'd feel more inclined to re-sign with them this summer, even if the Mavs seem set for a re-build in the short term.