One might suggest that league-wide wheeling and dealing is set to start ramping up as we approach the February 7th NBA trade deadline, but has it really even quieted down since the summer? Since the 2018-19 campaign tipped off, Jimmy Butler has found himself shipped off to Philadelphia for a package including Dario Saric and Robert Covington, the Utah Jazz brought Kyle Korver back into the fold and and Trevor Ariza wound up in Washington following the MarShon / Dillon Brooks kerfuffle.
Whether the trade market maintains at its current brisk pace or builds towards a frenzy, slowing down doesn't seem to be in the cards. Even with the Butler saga wrapped up, clubs across the league have their own messes to sort out, including the Markelle Fultz ordeal in Philly, a pending fire sale in Washington, an on-going fire sale in Cleveland and the disappointing early returns of the Houston Rockets. Add to that a group of teams scrambling to position themselves favorably for a star-studded 2019 free agent class, and you have a recipe for big-time movement.
Now, not every deal will necessarily get done by 3:00PM (E.T.) on February 7th. Inevitably, there will be more work left for this summer. Teams eyeing a quick path to title contention may look to free agency with dreams of landing a Kevin Durant or Kawhi Leonard, while league bottom-feeders may grow enamored with a draft class headlined by Duke studs Zion Williamson and R.J. Barrett. But the will certainly stand as a big part of the offseason puzzle. There promises to be plenty of hot stove chatter regarding moves that could come both imminently and upon the conclusion of the 2018-19 season. And here's some trades that we could see during both of those stretches:
20 Deadline: Jabari Parker To Utah In A 3-Team Deal
We kick things off with a three-teamer involving Jabari Parker, whose Chicago homecoming has turned sour with the $20 million man having played his way out of the Bulls' rotation under new head coach Jim Boylan. Meanwhile, Derrick Favors remains an awkward fit alongside Rudy Gobert in Utah, last summer's new contract notwithstanding. The Jazz have been named possible participants in the Parker sweepstakes and probably wouldn't mind unloading Favors.
Chicago still needs to find minutes for young bigs Lauri Markkanen, Wendell Carter Jr. and Bobby Portis, but they likely won't have much use for Favors, which is where a third team comes in. If the 76ers sent Chicago the expiring deals of Wilson Chandler and Amir Johnson, plus a pick or two, it could be enough to net them a solid power forward to pair with Joel Embiid.
19 Offseason: Kent Bazemore To OKC
The challenge with any Thunder trade is, finding any tradable assets appealing to other teams. If we assume Russell Westbrook, Paul George, Steven Adams and Andre Roberson form something of a long-term foundation in OKC, then there's little else here to excite potential trade partners.
Nevertheless, GM Sam Presti and the Thunder can probably cobble together enough to make a push for Atlanta Hawks sharpshooting two-guard Kent Bazemore, who will almost certainly opt in on a $19.3 million player option next season that Atlanta probably doesn't want to pay. An offer involving the likes of Jerami Grant, Terrance Ferguson, Alex Abrines and Nerlens Noel would provide the Hawks with varying degrees of potential for a contract they want to unload, while improving the Thunder's core without costing them a meaningful asset.
18 Deadline: Darren Collison To New Orleans
The Pacers aren't necessarily shopping heady veteran point guard Darren Collison. After all, he's been at the wheel for the Pacers as they've transformed suddenly into a contender in the East since Paul George skipped town and is making just $10 million this season. Still, Collison will be a free agent at season's end and Indy will likely want to give promising rookie Aaron Holiday a run at the point before committing to the 31-year-old long-term.
Ironically, Justin's older brother Jrue Holiday likes to play off the ball and could use another ball handler in New Orleans. For the Pelicans, the opportunity to add back court depth, coupled with the chance to get out from under the $25.5 million left owing to Solomon Hill through next season, may be enough to prompt them to part with a first round pick.
17 Offseason: Evan Fournier To Milwaukee
A season spent in the upper echelon of the East hasn't been enough to keep the Bucks from continuing to tinker. After hiring Mike Budenholzer and signing Brook Lopez this summer, the club once again changed things up by acquiring George Hill and big man Jason Smith for Matthew Dellavedova, John Henson and draft picks.
They could be an interesting destination for Evan Fournier, currently mired in mediocrity in Orlando. The scorer, who is only 26 but is still owed $34 million over the next two years, is a better shooter than the likes of Hill, Eric Bledsoe, Malcolm Brogdon and Khris Middleton and might, therefore, be a better complement to Giannis Antetokounmpo.
An offer of Tony Snell, Donte DiVincenzo and Milwaukee's 2019 first, which would give the Magic an expiring contract, a decent guard prospect and another first-round pick, should be enough to pry Fournier away.
16 Deadline: Avery Bradley To Denver For Malik Beasley
At first glance, this trade might seem like a bit of a mismatch. Despite their similar two-guard position, Avery Bradley and Malik Beasley differ in salary by over $10 million for this year, alone. Good thing, then, that the Nuggets, who need help and don't have much dead money to shed, boast a few juicy trade exceptions that can bridge the salary gap. Economics aside, this trade would gift the Nuggets an added defensive edge and more depth on the wing.
If Denver likes what they get from the two-time All-Defensive team member, they could exercise his $12.9 million team option for next season. For the Clippers, going from Bradley to Beasley would be a downgrade for now, but the 22-year-old still carries upside and would at least leave them with an asset for a player unlikely to be with the club past this season.
15 Offseason: James Johnson & Justise Winslow To Houston
Sentimentally, the Miami Heat probably want to make a good, honest push for the postseason in Dwyane Wade's final campaign. What's good for the organization, however, may not mesh with that vision. Miami currently has $135 million on the books for 2019-20 and if they hope to be players in a strong free agent class, that has to change. Getting rid of James Johnson and Justise Winslow, on the books for $28 million next season, would be a good start.
The two forwards still have plenty of on-court value and would potentially inject some life into the disappointing Rockets, who could offer Brandon Knight and Marquese Chriss, in addition to their 2019 first rounder. This deal would save the Heat about $13 million and provide an extra pick while giving the Rockets a much-needed shot in the arm.
14 Deadline: Danilo Galinari To Brooklyn
There has been much buzz over Tobias Harris, long under-appreciated but now growing into a focal piece of the surprising Clippers. And yet, right there with him among the Clippers' top scorers in Danilo Galinari, who is healthy and enjoying one of his most productive seasons in years. Still, this isn't quite the core that owner Steve Ballmer likely has in mind moving forward, as evidenced by the reports over upcoming free agent pursuits like Kawhi Leonard and Jimmy Butler. Galinari's $22 million contract for next season stands in the way of that.
The Nets, meanwhile, are rife with cap space for next season. They could land the front line scorer in Galinari for little more than expiring contracts. By packaging DeMarre Carroll and Ed Davis, they would get their man while providing the Clips with cap relief and useful pieces for a playoff run this year.
13 Offseason: T.J. Warren To New York For Frank Ntilikina
Come June, the Suns will likely be positioned to nab one of the top prospects of the draft, adding another component to their core of Deandre Ayton and Devin Booker. While the point guard spot lingers as an area of need, the Suns probably won't pass on the likes of Zion Williamson and R.J. Barrett to draft one. A solution, could come via the trade market. Drafting a top forward prospect would leave T.J. Warren rather expendable, but a 25-year-old averaging 18 points, locked in to a reasonable four-year, $50 million contract would pique the interest of clubs.
Could the Suns, then, look to the Knicks and talented-but-underperforming Frank Ntilikina for a fit? The 20-year-old has provided maddening inconsistency but also shown flashes of elite talent. Still, a steady, reliable scorer might be a refreshing change for the hapless Knicks. For Phoenix, a high ceiling core of Booker, Ayton, Ntilikina and Williamson or Barrett doesn't look too shabby, either.
12 Deadline: Rodney Hood To Memphis
The Grizzlies find themselves focused on a future built around rookie PF Jaren Jackson Jr. even as they mix it up amid a cluttered playoff picture on the backs of 33-year-old Marc Gasol and 31-year-old Mike Conley. A trade with Cleveland for Rodney Hood could address both teams' needs. Remember, Hood, who may be traded in-season for a second straight year, is still only 26 and still carries immense potential as a long, athletic wing.
To interest the Cavs, they could dangle the injured
MarShon Dillon Brooks, who is three years younger than Hood but has fallen back on the depth chart in Memphis, averaging 10 fewer minutes than in his rookie campaign behind off-season signee Kyle Anderson. Hood, meanwhile, would offer more versatility and defensive ability than Brooks.
11 Offseason: Reggie Jackson To Orlando
The Pistons have a problem. For all the gains that the club has made with Dwane Casey in charge and Blake Griffin being fully settled in, remnants of the old Pistons still linger. Reggie Jackson and the $35 million he's owed through next season stand as a big part of that. Contract aside, the 28-year-old is limiting Detroit's offensive flow by shooting just under 40% and still taking too many shots every game.
Shedding Jackson could bring greater efficiency and offer a little financial wiggle room to a club that has over $100 million on the books next year. Enter Orlando, who have cap space to burn and could use a more dynamic ball handler than DJ Augustin to pair with Aaron Gordon. If the Magic would also be willing to take on Jon Leuer and his $9.5 million cap hit, that just might be enough to squeeze a first rounder out of the Pistons.
10 Deadline: Nikola Vucevic to Toronto
Weaknesses are few and far between for the Raptors, but one of concern is the club's work on the defensive boards, where they rank as one of the league leaders in offensive rebounds allowed, thanks in part to small ball lineups featuring Serge Ibaka and Pascal Siakim. If they add size, they could be an interesting landing spot for Magic big man Nikola Vucevic, a pending free agent who happens to be enjoying a career-best season.
Orlando, however, is looking to carve out more minutes for rookie Mo Bamba and probably want to benefit from his trade value rather than lose him for nothing this summer. The Raptors, meanwhile, are firmly in go-for-it mode and could land Vucevic with a combination of draft picks and young assets, such as Norm Powell, Lorenzo Brown and Chris Boucher, who is lighting it up in the G League.
9 Offseason: Markelle Fultz To San Antonio
If anyone can get Markelle Fultz back on track, you'd have to figure it's Gregg Popovich and the Spurs. Currently embroiled in an on-going fiasco with the Philadelphia 76ers amid the second-year point guard's shooting woes and a dubious shoulder injury that has supposedly caused those woes, Fultz clearly seems to be on the way out. And the point guard-needy Spurs could certainly use the former No. 1 overall pick.
A package centered around Derrick White, Jakob Poeltl and Marco Belinelli seems like a bit of an underpay, but it would offer the Sixers two young depth pieces and a veteran shooter for an enigmatic player who may not be long for Pennsylvania, anyway.
8 Deadline: Andrew Wiggins To Sacramento
There's something unsatisfying about watching Andrew Wiggins, a player who leaves us wanting more on a team that leaves us wanting more. It's hard to call the ultra-talented Wiggins a bust given his career average of 19.5 PPG, but we never get the sense that he's giving his maximum effort. The culture around Wiggins's Timberwolves already saw Jimmy Butler jump ship, and the former No. 1 pick may be next.
Amazingly, on account of his suddenly iffy reputation and hefty contract (owed another $123 million after this year), Wiggins may not be able to fetch much of a return. 'Wolves fans won't like it, but swapping him and Gorgui Dieng to Sacramento for the expiring contracts of Zach Randolph, Iman Shumpert and Ben McLemore, along with one young asset, would help Minnesota shed more than $150 million of owed salary while affording the club a fresh start around Karl-Anthony Towns. The Kings, meanwhile, would use their greatest strength - cap space - to add one of the league's premier scorers to an impressive, young core without sacrificing much.
7 Offseason: CJ McCollum To Minnesota
A big decision could be looming in Portland, where years of regular season success (playoff appearances in the past five seasons and eight of the last 10) haven't exactly laid the foundation for strong postseason results. After first round sweeps in each of the past two seasons, questions are now being raised over just how far the Blazers can go behind the All-Star back court of Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum. The good news is that both should be reasonably easy to move if that is the direction charted in Rip City.
For McCollum, one of the many teams that might have interest in the sharpshooter is Minnesota, who have yet to replace Jimmy Butler and still hope to build a winner around Karl-Anthony Towns. For his services this offseason, a package built around power forward Dario Saric and their first round pick might do the trick.
6 Deadline: DeMar DeRozan On The Move (Again)
Part way through the 2018-19 season, the Mavericks and Spurs find themselves on very different trajectories. The Mavs seem to have new life thanks to rookie phenom Luka Doncic, while the Spurs may finally be seeing their two-decade string of excellence come to a close. Now is the time for Dallas to challenge the western hierarchy, and it may also be time for San Antonio to blow it up.
Both clubs could move towards those very outcomes with a trade of DeMar DeRozan for Dennis Smith Jr. and Wesley Matthews. In Dallas, DeRozan would officially usher in win-now mode for a club that features Doncic, DeAndre Jordan and Harrison Barnes, while the deal would help expedite a rebuild in the Alamo based around Smith Jr., Dejounte Murray, Davis Bertans and Lonnie Walker (and maybe Markelle Fultz).
5 Offseason: Bradley Beal To Cleveland
It might seem strange to dream up a trade that lands Cleveland a high-paid superstar when they are clearly selling off assets. However, Bradley Beal is just 25 and could be part of the Cavs' rebuild, especially if the cost isn't prohibitive. Realistically, none of Tristan Thompson, Jordan Clarkson or Cedi Osman appear to have a long-term future in Ohio, although all three could be assets to the Wizards, helping their depth, flexibility and cap situation, with a first-round pick (one of theirs or Milwaukee's 2021 selection) acting as a much-needed sweetener.
If Washington finds a way to offload Ian Mahinmi's contract on the suddenly cap space-rich Cavaliers, then all the better. LeBron's first departure from Cleveland brought years of toiling in irrelevance, so at least this post-LeBron version of the Cavs can boast some All-Star-caliber talent.
4 Deadline: Kevin Love To Charlotte
Cleveland is looking to tear it down and Charlotte is hoping to convince Kemba Walker to stick around, so perhaps a Kevin Love deal involving Bismack Biyombo, Jeremy Lamb and an unprotected first makes sense. Okay, so this one isn't entirely my own creation and may have been 'borrowed' from ESPN's Zach Lowe. Still, a sensible trade proposal is a sensible trade proposal.
While this might seem like a light return for a five-time All-Star in Love, it would get the Cavs out from under the power forward' four-year, $120 million contract (though they would have to take on Biyombo's contract) while adding an intriguing guard in Lamb and what might be a pretty good draft pick. For Charlotte, pairing Love with Walker represents the kind of go-for-it move that the club has avoided like the plague with owner Michael Jordan at the helm.
3 Offseason: Damian Lillard To The Lakers
Fans can trace LeBron James' admiration for Damian Lillard back to the summer of 2017. It was then that James' Cavs were blindsided by a trade demand from star point guard Kyrie Irving, prompting the King to push for the Portland superstar. Now a Laker, James may still want Lillard as a running buddy - and it still could make sense. The young Lakers, including Lonzo Ball, are coming along under the stewardship of James, but 'Bron is 34 and may not have the patience to wait out the development curve.
Portland, on the other hand, could continue the rebuild that I already suggested with Ball and either Kyle Kuzma or Brandon Ingram serving as an enticing return. As for the Lake Show, James, Lillard and perhaps one big free agent could form the nucleus of a contender in the West.
2 Deadline: John Wall To Miami
It won't be easy and may not producing any budding superstar talent in return, but the faster the Wizards rid themselves of John Wall, the better. It seems that the D.C. tenure of the 2010 first overall pick is destined to end badly. The past, however, is no reason for the Wiz to settle for aimless mediocrity, particularly with the point guard's $170 million extension set to kick in next year.
Takers for that contract will be hard to find, but Miami may be one of the few. The Heat have some of their own albatross deals to offload and Pat Riley will likely be looking to add star power to replace Dwyane Wade. They could package Goran Dragic and Hassan Whiteside, two capable players on big contracts, for Wall and some future draft considerations to level things out.
1 Offseason: Anthony Davis To Boston
Last season, speculation over 'The Brow' heading to Boston inspired some eye rolls over the thought of the rich getting richer, but was mostly met with intrigue and excitement. This year, a possible match of Anthony Davis and the Celtics seems even more likely. Davis is likely to decline a 2020-21 player option and would, then, be a free agent after next season. Thus, the longer he waits to sign an extension, the longer it seems he isn't long for New Orleans.
Boston, then, would be one of the few clubs who could present the Pelicans with an attractive trade package, thanks to Danny Ainge's hoarding of young assets. While the pending free agency of Kyrie Irving and Al Horford leave some uncertainty, the Celts could offer Jaylen Brown, Terry Rozier and two first rounders and still retain Jayson Tatum, Gordon Hayward, Marcus Smart and tons of future assets to help surround Davis.