As we approach the NBA All-Star break, it is coming apparent who the contenders and pretenders are. Some underachievers are gearing towards a rebuild while the contenders may be looking to add one last piece to get them to the pinnacle and bring home that NBA Championship.
Whether it's during the 2017-2018 campaign or in the NBA offseason, there are bound to be some trades that will shake the NBA landscape. Last offseason was one of the more exciting off seasons we have seen in a while. The likes of Paul George and Carmelo Anthony landed in Oklahoma City via trade. Chris Paul is now paired up alongside James Harden in Houston. And perhaps the most surprising and power shifting move came when Kyrie Irving requested a trade out of Cleveland. Irving would be exchanged for Isaiah Thomas (who put together an MVP candidate caliber season in 2016-2017), and the playing field in the Eastern Conference seemed to level out more than we had seen in the past.
So whether it is time to move on from a star and start a rebuild, or if you are that team that is looking to nab a star away from a struggling franchise, the thought process starts now. Executives use that next level thinking to keep their franchise moving towards a brighter future.
15 Kevin Love Gets Moved
The Cleveland Cavaliers' run seems to be slowly coming to an end. This trade scenario may depend solely on LeBron James' decision on free agency this upcoming off season. If LeBron leaves again, then the Cavs may be heading towards blowing up the current roster. They are way over the salary cap threshold and if they don't have their star for a guaranteed playoff run, then the high priced roster may not be worth it.
The Trade: Cleveland Cavaliers trade Kevin Love to the New York Knicks for the Knicks' 2018 first round draft pick.
To go along with these circumstances comes the reports that Kevin Love is having a tough time in the Cavs locker room. Players feel like he is ousting himself from the team.
14 George Hill To The Cavaliers
Here's another player that has popped up on the Cleveland Cavaliers radar. George Hill is a consistently serviceable point guard. LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers need a point guard that can turn it up on the defensive side of the ball. With Hill, they could get that and would not lose much on the offensive end.
The Trade: Sacramento Kings trade George Hill to the Cleveland Cavaliers for Iman Shumpert
Hill was a member of those Indiana Pacers teams that went toe to toe with LeBron while he was in Miami. He is battle-tested and deserves to be back on a contender. Hill will not come with a hefty price tag. The Kings are ready to see De'Aaron Fox take over the franchise.
13 Kemba Walker Heads To Detroit
Michael Jordan continues to reiterate that he and the Charlotte Hornets are not interested in moving on from the star point guard. But still, Kemba Walker's name stays in the news, and before the start of next season we will likely see Walker in a new uniform and the Charlotte Hornets heading into a new direction.
The Trade: Charlotte Hornets trade Kemba Walker to the Detroit Pistons for Reggie Jackson
Kemba is a unique talent. At this point of his career, he is best when he has the ball in his hands, and can beat opponents to the basket, as well as a stepback which was made famous in his UConn days. Since the Pistons' Reggie Jackson experiment has seemed to fall short of expectations, perhaps Stan Van Gundy will also show interest in Walker.
12 Magic Trade Evan Fournier
The Orlando Magic look like a solid team on paper. Unfortunately, ever since Dwight Howard left town, the team has been a bottom feeder of the Eastern Conference. It would seem they have plenty of trade candidates with decent value in return. Evan Fournier could be one of those players. A skilled swing man that can do all things well on a basketball court, Fournier could help a offensively challenged team to the next level.
The Trade: The Orlando Magic trade Evan Fournier to the Detroit Pistons for Stanley Johnson and Langston Galloway
That's where the Detroit Pistons come in. The Pistons have already been contacting the Orlando Magic about Fournier's services, so it is just the pieces of the deal that need to be worked out.
11 DeAndre Jordan Gets Shipped Out Of Los Angeles
In this case, "before the starts of next season" probably means during the current 2017-2018 NBA campaign. The Clippers seemed to have all the makings to make a run with their Chris Paul/Blake Griffin/DeAndre Jordan core. Add in Doc (and Austin) Rivers, J.J. Redick, Paul Pierce and Jamal Crawford and they must win right? Wrong. The Clippers were utterly disappointing and never made it past the Western Conference Semifinals.
The Trade: Cleveland Cavaliers trade Tristian Thompson and Channing Frye to the Los Angeles Clippers for DeAndre Jordan.
Chris Paul is now in Houston, Blake Griffin is headed to the Detroit Pistons, and chances are Doc Rivers is done after this year. DeAndre Jordan is still in his prime and will find a new home with a contender.
10 76ers Trade Dario Saric
As a die-hard 76ers fan, I don't like writing this either. It just seems to make sense in the long run. Dario Saric played his best basketball when Joel Embiid was out at the end of last season. With Embiid on the floor, Saric looks lost at times and has shown he does not do well in the sixth man role. The 76ers have to ask themselves, is Dario Saric a starting power forward on an NBA contender?
The Trade: Philadelphia 76ers trade Dario Saric to the Orlando Magic for Aaron Gordon and Elfrid Payton
Saric just figures to be the odd man out of the bright years coming for the 76ers. He will also be able to fetch the 76ers some great value. Ironically the team that drafted, then traded Saric, the Orlando Magic, have expressed interest.
9 Magic Aren't Done And Move Vucevic
We even traded a couple of Orlando Magic players when we discussed Dario Saric. And with Fournier, Gordon, and Payton theoretically on the move, is time for the Magic to bottom out. They sport a talented but very unbalanced roster, and it has been difficult for them to make the proper moves to get to that balance they need.
The Trade: The Orlando Magic trade Nikola Vucevic to the Dallas Mavericks for a future 1st-round draft pick.
Nikola Vucevic is a walking double-double and can still stretch the floor to fit into today's NBA game. Vucevic sports a friendly deal at just over $12 million per year with one year remaining after this season. The Magic's plan needs to be long term, so they could look for future 1st-round picks as well.
8 Atlanta Unloads Kent Bazemore
The Atlanta Hawks have some tough times in their future. The rebuild will prove to last long, and players like Kent Bazemore and Dennis Schroder are pieces that will be moved before the rebuild is over. Bazemore is a athletic wing with the will to hustle and play hard each night. He could prove very valuable elsewhere. Once again the Cavaliers have inquired about this player, but we can't deal everyone there.
The Trade: Atlanta Hawks trade Kent Bazemore to the New Orleans Pelicans for their 2018 first-round pick.
Bazemore could probably fetch a late first-round pick for the Hawks. A team like the New Orleans Pelicans makes sense. The team is finally experiencing some long term success with their All-Star big men. Adding some depth could help them maintain their stature.
7 Lillard Demands A Trade
This one is probably the most shocking and would prove to be if it actually came to fruition. Wherever Damian Lillard ends up, it will shake up the landscape of the NBA. The Los Angeles Lakers have been linked to almost every free agent or star that was on the brink of being traded. This case may prove no different.
The Trade: Portland Trail Blazers trade Damian Lillard to the Los Angeles Lakers for Jordan Clarkson, Larry Nance Jr. and Julius Randle.
It is well known that the Lakers wish to acquire Paul George for the 2018-2019 season, and there are also the mentions of them landing a guy by the name of LeBron James. Lillard could be another option for the struggling, yet potentially future star-studded franchise.
6 Bulls Continue Rebuild By Dealing Mirotic
Long are the days that Derrick Rose, Jimmy Butler, and Joakim Noah were leading the Bulls to the number 1 seed in the Eastern Conference and a trip to the Eastern Conference Finals. The rebuild officially kicked off when the Bulls traded Butler to the Minnesota Timberwolves this off season. The Bulls will flounder down the bottom of the standings, and perhaps it's time to cut ties with one more player. Nikola Mirotic will be the next on the move.
The Trade: Chicago Bulls trade Nikola Mirotic to the Utah Jazz for Dante Exum and Derrick Favors
The Jazz are a team interested in the skilled big man. The Bulls had been hounding for a 1st-round draft pick, but the Jazz's pick will prove to be too valuable for Mirotic.
5 Lou Will Moves Again
Beginning with his trade from the Los Angeles Lakers last season, Lou Williams has played on three NBA teams in six months. Unfortunately for his comfort of wanting to stay put, Williams seems like he could be on the move again. The recent NBA All-Star snub is averaging a career high 23.4 points per game, while posting a 50-point game on the Golden State Warriors and numerous 40-point outbursts.
The Trade: Cleveland Cavaliers trade Tristian Thompson, Channing Frye and the 2018 Nets first round pick for DeAndre Jordan and Lou Williams.
The Cavaliers are pretty much mentioned in talks with every high end trade target on the market. Being the Cavaliers are chasing DeAndre Jordan, Lou Williams could be the piece that lands the Clippers the Nets' 2018 first-round pick in which the Cavs acquired from the Kyrie Irving deal.
4 Knicks Move A Center
It is apparent that the Knicks have found their next franchise cornerstone in Kristaps Porzingis, but they still have a long way to go in developing a contender. New York has an abundance of big men occupying their frontcourt rotation. You have second-year center Willy Hernangomez, the proven fan favorite Enes Kanter, as well as Kyle O'Quinn. Sprinkle in natural power forward Porzingis' time spent at center and it is just an overload.
The Trade: The New York Knicks trade Kyle O'Quinn to the Golden State Warriors for Javale McGee
In this case, Kyle O'Quinn is pretty intriguing. He carries a small salary, which makes him enticing to a team like the Golden State Warriors. He won't get the Knicks much but maybe a 2nd-round pick or an expiring contract, or maybe a veteran like Javale McGee. It still is a step towards the future.
3 Suns Move A Big Man
We're pretty sure this is the focal point of the past few Phoenix Suns' trade deadlines and off-seasons. They are still stockpiled at the center position, and although the young bigs are learning from an accomplished vet in Tyson Chandler, it should be time to see what they have in their youth. Dragan Bender has doubled his playing time since his rookie campaign, but has since been moved back to the bench. Alex Len is seeing less time than Bender, and Tyson Chandler is averaging more minutes than the both of them.
The Trade: The Phoenix Suns trade Tyson Chandler to the San Antonio Spurs for future 2nd-round draft picks
It should be Chandler that moves. Give the young guys a real chance before calling it a day on them. Chandler will make just over $13 million a season through 2019.
2 Stan Van Gundy Revamps Pistons Roster
We're recycling one player here so forgive me. It is apparent that Stan Van Gundy needs an answer at point guard. Reggie Jackson is unable to stay on the court and Ish Smith is not the answer to the starting job. This is where Jeff Teague comes in. Teague is playing well for a very good Minnesota Timberwolves team, but still the rumblings of him being traded have arisen once again. Tyus Jones has outplayed Teague in recent weeks, and the time may be now for him to take the reins of the starting role.
The Trade: The Detroit Pistons trade Stanley Johnson, Langston Galloway, and Ish Smith to the Minnesota Timberwolves for Jeff Teague
Earlier, we said that Stanley Johnson could be traded to the Magic, but it's also possible he (and a couple others) gets moved to the Timberwolves as the Pistons seek a better answer at point guard, and continue overhauling the lineup following the trade for Blake Griffin.
1 Marc Gasol To A Contender
If you're a NBA fan, you are going to miss those Memphis Grizzlies teams. They played their own brand of basketball and did it well. Zach Randolph, Marc Gasol, Tony Allen, and Mike Conley combined for some exciting playoff runs. Allen and Randolph have moved on and it seems that Marc Gasol may be next.
The Trade: The Memphis Grizzlies trade Marc Gasol to the Portland Trail Blazers for Evan Turner, Jusuf Nurkic and a future 2nd round pick
In this scenario, maybe a trade we discussed earlier does not happen. Gasol could end up in Portland and team up with Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum. The three would form a formidable "Big 3" lineup that also showcases their intangibles while on the court.