There are some things that make individual sports seasons great. Opening day/night is always a sight to see and the playoffs are obviously arguably the best times to watch said sport.
One thing, however, that may go above the rest is the trade deadline.
And for the NBA, it's a time that typically sees a lot of big names players head to different cities.
By the looks of things, this season will be no different. Players like Tyreke Evans and Jahlil Okafor can be buy-low candidates that can help elevate a team that is looking to make a postseason push. Veterans like Brook Lopez and Wesley Matthews can be the missing link for certain organizations. And although he has a full no-trade clause, you know Carmelo Anthony will be generating headline as the 4 o'clock deadline nears. For the third year in a row, the Cavaliers and the Warriors are favored to make the NBA Finals, so other teams will have to do something to ensure that doesn't happen. Will it be via a big deadline move?
Will there be blockbusters moves that take place in less than a month? Certainly. Let's take a look at 15 big moves that have the potential to go down at the NBA trade deadline.
15 15. Pistons and Heat Swap Starting Point Guards
In one of the bigger trade rumors making the rounds on the internet, it looks like Stan Van Gundy is ready to move on from point guard Reggie Jackson, a player the Detroit Pistons just gave a five-year, $80 million contract to last season. While Ricky Rubio seems to be the player linked on the other side of a potential trade, there is another lead guard who may do a better job with the Pistons.
14 14. Greg Monroe Finally Lands in Charlotte
Ever since Greg Monroe signed a three-year, $50 million deal with the Milwaukee Bucks, it’s all been downhill. Despite his superb ability as a low-post scorer, Monroe doesn’t fit into the long and up-tempo play of the Bucks, thus relegating him to the bench.
13 13. The Hawks Ship Tim Hardaway Jr. to the Grizzlies
Despite sitting at 26-18 and ranking fifth in the Eastern Conference, the Atlanta Hawks seem dead-set on blowing up their roster and starting fresh. The front office already began that process by sending Kyle Korver to the Cleveland Cavaliers while also having a number of other talents on the trade block. One of those players is Tim Hardaway Jr.
12 12. The Jazz Bring in Wesley Matthews to Solidify the Starting Five
After years of acquiring young talent and drafting strongly, it looks like the Utah Jazz have put it all together and are ready to compete in the West. When looking up and down their lineup, it looks very strong — George Hill is a savvy veteran point guard while Gordan Hayward, Derrick Favors, and Rudy Gobert make up an impressive core of forwards.
11 11. Phil Jackson Pairs The Unicorn with The Manimal
By all accounts, the New York Knicks have, once again, underwhelmed. Despite bringing in veteran talent to help compete for a playoff spot, a lack of defense and intensity has put the team in a position to have yet another losing season. Looking towards the future, the Knicks need someone to pair with Kristaps Porzingis long-term. One man that can do that is Kenneth Faried.
10 10. The Mavericks Begin to Look Towards the Future
The Phoenix Suns are having a tough time getting out of the doldrums of the West. They have a bevy of young talent but do need to reshuffle the deck. One way to do so is to get young players like Tyler Ulis and Marquese Chriss more playing time, and one way to do so is by getting Brandon Knight out of the desert.
9 9. Paul Millsap Heads Up North
As it was spoken about just a few slides ago, the Hawks are ready to enter a new phase of their franchise. With Korver now gone, Paul Millsap is the next player on the roster that many believe will be traded. And it makes too much sense for the Toronto Raptors to not only inquire about Millsap but to pull the trigger on a deal.
8 8. The Boston Celtics Double Down on the Front Court
When the Boston Celtics signed big man Al Horford this past offseason, it seemed as though the organization was going to join the Raptors as a team that stood a chance against the Cavs. While he’s been effective, he’s also had trouble staying on the court — and even though the Celtics are 26-17, they could be even better.
7 7. Brook Lopez Finally Moves On
One of the biggest disappointments of the 2016-17 season has been the Portland Trail Blazers. With the backcourt of Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum being one of the best in the NBA, they were bound for future success. But the team is an underwhelming 19-27, and reinforcements are in order.
6 6. Tyreke Evans Attempts to Reinvent His Stock in OKC
By and large, the Oklahoma City Thunder have done a pretty good job this season. Sure, when you lose one of the best players in this generation, you’re bound to take a step back — but with Russell Westbrook leading the way, they’ve been able to stay in the playoff picture all year long. Andre Roberson, however, isn’t cutting it at the small forward position. One buy-low candidate that the Thunder should take a chance on? Tyreke Evans.
5 5. Ricky Rubio Becomes the Point Guard of the Future for the Spurs
It’s hard to remember a time when Ricky Rubio wasn't on the trade block. Once seen as a future cornerstone of the Minnesota Timberwolves, new management has looked at Kris Dunn as the future starter at the position. While Rubio has been linked to the Detroit Pistons in recent weeks, don’t be surprised if Gregg Popovich and the San Antonio Spurs come calling.
4 4. The 76ers and Lakers Help Each Other Out
The Philadelphia 76ers are well-positioned in the front court but can use help at guard. On the flip side, the Los Angeles Lakers have a bevy of young talent in the backcourt but can use a young big man to complement their core. Maybe the two sides can help each other out and swap Jahlil Okafor and Jordan Clarkson.
3 3. Carmelo Anthony Goes From the Big Apple to Tinseltown
Yes, Carmelo Anthony has a no-trade clause. Yes, he’s shown his allegiance to the Knicks time and time again. But it seems like Phil Jackson’s goal is to get him out of New York. And by the looks of things, Anthony may eventually give in.
2 2. DeMarcus Cousins and John Wall Reunite in D.C.
When DeMarcus Cousins and John Wall were dominating the collegiate level at the University of Kentucky, many believed both men were destined for superstardom. Sure, both men have become top-tier players in the NBA, but neither of them have been able to accomplish success with their respective teams. Those fortunes can change, however — especially if the Sacramento Kings finally decide to part ways with their center.
1 1. Jimmy Butler Brings the T’Wolves to the Next Level
Like many other teams this season, the Chicago Bulls decided to retool instead of rebuild. Sure, Jimmy Butler is still the main man in red, white, and black; but instead of bringing in young talent to put around him, the Bulls went out and got Dwyane Wade, Rajon Rondo, and Robin Lopez to create an odd yet intriguing core.
Butler is still evolving on offense yet averages 25 points, seven rounds, and five assists and is one of the best defensive wings in basketball. Yet, the Bulls are ready to completely blow things up — which means shipping Butler out of town. Less than 500 miles away, Butler’s old coach, Tom Thibodeau, just became the president and head coach of the Minnesota Timberwolves — and he is looking for veteran talent that can come in and elevate his young roster. Karl-Anthony Towns is a star and is untouchable, and Kris Dunn is the point guard of the future.
Despite being a six-year veteran of the NBA, Butler is just 27 years old and would fit right in with the Timberwolves. It would come at the expense of Andrew Wiggins and Zach LaVine, among others, but putting Butler and Towns on the same roster will compete with the top teams in the West in the very near future.
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