5 Trades That Must Be Made Before This Year’s NBA Trade Deadline
The NBA trade deadline is still a few weeks away (February 10), but there have already been many rumors regarding what certain teams will look to do. We have also already seen Cam Reddish get dealt to the Knicks as well as the Celtics, Spurs, and Nuggets agree on a three-team deal about a week ago, so trade season is in full swing. Additionally, it seems that almost every day rumors are released regarding Ben Simmons, Tobias Harris, the Atlanta Hawks, the Detroit Pistons, and many other clubs. The five trades below are some of my ideas for NBA trade deadline moves that match-up financially while giving both teams exactly what they are looking for for the second half of the season. Lastly, I want to state that I didn’t even attempt to create trades for the Kings, who I think have one of the most confusing front offices in all of sports. I’m sorry, Kings fans.
Trade #1: Coby White, Derrick Jones Jr., Troy Brown Jr., & a Lottery-Protected 2027 Bulls FRP for Jerami Grant & Trey Lyles
The thinking here for the Bulls is obvious. At 28-15, they currently sit as the one seed in the Eastern Conference, and going all-in on this season seems like an obvious move to make. They have been without last year’s 4th overall pick Patrick Williams for most of the season, and he’s expected to miss at least a couple of more months. Without a clear second forward next to DeMar DeRozan, Grant could slide right into the power forward role, helping the Bulls to fully contend for the next two years. Another upside to this trade for the Bulls is that they get to keep Williams, who is still looked at as a high-upside player with potential that just needs to be unlocked.
The Pistons’ motives here are pretty simple as well. As the current 14-seed in the East, this year will for sure be another “tanking season” for them, as they’re looking to add to their young core. By getting rid of Grant, they’ll end up losing more games, giving them as high of a draft pick as possible to add to a core of Cade Cunningham, Killian Hayes, Saddiq Bey, and Isaiah Stewart. Coby White is a high-upside guy, and with the recent struggles of Killian Hayes, there’s no reason not to have another young guard on this roster who has shown lots of promise. The draft pick simply makes the deal a little sweeter for the Pistons, while giving the Bulls some insurance in case they are struggling to win by 2027.
Trade #2: Myles Turner (or Domantas Sabonis) for Mason Plumlee, Ish Smith, James Bouknight, & the Hornets 2024 FRP
It recently came out that the Pacers are looking for either two first-round picks or a first-round pick and a promising young player in exchange for Myles Turner, and this would accomplish their goal. James Bouknight was recently drafted with the 11th overall pick in the 2021 draft by the Hornets, but he hasn’t been able to play consistent minutes, or show much promise during those minutes. Regardless, as the player just drafted at the 11 slot less than a year ago, no conclusions can be made yet about Bouknight’s future, and being in the right situation could certainly propel his career to a whole new level. The Pacers would also happily welcome the Hornets 2024 first-round pick, with the two other players being included mostly for salary-matching reasons.
The Hornets are a very talented young team, and they haven’t been able to find an answer at center for a few years now. With a current core of LaMelo Ball, Terry Rozier, Kelly Oubre, Gordon Hayward, and Miles Bridges, there is little room for James Bouknight to play important minutes, but there is lots of room for a solid center to join the squad. Turner is under contract for this year and next for a modest salary of $18 per year, and Sabonis has 2.5 years left of his deal, and either one would help bring together all the talent Charlotte has been collecting over the past few years with the big-man help they’ve needed. It’s certainly not hard to see this team (with Turner or Sabonis) reaching new heights by the end of the season, with the possibility of making a playoff run similar to what the Hawks did last season.
Trade #3: C.J. McCollum & Robert Covington for Ben Simmons & Danny Green
The Trailblazers need to change it up before this NBA trade deadline, and this trade would be a great way for them to shift the roster around, add much-needed defense, and provide insurance in case the Lillard marriage doesn’t work long-term. If Lillard were to not return from injury this season, the team could use their high draft pick to trade for another star to pair with Lillard and Simmons. If Lillard were to return, the two and Nurkic could make a playoff push, as the team sits just 4.5 games behind from the 6-seed, potentially avoiding the play-in tournament altogether.
This trade instantly makes the 76ers better (since Simmons refuses to play until he’s traded), and with the type of season Joel Embiid is having, they absolutely need to go all-in. McCollum would give them the perimeter playmaking and shooting they’ve desperately needed for years, while giving them a true Big 3 again. Covington isn’t too bad either, and hopefully, he could provide value for the rest of the season in the city that he used to play in when he broke out. A starting lineup of Curry, McCollum, Thybulle, Harris, Embiid with Maxey & Covington off the bench sounds like a contender to me.
Trade #4: Kevin Love & Cedi Osman for Russell Westbrook, DeAndre Jordan, Lakers 2025 2RP, Lakers 2026 FRP, & Lakers 2027 2RP
Ok, so this trade looks very puzzling for the Cavaliers at first, I get it. Westbrook has been struggling a lot, DeAndre Jordan barely plays, and those draft picks are far ahead in the future. However, this team in no way needs Osman and Love on their roster, they have essentially one healthy, consistent guard on the roster (unless you consider Isaac Okoro to be a guard), and they could use perimeter creation in order to help Allen and Mobley play to their potential. Mobley and Okoro don’t need new contracts before Westbrook’s is up, and even if playing Westbrook doesn’t improve the team, the Lakers could be in another rebuild when it’s time for the draft picks to be made.
The Lakers need big change, and unfortunately, Westbrook’s time looks to be up in Los Angeles. Bringing in Love & Osman this before the NBA trade deadline wouldn’t only reunite LeBron with two of his former teammates, but it’d add much more 3pt shooting around LeBron and Davis, helping them as well. The draft picks should be expendable for the Lakers, who unquestionably need to continue going all-in as long as James and Davis are on the team. This would give them new starting lineup of Horton-Tucker, Bradley, James, Love, Davis, with Malik Monk, Cedi Osman, Stanley Johnson, and Carmelo Anthony off the bench.
Trade #5: Kristaps Porzingis, Tim Hardaway Jr., & Josh Green for Pascal Siakam & Goran Dragic
This trade seems unlikely at first, but makes more and more sense the closer you look at it. The Mavericks desperately want to pair Luka with a better superstar without giving up much. The Raptors have (allegedly) been discussing trades surrounding both Siakam and Dragic. On the Dallas side, this would greatly increase the ceiling of the team, as Porzingis has shown he can’t quite be the second star on a contending team. This would also allow Jalen Brunson to slide into a bigger role, while having a playmaker in Dragic off the bench (who, as a European on the Mavericks, would instantly fit).
Although the Raptors haven’t had many issues with playing Scottie Barnes, OG Anunoby, and Pascal Siakam together, none of them are an ideal natural center moving forward, but they all deserve to be on the court as much as possible. I believe a switch-up like this one would help out a lot, while giving the Raptors more shooting, something Barnes and Anunoby aren’t great at. The team also gets Hardaway to come off the bench, while also acquiring a young guard in Josh Green who has shown lots of promise in Dallas. This trade is also helpful in giving VanVleet, Anunoby, and Barnes bigger roles, while finally giving the Raptors the height and shooting that would pair great.