1 New Trade Idea for Every NBA Franchise | Bleacher Report

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    Michael Dwyer/Associated Press

    The dust never really settles in the NBA.

    The league is never more than one tweet away from an internet-breaking blockbuster, and even when trade season is off, the whispering persists.

    It’s part of what makes the Association such a fascinating study, but there can be some burnout from the constant chatter, especially when it revolves around a handful (or less) of the same recycled trade ideas.

    The aim here is to be different. While staying within the realms of reality, we’ve come up with a novel trade idea for all 30 teams. Not all of these could be brokered at the moment due to restrictions regarding recent signings, draft picks and trade participants, but they’ll all be fair game at some point during the 2020-21 season.

    Enough with the technicalities, though. Let’s start hypothetically changing the hoops landscape.

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    David Zalubowski/Associated Press

    The Trade: Tony Snell and 2022 lottery-protected first-round pick to Oklahoma City Thunder for Trevor Ariza

    The Hawks are on the cusp of an all-in push with this core, which makes it strange to see the squad half-step in the wing defender department. There should be a better option than hoping De’Andre Hunter or Cam Reddish can accelerate their development, or having a 29-year-old Tony Snell suddenly play above his head.

    Instead, Atlanta could broker a deal for Trevor Ariza, who ranks among the Association’s most effective three-and-D mercenaries. He guards multiple positions and shoots a league-average rate from distance. Every win-now team and win-now hopeful wants that exact skill set. If his family matters settle down and he can return to the hardwood, he’d be perfect for the Hawks.

    The Thunder abandoned the win-now ship this offseason and are in outright asset-accumulation mode. This would add another future first-rounder to the ledger, and if Snell happened to perk up in the Sooner State, perhaps OKC could eventually flip him for draft considerations as well.

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    Michael Dwyer/Associated Press

    The Trade: Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart, 2021 first-round pick and 2024 top-five-protected first-round pick to Houston Rockets for James Harden

    Celtics fans probably hate this, which is fine. When you’re watching talents like Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart up close on a nightly basis, it’s easy to get attached.

    But those players aren’t James Harden, a three-time scoring champ, MVP and ticket to championship contention. Defenses already can’t handle Harden on his own. Imagine how they’d fare trying to limit him, Jayson Tatum and Kemba Walker, who’d all be operating under the watch of Brad Stevens.

    Good. Luck.

    As for Houston, a Harden trade seems imminent. While superstar exchanges are tricky to draw even (let alone win), this could be close to the ideal return for the Rockets. Brown is a 24-year-old centerpiece, Smart is a dogged defender and culture-setter, and the two throws at the draft dartboard could always connect with something interesting.

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    Kathy Willens/Associated Press

    The Trade: Taurean Prince and 2021 second-round pick (via ATL) to San Antonio Spurs for Rudy Gay

    The Nets’ third-star search was one of the offseason’s top stories. Rather than regurgitate some trade idea you’ve seen dissected before (Bradley Beal, James Harden, Victor Oladipo, etc.), we’ll shift our attention to a marginal move that would enhance their depth instead.

    Rudy Gay could give the Nets another shot-maker, and he’d hold his own in most defensive matchups. Sitting lower than ever on the scoring hierarchy could be a boon for his efficiency, and his experience could grease the wheels for a rapid transition. Given Brooklyn’s championship-or-bust measuring scale, it’s impossible to overstate the importance of instant-impact ability.

    After witnessing several developmental success stories in the bubble, the Spurs should be ready to turn their roster over to the youth. This would be a step in that direction, plus it would fetch a draft pick and turn the 34-year-old Gay into a 26-year-old Taurean Prince.

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    Nell Redmond/Associated Press

    The Trade: Terry Rozier, Miles Bridges, 2023 second-round pick (via BOS) and 2024 second-round pick (via BOS) to Orlando Magic for Aaron Gordon and Khem Birch

    The buzz is back in Buzz City. The Hornets are further along in their post-Kemba Walker rebuild than they expected, thanks both to LaMelo Ball sliding to No. 3 on draft night and Gordon Hayward choosing Charlotte (and $120 million) in free agency.

    “I did not think we would be in a position to pursue a free agent of Gordon’s caliber,” Hornets general manager Mitch Kupchak said, per Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer. “… We feel really excited about that he chose Charlotte.”

    The Hornets should use that excitement as fuel to keep adding. With Terry Rozier becoming redundant on this roster and Miles Bridges potentially stagnating, Charlotte could flip both for the chance to take over Aaron Gordon’s development.

    Slotting Gordon alongside playmakers like Ball and Hayward could do wonders to maximize the impact of his explosiveness. The Hornets would also bulk up their center rotation with Khem Birch.

    As for the Magic, they feel in perpetual need of a shakeup. Their unscratched itch for offense could get Rozier on their radar, and the fact he’s played alongside other point guards would give hope to his pairing with Markelle Fultz. Bridges would breathe new life into the Magic’s forward rotation, and if nothing else, he could be a younger, cheaper version of what Gordon provides in Orlando.

    Read more here: https://www.charlotteobserver.com/sports/charlotte-hornets/article247511295.html#storylink=cpy

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    Matt Slocum/Associated Press

    The Trade: Thaddeus Young and Tomas Satoransky to Golden State Warriors for Andrew Wiggins and 2022 second-round pick

    The Bulls need more scoring threats. Say what you will about Andrew Wiggins, but he clearly qualifies as that. He has six NBA seasons under his belt, and he’s averaging 19.7 points per game across his career.

    Chicago should be willing to experiment, especially in the pursuit of upside.

    The Bulls probably aren’t ready to chase more than a possible spot in the play-in tournament, which makes it tough to justify eight-figure commitments to Thaddeus Young and Tomas Satoransky. But Wiggins would have a shot at joining the long-term nucleus, making the exchange worth the risk.

    For Golden State to be mildly interesting this season or a contender next year with a hopefully healthy Klay Thompson, it needs to do something about its lack of depth. While the Warriors would trade away the most talented player here, they’d get more mileage out of two role players. Young would boost their defensive versatility, while Satoransky would address a need for complementary playmaking.

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    Ron Schwane/Associated Press

    The Trade: Kevin Love to Charlotte Hornets for Cody Zeller, Malik Monk and Miles Bridges

    Kevin Love still plays for the Cavaliers. Does that boggle anyone else’s mind, or is it just me?

    Cleveland should know by now that no one is paying a premium for the five-time All-Star. He’s too old, injury-prone and expensive for that to happen.

    If the Cavs could convert him into some youth (Miles Bridges, Malik Monk) and salary relief (Cody Zeller, Monk again), that should be a no-brainer.

    For Charlotte, this is another way of attempting to turn the offseason wins into something even more substantial. Plug Love into the starting center spot, and this offense should become must-watch TV and maybe even a top-10 unit if everything breaks right with the newcomers.

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    Ron Jenkins/Associated Press

    The Trade: James Johnson, 2021 second-round pick and 2025 top-10-protected first-round pick to Indiana Pacers for Myles Turner

    Executives believe Dallas will be a likely suitor for Rudy Gobert, per ESPN’s Zach Lowe. A lower-cost, lower-risk trade for Myles Turner could be the preferable alternative.

    Like Gobert, Turner is an impactful anchor on defense, which would surely interest a club that just set the new high bar for offensive efficiency but ranked only 18th on the less glamorous end. Unlike Gobert, Turner wouldn’t gum up the offensive spacing, which means the floor would be free for Luka Doncic to attack—or Giannis Antetokounmpo to do the same if the Mavs’ biggest dream is ever answered.

    The Pacers would be admitting what everyone has suspected for years: This team’s ceiling stretches only so high with Turner and Domantas Sabonis in the same frontcourt. Clearing out Turner opens room for bubble-breakout star T.J. Warren to re-ignite the frontcourt as a stretch 4, and converting Turner’s contract into James Johnson’s expiring salary would buy the franchise some financial flexibility.

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    David J. Phillip/Associated Press

    The Trade: Michael Porter Jr., Gary Harris, Will Barton, Zeke Nnaji, 2021 first-round pick and 2025 top-three protected first-round pick to Houston Rockets for James Harden

    The mere suggestion of a Michael Porter Jr. trade might result in a permanent ban from the Rocky Mountains, but hear me out. Porter could be a walking mismatch for opponents some day; Harden is flummoxing opposing teams right now.

    Get Harden in the same offense as Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray, and it’s a wrap. There’s no right way to defend that trio, especially if Harden bought in as a part-time cutter and catch-and-shoot gunner playing off of Jokic.

    While Denver is technically a team on the rise, there are no guarantees that it can reach the next step internally. With Jokic turning 26 and Murray turning 24 in February, this could be the perfect time for the Nuggets to make their all-in move.

    Is this the best Houston could do in a Beard blockbuster? That’s impossible to say from the outside, but the return package clearly has legs. Porter has centerpiece potential, Gary Harris and Will Barton are plug-and-play wings for the Rockets to keep or trade, Zeke Nnaji intrigues as a skilled 19-year-old, and a far-in-the-future lightly protected pick is always interesting. The Rockets could do a lot worse.

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    Rebecca Blackwell/Associated Press

    The Trade: Derrick Rose to Dallas Mavericks for Jalen Brunson, Josh Green and 2021 second-round pick

    The Pistons have had chances to deal Derrick Rose before and declined them because they valued his leadership. That’s fine, but at a certain point, a rebuilder can no longer justify avoiding such a direct path to assets. Plus, Detroit now has Delon Wright around to help with Killian Hayes’ development.

    The Pistons bought low on Rose, luring him to town on a two-year, $15 million deal in 2019. Flipping him now for a pair of prospects and a draft pick would be shrewd roster management.

    Josh Green is a turbocharged three-and-D wing. Jalen Brunson is a steady-handed point guard. These would be long-term keepers for a franchise that doesn’t have nearly enough of them.

    The Mavs might be in position to sacrifice some long-term assets for an instant upgrade. They need more offensive menu items that don’t revolve around Luka Doncic, and Rose is more than capable of piloting the attack. In fact, he averaged more points (25.1 to 24.1) and assists (7.7 to 7.4) per 36 minutes this past season than he did during his 2010-11 MVP campaign.

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    Jeff Chiu/Associated Press

    The Trade: Andrew Wiggins, Kevon Looney and Jordan Poole to Oklahoma City Thunder for Al Horford and George Hill

    The Warriors are motoring toward a theoretical crossroads. At some point in the near future, they must decide between loading up for however many runs Stephen Curry has left in the tank or moving the two-time MVP for a ready-made rebuilding kit.

    Unless, of course, the club has already made up its mind. The fact the Dubs are discussing an extension with the 32-year-old suggests they’re still operating in win-now mode.

    If that’s the plan of attack, why not pluck some win-now talent away from a team otherwise built to win later? Al Horford’s do-it-all game could be a snug fit in Steve Kerr’s system, and he would let No. 2 pick James Wiseman develop at his own pace. George Hill would address a need for backcourt depth.

    As for the Thunder, they’d be getting actual assets in a Horford exchange. Who saw that coming? Andrew Wiggins fits the long-and-athletic mold favored by this front office, and he offers a lot more than raw tools. Jordan Poole is an off-the-dribble scorer-in-training, and a healthy Kevon Looney can soak up minutes either in OKC or whichever team gives up a pick to get him.

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    Joe Skipper/Associated Press

    The Trade: James Harden to Miami Heat for Tyler Herro, Duncan Robinson, Kendrick Nunn, Andre Iguodala, Kelly Olynyk and 2025 top-three-protected first-round pick

    The Rockets won’t be bullied into trading the Beard on anyone else’s terms. Harden still has two guaranteed seasons on his contract, so Houston has time to wait for the right deal to materialize.

    The franchise is also “willing to get uncomfortable,” according to ESPN’s Tim MacMahon, which is big since Harden is already testing every inch of those limits.

    The Rockets want to be blown away, which is a sensible stance given Harden’s place on the NBA pecking order. The Miami Heat have the war chest to do just that, assuming they’re convinced their #culture can bring the best out of him.

    Houston needs a headliner, and Tyler Herro would fit the bill after dazzling in the bubble. Since Miami is light on movable draft picks—even dealing this one would require changing the protections on a 2023 first-rounder headed to OKC—it could instead deliver two more prospects in sharpshooter Duncan Robinson and scoring guard Kendrick Nunn. The Rockets also would add Andre Iguodala and Kelly Olynyk as salary-filler rotation players or trade chips.

    Miami, meanwhile, would walk away with the league’s next Big Three: Harden, Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo. Their combined skill sets lack discernible weaknesses and stretch into the highest levels of basketball ability. It could easily be enough for the Heat to leapfrog everyone as favorites to escape the Eastern Conference.

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    Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press

    The Trade: Victor Oladipo to Chicago Bulls for Zach LaVine

    Hopefully, Victor Oladipo has sent a bottle of wine or some other means of saying “thank you” to James Harden. That situation has escalated so quickly that there’s no national focus on Oladipo reportedly asking other teams about joining forces in front of his own teammates, per J. Michael of the Indianapolis Star.

    Decision-makers won’t soon forget that report, though, which will limit what the Pacers should expect in an Oladipo deal. His trade market was already murky given his uncertain future and recent injury issues.

    Maybe Indy could sniff out a trade partner in its same division. The Bulls happen to roster another near-star guard with enough imperfections to nearly tank his trade value.

    If Indy and Chicago could be honest with themselves and unafraid of the optics, they could reach the reasonable conclusion that Oladipo’s defense and Zach LaVine’s scoring and shooting would have more impact on each other’s current club.

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    Kevin C. Cox/Associated Press

    The Trade: Ivica Zubac, Terance Mann and Rayjon Tucker to Oklahoma City Thunder for George Hill

    For some teams, the 2020-21 season will be evaluated on the championship-or-bust scale. For the Clippers, the stakes could be title-or-teardown.

    Kawhi Leonard and Paul George can both reach free agency next summer if they decline their respective player options. If the Clippers can’t give them a convincing reason to stay, this Western Conference power could evaporate in front of our eyes.

    The Clippers can’t let that happen, so they should continue pushing the chips they have to the center of the table. Intrigued as they might be about the futures of Ivica Zubac and Terance Mann, they’d get more mileage out of seasoned, two-way combo guard George Hill. He could realistically crack their closing lineup with perhaps the backcourt’s best combination of shooting, distributing and defending.

    The Thunder have little use for Hill, so they might as well transform him into young players with potential. Zubac could land in Steven Adams’ old spot, while Mann and Rayjon Tucker would get ample opportunities to prove themselves.

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    Michael Wyke/Associated Press

    The Trade: Kyle Kuzma to New York Knicks for Reggie Bullock and 2021 second-round pick (via DET)

    The Los Angeles Lakers don’t need Kyle Kuzma. He’s prone to bouts of ball dominance and shaky outside shooting. Those are two massive no-no’s for teammates of LeBron James.

    L.A. should seize upon what’s left of Kuzma’s trade value and flip him for a player who actually fits. A healthy Reggie Bullock could be that player.

    He’s a career 38.5 percent three-point shooter with some versatility and loads of effort on the defensive end. He hasn’t always been healthy of late—he played only 29 games in 2019-20—but the Lakers could mitigate some of that risk by also adding what should be an early second-rounder.

    Kuzma would hit New York and immediately overlap some with Obi Toppin and Julius Randle, but that’s fine. The Knicks haven’t left the asset-collection phase of their reconstruction project, so they should be chasing talent now and worrying about the fit later. Kuzma, who averaged 18.7 points per game in 2018-19, offers enough talent for New York to at least think about working him into the long-term plans.

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    Brandon Dill/Associated Press

    The Trade: Kyle Anderson, 2021 second-round pick (via POR) and 2022 second-round pick to Minnesota Timberwolves for Jarrett Culver

    Save for the Thunder, seemingly everyone else is vying for a postseason spot in the Western Conference. The Grizzlies can chase one, too, but their approach should be more patient than most.

    Ja Morant and Jaren Jackson Jr. are both 21 years old. The best basketball this nucleus will play together could be years down the line.

    As such, Memphis should prod around for the chance to chase upside, much like it did with its trade-deadline deal for Justise Winslow. Adding Jarrett Culver, the sixth overall pick in 2019, would follow the same train of thought and trust this coaching staff to optimize a young talent.

    On the other hand, Minnesota needs to compete right now. The Timberwolves owe the Warriors a top-three-protected 2021 first-rounder, and that draft looks loaded. Minnesota cannot afford to stumble.

    Part of prepping for success should be adding defense at forward, and Kyle Anderson could make that happen. In the 2020-21 campaign, Anderson is more likely to contribute to winning in Minnesota than Culver.

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    Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

    The Trade: Kendrick Nunn to Indiana Pacers for T.J. McConnell and 2021 top-10-protected first-round pick

    While Kendrick Nunn snagged an All-Rookie first-team spot in 2019-20, the Heat didn’t always trust him in the biggest spots. He twice lost his rotation role in the postseason and didn’t exactly set the world ablaze during his 15 playoff tilts, shooting 39.1 percent from the field and 27.9 percent from distance.

    He’s worth keeping around, but he’s less essential to the Heat than you might think. They might even deem him expendable in a swap like this, which would give them a badly needed draft pick (ammunition for a future trade?) and continue attacking their problems with point-of-attack defense by adding the relentless T.J. McConnell to the mix.

    If the Pacers aren’t convinced Aaron Holiday is their floor general of the future, Nunn could fill that spot. The 25-year-old is a gifted scorer, and he’s best when he isn’t asked to do too much playmaking, which Indiana already has covered by Domantas Sabonis and Malcolm Brogdon.

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    John Raoux/Associated Press

    The Trade: Donte DiVincenzo and D.J. Wilson to Orlando Magic for Al-Farouq Aminu, 2021 second-round pick and 2022 second-round pick

    The Bucks’ failure to land Bogdan Bogdanovic stung for a few reasons, not the least of which was the hole it left on their likely closing unit.

    The Bucks are 80 percent of the way to a lethal late-game lineup. The quartet of Jrue Holiday, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton and Brook Lopez can present myriad problems for opponents on both ends of the court. But it’s missing one more contributor, and Milwaukee might feel it has too much riding on this season to entrust Donte DiVincenzo with a closing role.

    Pivoting to Al-Farouq Aminu could be a fascinating approach. The Bucks could switch every action that doesn’t involve Lopez, and even if Aminu’s shooting comes and goes—he’s capable, but erratic out there—Milwaukee might have enough spacing at the other spots to make it work.

    Orlando needs to trim its forward collection, and it would do so here while adding a backcourt keeper in DiVincenzo. If the Magic could make a long-term keeper out of D.J. Wilson, this could be a steal.

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    Jim Mone/Associated Press

    The Trade: Jarrett Culver and 2023 top-eight-protected first-round pick to Atlanta Hawks for John Collins

    The Timberwolves are going for it. If the trade-deadline deal for D’Angelo Russell hadn’t already hammered that point home, then a wealth of activity this offseason (trading for Ricky Rubio and Ed Davis, re-signing Malik Beasley and Juancho Hernangomez) should’ve done the trick.

    But Minnesota should conducted another assessment of its power forward spot. Hernangomez is fine, but the Wolves are aiming higher than that.

    They should explore all options of plucking John Collins out of Atlanta. While he would not solve their defensive issues, he’d help send this offense into overdrive. The fact both he and Karl-Anthony Towns can shoot means neither would congest the preferred attack areas of the other. Both could pick-and-roll (or pick-and-pop) with Russell while the other spotted up on the opposite side.

    The Hawks, who traded for Clint Capela at the deadline then drafted Onyeka Okongwu at No. 6, keep sending signals they aren’t interested in covering the cost of Collins’ next contract. If that’s the case, they’d be smart to wiggle out of that dilemma while adding both a recent top-10 pick and a potential future lottery pick.

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    Tyler Kaufman/Associated Press

    The Trade: JJ Redick to Milwaukee Bucks for Donte DiVincenzo, D.J. Wilson and Pat Connaughton

    The Pelicans shouldn’t abandon the 2021 playoff race, but they should also know it probably won’t be the most important push they ever makes. That trek could be years down the road when Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram are both in their primes.

    It’s fine to consider the present, but New Orleans should never lose sight of the future. That’s how a player like JJ Redick could hit the trade block, since he’ll be out of the league if and when Williamson is ready to take it over. But Donte DiVincenzo could rise right along with Zion, and perhaps D.J. Wilson or Pat Connaughton could come along for the journey, too.

    Meanwhile, Milwaukee would walk away with not only an elite spacer, but also a gravitational force on opposing defenses. Both are critical in optimizing Antetokounmpo, a process made easier by Redick’s net-shredding and off-ball movement.

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    Kathy Willens/Associated Press

    The Trade: Alec Burks and 2021 second-round pick (via DET) to Portland Trail Blazers for Anfernee Simons

    Portland fans have spent the past two seasons salivating at the thought of Anfernee Simons’ eventual breakout. But can anyone be sure it’s coming in 2020-21?

    If not, the Blazers should be working the phones to fortify their roster after a successful offseason.

    After landing the likes of Robert Covington, Enes Kanter and Derrick Jones Jr. this offseason, Portland could be ready to make a run at the Western Conference crown. But if Simons isn’t ready to help, the Blazers could let him go for someone who is. Alec Burks isn’t the most exciting name around, but he’s a plug-and-play source of quick-strike scoring and capable long-range shooting.

    The Knicks aren’t competing for anything of substance in the near future, so they could afford to wait on Simons’ development. In return, they might find the solution to their years-long point guard search. The 21-year-old offers an intriguing blend of shot-making and athleticism, both of which could net him a long-term spot alongside RJ Barrett, Mitchell Robinson and Obi Toppin.

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    Michael Dwyer/Associated Press

    The Trade: George Hill to Boston Celtics for Romeo Langford and Semi Ojeleye

    Few players are more likely of a trade candidate than George Hill. He’s 34 years old, stranded on a rebuilder and down to the final fully guaranteed year of his contract.

    OKC can’t waste this opportunity to add assets.

    Romeo Langford, the 14th pick in 2019, might be on the high end of what the Thunder can realistically target. His rookie year was ravaged by injury, but he has long intrigued scouts with his NBA build, three-level scoring and defensive tools. He could play his way into a future starting spot alongside Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, and maybe Semi Ojeleye could even attain keeper status.

    The Celtics would add some reliability to their backcourt with Hill. They need more experienced options, and his combo-guard game would be an easy fit with virtually anyone.

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    Eric Gay/Associated Press

    The Trade: Aaron Gordon and Mo Bamba to Oklahoma City Thunder for Trevor Ariza, George Hill and 2021 first-round pick (via MIA or HOU)

    The Magic have been spinning their tires near the Eastern Conference’s No. 8 seed for so long, it’s fair to wonder if their aspirations will ever get bigger. But if they want to secure their customary one-round cameo this season, they should be targeting the sixth spot since it would spare them from the play-in tournament.

    Orlando needs more proven contributors to make that happen, so it could target OKC’s veteran rentals.

    Individually, neither is better than Aaron Gordon, but collectively, they could be far more important for playoff seeding and success. Besides, if neither vet moved the needle, Orlando would at least still walk away with a first-round pick.

    For OKC to bite, it would have to believe there’s more to Gordon’s game than he’s shown to date. That isn’t too big of a leap of to make, since he’s already played for five different head coaches and never had great scorers or spacers around him. The inclusion of the first-rounder would also convince Orlando to let go of Mo Bamba, who could grab the center spot and own it for years to come in the Sooner State.

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    Matt Slocum/Associated Press

    The Trade: Ben Simmons, Matisse Thybulle, Tyrese Maxey, 2021 first-round pick, 2023 top-three-protected first-round pick to Golden State Warriors for Stephen Curry

    Are you not entertained?

    I get it. This deal might have slightly better odds of taking place as a I do of winning a H.O.R.S.E. game over Stephen Curry. Saying that, a few early-season reality checks could make this a fascinating alternative to Philly’s pursuit of James Harden.

    There’s a non-zero chance that the Warriors’ championship window has already closed, in which case they should at least have an ear out for incoming Curry offers. He’s 32 years old and has free agency awaiting him after the 2021-22 season. If the only plan is treading water for another season until Klay Thompson (hopefully) returns, Golden State needs to consider alternatives.

    This would be a massive leap of faith—and probably a public relations nightmare for the Warriors—but once the initial shock wore off, realistic fans would see the Sixers sacrificed plenty. Ben Simmons is a defensive wizard and 6’10” playmaker. Matisse Thybulle is a suffocating defensive stopper. Tyrese Maxey is a skilled scorer who grinds at the defensive end. Throw two first-round picks in the mix, and this is far from insulting.

    And yet, it’d be a no-brainer for Philly. Curry is on a short list of the game’s most explosive weapons. Lining him up alongside Joel Embiid would put opposing defenses in countless pick-your-poison scenarios. Not to mention, Philly might finally have enough support shooting—including Stephen’s brother, Seth—to keep defenses from crowding its stars in the half court.

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    John Bazemore/Associated Press

    The Trade: Jae Crowder and Jalen Smith to Atlanta Hawks for John Collins and Tony Snell

    The Hawks had chances to sign Jae Crowder and draft Jalen Smith. But the fact they bypassed both doesn’t necessarily indicate a lack of interest. It might’ve come down to a value proposition which didn’t work out in the players’ favor.

    But now, perhaps Atlanta would rethink both.

    The Hawks hardly seem married to John Collins, and they’ve already discussed a Tony Snell trade. They could conclude that Crowder and Smith are better fits for their current roster. Crowder would scratch an itch for a defensive-minded combo forward, and Smith could up the frontcourt’s versatility if his three-point shooting translates.

    The Suns, meanwhile, could roll out a fully loaded starting lineup of Chris Paul, Devin Booker, Mikal Bridges, Collins and Deandre Ayton. Collins would be electric in Phoenix, playing both alongside and behind Ayton. Snell is mainly just a money-matcher, but he’d give the wing group more shooting and passable defense.

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    Tony Dejak/Associated Press

    The Trade: Zach Collins and Nassir Little to Cleveland Cavaliers for Larry Nance Jr.

    The Blazers could be done waiting for Zach Collins, or at least reach that point if a trade partner gave them a reason to.

    Portland’s roster is stacked, but it could arguably get more mileage out of a two-way weapon like Larry Nance Jr. than a pair of projects in Collins and Little. Nance can handle either frontcourt spot and injects both with athleticism, defensive energy and enough shooting to keep defenders honest. He’d work as both a small-ball center and a traditional power forward operating alongside Jusuf Nurkic.

    The Cavaliers are watching Nance’s prime years go to waste in Northeast Ohio. They’d be better off planting a few developmental seeds and seeing if one or both could pay off. When Collins is healthy, he offers a little of everything at both ends of the floor, and Little is on a short list of the league’s most explosive athletes.

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    Rich Pedroncelli/Associated Press

    The Trade: Buddy Hield and Richaun Holmes to Charlotte Hornets for Miles Bridges, Malik Monk, Cody Zeller and 2021 top-10-protected first-round pick

    The Kings let Bogdan Bogdanovic walk in restricted free agency, and they still won’t clear a starting spot for Buddy Hield.

    “We’ve got a lot of new faces here, so we have to continue to look at what’s going to be best for our team,” Kings head coach Luke Walton told reporters.

    Sooner than later, what’s best for Sacramento will be granting Hield a ticket out of town. He’s a gifted shooter and ignitable scorer, but he’s had one foot out of the door for the better part of a year.

    The Kings won’t just give him away, but that would hardly be the case here. Miles Bridges has bounce, Malik Monk offers explosion and range, plus the 2021 draft could be special. Cody Zeller could work as a stopgap solution at center.

    The Hornets would then continue their climb up the standings by giving LaMelo Ball and Gordon Hayward a top-shelf target for their passes. Hield had the fourth-most catch-and-shoot threes this past season and converted them at a 41.3 percent clip. Tack on Richaun Holmes to take Zeller’s spot up front, and Charlotte could have a playoff-ready starting five.

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    Nick Wass/Associated Press

    The Trade: Patty Mills to Washington Wizards for Troy Brown Jr. and Ish Smith

    Ideally, the Spurs would find takers for their highest-priced veterans, LaMarcus Aldridge and DeMar DeRozan. But a more reasonable alternative might be shipping out a lesser expensive veteran rental.

    Patty Mills’ three-point cannon could fit anywhere. He has set or matched his career high in threes per game each of the past four seasons and shot 39.0 percent from range over this stretch.

    Every team could use more shooting, especially a Wizards team that just shrunk the floor a bit by bringing Russell Westbrook on board.

    In exchange, the Spurs could walk away with Troy Brown Jr., a do-almost-everything swingman—his shooting isn’t quite there—who should be able to carve a niche with San Antonio’s young core. Ish Smith wouldn’t be long for the Alamo City, but he’d offer relentless defense and steady decision-making for as long as he stayed.

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    Michael Conroy/Associated Press

    The Trade: Patrick McCaw and 2021 lottery-protected first-round pick to Houston Rockets for P.J. Tucker

    Toronto lost some muscle in the middle when both Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka exited in free agency. The Raptors could turn to a familiar face to get some oomph back in their frontcourt.

    P.J. Tucker, who landed north of the border at the 2017 trade deadline, feels likely to reach the trade block sooner than later. He reportedly grew “irate” over the lack of a contract extension last season, per The Athletic, and he could lose some of his small-ball value if Houston adopts a new style after a busy offseason.

    Get Tucker back to Toronto, and he’d team with OG Anunoby and Pascal Siakam in one of the league’s most ferocious and versatile frontcourts. Tucker also wouldn’t spoil any of Toronto’s 2021 free-agency ambitions since he’s heading into the final year of his contract.

    If the Rockets are ready for life after James Harden, they should start mapping out routes to all available assets. Turning Tucker, a 35-year-old on an expiring deal, into a first-round pick should be obvious. Plus, the swap would only grow in value if 25-year-old Patrick McCaw supplements his dogged on-ball defense with serviceable play at the other end.

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    Kevin C. Cox/Associated Press

    The Trade: Rudy Gobert to Memphis Grizzlies for Jonas Valanciunas, Kyle Anderson and 2021 first-round pick (via UTA)

    As much as Utah might want the chance to evaluate this group with a healthy Bojan Bogdanovic, the calendar doesn’t allow it. Rudy Gobert is ticketed for free agency at season’s end. Extending him now leaves no room to rethink the roster if it doesn’t work, and seeing him walk for nothing next summer would be a disaster.

    The trade market might offer a middle ground.

    If the Jazz flipped Gobert for Jonas Valanciunas and Kyle Anderson, they would still be protected in the paint (by Valanciunas and Derrick Favors) and have more flexibility at the forward spot with Anderson. They would also get back the first-rounder they sent to the Grizzlies in the Mike Conley exchange.

    Meanwhile, Memphis would get one year to evaluate whether Gobert can fit with Ja Morant and Jaren Jackson Jr. going forward. If the Grizzlies have enough shooting, they might be on the verge of a modernized grit-and-grind reboot.

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    Nick Wass/Associated Press

    The Trade: Thomas Bryant, Rui Hachimura and Jerome Robinson to Indiana Pacers for Myles Turner

    One can argue—as I would—that it’s in the Wizards’ best interest to trade Bradley Beal while he can still command enough assets to kick-start a rebuilding project. But that’s been true for a while now, and Washington doesn’t seem the least bit interested in that nuclear option.

    So, if the Wizards want to chase 2020-21 competitiveness, they might seek a sturdier option at center than Thomas Bryant.

    Myles Turner offers a similar blend of length and shooting, only he’s less volatile overall and more effective as a defensive anchor. The runway would still be cleared for Russell Westbrook to attack, and Turner could be a pick-and-pop partner for either of Washington’s starting guards.

    If the Pacers see Bryant as a younger, cheaper version of Turner, they’d have a hard time walking away from this. Rui Hachimura is already a skilled scorer, and Jerome Robinson might have enough off-the-bounce shake to build upon his mini-breakout in the bubble.


    All stats courtesy of NBA.com and Basketball Reference unless otherwise noted.

    Zach Buckley covers the NBA for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter, @ZachBuckleyNBA.