The NBA is nearing the end of free agency where the first and second tier values are gone. As the restricted free agency market begins to take shape, another avenue to watch for could be the trade market. Teams who swung and missed on their top options may be looking to make their mark via trades. Here are 4 trades that I would love to see:
1. Love to Boston, Millsap to Cavs, Bradley/Johnson/Mickey and 2018 1st round BOS pick to ATL
There’s been a lot of smoke around the Love to Boston rumor. Despite the signing of Al Horford, Boston still needs rebounding and shooting. Love would provide both those things, and would be surrounded by enough defenders in Boston to hide his weakness as a defender. For Celeveland, the acquisition of Millsap gives the Cavs another all-star who just led the Hawks in points, rebounds, and assists. His upgrade over Love as a perimeter defender will bode well for a team that has aspirations of beating the super team in Oracle.
For the Hawks, it allows them to gain an asset without losing a star who may not return. Avery Bradley is a first-team defender who can form a staunch defensive tandem with point guard Dennis Schroder. Jordan Mickey gives them a young frontcourt player with elite athleticism, and ability to protect the rim. In Atlanta he’ll have a chance to get on the court, and get put through Hawks University, with the potential of becoming a stretch 4 with rim protecting abilities, similar to Serge Ibaka. Amir Johnson would be an interesting frontcourt presence that can play either the 4 or 5, and has the ability to guard the perimeter and protect the rim. Because Atlanta is a tough sell in free agency, the acquisition of players on multi-year deals and picks are their best shot at retaining players. The Boston package will help them achieve this.
2. Pekovic/Muhammad/Payne 2018 1st round MIN pick, Lopez to MIN
Under the new direction, the Nets are looking to build for the future without draft picks. Their way of doing that has been to go after young guys who are still developing and attempt to build with them. In this deal they would have to take on Pekovic who was extremely unproductive last season, but get an intriguing prospect in Shabazz Muhammad and first round pick for their troubles.
For Minnesota, the mission under Thibs is to win, and they have the type of roster upside for that to happen very quickly. The addition of Lopez gives them an intriguing fit with Karl Anthony-Towns. Lopez is an elite post scorer who has shown the ability to knockdown the mid-range efficiently enough that teams would have to respect it. Though he’s not a strong perimeter defender, players finished 8.3% worse against him inside of 6ft, and 6.3% worse when inside 10ft. The perimeter defense surrounding him will allow him to stay on the court where he can help draw defenders off of guys like Towns, Wiggins, Lavine, Dunn, etc.
3. Westbrook to LAL, Chandler/Nurik 2019 and 2021 LAL 1st rounder to OKC, Nance/Williams/Young to DEN
In this deal, the Lakers mortgage their future picks and bet on the fact that Westrbook will re-sign with them. The deal most likely won’t work with just the LAL and OKC because the only valuable pieces the Lakers have are lottery pick players that they’re relying on and wouldn’t want to give up. Though the Nuggets may have assets on their own, truth is they know the chances of Westbrook staying in Denver would be low. Nuggets facilitate the deal, and get an interesting prospect in Larry Nance Jr. who does a lot of the same things Faried does without the headache. They also take in two filers in Young and Williams to make the deal work.
The Thunder, who will most likely have to deal with very limited leverage will be able to net to productive players in Chandler/Nurik who are on multi-year deals and can contribute right away. They’d also be able to secure the Lakers first round pick in 2019, and 2021 where they know that another team won’t have any rights to it. The haul isn’t great, but it does give them an intriguing team of talented, and young players.
The Lakers would obviously be in great shape here being able to maintain their young core along with the acquisition of Russell Westbrook. The fit with D’Angelo Russell and Jordan Clarkson is a bit of mystery, but Russell’s ability to shoot plus his size make him the most likely one to start alongside Westbrook. This deal would also help the Lakers in their pursuit of adding another star in free agency. With Westrbook, an intriguing blend of young players, and the allure of LA, the Lakers will be in great position to sway a star to join forces for the next era.
4. Carrol/Powell/Joseph to Spurs, Aldridge to TOR
The Spurs need to get younger and more versatile, while the Raptors have long coveted a strong power froward. For San Antonio, the backcourt looks long in the tooth outside of Dejounte Murray. The return of Corey Joseph, and surprise combo guard Norman Powell will inject more youth and defensive versatility for a team that desperately needs it. The addition of Carroll is also another huge piece as a wing that can work with Kawahi Leonard to form a ridiculous wing defensive unit. These acquisitions would give the Spurs a versatile lineup that Popavich can use to his advantage during the regular season to preserve his vets.
The Raptors get another star, and can form their own big three to rival Cleveland. They’ll lose a lot in terms backcourt versatility, but they’d rely on guys like Delon Wright and Terrence Ross to step up, and rely on Aldridge to pick up rest of the lost production. Though this may make them a worse regular season team, stars control the playoffs, and the combination of Lowry/DeRozen/Adridge will be a dangerous team come the postseason. This would also present a strong case for Lowry to remain on the Raptors as he comes into free agency, the idea of leading a team that already has two other stars and a rising reputation around the league may be too much to give up.